I recently went to see one of the UK's best known celebrity psychic mediums live on stage at a small theatre for a night of messages from beyond the grave.
I'm a bit torn whether to name the psychic or not because obviously as I'm a massive skeptic, she's not going to get a positive review from me, so I feel a little bit bad for her because she seemed really nice, put on a good show and it was an enjoyable evening. On the other hand, I think mediums are exploitative and prey on the vulnerable.
But tickets for the event were sold with the disclaimer: "evenings of mediumship are not scientifically proven and are presented for educational and entertainment purposes only," so perhaps that does get the clairvoyant off of any exploitation.
Despite boasting a list of celebrity clients, the event was far from being a sellout. The venue was a really nice, intimate theatre with around 300 seats, however there were only about 60 people in the audience, most of which hadn't seen her before. But the low attendance was good in a way as it meant people were more likely to get a message from their loved ones, about a quarter of the audience did.
The medium has toured around the world, taught workshops, and helped celebrity clients. She's also done charity work and as a football fan even claims to have given family members of those killed at the Hillsborough disaster messages from heaven.
She started the show by telling us about her recent trip to Cambridge where she went to the funeral of Stephen Hawking. She said that the physicist was present at his own funeral and that she had caught a glimpse of him. But this ability is relatively new to her. She said, "up until the age of 40 I didn't have a clue I could do this, most psychics and mediums have known for a very young age."
Speaking about the type of message she gets from the spirits, she said, "I trust what I get." Before telling us that, "your loved ones can't wait to talk to you, but for me the most important part of this show is getting the message to the right person."
And with that she saw her first spirit at the front of the stage and began her clairvoyancy. The spirit was a mother figure who dropped a ring on the floor in front of her, she was apparently connected to the name George. After asking several times, "does anybody here understand any of that?" for about three minutes, she got know bites from the audience.
The mention of George then became a male spirit who was with the first one called George, but there was still no bite. Then, luckily, another name came through, Maria, and the psychic finally got a bite from the audience. But the name George and the mention of the ring, didn't mean anything to the audience member.
The psychic then said to the same woman, "you've lost your father as well then?" To which the lady said "no". The psychic resorted to saying "has someone else lost a father because he's stood here," apparently he'd pushed in and was here to speak to someone else.
But when the psychic told the next audience member that the man had died from lung problems, she was corrected and told it was actually a heart condition. She then moved on to some good news connected to working in a school, but the couple in the audience she was talking to didn't work in education, that was overlooked and tweaked and became a potential promotion at work, which was apparently correct.
She then asked "is someone having driving lessons too?" But no one was. She then finally imparted her first proper message to an audience member, "your dad says he's absolutely fine, you weren't sure he was going to come through tonight, he didn't believe in this kind of stuff but he absolutely adores you."
It was a pretty poor start but she did get better. Later she guessed that an elderly lady had problems with her knees, but this could have been due to the stick next to her seat. But she then said, "you've just been talking about getting new glasses, sweetie?" The elderly audience member said, "yes". The psychic went on, "because he's saying you couldn't get to get them and you were frustrated," which was again correct.
However, the psychic told this same lady that the man was an engineer, he wasn't. She also told the lady she'd had surgery on her knees, she hadn't. She said there were connection to Liverpool, there wasn't. Liverpool became "passing by Liverpool," which became Cumbria, but it was still a "no" from the audience member. The psychic tweaked the location again, "it may be Scotland." She then mentioned someone called Doris who had nothing to do with lady, so the psychic said, "no, then I think I'm over there," but before moving on to the next audience member she gave the elderly lady her message from heaven, which was "he absolutely adores you."
I'd gone to the show with my friend who's also skeptical, and soon was made the star of the show when the psychic called him out by name. She did get a few things wrong when talking to him, like the name Anne or Annie and the city of Leeds being connected. But then she said the spirit was "talking about someone getting a new watch," my friend had been showing off his new watch on the car journey to the show, this got a round of applause from the audience.
She then said, "it's weird, I'm seeing two watches, not just one," my friend had to admit, "yeah, I've ordered another one as well." This was quite impressive, but as my friend pointed out after, if it wasn't that he was buying a second watch, she might have just elaborated on this to mean he was hanging on to the old watch or his other watch was missing and he was hoping to find it again.
The second half of the show started as badly as the first half had, she didn't get any bites. At one point she was so desperate she opened it up to the helpers who were walking around with the microphones to give to the audience.
The first spirit was that of someone with their shirt open who'd had a heart operation, but that went nowhere. She seemed to get desperate and blamed the audience for the lack of take up, saying, "they don't come through if they don't know someone." She said it's never a case that the spirits are wrong, just that audience members don't want to make themselves known. She encouraged those in the audience to "put your hands up, come on guys. I want to move on but I can't because he won't let me."
To try to get a bite she started adding in more information, like the claim that the spirit is connected with the name Maria. She eventually asked a specific audience member if it meant anything to her. Because she had put all this pressure on the audience to respond, it felt like when she asked this specific person she was almost pressured into agreeing. When asked, "does that makes sense to you" the audience member responded with an unconvincing, "possibly..."
The psychic took that as a bite, but knowing it wasn't good enough quickly changed the topic and told her, "you've lost your mum too" and because that was correct she went down that route instead and forgot the poor spirit who had had the heart operation.
