18 October 2022

FROM THE VAULT: Spirit Orbs Real or Rubbish? by Scipios

Proofseekers was a short lived site I ran in the mid 2000s. I happened across a back up for it today on a disk during a clear out. I posted an image on my twitter to see if anyone remembered it, and someone asked if I could republish the article on Orbs, so here it is, unedited as it was published in 2006. Enjoy.
 
Introduction.
    I have a theory that everyone, and certainly everyone reading this, has at least 2 old books of ghost stories sitting on a shelf somewhere collecting dust. And these won’t be fictional ghosts, these will be books detailing apparent apparitions witnessed by real people in real places across the world. And somewhere among those pages will be many photos of ghosts mostly, if not all, in black and white. There will be ghosts in upstairs windows, climbing stairs, peering over peoples shoulders, sitting on sofas, playing on the beach and crouched in the back of a car. Well maybe not playing on the beach., but you will be hard pressed to find any photo of an apparently paranormal phenomena that isn’t described as a ghost. And then there’s all the bygone TV programmes, telling tales of apparitions like grey ladies and hooded figures, monks, soldiers, dead queens and beheaded riders. But these old books and TV shows all share one missing element that sets them aside from the mass of ghostly media that is appearing with more and more regularity today. And that’s orbs. They were unheard of. If, as you flick through some of the photos in these books, you spot an orb or two, you can put money on it that they won’t be mentioned in the text, or if they are they won’t have any appreciable paranormal connection. So why are orbs so popular today? Why are orbs constantly being shown as evidence of the paranormal and, if they do exist as spirits, why didn’t they show themselves to us before? And another intriguing question, how come they can only be seen by the camera?

So what’s an orb? A ghost hunters approach.
    There are thousands of photographs in existence showing orbs with their colour, shape, size and brightness varying from picture to picture. Some of these pictures show countless orbs in the same field of view, others show just one or two orbs, some show orbs pictured around people, who are seemingly oblivious to their paranormal visitors. But unfortunately photographic evidence is all we have. The interpretation of this evidence and the opinions of what orbs are vary enormously. But all the websites that I visited while researching this topic seem to have one thing in common. They all express the view that orbs are indeed paranormal and that you can get confused with other more simplistic explanations the like of which I will delve into later. Some of the more common conclusions are that orbs are entities, physical manifestations of the dead that have somehow managed to form a sphere and appear to us. They may bring along a message (for orbs emit sound), and this may be picked up as EVP if you’re lucky. To visually record an orb you may have some success with an ordinary 35mm SLR but this is rare. A digital camera or camcorder is best suited to the task.

    You may have noticed that I haven’t explained what an orb actually is, just what it represents. And here is where the spirit theory starts to break down because no-one actually knows for sure. There are many, many opinions over what orbs are. The most common is that it is a sphere of energy, presumably light or at least generating light, but that’s where the evidence sort of tails off into contradictions and personal opinions, being described as anything from ‘separate life forms’ to ‘elf lights’ to amazing structures that have a magnetosphere and an ‘ionic displacement layer’, whatever that is.

To be or not to be…….
    There seems to be an increasing number of sites stressing the reader and future orb hunter to be careful when sorting fact from fantasy. Dust, pollen, moisture and small flying insects can all be misinterpreted as orbs. So how do you spot an orb? Well it’s orb shaped and shows up when you take a picture, simple. Well you’d think so but you’d be wrong. As previously mentioned orbs come in a variety of colours and shapes, but are these all genuine orbs or something else? One website describes ‘true’ orbs as ‘….bright and consistent in brightness throughout’. Another states that they are ‘….invisible to the naked eye but showing up on film’. One website says ‘….they can be completely transparent’ while another states ‘….false orb's are easily identified by the fact that they are very pale white or blue in color and/or they can be transparent.’ And another says ‘….orb light is so faint and delicate it isn't visible to the naked eye when there is another light source in the vicinity and background visible.’ True orbs can’t fit all these descriptions surely. Most websites stick by their own interpretation of course and go on to warn about orb pictures you see on other websites.

The popularity of orbs
    So why are orbs so popular nowadays, whatever happened to misty ghost photos? Well they still exist but orbs, it seems, are captured much more easily on film. And here I must pause and make the distinction between film and a CCD. Ordinary, regular 35mm cameras use film, sensitive to light in the visible spectrum. A digital camera uses a CCD or charged coupled device which is a light sensitive chip. The majority of orbs are captured using digital cameras, 35mm cameras have been known to capture orbs but photos are few and far between. A digital camera is a necessity nowadays, because of portable interchangeable memory media it can capture an almost unlimited number of shots which can be reviewed and deleted or stored on the spot. No more waiting around picking out the best shot and wasting valuable time changing films. And no more anxious hours or even days spent waiting for your photos to come back from the lab, possibly ruined by an exuberant lab tech. The digital camera is definitely the way to go and anyone who’s anyone in the world of the paranormal has one, not to mention the ordinary man in the street who cares not one jot about spooks but upon capturing strange happenings on his camera decides to investigate and ends up uploading them onto a paranormal website. But apart from the sheer weight in numbers of digital cameras out there could there be another explanation for the rise in orb photos? Surely ghosts are now no longer camera shy because they like the idea of appearing on the internet?

