11 June 2018

Never buy a pregnancy prediction from ‘Readings by Gail’, ‘Candles and Cauldrons’ or anyone else

The following article was sent to me, the author wishes to remain anonymous due in part to the vile abuse we received after the previous article, as such you can direct all your abuse to me on Twitter @TheBadPsych


Back in September 2015, BadPsychics published an article entitled ‘A Warning About Gail Cuffe aka Psychic123UKReadings’, which you can read here.

Little did we expect the response that it would unleash. It eventually resulted in Ms Cuffe changing the name of her Facebook page from ‘Psychic123UKReadings’ to ‘Readings by Gail’. We strongly suspect that this was so the article would not be linked to her if anyone Googled the name of her business.

Furthermore, we were inundated with a flood of messages from angry former customers. They all had remarkably similar stories to tell, which usually fell into the following pattern:

1.            Customer buys a reading from Gail Cuffe

2.            Customer either

Never receives the reading from Ms Cuffe, or

Receives the reading, but compares it to readings that his/her friends have bought – and discovers that they are identical, word for word.

3.            Customer confronts Ms Cuffe and demands the money back

4.            Ms Cuffe refuses, bombards the customer with abuse, and blocks the customer from her Facebook page

With regard to point 4, even we were taken aback by the extent of Ms Cuffe’s abuse. She isn’t merely unpleasant to customers. She actually attacks them with the most foul-mouthed language imaginable, which have occasionally included threats.

In fact, to illustrate this, we’d like to share a few screenshots, with kind permission from her former customers.

The first few images are particularly interesting because they also show a very common technique in action. Psychics and mediums frequently claim that they are forced by law to put up the "For entertainment purposes only" disclaimer. This is a lie - as Jon Donnis (who runs this site) has explained many times. There is NO law preventing someone from claiming that they are a genuine psychic/medium if they want to. The real reason that psychics use this disclaimer is to try to avoid giving refunds when the customers attempt to get their money back.

You can click on the screenshots if you wish to enlarge them.

In the first one, we can see Ms Cuffe using her disclaimer as an excuse:

In the second, she gets very confrontational by e-mail – again by referring to the disclaimer:

In the third, she goes ballistic at a customer who tried to get a refund via PayPal. The customer had made an administrative error online and somehow, a claim for £28 was accidentally submitted instead of £3.99. At any rate, the customer did not expect the abuse that Ms Cuffe then gave her:

But it doesn’t end there. In screenshot 4, Ms Cuffe hurls insults at a customer who misunderstood an offer that she posted on her Facebook page:

And finally, in screenshot 5, she issued a very sinister, aggressive threat towards someone who confronted her over her behaviour:

Sadly, despite the multiple complaints, Ms Cuffe has continued to ply her trade as a self-proclaimed psychic and medium. And incidentally, she isn’t the only person in her family to have got in on the act. Her daughter, Hayley Cuffe runs a Facebook page called ‘Candles and Cauldrons’ – which specialises in selling tat like candles and ornamental stones, plus magic spells to bring the customers good luck, wealth, love, weight loss, etc.

Clearly, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. One of our eagle-eyed readers spotted something very strange about the testimonials that Hayley Cuffe posts from supposedly satisfied customers who have allegedly had a windfall after buying a magic ‘finance spell’ from her.

For instance, on 18 October 2016, this post appeared on the Candles and Cauldrons page:

“Just in?” Really? Well, that’s odd – because almost a year before that, on 9 November 2015, Hayley Cuffe posted this:

Note how the testimonials are almost identical – except for the initials of the otherwise-anonymous ‘satisfied customers’.

Further investigation into this photo also uncovered something intriguing. Because it turns out that the image was originally uploaded on 18 May 2015, to an Instagram account called ‘scratchcard.winners’:

And you can view it here.

Isn’t it weird how a random Instagram account could have access to this scratchcard six months before a customer won £100 with it? And how a second person also managed to win £100 with it a year later? And then how both customers sent near-identical messages of thanks to Hayley Cuffe?

Now, for some readers, complaints about the Cuffe ladies might be old news. However, we decided to write this follow-up post due to the fact that some of the recent messages we have received involve very disturbing stories – centred around pregnancy predictions, which both ‘Readings by Gail’ and ‘Candles and Cauldrons’ offer.

