18 January 2017

Self-proclaimed psychic Melissa Lee arrested by LAPD

A woman was arrested on Saturday after allegedly working as a psychic and defrauding multiple people of thousands of dollars.

Kimberly Cheng reports for the KTLA 5 News at 11 on Jan. 16, 2017.

17 January 2017

Skeptics Boot - A Trifecta Of Turgid Tabloid Toss! Ghost Actresses! Thermal Cameras! Elves!

I guess the British tabloid press is tired of Brexit and Trump news and has decided to "treat" its eager readers with a glut of genuine, "unquestionable paranormal phenomena" today (15/01/17). Let's take a look at three bar-lowering examples.

Our first story comes from the Sun (and various other tabloids) courtesy of ghost hunter Caroline Mezoian of EVP paranormal. The image (below) taken in Bidford City Theatre, Maine, purportedly shows the ghost of actress Eva Gray who died at the location in 1904.

The image was taken with an infra-red camera, and immediately presents two questions: "Is that it?" and "Was Eva Gray only a foot or so tall?". as the body of the alleged phantom stretches only a few steps in height. The team's facebook page features many other images taken with Infra-red cameras showing similar blurs which are taken to be human-like forms or phantoms. The example to the right was allegedly taken on
the same night.

The Sun declares breathlessly and without hint of ambiguity "Infared images taken at the theatre last month show a ghostly white figure in an evening dress standing on the stairs appearing to walk out of the building." I guess that settles it then!

Whilst many commenters have accused the team of faking the image, I'm feeling slightly more charitable. I think the images they are getting here are a result of one of two things, either a failure to properly maintain their IR camera, or a failure to understand how the technology actually works. In the first case, it's possible that the images could be caused by smudges on the camera lens, a fingerprint for example or a smudge on the lens. Far more likely is a common failure to understand how the IR technology works.

 It is intuitive to view images taken in the IR spectrum in the same way we view images in the visual spectrum. All we are talking about after all is a downward shift in the electromagnetic spectrum, but the whole reason IR cameras are popular in the paranormal field is because they will show things that aren't visible to the naked eye. Before we jump to the conclusion of something paranormal we have to eliminate more mundane things which can't be seen with the human eye. As IR cameras are presenting a picture made up by heat gradients, it's quite plausible that all we are seeing is an area that is slightly warmer than the surrounding environment. In a 2010 article for the Skeptical Inquirer, Ben Radford explains how mis-attribution due to a basic misunderstanding of this technology arises.

"Heat is of course far less transient than light; if we turn off a light switch in a closed room, the area goes dark almost instantly. But if we turn off a source of heat--including body heat--in an area or room, the heat may remain long after the source has been removed.... At an investigation I carried out last year for the TV show MysteryQuest, one of the ghost hunters used a forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera to detect a foot-long vertical warm spot on a pillar. No one in the room could explain what caused it; one person suggested it was a sign that a ghost had been watching us. In fact I had seen one of the ghost hunters leaning against the pillar a few minutes earlier, and the warm spot matched exactly the height and shape of the man's upper arm." Radford. 2010.
I think that's the explanation here frankly. As Caroline herself states in the article “’I didn’t really believe it at first, but when you look at the images how can you deny that’s not something?” I agree, but as often happens with paranormal investigation teams who closely emulate the methods seen on ghost hunting television shows, "something" can't be extrapolated to "something paranormal" without a much higher standard of evidence than these images present.

Which leads us into our second paranormal story, which shares some similarities and, I believe, can be explained in a similar way.

The Daily Mirror (15/01/17) reports on more images presented by a ghost hunting team, this time it's East Drive Paranormal. The team are presumably named in connection paranormal tourism location 30 East Drive in Pontefract, made infamous by various ghost hunting tv shows, most notably Most Haunted. You would be forgiven for suspecting that the named the team have selected indicates their inspiration in investigating the paranormal comes from such programming.

The Mirror tells us:
"The team were summoned to the Italian restaurant after scared staff reported seeing a glass flying off the bar. Jason (a psychic apparently) immediately sensed the spirit of a disgruntled man in his 50s, who had been disturbed by recent decorating work... " 
The only evidence we're given of paranormal activity prior to the team's visit, barring anecdote of course, is a glass falling across the bar and shocking a member of staff and patron chatting at the other end of the bar. Of course, we see no surrounding events to suggest why this should be unusual in any way. Things stacked improperly or in a precarious equilibrium can easily be disturbed, and the glass skitters across the bar simply because it initially bounces a little.