Problems with your spook snapper.
    Let’s get one thing straight. Most people whether they believe in orbs or not are agreed that anomalies can creep in to your photographs. Dust particles are a favourite so I’ll try not to go into too much detail here explaining this one. Particles of anything close to the lens will be out of focus (see Fig.1)



    The area between the lens and the focal plane inside of which particles are out of focus varies with the lens that is on your camera but can vary from a couple of inches to a foot. Unless you pay out for a top of the range model, digital cameras invariably have the flash situated very close to the lens so illuminating everything within it’s immediate field of view. When the flash goes off, these out of focus particles are illuminated and picked up by the camera as orbs, or out of focus fuzzy round blobs to you and me. The same thing happens with flying insects except they may be captured as fuzzy blobs with motion blur and are generally brighter as there is a solid body and shiny wings for the light to reflect off. Other anomalies can be reflections from other objects in the field of view as well as internal reflections and optical aberrations within the lens including refraction. All this shows why it’s no coincidence that orbs really came into the limelight after digital cameras came on the scene. So why are orbs constantly being put forward as evidence when these problems are known to exist? That’s easy, because real orbs are being photographed. So with that in mind let’s get down to some serious ‘real orb’ investigation.

Why can’t we see real orbs with the naked eye?
    Any orb supporter will tell you that real orbs cannot be seen with the naked eye, they can only be picked up by cameras. So to start with let’s talk a little about the human eye. The sensitivity of film in a camera, or the CCD in a digital camera, is measured as an ISO number. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the recording plane. ISO 100 is generally okay for photos outside on a bright day. Move up to 400 for a dull day and 600 or even 800 at night. Digital cameras will usually choose their own ISO depending on conditions and will use flash whenever possible. The ISO of the human eye during the day is a measly 1 but at night, once the eye becomes dark adapted (after approximately 30 minutes), it shoots up to abut 800.1 The eye detects differences in contrast with a huge dynamic range whereas a camera is an absolute detector over a much smaller range. The upshot of all this is that unless you go for a time exposure with a high ISO the human eye is much more sensitive than a camera. It also has a much wider field of view than a camera which results in an effective megapixel equivalence of nearly 600.2 Consider the sharpness of photos you get from your 6 or even 3 megapixel camera and you can see that the human eye really is an impressive light recorder.

    But of course that still hasn’t answered the question, why can’t the human eye see these things but the camera can? Well when we are talking about dust or insects, the human eye can see them as long as it’s given a chance. With flash photography the duration of the flash itself isn’t usually long enough for the eye to find and focus on its target. As far as the visible spectrum is concerned film cameras cover the same range and can see the same visible light that we can. The same goes for digital cameras. So if it’s a real orb shining with it’s own visible light we’d be able to see it just as easily as the camera. If it’s picked up by the cameras flash or other source of light, then the ‘orb’ is reflecting light and isn’t an orb at all. Of course some orb hunters know all this but that doesn’t put them off. They put forward an interesting argument which is: digital cameras see into the infra red, optical cameras don’t and neither does the human eye, therefore real orbs must be emitting light in the infra red. So let’s take a closer look at this one.

Near and far nanometres
    Stay with me, this looks a little complicated at first glance but it really isn’t, just remember the figures, that’s what’s important in this bit. The wavelengths of visible light, that is light which is detectable by the human eye, range from about 390 nanometres (nm) to about 720 (see Fig.2).



Below 390 is the ultra violet range and above 720 is the infrared range (IR), we cannot see these ranges except with special equipment. The range we are concerned with here is the near IR as the CCD in a digital camera can ‘see’ the near IR range of 720 to about 1200nm. At around 1200nm the sensitivity of a CCD drops off abruptly and from 1200 and up we are hitting the IR to far IR ranges. These ranges are concerned with light that is produced by the emission of heat, anything from lava flows to the human body and is outside the scope of digital cameras and this discussion. So, a CCD in a digital camera can detect visible light from 390 to 720nm and the near IR from about 720 to 1200nm.

    IR light is everywhere, mostly in sunlight reflected off the objects around us, we can’t see it but your digital camera can. Of course this could play havoc when trying to use your camera to take ordinary everyday photos of the kids or that strange looking dog from down the road that keeps sniffing your gate, so you don’t want any of this nasty reflected IR contamination finding its way onto your photos. Well, the clever camera people got round this by fitting an IR filter behind the lens. This is called an Internal Infrared Cut Filter (IIRC) and blocks out the vast majority of IR light. You’ll find the newer digital cameras let in less IR light than do the older ones but none of them let in enough so as to mess up your holiday shots.3

But if some can get in then why can’t the supposed IR light from an orb?
    Well, the only IR light that’s going to get through your filter is a very bright source. You can test this out with any TV remote, these operate at 900 to 950nm. Point your camera at the business end of your remote and press a button. The LCD screen on your camera should show the remote with a flashing light at the centre (see Fig.3).



    If the light appears white and is very bright then your camera is probably an older model that hasn’t got a top notch IIRC. If the light is fairly dim and appears red then you’ve got a very good IIRC filter fitted, one that’s letting in less than 0.1 per cent of the emitted IR light from the remote.

    But doesn’t that prove that your camera, however good, is registering some IR light and is therefore able to take pictures of these infrared orbs?

    No. The remote is a very bright IR source which is why the camera picks it up and displays it on the LCD (note that the picture had to be taken in the dark for the light source to show up properly). If orbs were indeed emitting IR they would have to be so bright that they too are picked up on the display. Alas this is not the case. Orbs are only discovered when the picture is taken, more often than not while using flash which is another reason we know they’re not emitting IR. You can test this principle out for yourself as well. While you have your camera pointed at the remote which is still happily flashing away, take a picture of it without flash. You will get a picture of exactly what you saw on the display, a remote with a small bright light source at the centre. Now take the same photo but with the flash enabled. You’ll get a nice picture of a remote but with no flashing IR light (see Fig.4).