This issue was briefly touched on in the previous article. But it needs to be spelled out clearly here why you should NEVER EVER purchase a pregnancy reading – be that from Gail Cuffe, Hayley Cuffe or anyone else!

First of all, let me draw your attention to the following table, taken from this article in the Huffington Post:

Note that the odds of a woman getting pregnant are initially pretty good. But they decline dramatically after the age of 35. This means that women only have a limited window of opportunity in which to have children and it is vitally important that they do not waste time.

Now, take a look at this post which Gail Cuffe made in September 2017:

As you can see, she actually claims that one of the women will fall pregnant over two-and-a-half years later. It is incredibly dangerous to wait that long – especially if you happen to be in you mid-30s or older.

Let us not forget this message posted by a devastated former customer called Sheena, who was around 40 when she made the mistake of buying a pregnancy reading.

It also turns out that Sheena was not the only person to have been hurt by Gail Cuffe’s inaccurate pregnancy predictions. Another customer by the name of Charlotte bought a pregnancy prediction and was told she would conceive in April or May. Instead, Charlotte’s husband died in April that year. Charlotte then contacted Gail to say how upset she was – but never got a response:

In addition, I came across this post on the Baby Center website about a woman who had become completely addicted to pregnancy readings. Not only did she keep on spending money on Gail’s inaccurate predictions, but also splashed out on baby accessories, believing that she would soon conceive.

Alas, when women want to have children, it can often escalate into desperation. And it is shockingly common for them to develop a real addiction to purchasing pregnancy readings – because they just want someone to give them hope.

Now, in the interests of fairness, we must point out that Gail Cuffe and her daughter are not the only psychics to have allegedly taken advantage of this vulnerability. And on that note, I’d like to end with a cautionary tale, started by a woman who became obsessed with buying pregnancy readings.

It’s an extremely long forum thread, so to make things simpler, I have pulled out a few key posts for you. In the first screenshot, the writer explains that she has bought pregnancy readings from Gail Cuffe (psychic123) and Suzy Rayne (who runs the ‘Psychic Baby Readings’ site).

A few days after that, she decided to purchase a third prediction – this time from Mary Akinson who ran a (now defunct) website called ‘Destiny Leafs’.

About a week afterwards, she finally got the reading from Mary and was a bit nonplussed that it didn’t tie up with what Gail and Suzy had predicted:

But then, to top it off, she then ordered another baby prediction, this time from someone called Debbie who ran a site called ‘Panrosa readings’ – which has also since shut down.

This was the reading she got from Panrosa – which she vowed would be the last one that she would purchase, as things were now getting a little expensive:

Nonetheless, she did inspire several other women on the forum to purchase pregnancy predictions from multiple psychics. The next few weeks were spent chatting amongst each other and waiting to see whether the predictions would come true. And slowly but surely, a couple of them started to become disillusioned with what the psychics were saying. This post, in particular, caught my eye:

Followed by this one, about the infamous Ms Cuffe:

In fact, of all the women who received psychic readings, predicting that they would get pregnant in August – only two of them actually did. Which is statistically what you would expect from women who actively trying to conceive. Although the thread had started off in a light-hearted manner, many of the women ended up getting very upset, which you can read in detail on this page.

As for the original creator of the thread, she made one final post, almost a year later and admitted that all the readings had been a complete waste of time and money.

That just about says it all. An expensive lesson which was learned the hard way. It only remains for me to add that if you are having problems getting pregnant, then the person you should consult is a doctor/gynaecologist. And not – under any circumstances – a psychic!


Anonymous said...

Whilst I agree that the "psychic's" behaviour was completely unacceptable (and the whole charade as a whole), I find it difficult to feel sympathy for these women.

No doubt the "sense of hope" and "desperation" argument will be exchanged, but I still find myself shaking my head at the fact we have people like this in our midst.

Remember that the women who believe in this bullshit are the ones bringing children into our society. Doesn't this worry anybody? Not even a bit..?

Whilst most exposure cases with psychics are pretty clean-cut, I think everyone is at fault here.

Call it extreme, but I think midwives (or equivalents depending on where you are) should have the right to warn these women about such matters.

Don't choose spirituality over medical science, please.

Thanks for listening.

JD said...