So what about the teams actually footage? Go and watch the video if you like, but I'm going to provide a couple of screen caps that show East Drive Paranormal really don't have a clue about the equipment they're using and conducting an investigation in general.

Image 1: So here we see vaguely human shapes formed on the infrared camera. Could it be a ghost, or is there a more obvious explanation.

Image 2: Our camera operator whips around presumably to see if he can capture the image of whatever the thermal camera is picking up. In doing so he reveals that the area being recorded isn't isolated in any way shape or form! In all likelyhood, the thermal images are a result of the body heat of the other occupants of the room. As Ben out lies above, the body heat remains after the team members move on.

 Image 3 and 4: As if to compound this massive cock up, we are shown an image of at least two people walking through the exact area where the thermal images were! In fact, there are so many people walking about I have to question if the restaurant is even closed! It's busier than in the footage we see whilst it's open for business.

I'd say "It doesn't get much more inept than this." but someone at the Daily Star would likely consider that something of a challenge. In fact, given this story they published today (15/01/17), they already have. In the story, reporter Jesse Bell tells us of a heated Reddit debate in which users debate whether the image on the right below represents an elf or a dwarf....

Jesse tells us
"One user said: “I’m picturing the black part as being the back of the head, kind of sloped upwards and maybe wearing a little hat.... Honestly the only thing I can see it as is a little elf.”.. Another wrote: “I’ve heard about dwarfs a bit growing up."...“They are on the paranormal spectrum and judging by the size and stature that's what I might take this to be.”..."
I suppose this should be funny, but it's not really. It's just awful and sad. I know not dealing with this critically makes me a bad skeptic, but....

So what have we learned from today's tabloid paranormal output? Some paranormal teams are inept, as are some journalists, and the Daily Star really doesn't give a flying pig what they publish.

Hardly news.

By Rob Lea

16 January 2017

Derren Brown: Miracles For Sale - Exposing faith healing

Derren Brown: Miracles For Sale.
Originally aired Monday 25th April, 2011 - 9pm, Channel 4.

Innovative entertainer Derren Brown returns to Channel 4 in a unique TV experiment lifting the lid on faith healing.

The one-off Easter Monday documentary special sees Derren go undercover to investigate the reality behind the faith healing phenomenon, in America, and the belief in faith-inspiring miraculous recoveries.

With the cameras in hot pursuit, Derren undergoes his toughest project yet, going in search of an unsuspecting member of the British public prepared to adopt the guise of a Pastor and miracle worker. His chosen one is then tasked with six months in which to learn the trade and flourish across the pond as a convincing Pastor.

The final phase of the volunteer's extraordinary challenge will see them attempt to perform faith healing miracles live in Texas - will Derren's new recruit be accepted as a faith healer or cast away as fake healer? Is the belief in divine intervention really justified or will Derren expose the industry as one giant hoax?

On his first TV pursuit into faith healing, Derren says 'You are about to see a world where greed and deceit raise their ugly heads, where lives have been needlessly lost and where hope, the most precious gift of all is pedalled at a price'.

Derren Brown: Miracles For Sale is produced by Objective Productions for Channel 4. Derren Brown, Anthony Owen, Andrew Newman and Shirley Jones are Executive Producers, David Vallance is Series Producer and Simon Dinsell is Director.

15 January 2017

Derren Brown and Martin Freeman Experiment with New Age Crystals

From Derren Brown: Trick or Treat, Series 1 Aired 4 May 2007
Martin Freeman, star of Sherlock, fails to deduce why he is so affected by the mystical crystals.