    That’s because visible light washes out the IR light source. And we all know that the vast majority of orb pictures are taken at night and so need a flash. Any resulting orb pictures taken cannot therefore be of objects emitting IR. (For comparison Fig.5 is the same as Fig.4 but without the remote being activated).





So what does all this mean for spirit orbs?
    It means that the orbs that you capture with your camera are not entities and are not emitting any light, visible or otherwise. They are anomalies, dust, aberrations, insects or other particles caught inside the field of view of the camera, lit up by reflected light and recorded onto the cameras CCD. There is absolutely zero evidence supporting the theory that orbs are physical manifestations of spirits. But if one day you happen to spot a bright, moving source of orb shaped light be assured it won’t be dust and it probably won’t be an insect. Get that camera out, you never know, it just might be your great aunt Edna popped in from another dimension, take a few pictures and get them on the net.



2 July 2022

Was I too Harsh On Spiritualist Churches?

A couple of weeks ago I replied to a lengthy comment left somewhere on the site. You can read that at http://www.badpsychics.com/2022/06/a-public-reply-to-private.html if you so choose.

Well I enjoyed writing that reply and despite the site being without regular updates these days, it got a moderate amount of views. So I thought I would do it again, purely to pass ten minutes of my times.

As before, I will reply in RED BOLD lettering, since that asserts my dominance over the internet stranger.

He or she replied to an article exposing the secrets behind Spiritualist Churches that I wrote some time ago.

Enjoy:

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I only came to post one comment.

Just one? That's a shame.

Your site should be called bad sceptic (which is a shame, given such great work you have done!).

There is a compliment in there somewhere. Did you know that a site once called BadSceptics was indeed set up, with the sole intention of attacking me and "debunking" my work. And would you like to know who created it? It was none other than Gwen Johnson, the wife of Derek Acorah. Yep it's true, go ask her. Of course the site flopped because well, you cant take me on and win, that is just impossible.

Now, do I doubt that there are fraudulent psychics and mediums out there? Oh, absolutely not. There are fraudulent everything's out there basically. I am grateful, having perused this site for many years for the articles that do contain evidence. I remove this publishers self indulgence and congratulatory tones for doing so because the facts you are left with are indeed helpful to help identify those simply who knowingly, or indeed unknowingly - with heartfelt good intent - are not performing feats that they believe to be.

Ok this is a good start. Although I would hardly call the UK's greatest and most knowledgeable Skeptic (me) self indulgent and self congratulatory. That doesn't sound like the great Jon Donnis at all, in fact Jon Donnis is known for how humble he is, in fact he is probably the greatest at being humble. You should also hear the way he says "Chyna".

I am a sceptic, I hold doubt, and enjoy the research and find my belief switching to various degrees! This is a field it is very wise indeed to retain one's sense of proportion during deeply emotional times.

Sceptic, using that spelling, I really associate with climate sceptics, I don't know why, I always just preferred the spelling with a K. That hard K just feels better. Although if you are a sceptic or skeptic, your "belief" should never change, for being a skeptic should have little to do with beliefs, and everything to do with facts and logic.

I have been to churches, and had quite remarkable experiences, with never having been there before. I have heard recordings of readings that were utterly extraordinary. I have seen obvious fakes exposed, and not so obvious - some by this website itself.

I have also been to Spiritualist Churches as has been documented on this site, I have personally received around 300 face to face readings over 2 decades, and analysed north of 3000 readings given to others. I have also seen and heard readings that you would describe as "utterly extraordinary", the difference between me and you however is that when faced with something utterly extraordinary, I didn't just accept it at face value, instead I delved deeper, I discovered the secrets to how it was done, and much like any trick, when you know how it is done, it stops appearing to be magic.

This article however was like reading a conspiracy website. There is, inevitably, some extreme version of truth in certain circumstances. And I applaud work you have done in exposing genuine fakery.

Just a quick reminder that his comment was a reply to an article exposing the secrets used in Spiritualist Churches.

I am unsure how revealing secrets can be conflated with a conspiracy theory. As a skeptic, when presented by two options, the first being based on logic and critical thinking, and the second being one of magic and leaps of faith, to choose anything but the first one, makes you the conspiracy theorist.

I am reminded of Occam's razor

"a scientific and philosophical rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities."

What is more likely? A spiritualist medium is gaining their information from non psychic means, that are clear to see, or that they are breaking the laws of physics to pass on a message from the dead?

But to tarnish an entire element of spiritual connection that people have had long before you were around, and will be long long after this broadly bitter article is left to the confines of a web time machine, speaks of an arrogance only befitting of someone who is not open to potential - and is a closed minded so as they minds to be welded shut.

I do not tarnish the believers, for they have been fooled, they are the victims, I tarnish those behind the scam, the ones that collect the information and pass it to the spiritualist medium, and then take donations from the victims, or allow them to book private readings. 

To truly be a skeptic you must be open minded by definition, to be closed minded means your mind has been made up and wont be changed. I often hear the line "he told me something he had no way of knowing, and nothing you say will change my belief". Those are the words of someone closed minded.

For me to ask questions, and be prepared to investigate and find out the truth, regardless of where that may lead me, is the definition of being open minded.

This is a common mistake of the believer, as they project their own closed mindedness on to those who dare question their fantastical claims.

There stories myriad, nurses who have seen people visiting patients before they pass. The inner knowings of things and acting upon them.

(Googles the meaning of the world myriad)

Yes there are plenty of stories that are incredible, that does not make them true.