I understand where you are coming from, but people can be naive, they can be conned, and they can find themselves desperate and depressed. These people are victims and need our help and education

Mahooga said...

Be kind, Fly Raven. These women were already beating themselves up enough for being so naïve as to buy pregnancy predictions.
If you've never experienced the pain and desperation that goes along with infertility, you'll never understand why women can be driven to do something completely irrational.
But look at it like this: these women found out the hard way so that others don't have to. It's thanks to them that skeptics are able to expose psychics for the conartists that they are.

Linda said...

'Incredibly dangerous' to wait over 2 years to conceive when you're in your mid 30s & over?

'Dangerous' implies life threatening or likely to cause you 'harm' in some way. Bit of hyperbole on your part, isn't it?

You are telling people to consult a gynecologist if having problems conceiving, yet make misleading your statements yourself about pregnancy. I presume you have no medical qualifications?

There are many women who conceive later in life with few problems. My own sister was 45, when she became pregnant with her first child (within 3 months of trying) and then went on to have another child within 18 months. No medical help needed for conception.

It’s probably better not to generalize about something you really have limited knowledge of.

The naïve do unfortunately get conned in all areas of life and for much larger amounts too, not just psychic readings i.e. car sales for one, small loans (totally shocking rates of interest!) etc.

My belief is everyone has got to be responsible for their own actions. A type of ‘Helicopter parenting’ would perhaps describe what you are trying to do.

You live, you learn! They'll get over their disappointments at losing a fiver, or that Gail's or Mary's predictions didn't come true. First world problems and all that. Lol.

Mahooga said...

As someone who worked as a Senior Midwife for the best part of 40 years (and as a Registered Nurse for eight years prior to that), I can assure you that this article is correct.

Bully for your sister if she managed to conceive in her mid-forties without medical intervention. However, such pregnancies are the exception rather than the rule. Not once, in all my years of practice, did I ever deal with an expectant mother who was older than 46. And even then, it was exceedingly rare to see anyone near that age.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s a link to a lecture by fertility expert, Professor Robert Winston: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54h8wLkND_Y

He states clearly (2 mins, 30 secs in) that at the age of 42, the average woman’s chances of getting pregnant are no more than between two to three percent per cycle, and the odds tail off rapidly after the age of 35.

Or how about the actress, Lisa Riley, who was told at the age of 41 that tests had shown that her egg quality was not good enough. https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/ex-emmerdale-star-lisa-riley-12449428

And that’s before we even get onto how hurt and upset the women who bought these incorrect psychic readings were. I’m astonished that you have such a dismissive attitude towards them.

Perhaps if you ever had to deal with women who have struggled with fertility issues (as I have – on many occasions), you might be more empathetic. The pain of infertility has literally wrecked their lives. In some cases, it’s left them feeling suicidal – and that is no hyperbole.

As for your comment at the end about people taking responsibility for their actions – yes, absolutely. So why are you blaming the customers? It’s the sellers who bear responsibility for the quality of the goods/services. If (as you mention) you got conned into buying a defect car, would you absolve the seller of all responsibility and say it was your fault? I doubt it.

Finally, the indication that you find this so amusing with your “lol” at the end, at best displays your ignorance, and at worst, exposes you as an individual with extremely poisonous tendencies.

Linda said...

Dear Mahaooga,

Good afternoon to you.

I find it strange, that when I question the author of this article about their medical knowledge, or lack of it, that ‘lo and behold’, (within the space of just a couple of hours) someone using an anonymous name claims to be a midwife, with 40 years’ experience (I do hope that you are happily retired now).

Convenient isn't it? It may make me inclined to think that it's actually the author of this article (or blog owner), masquerading under this ‘guise,’ to try to belittle my comments by claiming medical authority.

You can of course, set my sceptical mind at ease by providing me with your NMC registration number.

If you had taken the time to read my opening paragraph properly, you would have noticed that one of my issues is with the word 'dangerous', which implies likely to cause harm or injury.

I still see this is as hyperbole, especially coupled with the adverb ‘extremely’. It’s the kind of phraseology a tabloid would use for sensationalism. To quote blockbuster author, Stephen King:” “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.

Let me elaborate, I feel the author, would have been better to have used words such as: it 'will lessen your chances of conception considerably', which is more likely the case than, ‘extremely dangerous’.