13 January 2017

Are The Psychic Twins (Terry Jamison and Linda Jamison) Frauds? - By "The Stray Cat"

Linda and Terry Jamison (born 1965) are a pair of American identical twins. They have worked as performance artists and as psychics. The accuracy of their predictions has been called into question.
The Jamisons widely claim to have predicted the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center during a November 2, 1999 interview on the Art Bell radio show. However, according to show transcripts, their actual statement was: 
"We are seeing terrorist attacks on Federal Government, excuse me, federal buildings, particularly South Carolina or Georgia, by July 2002 and also the New York Trade Center, the World Trade Center in 2002." 
The September 11 attack occurred in 2001, not 2002, and it was common knowledge that the buildings had been previously attacked by terrorists in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, calling into question the Jamison's claims. - Wikipedia

"Using grieving people's emotions against them is not fun, and it's not ok. I agree with James Randi when he says psychics are nothing more than charlatans, or snake oil salesmen. A free reading for entertainment purposes is fun, but paying double-digit prices per minutes is not acceptable. Just say no to phony psychics!"

Check out The Stray Cat on Youtube

"I've been a ghost hunter, I've written a book, I've traveled the country as a nanny, and you won't believe some of the things that have happened to me! I invite you to join me as I reminisce about terrifying, horrible, wonderful, sad, and amazing things in each of my storytime video blogs. I'll be talking about everything; aliens/extra-terrestrial, conspiracy theories, ghost/haunting/paranormal experiences and investigation, cryptozoological sightings and reports, dreams and nightmares, and even the scariest stuff like dating and romance, worst jobs and life in general!"

Disclaimer: The Views of "The Stray Cat" may or may not match with the opinions of BadPsychics, please watch her video and make up your own mind. Feel free to leave a comment under the video.

Further Reading
So Far, Psychics Are Batting .000 - By Leon JaroffTime.com 

12 January 2017

NP Paranormal Live - Are they credible?

I was recently given a link to look at, and the link was to a newbie group calling themselves NP Paranormal Live. I decided that instead of just dismissing them as just another Most Haunted wannabe group, that I would approach them and ask them to send me the absolute best evidence that they had ever found, in the hope that I would see something I could not explain, or something that could perhaps re-capture my interest in the genre. What happened next was them sending me some truly awful videos, and upon realising that I could see through their pathetic attempts, they tried to give me the run around, followed by just blocking me and being rude.

I offered them help on a genuine level, as someone who has done this for over 14 years, and as someone who has more experience and knowledge in this genre than pretty much anyone else around. I wanted to help them, and perhaps give them some credibility. Unfortunately it became clear to me that they are just another wannabe group, pretending to be professionals, and playing games in the dark.

Lets have a look at the first "unexplained" video they sent to me.
Now let me just say that the last thing I want to do is give them free publicity, but that is an unfortunate bi-product of writing an article on them, one of their most popular videos has only about 1000 views in nearly two years, so I really don't want to just embed their video here, as I would only help them, and that is not my interest here, so instead I have copied the part in question, and I publish it under fair use laws as part of criticism and review.

The first clip they sent me they claimed was proof of a manifestation caught on camera! No one on their team could debunk it, and they are 100% sure it proves the paranormal. The original video is over 2 minutes long, and contains a lot of bad language and not very interesting talk, so what I have done is cut the moment in question into a 20 second clip

The "unexplained manifestation" they refer to is clearly visible. Between the two men, we see what can only be described as the first signs of a spirit entering this world from the other side! Yes it is true! Hang on a second, oh no, I am mistaken, this miraculous spirit actually comes out of the mouth of the man on the right! Clearly he had been possessed by an evil entity, which decided to leave his body through his mouth. You know there are other things that can leave the body through the mouth, there is vomit, spit, air, erm.. if only I could think of something that comes out of the mouth, that kinda looks like an evil spirit, let me stop for a moment, have a quick puff on this cigarette no that is not helping me, hmmm let me try my vape machine. Nope still cant think of anything that could come out of my body that would match what is clearly a real manifestation of a dead creature.

Maybe one of my very intelligent BadPsychics readers/viewers can think of something?

Remember, this was the first video they sent to me as something they could NOT explain, and was an example of some of the best footage of the paranormal they have ever found. I literally pulled a Picard when I saw this video.

Next up NP Paranormal Live decided to send me an EVP, something that I have said time after time is evidentially worthless, since it is so very easy to fake, has no credibility, and even "EVPs" that are not obviously faked can easily be explained away. Anyway here is the video they sent me, again not the raw audio, but video of a digital recorder playing the EVP, how they cannot understand how stupid it is to present something in this fashion is beyond me, but then we aren't dealing with professionals here are we.