She wasn't giving up though, the medium then tried to link it back to the name Maria, even though it had actually started with this man who had a problem with his heart, not Maria. But there wasn't a Maria, the lady who was sat behind me said "no, there's a Mary," the psychic said "you can give me that, it's not Sue or Carol, if it's Mary that's fine." A few of the audience members around me sniggered at this.
The psychic then gave the woman behind me the message from her mum, "your mum is very much helping you at the minute." Considering the psychic said at the start of the evening that "the most important part of this show is getting the message to the right person," the messages are pretty weak. She didn't tell anyone anything meaningful, only things like "they adore you" or facts that you already know like "you're applying for planning permission."
Towards the end of the show, the psychic said to one young girl, "who's going off to college or uni then?" The girl said no one. I think the medium was quite surprised, she said, "there must be someone around you off that age who's going off to college or uni in another year." And there probably should have been statistically, due to this miss she moved on, "you work in a hospital?" The girl said no, which left the psychic seemingly confused, "oh, how weird because I'm seeing someone in a nurse's uniform."
She then used a get out that she used often, stating that the nurse's uniform is "for my next one" and moved on. Even though this uniform was mentioned by the spirit of the girl's mum, all of a sudden it was the spirit of someone else. She did this whenever she got stuck, just ignored the miss and switched to a different audience member.
Not all of her readings were this bad, her most impressive revolved around the woman sat in front of me. The psychic mentioned a woman with bone or joint issues, she added, "I think the word orchard is connected to her." The woman in front of me spoke up, "I live in Orchard Road and I'm going in to have bones taken out."
The medium said, "I've got a lady here, she's talking about May, can you understand why they're talking about May?" The woman said that is when her operation is schedule for. Another hit. Clearly on a role the psychic then said, "you lost mum to spirit then?" Which was again correct. The psychic said, "she would have had the same sort of problem, I'm losing my balance with her," this time it was a miss, the woman said the only reason she'd loose her balance was due to old age. The psychic said "her legs were so swollen with her she couldn't put shoes on," again this is was incorrect.
The medium ignore this and changed the topic, telling the lady that "there's a celebration coming up in July" that she wants the operation over with by then. The audience member confirmed that they are going on holiday in July. Not strictly a celebration, but all of a sudden the spirit was saying "she says it won't be long and you'll soon be off on your holiday."
The psychic continued, "she loves a cup of tea your mum, she loves her porridge as well". The woman in front of me said, "no, that's me." Of course, the psychic knew this, "that's what you're living on at the minute then?" Which was correct, the woman even confirmed that she eats porridge for lunch.
The medium then correctly said, "and is there a tree being chopped down?" This was again spot on, there's been a tree chopped down two doors down, which lead the psychic on to the woman's neighbours, "one of the neighbours must have a funny dog who keeps barking?" But the woman said, "no, that's my dog," losing the scent slightly the medium then said, "one of the neighbours has complained about the dog then?" But the woman said, "no, we have lovely neighbours."
Despite the misses, it was a pretty good reading and she ended it with the question, "are you going away in September too?" The woman, surprised, said "yeah, we are." The psychic took it one step further, "so who's going to Cornwall?" The woman laughed and said "we are in September." This was impressive but the psychic actually only asked who was going to Cornwall, she wasn't brave enough to state that it was the lady in front of me who was going to Cornwall in September. This meant the medium had a get out of it being someone else if she needed it. Again, the psychic failed to give the woman any meaningful message from beyond the grave.
Although this reading was quite accurate, there were some awful ones. I picked one reading at random and counted how many claims the psychic made. She told the audience member 14 facts that were supposedly given to her by a spirit. Only three of these were correct, giving her a 21% hit rate, which I think is pretty poor.
Like most psychics, this one was very good at tweaking her claims, redirecting and skipping over misses. She said she often gets two spirits come through at once, which she calls "buy one get one free." This is very convenient as it means that if she's talking to two spirits and two audience members at once, it doubles the chances of the statements she gives fitting one of them.
The medium did contradict herself a bit. The audience was given the opportunity to ask questions at one point in the show. One audience member asked, "are you the same age when you pass over?" The psychic answered this by saying, "I've been told that if someone was a baby or very young, in spirit they grow up to be about 20 or 21." After giving a few specific examples, she summed up by saying. "so basically when they come back they show you whichever age they were happiest."
However, during the show she referred to the age of spirits several times, saying things like "I've got a young lad", "has anyone lost a brother, I've got a lovely guy, he's not that old", and "your mum never got to see 60 then? Because she looks really young."
The other thing that didn't really add up was when the psychic was giving a reading and said, "she keeps talking, I can't understand her bless her, she talks very very fast." If the spirit is able to say so much and share so much information, how come this same spirit gave the names Elizabeth, Beth, or Lizzie? Surely with all that dialogue the spirit would have been more accurate with the name.
The psychic often said the spirit was "a father or father figure" or "mother or mother figure," these allow her a bit of room as it could be a step parent or grandparent she's referring to, even an auntie or uncle. But again, we know the spirits are able to talk in normal sentences, because one spoke fast, so with all this information being shared why aren't spirits more specific and say "that's my grandson in the audience?"
My favourite moment was when she told me I have a gift. It was funny to hear an establish stage psychic say to me, "I know with yourself, you're very intuitive as well. You're very psychic, you can understand that?" No, I can't understand that but I'm putting it on my CV.
Overall the show was entertaining, good value for money and the medium herself was very likeable. So despite my skepticism, I wouldn't try to deter anyone from going to these types of shows, if that's what you're into. Especially if like me, you go knowing that the show is intended for entertainment purposes only.