1 million people could line up side by side on a beach, in the dead of a clear night, look up to the full moon, and every single one would describe a moon that appeared bigger than usual. And every single one of them would be wrong, and a simple experiment would prove it. (Get your phone out, and take a photo of the moon, quickly goes back to normal size) This is the moon illusion, and yes even when you understand why and how it happens, you will still see the illusion. Plentyful stories do not have to equate to reality, but instead can relate to just a common mistake, delusion, or misconception.

What a cold world yours must be, bereft of any richness of genuine connection.

My world is being surrounded by friends and family, my world is enjoying myself, travelling abroad and meeting new people. I have looked into the eyes of loved ones, and said goodbye knowing they would soon die. Those memories are some of the strongest I have, there is no coldness to those memories.

And, I am not writing this for you.

Oh now you tell me. Cheers mate.

I am writing it for those who are seeking to find truth and may stop at such writings as this, and I would say continue your own journey. Take with you the knowledge of fakery that this person has donated kindly to the world (with genuine thanks), but balance this with the knowledge that the likelihood of a richness of human experience to be known at this point, compared to that we may come to know, is an adventure in true human spirit.

All I ever ask people is to make up their own minds, to be in ownership of as much knowledge as possible. Never to just take my word for something, but to listen and then find out for themselves.

I have no interest in people treating me like an infallible person, I want to be challenged, I want to be questioned, and I hope that people use the type of skepticism I promote, to be skeptical of what I say, for I am just a stranger on the internet. This is what I stand for. 

Let me see this man debunk the placebo affect, for example. Of course, something is much easier to reference but until when was this truly testable?

Why would I debunk the placebo effect? I believe the placebo effect is a strong and real thing. In fact scientific studies have proven that even if you tell someone they are on a placebo, if you give them twice the dosage of the placebo, it will work better than a single dosage of the placebo. The human mind is an amazing thing, and the placebo effect actually explains much of how alternative medicine can have an effect on people, and why people believe in it.

There may come a time when we look back at the frauds and debunkers with equal disgruntlement, or perhaps even humour, and wonder how we allowed ourselves to be taken in so greatly by either.

Or, perhaps, we will simply celebrate our progress as we gain further understanding of the true depths of what it means to be human.

And, after seeing and experiencing much strangeness, and using scepticism and debunking (in its truest sense) to be left with things that do indeed appear quite peculiar, I feel it may become a little bit "Project Blue Book".

I agree.

Where the huge majority of things can be explained away by unusual weather, or perhaps website, phenomena - but there will remain a few cases for which those true inquisitors of the nature of what it is to truly be, will seek out with interest.

There will always remain phenomena that we cant explain, that is the very nature of science. Science does not have all the answers and never will, not to mention the politicisation of science, and how scientists get paid, means that we often need to be as skeptical of scientific claims, as we are of paranormal and supernatural ones. 

And, in defiance of this absolutist article - if you should receive such an instinct as to call someone for no good reason, don't let articles like this stop you.

I would also be willing, should I be a gambler which I am not, to opine that whilst seeking to rightly discredit fakes, he has used his own "instinct" to gain the information needed to publish this website.

Now, wouldn't that be the most intriguing of ironies.

I have no problem with people seeking out psychics etc, my issue is solely with payment, do not pay a psychic a penny. Do not give them anything. If you find yourself in a weak moment, and you pay one for a reading, then damn sure fight to get a refund.

As for instincts, I have very strong instincts, I go with my "gut feeling" all the time, but understand that my instincts are based on decades of experience and knowledge, which means things that might be hard to understand for a newbie, come second nature to me, watching a psychic perform, and knowing within minutes if not seconds the techniques they are using to fool people, I understand the cadence of how they speak, the vocabulary they use, the hand movements, the eye movements, everything. I am so familiar with the tricks, that my instincts tend to be spot on when it comes to such people.

I would look forward to him responding say he has never once followed a hunch he had...

My hunches are based on experience and knowledge, that are now second nature to me. It is nothing magical. Think of it like a mechanic who can just listen to a car engine, and will instantly know it is a problem with the alternator. Just from a slight tone change in the noise of the engine. He is not a psychic, he cant even really tell you how he knows, he just does, because he has spent 20 years fixing cars.

Whatever brought you to this website, particularly if it was through pain, I do hope you find peace.

And that is what I try to do, because seeking out psychics and mediums, in that desperate need for "one final message" is the last thing you need to do to find peace, and in fact creates a dependency that not only extends the grieving process, in some cases makes it never ending.

From someone who used to eating people for breakfast, who claim to eat people for breakfast. ;)

Thank you for your comments, I hope you appreciate my reply, and perhaps I will make you think about things a little different.


Jon Donnis 

22 June 2022

A Public Reply to "Private Investigations Scotland "

I recently received a notification of a comment left on this site from a group calling themselves "Private Investigations Scotland". I have never heard of them, nor am I particularly interesting in knowing anything about them. But I do think everyone has a right to speak, and a right to criticise me, but in doing that I have a right to reply.

Now instead of replying direct to the comment, which means that Private Investigations Scotland are unlikely to see it, and anyone else with the same criticisms also wont see it, I thought I would take the rare chance to reply publicly. So here I am.

Below is their message, with my replies and comments in red bold lettering.

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The way you talk to people is disgusting! Your ego and clearly past hurt from a fake psychics has caused you to try and get national fame exposing fakes.