Have a listen.

The EVP bit is the bit at the end, you know the bit that sounds like someone breathing onto the microphone.
Now do you have any idea what the ghost is supposed to say? Nope, me either.
But this is where Auditory Pareidolia comes in. For those unfamiliar
"Pareidolia refers to the human tendency to attribute meaning to random stimuli"
So if I was to tell you what was being said by this supposed ghost, you would then be primed to hear it.

Highlight the following "it hurt" now listen again, and see if it works!

That is 100% auditory pareidolia, and not the voice of the dead. Please leave in the comments if you thought it said anything else. Now any experienced "investigator" would understand why EVPs are evidentially worthless, but not NP Paranormal, they present this as part of their evidence.

Now at this point NP Paranormal realised that they were not dealing with some run of the mill internet armchair skeptic. They have given me their 2 best pieces of evidence, which were frankly laughable and easily debunked. So at this point they start giving me the run around. But they did give me one more piece of footage that they could not explain.

I remind you all, that this is the kind of evidence that they bet their reputation on.
Again NOT raw footage, this time it is filming of a laptop screen, now I did ask for the live feed, which they did give me, but when I asked for a time stamp of when it happened, they refused to give me, and instead told me to sit and watch 40 minutes of their investigation to find the same point.
Sadly I actually did that, and I still could not find the matching part.
So all I am left with is the dodgy film of a laptop screen to go by.
If someone from NP would like to give me the time stamp, I will edit this article to include the clearer video.

They tell me to look at the floor.

Towards the end of the video, something moves infront of the camera, hard to tell what it is, but NP Paranormal seem to thing it is a ghostie, most likely it is just an insect, or artifact in the air. But to present this as evidence, to not even cut the clip from the original raw footage, well just shows how amateur this group is.

So there we have it, NP Paranormal have presented there 3 best ever pieces of evidence, and all 3 are a joke. They claim to be "Most watched investigation team on the @Livestream app", well I have never even heard of this app, their average video on youtube gets about 50 views.

Their website looks like it was knocked up in the 1990's by a 13 year old boy. They have only been about as a group for a couple of years, there is a lot of talk of them running paranormal events, ghost hunts and so on, but as far as I can see they have never actually run any such event, outside of their own little ghost hunts that they live stream. There "Tickets" page on their site is empty.

Have you heard of them? Have you gone on a ghost hunt with them, or are they just all talk?

Personally with the lack of intelligence and expertise of this group, I would be very weary of giving them any money.

My advice, based on my opinion of what they presented to me, if you are in Sheffield and you see them advertised. avoid them!

By Jon Donnis

Video Backups Below.



10 January 2017

The Haunting of Michael D Magee - Debunking his claims of being haunted - Duck of Truth

Michael D Magee claims to have been haunted since late 2010. He's believed to be one of the most credible paranormal investigators with amazing paranormal evidence. But is he really?

His series is called Real Paranormal Activity but in this Michael Magee Debunked video I'll explain why it's not so real.

His amazing paranormal evidence is easy to fake and in at least one video I can prove that it's fake.

His videos are nothing more than a hoax to convince people that ghosts exist for his own personal gain.
If you're interested in watching hoax videos, go right ahead.

But this video is intended for people who are interested in the truth.

Below we will see some editing mistakes in his poltergeist activity videos. Masking, visible string and a look back at the Kinect video he made.

At this point we can safely say Michael Magee has been exposed.

There is no other way around it. The paranormal evidence Michael D Magee produces is fake. Nothing more than a hoax.

*** Support Duck of Truth on Patreon ***

And check out his youtube channel

Here is the latest video debunking him, scroll down for the 2 previous videos that exposed his claims.

Fooling 'Professional' Psychics - Derren Brown

In Messiah, Derren travels around America and showcases his abilities to cast doubt on pre-existing, dubious belief systems under the guise of a fake name and identity. First stop - remote viewing in Sedona.

Messiah is a Derren Brown special originally shown on Channel 4 on 7 January 2005 at 21:00. In the episode, Brown travels to the United States to try to convince five influential figures that he has special abilities in their particular field of expertise: psychic powers, Christian evangelism, New Age theories, alien abduction and contacting the dead, with the objective of getting them to endorse him as a practitioner in their field.

