The Medium John Edward

gattino

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#1
This is a spin off from the "are all psychics fake" thread. I'm posting it as a new topic just because i know how long winded my reports tend to be.


So, having initially abandoned the idea, i did in the end go and see the famed John Edward perform at the local theatre last night, as i suggested on the other thread that I was tempted to do.

Background: His fame, success and following had lead me to conclude as likely that either there was something truly impressive to witness or, if he was a fake then he might be the world's most convincing one and that too would be worth witnessing. As for claims about him (someone on the other thread mentioned matter of factly he was a cold reader) i was very on the fence about that as I had years before read a couple of long online essays by the blogger Michael Prescott in which he effectively debunked the debunkers, plus i was aware that Edward had subjected himself to scientific study by Gary Schwartz some years ago suggesting at least self confidence and a willingness to be tested. Finally when first considering attending i searched online for comments from people who had been to see him. It was hardly an exhaustive study but for what its worth the one consistency in the observations i found was that those who dismissed him had never personally seen him and those who had seen him were always impressed. The latter of course you could dismiss as the fact they paid to see him would suggest a predisposition to belief. The dismissive scepticism of the non attendees however was inherently useless as far as i was concerned simply because they could only be reflecting someone else's opinion.

So with all that in mind i went along to see what i could see. My report on the details of the readings themselves will have to be short and scant because it was two hours long and its almost all slipped my mind in its finer details.

General stuff: one of the bar staff mentioned there were 1100 attendees. I don't know how many dates he has on this tour but given the prices, and assuming similar venues in each town, a 10 date tour could easily rake him close to a million pounds by my crude maths. That says nothing about his abilities only that its a very lucrative career in his case and that a lot of people are very persuaded to believe in him and willing to pay good money on the basis. Second general observation, a minimum of 90-95% of the audience were female. I don't know what that tells us.

The Usual Suspects: I can quickly dismiss the more outlandish claims about his performances that do the rounds of the internet, largely perpetuated by an episode of South Park. There were no lurkers in the hallways listening to people give away their family secrets, no forms to be filled in (except for people who had bought premium tickets who signed up for free membership of his website in the lobby 10 minutes before curtain up), hidden microphones in the seats is pure nonsense and would require the connivance of the theatre management and staff in every venue he plays in. An unlikely grand conspiracy of silence. The logistics of paying off local plants in every town he visits, plants who never come forward this side of the grave, also doesn't bear thinking about. Which leaves us, if he did turn out to be persuasive, with our old friend cold reading.

Bullet point summary of what I saw: 1) Nothing "case closed" spectacular. 2) Several direct and - to me - extremely improbable hits 3) He was personally very persuasive and convincing (you may retort a conman would be) of his bona fides and self assurance. It was hard not to "believe" him (as in his intentions and integrity, rather than that he was talking to the dead necessarily) 4)I saw no evidence of cold reading as i understand the term. Eg leading questions and running with their contrary answers as if the new information has come from the medium and not the client. That just didn't happen (small caveat below)

Where he did fit the mould of the stage medium cliche is that - unlike those i had witnessed at the spiritualist church - he did do the old "a name beginning with" a particular letter or sound and give 2 or 3 alternatives. In mitigation of that he consistently and adamantly refused to accept enthusiastic proffers of vaguely similar names by other audience members. More than that, and most importantly, nothing he offered up was directed at the audience generally but always a specific small group of people, even if someone in a slightly different section claimed everything matched someone they knew he would have none of it, it had to be the person or persons he was directly addressing who often seemed perplexed until some family member or friend they were with identified the information as being relevant to them.

Did he says things that no one accepted as true or accurate? Absolutely. Did he alter what he'd previously said in order to fit their responses? I said not earlier, but in fact you could say so to a small degree...family relationships or who the person was related to often seemed very flexible, and occasionally people he was addressing would accept a new name he offered as being "my cousin's girlfriend" or "my husband's father in law" which struck me as being rather a stretch in terms of most family bonds.