In your opinion, the way I talk is disgusting, I however like to think of it as "straight talking", an opinion direct from me, that does not "pussyfoot" around, or placate to fragile sensibilities, I have never been hurt from a "fake psychic", or anyone claiming paranormal or supernatural powers. In fact over the years I have considered a number of people who make such claims to be close friends of mine.

I am also curious as to your claim that I try to get "national fame exposing fakes". To this day I still turn down media requests, and in the last two years, I can only think of one time I gave a quote to a reporter, and even then I insisted purely on the name of the site being credited and not me, however they insisted they had to use my name. There was no photo of me, anywhere in the piece. And in fact you would need to go back over 15 years to find any photo of me included in any article I have wrote, or any article where I was interviewed. And even then the photo I am wearing a cap and black sunglasses, and the picture is from afar.

For someone who seeks national fame, I clearly am going about it terribly, since YOU have no idea what I look like, nor do you even know my name. When ITV's This Morning TV show approached me to appear as a guest skeptic in a segment, I turned it down and gave them the details of someone else. In fact I turned down over 100 such appearances, appearances I should say offered a fee. For example Ch4's Richard and Judy show offered £750 plus travel costs.

So to clarify, I have no interest in "National Fame", not now, not ever. Feel free to check my social media, there are no photos of me, no show reels, no "booking" email, no manager or agent. Nothing.

And this is the first original article to appear on this site in years and years.

The issue is you yourself disappeared soon after you were proved wrong! Everyone has intuition, it's that gut feeling inside you that tells you something isn't right. People call that psychic ability.

So one minute you are claiming that I seek national fame, and the next you admit I disappeared. Make your mind up. Hang on a second, are you a fake psychic trying to "read" me here, and therefore literally covered both sides of a claim, so you can appear to be right? Did you really think that would work on me?

As for being proven wrong, by who? I literally claim a 100% record when challenging psychics or mediums. So who on earth is claiming they proved me wrong? 

As for intuition, yes people do have intuition, mainly women, and specifically mothers. This is mainly due to the bond that a mother will have with their baby, and is something that a man does not have.

Nothing to do with psychic ability though, you could compare it to walking into your house and noticing that something feels wrong, and then you realise that a plant pot has been moved. You are so used to subconsciously absorbing the details around you, on a near constant basis, that when something is out of place, your subconscious realises it almost before you do. Or when you sit in your car and the seat or mirrors have been moved a few centimetres. You just "know". 

Again nothing psychic, just how your brain works.

I do believe some people use parts of their brain others do not that allows them to predict things and read energy very well. The only thing I doubt is that people can talk to the dead. When you are dead you have no consciousness and you need just that to communicate.

So you are a skeptic of the claims of mediums, why are you a bigot to mediumship and spiritualists?

There is no evidence that a psychic or anyone who claims such powers has access to a part of the brain that others do not, that is just a nonsense claim that has no basis in reality, and is just something low IQ people say, usually when they are trying to take money from you.

There will be an explanation for people who can read energy and use that to predict or appear to predict events, I'm just not sure that its mediumship. However the people who do this likley do believe they are getting it from deceased people.

Boy did this quickly turn from an attack on me to a boring lecture. Why on earth would you sit down and write this nonsense out, and then send it to me. I have done this over 2 decades, do you really think you are telling me something I haven't heard a millions times before?

Perhaps you should put your efforts into learning to speak to people properly because that's the reason you have no friends, no relationship and you spend your days playing on the computer.

There we go back to insulting me, that is what I prefer, not interested in lectures.

You are literally writing messages to a complete stranger on the internet, I am guessing the irony of your comment flies straight above your head. As for playing on my computer, yes please do check out my gaming site at www.gamingcouchpotato.co.uk where I review video games! I actually get paid to do that, can you believe it!

As for speaking to people, I actually speak 5 languages, and enjoy speaking to people from all over the world, in fact I probably speak too much. I am single though, so you got me there.

You have time after time told people they aren't bound by any laws and that is compleate rubbish!

Not sure what you are referring to here. I have in fact said the opposite, and encouraged people to report fake psychics and mediums. Why would I do that if I have also said such people aren't bound by any laws?

For the past half-century, 'genuine' mediums have been protected by the 1951 Fraudulent Mediums Act, under which prosecutors had to prove fraud and dishonest intent to secure a criminal conviction, which was difficult. There have been fewer than 10 convictions in the past 20 years. With that protection gone, there will now be nothing between the medium and the trading standards officer - and no need to prove fraud. Instead it will be up to the trader, in this case the medium, to prove they did not mislead, coerce or take advantage of any 'vulnerable' consumers.

Partially correct, in fact it was ME and THIS website that got the Government to kick out the 1951 act, so that psychics and mediums would legally come under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations instead. I think that was 2008. And would legally put psychics and mediums in the same boat as any trader. Which is why I have been encouraging people since that very day to report mediums and psychics to trading standards, their local police and so on.

Now they have to add disclaimers if they charge for their services, no matter what!

Fact Check: False

A real psychic or medium does NOT need to use any such disclaimer. A real psychic or medium can advertise themselves in any way they choose as long as it matches what they do.

Only FAKE psychics or mediums will feel the need to use the "For Entertainment Purpose Only" disclaimer, and even then that is not a legal loophole for them to get out of being sued or taken to court.

The BCAP codes section 15.5 set out by Ofgem requires all advertising mediums to state it is for entertainment only! 👇

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo6/14-15/33/enacted

Nope, that is for the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951, and does not cover The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. A real psychic or medium does NOT need to add a "For Entertainment Purposes Only disclaimer.