Derren Brown asked a leading figure at a psychic training school to go into another room and draw a number of simple pictures on any topic she wished. After each picture had been completed, Brown would have his prediction of what the picture was of written down by the other members of the training school in the room with him. He was mostly correct, the one slight error being a cross instead of a Star of David (though he did state it was some kind of religious imagery - maybe a cross?). On one occasion when Brown was telling the participant to draw the next picture, he instructed the lady to "let some ideas sail into your mind" and not to go "overboard on detail". She drew a boat on water.

9 January 2017

Do You Believe In Telepathy? - Derren Brown

A Young Derren (with hair) uses his astonishing mind-reading skills to great effect yet again.

8 January 2017

A look at so called "Celebrity Psychic" William Constantine

Sometimes I get bored, and when I get bored I mess about on twitter, today I thought I would search for the term "celebrity psychic", and why not. Anyway one of the first results I received was a man by the name of Dr. William Constantine. Now to be clear, I have never heard of him, and psychics and mediums are kind of my thing, so to call yourself a celebrity is of course a grandiose claim, but maybe i am wrong and this man really is famous. After all I could walk past one of the stars of TOWIE and have no idea who they are, yet someone else may go up to one and ask for an autograph.

So starting from a point of no knowledge about William Constantine, the first thing I can do is look at his Twitter account. @wmconstantine firstly let me state that I am posting his Twitter account here purely as a reference point, I do not condone or encourage anyone to troll him, send him messages, or try to catch him out.

Looking at his Twitter account he has some impressive numbers.
Tweets 13,600
Following 133
Followers 9,347

Now, Twitter is all about ratios, if you follow 10,000 people, and you have 10,000 followers, that gives you a ratio of 1:1 This is a fair ratio, but it does not mean you have 10,000 people interested in you, or fans of you etc, it just means that the vast majority of people you follow, just followed you back.

Now William Constantine has a pretty impressive ratio, for every 1 person he follows, he pretty much has 100 people follow him. I know its not exact, but you get the idea. This is a very good ratio.
But then I noticed something strange, his average tweet was only getting the odd 1 like or 1 retweet here and there, not what you would expect from someone with 10,000 followers. Something seems odd. So I decided to use a site called "Twitter Audit" to find out how many of his followers were actual real accounts. Here is what I found.

According to this the vast majority of his followers are fake accounts! And in fact he only has 152 real followers! This would make sense as to why he doesn't get many likes or retweets. And if you look at the fact he follows 133 people, suddenly his real ratio isn't that impressive is it, Pretty much 1:1

Now before anyone moans, here is a twitter audit of my own followers.

You can check out my Twitter account @JonDonnis

Now pretty much every twitter account will have some fake followers, usually bots that auto follow people who post certain hashtags and so on.

Clearly it seems that William Constantine either purchased his Twitter account with the followers already there, or he purchased fake followers. Either way it is my opinion that he is being dishonest about how popular he really is on Twitter. Also worth noting that archives of Twitter have shown that his follower count is slowly dropping too, which would suggest that the paid for fake followers have been removed from Twitter, something that Twitter does every so often as part of their clean up efforts.

The same pretty much goes with his Facebook page too. About 8000 likes, but only about 1% of that number is interacting with him. His last 50 photos posted the most likes any got is about 10, with only the odd comment here and there. So it is safe to suggest that his facebook page has grown from paid "likes", I would put the real number of likes at less than 200, and probably closer to 100, which would kind of match his twitter stats.

So clearly in his social media accounts he is being manipulative, and trying to present an image of someone much more popular than he really is.

Now the reason i have gone into some detail about social media numbers is that these are very important to PR companies, as that is what they look at when judging whether to book someone for a gig of not, or to marketing companies etc who want to buy advertisement or sponsor and so on.

So if you know a psychic that has a high number of followers, don't automatically assume they are really popular so must be good. Unless they are a huge name, I guarantee you those followers will be fake.

Also he calls himself Dr. William Constantine, D.MSc. Sounds a bit fancy doesn't it, but what does the D.MSc. bit mean? Could it be Doctor of Medical Science. No.