So what, if anything, were the stand out "hits"? Necessarily they would be those statements which were directed at the individual audience member he was currently talking to and which are too far out of the mundane or universal for them to be dismissed as applying to "everyone" or to "most people".
To one woman: "Ok this is a weird one - who has the pet pig?" She: "my friend does".
To another: "I'm now seeing him holding up a bird" She: "He breeds budgies. We've got birds all over the place"
A third person he was engaged with (I can't recall if he emphasised it was a child in the family or if she did), he talked about a hormonal/chromosonal condition..her child or grandchild had a rare such condition which only 36 people in the world suffer from.
And a woman in the audience who lived and worked in the Turks and Caicos islands accepted lots of other things he said but wouldn't and couldn't recognise his reference to her working at a hotel/resort. Despite her refuting its he kept repeating it, he finally asked out of curiosity what she did do and she said she was the prosecution service. So he asked "is it a case you're working on?" and her tone changed as the penny dropped "Oh yes! It's a big corruption case about a hotel".

Did i leave wowed? No. Did i find him sincere and persuasive? Yes. Was there identifiable fakery going on? Not identifiable by me. My scant summary of a few examples is necessarily imprecise and will leave gaps in which others might declare they see it. But i can only trust my own judgement on the night. Were his "hits" suggestive of after death communication? I can't based on my current recollection say that they were. I can only say he appeared to possibly have anomalous access to some private and relatively improbable information.
 

PeteS

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#2
This is a spin off from the "are all psychics fake" thread. I'm posting it as a new topic just because i know how long winded my reports tend to be.


So, having initially abandoned the idea, i did in the end go and see the famed John Edward perform at the local theatre last night, as i suggested on the other thread that I was tempted to do.

Background: His fame, success and following had lead me to conclude as likely that either there was something truly impressive to witness or, if he was a fake then he might be the world's most convincing one and that too would be worth witnessing. As for claims about him (someone on the other thread mentioned matter of factly he was a cold reader) i was very on the fence about that as I had years before read a couple of long online essays by the blogger Michael Prescott in which he effectively debunked the debunkers, plus i was aware that Edward had subjected himself to scientific study by Gary Schwartz some years ago suggesting at least self confidence and a willingness to be tested. Finally when first considering attending i searched online for comments from people who had been to see him. It was hardly an exhaustive study but for what its worth the one consistency in the observations i found was that those who dismissed him had never personally seen him and those who had seen him were always impressed. The latter of course you could dismiss as the fact they paid to see him would suggest a predisposition to belief. The dismissive scepticism of the non attendees however was inherently useless as far as i was concerned simply because they could only be reflecting someone else's opinion.

So with all that in mind i went along to see what i could see. My report on the details of the readings themselves will have to be short and scant because it was two hours long and its almost all slipped my mind in its finer details.

General stuff: one of the bar staff mentioned there were 1100 attendees. I don't know how many dates he has on this tour but given the prices, and assuming similar venues in each town, a 10 date tour could easily rake him close to a million pounds by my crude maths. That says nothing about his abilities only that its a very lucrative career in his case and that a lot of people are very persuaded to believe in him and willing to pay good money on the basis. Second general observation, a minimum of 90-95% of the audience were female. I don't know what that tells us.

The Usual Suspects: I can quickly dismiss the more outlandish claims about his performances that do the rounds of the internet, largely perpetuated by an episode of South Park. There were no lurkers in the hallways listening to people give away their family secrets, no forms to be filled in (except for people who had bought premium tickets who signed up for free membership of his website in the lobby 10 minutes before curtain up), hidden microphones in the seats is pure nonsense and would require the connivance of the theatre management and staff in every venue he plays in. An unlikely grand conspiracy of silence. The logistics of paying off local plants in every town he visits, plants who never come forward this side of the grave, also doesn't bear thinking about. Which leaves us, if he did turn out to be persuasive, with our old friend cold reading.