The reason why you believe this, is because fake psychics needed a way to use the disclaimer, but then try to blame someone else, in other words a wink and a nod to their victim, that they are the real deal, but the disclaimer is forced upon them, previously they claimed it was part of some made up EU law, since Brexit they just say they are forced by the Government.

The whole reason why I worked to have the FMA 1951 repealed, was for this very reason, that mediums and psychics were using that disclaimer as a way to get out of being prosecuted for their crimes.

The current law is clear, it is "Protection from Unfair Trading", so does not matter if it is "for entertainment purposes only", the law protects the consumer, if they feel they have been conned. It is that simple.

And with that I think I have answered your points pretty clearly.


My advise to you is to stick to your little forums and social media, and don't try to shake the hornets nest. I am in retirement from exposing psychics right now, I stay nice and quiet, and perhaps it is best for the industry that you love if it stays that way. 

Jon Donnis. 
ps. See me on the next season of Britains Got Talent, as I try to get that national fame I am so desperate for. 

6 June 2021

A start in how to expose a fake psychic/medium.


Pick a psychic, any psychic.

For the sake of this article, I will use the word psychic as a catch all word to describe anyone who claims psychic, paranormal or medium powers. So please no comments about me not knowing the difference.

One of the problems I face, is that I receive a lot of messages, either by email, or through social media. They usually go something like this.

"Have you heard of psychic Bob McBobberson, he is such a fraud, I wish you would expose him."

(Disclaimer: Bob McBobberson is a made up name, however if there is a real world, self proclaimed psychic by that name, I guarantee you he is a fake.)

I then face a dilema, if that psychic is a small time internet only psychic, with a few hundred followers, if I expose him, and put his name on this site, I will inadvertently give him publicity, and he can then claim to be in the same league as many of the big name psychics I have exposed.

I have literally seen psychics use being exposed on this site, as a badge of honour to say to their followers to gain sympathy. So as you can imagine, the last thing I want to do is help give a psychic publicity, even if I am exposing them along the way. You see believers will see such an article, and not read it, they will instantly dismiss it because it is written by me and published on this site. And clearly that is not a good thing for me, or for skepticism in general.

For bigger name psychics this is not a problem, as their names are already out there, and often I will get such a name thrown at me as someone who has never been exposed. Usually when I hear that, I will find a clip of them, and expose how they do it. Job done. My site ranks very highly in google, and their fans tend to read such articles.

It is much easier to reveal the truth to a fan of Gordon Smith for example, than a fan of Bob McBobberson, for the fan of Smith will have invested a lot of time and money in that psychic, going to shows, buying books and so on, so they will want to prove me wrong, and will try to find flaws in what I write, so will actually read my article. Of course the hope is, by doing that they realise they were fooled, get angry and never spend a penny of that psychic again.

Whereas fans of Bob McBobberson will be the types of believer that jump from one psychic to the next, again and again, trying to get that "fix" to feed their addiction.

So what I want to do here, is try to help people understand how to expose a psychic themselves, and at the very least, see through some of the tricks they would have previously fallen for.

And with that I am going to try to talk you through my thought process when I am faced with exposing a medium.

If you read through my replies to comments on this site, or on the forum, you will notice that I always offer a challenge to someone who is defending a psychic. That challenge is always the same.

Show me an unedited recording/video or a psychic you are 100% convinced is real, and I guarantee you 100% that I can show you how it is done.

Now the first thing you should notice here is what I am asking for, I am asking for an unedited recording. The reason is I understand how television works. When Colin Fry used to record his TV show, he would record for a few hours, but the final show would only be 25 minutes. His readings would seem incredibly accurate and the responses of the people being read, would completely validate what he had told them, whether that was in post show interviews, or even the affirmative nods on their faces during the show.

When making television, all entertainment shows need certain reactions from the audience. On X-Factor for examples, the warm up guy will often ask the crowd to give a standing ovation that can be filmed and used later. And peoples reactions will be filmed and shown out of order. There is no difference when it comes to psychics and their TV shows.

If a woman is shown nodding affirmatively to something the psychic has said, or crying, or some other emotion, you never truly know if that is a direct reaction to what the psychic has said, or if that has been edited to make the psychic seem more accurate. You are witnessing an edit, and every time the camera switches, there is a chance you are not seeing something in real time. So when I ask for an unedited recording, all that means is that it hasn't been professionally produced.

Often I will take such unedited records direct from a psychic's own youtube page. Because often they themselves are proud of their own work, and know that 99% of people who watch it, wont realise what is going on.

So when judging a psychic that you believe is real, or at least think are doing something you cant easily explain, make sure you are not watching something with multiple cameras, edits and cuts. So forget professionally produced TV shows.

One thing to note here, there is always a chance of hot reading, whether that is researching someone who has booked a reading using their name, email, whatever, there are endless ways to research someone. Just look at the latest Facebook scandal with data being sold. There are so many ways to find out about people in the world of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on.

But let's assume the person has not been researched and the psychic really has no idea who they are and has no prior knowledge on them, this reading could be one on one, or it could be someone picked out from an audience. How do we start to spot a fake?

The absolute easiest way to spot a fake psychic is if they tell the client to only answer yes or no. This is the oldest trick in the book, a psychic does this so they can claim that they are not fishing for information, or that the client is telling them things and so on. The truth is the complete opposite, the psychic by forcing the client to only answer in one of two ways is taking complete control of the reading, they are able to frame it in such a way that most times regardless of how the client reacts, it will end up being a hit.

Let me give you a simple example.

Psychic: Did your Grandfather smoke?
Client: No
Psychic: Yes he is telling me it disgusted him.
Client: Correct.