Its one of these paid for online degrees that have no real worth in the world.
He is a  Dr. of Metaphysics, but lets not say that too loud, after all "DMSc" does mean Doctor of Medical Science, but he is not a real doctor, not by any stretch.

You can even buy one of these degrees for under $40! See here
Although there are more fancy courses you can do, usually cost about $1000 and you can get the degree, and the letters after your name, sadly it is completely legal, and nothing at all wrong with doing that, but again to call yourself a Doctor is a bit rich.

UPDATE: He got his "Doctorate" from The University of Metaphysics. And it would have cost him roughly $1200

Basically these Metaphysics degrees are a load of spiritual mumbo jumbo, but are protected by law due to religious protections.

So what have we learned today about William Constantine, well he has vastly exaggerated his "celebrity", and he is not the kind of Doctor you would want near you if you were having a heart attack.

So ask yourself now, if he goes to these lengths just to make himself seem more popular than he is, and to have fancy sounding letters after his names, whats the chances that he really can talk to the dead?

If you have ever heard of him or had any experiences with him let me know.

He could be the real deal, he could be the worlds first real psychic medium, but in my opinion he is just another person pretending he has magical powers so he can charge $250 for a 1 hour reading! (Yes that is actually how much he charges) and before I finish off for today, lets take a quick look at the disclaimer on his site. Something he has written in teeny tiny font on his website making it hard to read. Luckily I will keep it at normal size here. My comments interjected in RED

Legal Notice & Disclaimer:
You must be at least 18 years old to use the consulting services of Dr. William Constantine. Payment for William’s time must be by credit card in your name.  

First alarm right here, you must pay for his services using a credit card and in your name!
Some would say that is so he has time to research you. Not me though, I would never suggest such a thing. After all what has searching about something achieved for me today? :D

Please be advised that no psychic reading can predict, forecast, diagnose or provide information with absolute certainty. 

So in other words, he is saying that if he is wrong it is not his fault.

No guarantees or assurances of any kind are given and William Constantine will not be held accountable for any interpretations or decisions made by recipients based on information provided during readings.

That is a fair enough statement to cover his own backside.

 As law mandates, all readings are for entertainment purposes only.

Does the law mandate this? He is in America, so I am not as familiar with US law as I am UK law, but I would suggest that the law does not mandate any such thing, and that if he was the real deal he could say so. It is almost like he is admitting that he is not really communicating with the dead, but trying to get out of it by saying he is forced to say that by those evil law makers!

William does not provide any advice regarding medical conditions, legal issues, psychological disorders, financial matters, or investment opportunities. All advice for any such issues or matters should be obtained from a qualified professional. No consultation with William is to be considered as any kind of medical or psychological diagnosis or treatment for any condition. Any discussions pertaining to any professional matter is for general information purposes only. Do not ignore advice from a qualified professional based upon any consultation with William.

This is actually good advice, it is just a shame that people tend to ignore all of this when they go to see a medium, it is kind of the whole point. You go to see a psychic/medium because you want information that you cant get through any other way, whether it is what will happen in the future, or advice from a dead relative. 

You understand that William cannot make any warranties or guarantees regarding the information he provides and that he cannot be held responsible or liable for the actions you take as a result of the session. 

This disclaimer is all about covering his arse, but the best bit is the final 2 lines.

You are completely responsible for any actions you take after any consultation with William.


In other words he can say what he likes to you, he can give you any advice he likes, and he is not responsible. Unlike REAL Doctors who ARE responsible for what they say and do, and can face serious consequences if they mess up, including losing their job and even imprisonment, our new friend William Constantine doesn't care about you, and whatever you do, is not his problem.

But the best is the last line, you can pay for your reading, and even if you are unhappy, even if you are convinced he has conned you, lied to you, whatever, you can't get your money back, and the very fact you have a reading with him, you are accepting that.

Now one last time, does this sound like an honest man you should trust with your personal problems? Your grief, your stress, your pain?

I don't think so.

By Jon Donnis

Disclaimer: This article is the OPINION of the author Jon Donnis, any assumptions he makes in this article are based on the evidence available to him at the time of print. If you have any issues with anything said, please leave a comment and we will try to reply to them.