Bullet point summary of what I saw: 1) Nothing "case closed" spectacular. 2) Several direct and - to me - extremely improbable hits 3) He was personally very persuasive and convincing (you may retort a conman would be) of his bona fides and self assurance. It was hard not to "believe" him (as in his intentions and integrity, rather than that he was talking to the dead necessarily) 4)I saw no evidence of cold reading as i understand the term. Eg leading questions and running with their contrary answers as if the new information has come from the medium and not the client. That just didn't happen (small caveat below)

Where he did fit the mould of the stage medium cliche is that - unlike those i had witnessed at the spiritualist church - he did do the old "a name beginning with" a particular letter or sound and give 2 or 3 alternatives. In mitigation of that he consistently and adamantly refused to accept enthusiastic proffers of vaguely similar names by other audience members. More than that, and most importantly, nothing he offered up was directed at the audience generally but always a specific small group of people, even if someone in a slightly different section claimed everything matched someone they knew he would have none of it, it had to be the person or persons he was directly addressing who often seemed perplexed until some family member or friend they were with identified the information as being relevant to them.

Did he says things that no one accepted as true or accurate? Absolutely. Did he alter what he'd previously said in order to fit their responses? I said not earlier, but in fact you could say so to a small degree...family relationships or who the person was related to often seemed very flexible, and occasionally people he was addressing would accept a new name he offered as being "my cousin's girlfriend" or "my husband's father in law" which struck me as being rather a stretch in terms of most family bonds.

So what, if anything, were the stand out "hits"? Necessarily they would be those statements which were directed at the individual audience member he was currently talking to and which are too far out of the mundane or universal for them to be dismissed as applying to "everyone" or to "most people".
To one woman: "Ok this is a weird one - who has the pet pig?" She: "my friend does".
To another: "I'm now seeing him holding up a bird" She: "He breeds budgies. We've got birds all over the place"
A third person he was engaged with (I can't recall if he emphasised it was a child in the family or if she did), he talked about a hormonal/chromosonal condition..her child or grandchild had a rare such condition which only 36 people in the world suffer from.
And a woman in the audience who lived and worked in the Turks and Caicos islands accepted lots of other things he said but wouldn't and couldn't recognise his reference to her working at a hotel/resort. Despite her refuting its he kept repeating it, he finally asked out of curiosity what she did do and she said she was the prosecution service. So he asked "is it a case you're working on?" and her tone changed as the penny dropped "Oh yes! It's a big corruption case about a hotel".

Did i leave wowed? No. Did i find him sincere and persuasive? Yes. Was there identifiable fakery going on? Not identifiable by me. My scant summary of a few examples is necessarily imprecise and will leave gaps in which others might declare they see it. But i can only trust my own judgement on the night. Were his "hits" suggestive of after death communication? I can't based on my current recollection say that they were. I can only say he appeared to possibly have anomalous access to some private and relatively improbable information.
Interesting summary G. Notwithstanding my own experiences, I too find it difficult to believe that there is any communication with the departed. Quite where the information comes from though, I have no idea.
 

catseye

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#3
The things you list as specific - the pet pig and the holding a bird, are they things that people might 'stretch' in their minds? Say, perhaps, it wasn't a pet pig but a favourite childhood toy, and they were holding a bird because someone they knew had just been to a bird of prey demonstration? So not specific specific, but things that could be interpreted (both of these examples could be made to fit members of my family, although we keep neither pigs nor birds, if I was desperate to be in touch with a deceased family member, I might make those things fit).

I am on the fence about this. As I've said before, I've had 'hits' that came out of nowhere, but when pressed couldn't follow up with anything meaningful. I still ascribe to a sort of 'low level telepathy' theory, unless a medium can give information that NOBODY except the alleged deceased could have had, I'm going with that.