So the person then comes away thinking the psychic knew that your Grandfather didn't like people who smoked. Let's try again.

Psychic: Did your Grandfather smoke?
Client: Yes
Psychic: Yes I can see him sat in his favourite chair smoking and having a whiskey.
Client: Correct

Now regardless of how the client reacts, the psychic can follow it up with a statement supposedly from the dead Grandfather.

Now if the psychic hadn't ordered the client to only answer yes or no, they may have added information in their answer, which then would have taken away what the psychic said in reply.

Psychic: Did your Grandfather smoke?
Client: Yes, he would enjoy a smoke with a glass of whiskey in the evening.
Psychic: Yes he is showing me that now.
Client: ok.

Can you see the difference, now the client has given the psychic more information, which gives the psychic less to repeat back, of course sometimes this does happen, and the psychic will simply repeat back the information the client told him perhaps later in the reading.

So this is a good place to start, if the psychic is controlling the reading completely they will tell you to answer yes or no, so if you hear that, they are a fraud, time to go home. Game over.

Now if they don't tell you that, then you need to keep track of what the psychic says, and what the client says.

This is why I will always have a reading transcribed, it makes it much easier to keep track.

Now if you do this yourself, the easiest thing you can do is count how many questions the psychics asks. Simple as that.

A real psychic would not need to ask any questions at all. Not even "would you understand that?" By asking "Would you understand that?" The psychic is FISHING, they need to know their reading is going the right direction so they can continue, if they do not know, then their reading could go in the complete wrong direction and they end up looking a fool.

If the person reacts in a negative manner to that question, it allows the medium to change directions, they can tell the client that they need to "take that home with you", this basically is their way out, they are getting rid of you. They then change the direction of the reading or end it completely. You go home, you ask your relatives a version of what the psychic has said, if it is vaguely right, then you are amazed because there is no way he could have known about it, and he couldn't have picked it up from you, if he is wrong, it is just forgotten about. Either way the psychic doesn't have to deal with the result.

In the inner circle, this is known by psychics as the "Take Home Escape", and pretty much all psychics use it. Think of it like a fishing net, you have a small net. Psychic asks you if you understand the number 50. You have no idea. So you go home and ask your parents, because there is two of them, their net is twice as big, so a wider chance of success. That number 50 might be the number of the house someone lived in 40 years, the year someone was born/died, joined the army. If your parents don't know, they ask their siblings, their net is double the size for each added person to the question, and so on.

One of the reasons it is called "fishing for information" is the wider you cast the net, the more chance you will catch a fish.

So as you transcribe the reading, every time a sentence ends in a question mark, note it down, and count them up. Then at the end of the reading, just read through them all, and ask yourself, why is the psychic asking question after question.

It might look something like this.
Would you understand that?
Is your mother still alive?
Did he work in the steel industry?
I'm getting the number 4, was he 1 of 4 children, or did he have 4 siblings?
Did he die of something to do with the chest area?

Next, take out everything the psychic says, and only read the responses from the client, note down all the information they give the psychic. This truly is the easiest way to see how much the client says compared to how much the psychic says.

Notice how often the client will ask no questions at all. How strange is that when you really think about it? You pay to see a psychic, they claim that they are speaking to your dead relative, yet you never ask a question or at least never get a direct response to a question, yet the psychic asks you question after question.

If you can separate what the psychic says and what the client says, this really is a great way to see the direction the information flows, and it is never from the psychic to the client.

Of course there is much much more that can be analysed in readings, but this truly is the easiest way to expose a psychic and a great way to start doing it yourself.

So to summarize.
1. Write down and count how many questions the psychic asks.
2. Write down all the information the client gives the psychic.

Compare the two. Does it still look like the psychic told the client everything? Or does it seem more like the client gave the information and the psychic just repeated it back and elaborated a bit.

Now I have given you a starting point, why not use this knowledge. You want to expose a psychic. Do as I suggest. Find that unedited raw recording, transcribe it, and go through it.

You can open on a free blog on Blogger.com or Wordpress or something like that, and publish it.

You can even drop me a line and ask me to look it over first, to make sure it all looks good, I will happily do that, and even give you advice and help you.

The more we expose psychics the better, but this is just one site, I would much prefer an army of 100s of people all with their own little blogs, all publishing articles, exposing the methods.

So you have a choice, sit on your backside and do nothing, or help me to help you and others.

By Jon Donnis

4 June 2021

The secrets behind the Spiritualist Church Mediums


A few days ago I published an article in the hope that people could start to look at readings from Psychics/Mediums and by using some basic knowledge start to figure out what was really going.

If you haven't yet, please read that article by clicking the link below.
http://www.badpsychics.com/2018/03/a-start-in-how-to-expose-fake.html

That article made a few assumptions, the main one being that the medium had no prior knowledge on any person being read, and was not being fed any information either before or during the reading.

One of the problems I face is when someone emails me and they say they saw a medium in a spiritualist church, and they never asked for any money, yet they were incredibly accurate. How do I explain that?

Well firstly just because a medium does not charge, does not mean he or she is not making any money, many spiritualist churches will pay mediums to perform, and of course the bigger the name, the bigger the paycheck. All spiritualist churches will ask for donations, so even if you only have 20 people in some small room above a library in Dudley, that can quickly translate into some money, I've witnessed pensioners throw £20 notes into the collection tray before.

But often Spiritualist churches are just an easy way for a medium to drum up trade so they can sell private readings which is where the big bucks come in. It also gives them a way to appear more spiritual, more honest, after all we are told that all mediums are only in it for the money right? So a medium doing a gig in a spiritualist church whereby he might only get his travel expenses covered, he must be the real deal?