Oh, the irony too.
I don't think you can accuse me of being ‘ extremely poisonous’ (strange that you should choose to use ‘extremely’ like the author, gives away the game a bit doesn’t it? ), when you make the flippant remark about my sister, 'bully for her' falling pregnant at 46. Hardly empathetic is it? I thought those who worked in the medical field usually had at least a measure of this.

And on this point, why would you as a midwife, deal with women who have fertility issues? Surely that's the GP job, and then a referral on to a Consultant?

I thought midwives were busy enough delivering babies, providing antenatal care, and visiting new Mums in the community, etc.

Maybe things have changed since I had my own children, 20 plus years ago.

And of course, it not your area of expertise at all. Unless you also have a medical qualification in IVF, to add to your collection of certifications.

I'm not victim blaming at all. In a sale of any sort, even these days with more consumer protection, it's still a case of 'buyer beware'
Any reasonably intelligent adult should know that ‘psychics’, shouldn’t be taken seriously. And that you shouldn’t put all your hopes and dreams into what they say!

And especially so, with the tagline ‘for entertainment purposes only’ displayed on websites that deal in this type of business.
You seem to be taking on the emotions of the women who've had issues with Gail Cuffe, and her crowd, perhaps for whatever issues you have of your own.

I stand by my statement ‘First World problems’ too.
If you lived in a war zone such as, Syria ,and you were constantly being bombed, gassed and you’d sadly lost several of your children and family, to the murderous regime, or you had a relative succumbing to the ravages of cancer, now that is something to be truly ‘upset about’.

Mahooga said...

Firstly, I did not write this article. However, you will see I made a previous comment above your first one, responding to a user called Fly Raven and I got a notification when you started commenting on this site.

Yes, I am happily retired now, but no, for safety reasons, I’m not going to provide personal details online. That’s also why I said you did not have to take my word for it and could watch the video of the lecture given by Robert Winston.

I take your point that I could have used a nicer expression than “Bully for your sister”, which was an off-the-cuff reaction to what I saw as a troll comment, and I apologise for that. Personally, I do not see anything wrong with the word “dangerous” as I have seen too many women’s lives wrecked by fertility issues. I do not know what you are on about with your comment about my use of the word “extremely”. Having looked at the article again, the author didn’t say “extremely dangerous”. He or she said “incredibly dangerous”. Anyway, lots of people use “extreme” or “extremely” like Fly Raven did in the first comment on this article.

You are correct that as a midwife, I was not involved in treating fertility issues in women. However, I had a lot of ladies come into the hospital with high risk pregnancies, which were sometimes because they had struggled with fertility issues. I have even seen women whose pregnancies made them so ill that the doctors advised them to have an abortion or their lives could be in danger. In one case, this was refused because the woman had tried for so many years to get pregnant and this was a last chance for her.

If you’re not victim blaming, then you did a good impression of it. No, I wouldn’t personally see a psychic, but I do understand how people can be driven to do something like that if they want someone to give them hope. Even if buyers should be wary, it’s still the responsibility of the seller to provide good products or services. Bad Psychics may have more knowledge on this, but it seems to me that a lot of psychics aren’t clear that their services are "for entertainment only", although I don't really see what is entertaining about what they do, anyway. You came across as seeing this all as a joke. All your negativity was heaped on to the women who bought the readings, especially with the “they’ll get over their disappointments” and “lol”.

Also, I don’t get why you are dismissing the pain that these women experience by comparing it to something worse. Are you saying that people would only have a reason to be upset if they have a bomb dropped on them in Syria? Or lost a relative to cancer? This is the fallacy of relative privation. A classic way of deflecting or downplaying actions by coming up with a more “extreme” (there’s that word again!) situation. The problem with that is anyone can do that, including with the examples you gave. Anyone could just as easily say to the people in Syria that their experience was not as bad as what the Nazis did. Or if you have a relative dying of cancer, arguing that at least they weren’t murdered.

And with that, I’m signing off.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to apologise for my previous comment (was FlyRaven) and ask for it to be removed, please. I wasn't in a good frame of mind when I wrote it and realise how unkind and heavy-handed it may have seemed. I still stand by my opinion that these "psychics" are con artists, but I realise now that it can't be easy for the women who fell for this scam. Thank you for posting this article and bringing attention to it. My apologies again.

Post a Comment