Plus, I doubt he's taking home the entire ticket price. His team will have to pay for hire of the hall, personnel to staff it, his own staff, hotel costs...going on tour can be surprisingly expensive.
 

gattino

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#4
The things you list as specific - the pet pig and the holding a bird, are they things that people might 'stretch' in their minds? Say, perhaps, it wasn't a pet pig but a favourite childhood toy, and they were holding a bird because someone they knew had just been to a bird of prey demonstration?

Well all i can tell you in those specific examples is that no such stretching was evident.. breeding birds as the woman in the audience declared is not a vague distant connection to something bird like. The pet pig provoked an unhesitant "my friend does" with no caveats or pauses to make it sound like she meant anything other than a porcine farm animal trotting around the house.

However the latter case does lead to an interesting aside. The friend who came with me at the last minute (perhaps more on him later) was not impressed by the pig thing, even though to me it was the first and most impressive example of an impossible guess. He - the friend - claimed a few years ago there was a fashion for getting pet pigs (as indeed there was - among hollywood celebrities, not in my perception the average joe or jill in british provinical cities). He says a friend of HIS has one.

Now this is perplexing and somehow instructive. I will maintain that I am right in thinking it the height of improbability that the person the medium was specifically addressing just happened to have a direct connection to a pet pig of all things, whereas my friend seemed to consider it a reasonable likelihood based on the same statement applying to himself. You'll have to make your own mind up on that.

Back to the general subject of people re-interpreting his words to try and make them fit. People not being addressed tried several times to be helpful and say "I know a..." (whatever), but J.E. dismissed them as I said. Equally people he was addressing typically struggled to recognise or accept a name or reference and i recall no examples of them "just going along with it"..they clearly wanted messages but it didn't appear from my perspective to be a normal response to claim something which they didn't recognise. They would typically pause, say "no" or "I can't think" or "maybe, but i don't know" when he said something that they didn't have a direct match for.
 

catseye

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#5
If you asked me who had the pet pig, I wouldn't have to think long before I could come up with someone (a friend of my daughter's). So maybe it's not that weird...but I do live in a weird place.

Interesting, thanks Gattino.
 

PeteS

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#6
On the subject of specific issues pointed out by mediums, a friend recently told me that he had gone to one of these public events earlier this year. He sat right at the back covering up his tattoos (so as not to frighten the pensioners as he put it). The medium picked him out instantly for messages. "Mick says he is sorry he never finished that tattoo" Mick was a tattoo artist friend who was doing a complicated one for my mate who turned up at the shop for an appointment to complete the image. Mick didn't turn up- he had apparently died suddenly that night. Another message was that the medium "could see 11 pairs of childrens' shoes, but there was one child missing." You can guess why one was missing. So one message apparently from the deceased and one from the "ether". Don't understand.
 

gattino

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#7
"Mick says he is sorry he never finished that tattoo"
My turn to play devil's advocate. That kind of direct quote is typical of what other people, and countless books, describe psychics or mediums coming out with. It's the kind of clear, specific, full sentence communication through a middle man comment that litters other people's anecdotes...but i have yet to see it actually happening. Which makes me think those accounts sound so convincing because along the way they are paraphrased, simplified, clarified and made to sound far more direct than perhaps they were at the time.

What i mean by that is so far over a number of years i have witnessed 3 mediums in the spiritualist Church, had an over the phone reading, a face to face reading, and saw the biggest name in the business on stage last night. And at no time did any of them say to someone "X (immediate specific direct name) says Y (clear conversational message)" rather - taking them at their word - they suggest a name and give various "impressions" associated with that person or the wider family of the person being addressed. Never "he says to tell you..."