But like I said, it is all about selling those private readings, and what better way than in a spiritualist church whereby many of the readings are scarily accurate. So accurate that you simply cant put it down to cold reading. But how is this possible when then medium may never have even performed at that Spiritualist church before?

The answer? Something called "The Book", also known as "The Blue Book", "The Data", "The Info", "The Run Down", and many more names.

In Lemar Keenes book "The Psychic Mafia" he referred to "The Blue Book", this was where all the information was kept on the regular attendees.

In my investigations over the past 15+ years, one thing I have realised is that pretty much every Spiritualist Church will have this book. Now please understand, that the word "Book" will conjure a very specific image in your head, instead you need to see this as not just a book, but a collection of information, this could be a notepad with hand written notes on, a Rolodex with individual cards on, a USB stick files with info on. I even heard of a single document file being held on a google drive and that being "The Book" of that Spiritualist church. It varies from Church to Church.

One person at each Church will be in charge of the book, often it is not the official secretary, or treasurer, or even the President of the church, usually it is someone who they themselves claim psychic powers, but they will often lead proceedings in the Church, and often are in charge of booking the mediums to perform.

If you are a regular experienced medium, and you are to perform at a Church, you will be contacted by the booker, and given the date, and if everything is agreed, when you arrive at the Church, before the service, you will require some private time to do some meditation, this is usually when the medium is given the book, so they can prepare for the show.

If you are a newer medium, you will need to be introduced to the right people as you go along. This is why often young mediums will have a mentor, or seem to be hand picked, they are literally being groomed and told the secrets. But since these are secrets, everything is done very privately, and you need to earn your trust, and as such younger, newer mediums would not even be told of the existence of the book, and instead just be expected to go out there and cold read, to earn their stripes.

I know of people who worked very high up at the SNU, in administerial positions who were never let in on the gig, and they went their whole lives believing that mediumship was real. People who ran the Churches would not be in on it. This is why the SNU (Spiritualists' National Union) would always want to control and be in charge of any Spiritualist Church, they would literally confiscate the deeds to Churches, and ban any of their mediums from performing at any non SNU Churches. Of course I would never claim that any SNU Affiliated Church would ever use the Book, or use any means of prior research on their congregation.
Although I once attended a SNU Spiritualist Church and someone realised who I was, and the medium who was due to perform, mysteriously had to leave and the service was left without a medium. Very strange coincidence.

You thought Scientology was a secretive organisation, trust me Spiritualist Churches are way more secretive.

So you can understand that a medium can sit down for 30 minutes before a show, look at the book, and have enough information to go out there and have an incredibly accurate performance.

But how is this book collated I hear you ask?

Well first of all have you ever been to a Spiritualist Church? if the answer is no, then DON'T, stay away. Don't even go for a laugh or because a friend wants you to see what it is all about. Do not waste your time.

If the answer is yes, have you ever noticed they have a big remembrance book that you can leave a message to your loved ones in spirit?

"I miss you Grandpa Joe, your Grandchildren all love you, and are happy you can now walk again in spirit. Lots of love from Peter, Lucy and Steve"

It is full of messages like that. So instantly you have a fair bit of information about Grandpa Joe and his family, right. Imagine how much information you could collect on a regular attendee who comes every single week!

Have you ever tried to sit in a chair right at the front? You will often be told these seats are reserved. They are reserved for the regulars, and yes they will sit in the same chair every week. And guess who often gets the readings. Yep the people at the front.

These people aren't plants, they are not in on the gig, they are just the most loyal followers of the Church. These will be the people who will have the most information recorded about them in the book. They will also be the most generous financially to the Church, and they will be the ones most addicted to the drug of mediumship, and getting that one final message.

An example of how information might be stored on someone.
Dora McMichaels, Seat 1C
Age 89, Widow to Bert McMichaels, died aged 74, Heart Attack. Liked toy trains. Irish Accent, scared of spiders, liked Whiskey and Cigar.
1 of 5 sisters, Gertrude (Gertie), Margaret (Margy), Susan, Elizabeth.
4 Children, 8 Grandchildren. Grandson Michael (Motorbike Accident, 24)
Irish/Scottish Backgroud. Singer in youth.

From just that, a medium could easily drag out a 20 minute reading, create stories, describe characters and so on. And as this reading goes on, someone is talking notes seeing if she gives any new info to add to the book.

In one Spiritualist Church I went to, I spotted hidden microphones, one in the middle of each line of chairs. And before the show started as people were all kept waiting, what were they doing? You guessed it, they were talking about who they hoped the medium would bring through from spirit.

So one security camera on the ceiling, hidden microphone, and someone sat in the office with a notepad and pen, and you suddenly have another level in information collection, this is especially useful if you have first time visitors.

In the old days they would have a stooge at each service, who would pretend to be one of the people attending, they would strike up conversations, listen in on what people were saying, and then make little notes when no one was looking.

So you don't need fancy technology, although it helps, just ask Simon Peters, he is still wearing that headset even after I exposed him. Oh well.

The point of all of this is that often when you go to a Spiritualist Church you are seeing hot reading, ever wondered why some mediums have such a high accuracy rate at their local Church, but as soon as they are away from that and doing hotel function room shows, their accuracy rate plummets and they are back to asking endless questions. Well now you know.

The Spiritualist Church is just another way for you to be fooled by people peddling promises of immortality, but at the end of the day you will just end up poorer.

Stay Away.

By Jon Donnis.