Now what makes this doubly perplexing to me is that all thos victorian and edwardian investigations by the SPR's great men of science into various mediums are also full on, full flowing, pure conversational speech from the purported deceased. If that was true then why does it seem so startlingly absent now?:dunno:
 

PeteS

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#8
My turn to play devil's advocate. That kind of direct quote is typical of what other people, and countless books, describe psychics or mediums coming out with. It's the kind of clear, specific, full sentence communication through a middle man comment that litters other people's anecdotes...but i have yet to see it actually happening. Which makes me think those accounts sound so convincing because along the way they are paraphrased, simplified, clarified and made to sound far more direct than perhaps they were at the time.

What i mean by that is so far over a number of years i have witnessed 3 mediums in the spiritualist Church, had an over the phone reading, a face to face reading, and saw the biggest name in the business on stage last night. And at no time did any of them say to someone "X (immediate specific direct name) says Y (clear conversational message)" rather - taking them at their word - they suggest a name and give various "impressions" associated with that person or the wider family of the person being addressed. Never "he says to tell you..."

Now what makes this doubly perplexing to me is that all thos victorian and edwardian investigations by the SPR's great men of science into various mediums are also full on, full flowing, pure conversational speech from the purported deceased. If that was true then why does it seem so startlingly absent now?:dunno:
Yep I would agree that paraphrasing etc as you describe will play a part in what is eventually passed on in conversation etc. However I questioned my mate quite closely on this point and he was absolutely adamant that is what was said was in precisely those terms. Same with the shoes thing. He is actually a stickler for facts and details, and was an absolute none believer prior to his reading ("evidence" is his thing), even after hearing my experience. As I mentioned before there was no mention of "he says to tell you" at my last devastating reading. It would have been nice I think to have had someone out there tell me no don't do it because this is what will happen.
 

escargot

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#10
The friend who came with me at the last minute (perhaps more on him later) was not impressed by the pig thing, even though to me it was the first and most impressive example of an impossible guess. He - the friend - claimed a few years ago there was a fashion for getting pet pigs (as indeed there was - among hollywood celebrities, not in my perception the average joe or jill in british provinical cities). He says a friend of HIS has one.
Yup, I don't know anyone personally who's kept one but there was indeed a fad for them a while back. They were supposed to clean and intelligent pets.

People went for either Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs in enclosures outside or 'teacup pigs' which were tiny. (The UL about them of course involved a minuscule piglet which grew to normal pig size, which is very large indeed to have lounging around on your sofa.)

Here in the UK there are strict laws about keeping pigs. If you wanted to walk one on a lead, for example, you'd have to submit a route to the Dept of Agriculture and keep strictly to it.

Pigs are social so it's cruel to keep just one. They're also destructive as they instinctively dig and wallow so your new pet will wreck your home and lawn in no time. This happened to a FOAF of mine whose little cute piggy ripped up her carpets and gnawed through her doors.

Anyway... I was adeptly cold-read some years ago by a medium. She said my late grandfather wanted to say 'Sorry' as he hadn't been very nice to me in life.

I was gobsmacked as my miserable old Granddad (I only know the one) was a bully and all-round twat and was of course dead.

However, I soon realised that a. At my age my grandfather was most likely to be dead and b. Some women might have been actually abused by a grandfather and kept it secret, so if that had happened it'd seem like a huge revelation. It was worth a punt on it.
 

gattino

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#11
Hmm..not sure I'd be that cynical. While its clearly possible to have a bad relationship with a grandfather, surely its a more natural assumption and a more sure fire hit for a charlatan to suggest you were close to him, especially if you're going to see a medium... as its reasonable in those circumstances to assume you're missing someone who has died?
 

gattino

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#12
Stumbled on this rather handsome (in a overly well lit way) fella's videos tonight recounting his various encounters with synchronicity, regression, seeing psychics etc and...this one:the suggestion he is himself now a budding medium. Interesting to get his embryonic experiences directly from the horse's mouth without too much of the new age vocabulary attached.

 

catseye

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#14
Does anyone else see the thread heading and wonder what happened to the large and small John Edward?
 
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