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.

3 June 2021

Hot Reading in the 21st Century - How the modern medium cheats!


Recently I have written articles on a number of topics, in the hope of educating people and helping people fight back against the scam that is the psychic reading and/or Mediumship.

Catch up on those by clicking the links below.
How to expose a medium yourself.
and
Spiritualist Church Medium Secrets.

Today I want to take a closer look at how modern mediums will hot read their victims using modern. technology, and how you can take steps to prevent this, if you are still determined to visit these grief vampires.

In the Church Mediums article I spoke about "The Blue Book" method of hot reading, well this very old fashioned method works great in Spiritualist Churches, when you have the same people attending every week. But what about when a medium hires a function room in a hotel, or a library, where they will most likely be faced with people they have not seen before. Well many more experienced mediums will just stick to cold reading, especially if they have gig after gig every night of the week. It is simply not worth the hassle and time to employ stooges, use recording equipment and so on. Just go on stage, use a few pre-prepared characters which always seem to hit, like the young man who died on the motorbike, or the old man with emphysema, and so on. Go to enough shows and these made up characters seem to appear rather regularly.

It has been alleged that Sally Morgan employs various methods as well as cold reading, one being to get everyone to leave a message for a dead loved one in a bowl, which she will then pick out later in the show to connect with. Use your imagination here, and you can figure out what could possibly be going on. Not to mention the whole scandal of the ear piece which she denied using, then there was video of her removing this non existent ear piece, so she said that was for stage direction, and so on, a legal case against the Daily Mail, big pay out cause they couldn't prove it and so on.

Regardless of that, any time you see ANY medium perform using a madonna style headset be warned, despite what they claim, there is usually more going on. I saw that first hand at a Simon Peters show, when his mic picked up the secret feed he was getting in his ear.

No medium needs a head set, or head phones, or anything like that. They can hold a mic. It is real easy. Also beware of mediums with long hair, that also covers a multitude of sins.

These are all old school techniques, but I want to show you the new school techniques.

So you are on Facebook, and you hear of a new up and coming medium, he or she has been getting rave reviews, so what do you do? You go follow a page or join a group set up by said medium, you might add them as a friend on facebook, or you might end up making friends of other people in the group and you add them.

Suddenly your entire history is available to that medium should they want it.
And what do you do when a show is announced? You click "going" to show you are going to the show.

The moment you joined that group, followed that page, or added anyone vaguely connected to that medium, you lose all right to say "they had no way of knowing......"

Even the most careful of facebook user will not have covered every base when trying to protect their data.
You know those little games you play, those apps you give permission to, to give you a horoscope reading, that data is for sale. For all you know a medium you follow created that app, and guess what, when you gave that app permission, you gave it every detail on your account.

So right now I want you to go to Facebook. Using the menu, find the link to settings, then click on APPS.
You should end up here
https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=applications

Now have a look through your apps. Is there a lot there? Yeah I thought so. My advice, remove the lot.

Next go to Timeline and Tagging Settings
Now to stop a nosy medium from snooping on your page, if they are not connected as a friend, then you need to tighten up these settings, have a look through and make them as secure as possible.

Next go to Privacy, again if needed make these settings much more secure.
The most important one to secure is your friends list, and you want to make it so that only you can view it.

Now why would I suggest this?
Well let's say I am a dodgy medium, maybe your photos are all private, your timeline is pretty secure, there is really nothing I can see on your profile unless I am your friend, so how can I gather info on you, well the first thing I would do is go to your friends list. I am gonna start by searching for people with your surname, that is the easiest way to find siblings, children, parents and so on. And what happens when someone dies who had a Facebook account? It ends up being left as a tribute page. So if I am a psychic and find the page of your dead relative, I can end up finding out everything I need to know to pretend they are coming through in a reading.

Other things you can do if you have access to someones friends list. You can look at profile pictures, maybe your best friend has you on their profile photo, this is gold to a psychic, for it gives them another way to research you, and if that friend doesn't have a secure enough account the psychic can look through photos and see what places you go, what you do and so on. It all helps when building up the reading. For example, is there photos of you in fancy dress at Halloween? The medium could say.

"They are telling me how much you like dressing up, they are showing me blue paint, would you understand that?"

Guess what, you dressed up as a Smurf for Halloween, but the medium had no possible way of knowing that did they?

Another setting to tighten up is the one about who can search for you using an email address. Even if you don't follow a mediums page or are in their group, maybe you book tickets to a gig online and use your email, guess what, that email just exposed your facebook page. 

One time I pointed that out to someone, and they said "but I didn't use my real email address" upon some slight investigative work, they had a @hotmail.co.uk address for facebook, but used a @yahoo.com email for booking tickets, but the bit before the @ was the same on both. And on both it was their full name with a dot and numbers. So even if you don't give your name when you book, you are giving your name in your email address. Search for that name, their location, check their likes and it is pretty clear if you have the right person.

The only way you can be safe with an email address is if it is a brand new one, never used anywhere before, and does not contain your name within it. This really should be common sense, but sadly so many people make this mistake.

So now your facebook is nice and secure, what else is there. Well of course there is Instagram. Again if your account is public, and your username is your real name, or anything easily searched for, you have just given the medium another way to find out info on you. You Gran died, what do you do? You put a RIP message on your Instagram, a photo of you with her and so on. And who will comment? People who knew her, and suddenly the medium has a load more people to use to find information about this dead relative.

So just two pieces of advice here, make your profile private, that will stop people seeing your photos as well as your friends list, and change your username to something completely unconnected to you, your real name or anything that could be guessed. DO NOT PUT YOUR REAL NAME ON YOUR INSTAGRAM!

Twitter, again same advice as above, check your permissions, now consider what you use Twitter for, the vast majority of people will have a public account on Twitter, so your entire history is now view-able, and can be downloaded in it's entirety in a matter of seconds. Imagine the sheer amount of data a medium can pick up from there. They have everything you have ever posted in front of them in a simple document file. Thousands of tweets, well they are unlikely to read through them one by one, but they can always do a search for keywords like RIP, Dad, Mum, Gran and so on. And very quickly a picture can be built up of someone. 

If you are on Social Media, unless you are incredibly careful and private, it is almost impossible to stop someone researching you. And however much you convince yourself that you cant be found from just a phone number or an email, try and google your own details, google your name, then click the images tag, google your email address, see what comes up. This info is all available to a medium who knows you are going to his gig and wants to hot read you.

Let's get away from social media a bit. In the old days when a medium would arrange a gig in a town, they would send someone to a local shop, buy the local paper, and look up the obituaries. In 2018 you don't even need to do this.

A random medium, Derek Acorah, he has a show tonight in Brierley Hill in Dudley, England.
Google "Brierley Hill obituaries" and you get multiple links to local papers that have a list of obituaries in them.


Many of the sites will even have a search function.
So I know that Steve McBobberson has booked a ticket for my show, or perhaps has clicked on the "Going" link on my facebook page. But I can't be bothered to search through their social media page, instead I can search for their surname on the obituaries for that local area. Maybe I get lucky and the name matches up. These obituaries will not only have the name of the person who has died, but their age, their relatives names, what they did for a living and sometimes even how they died.

If I am a medium, I am not interested in the 91 year old who died peacefully in her sleep, because it is unlikely that any of her relatives will feel the need to visit a medium. No I am interested in people who died at any age under 65, as that would be considered too young to die.

And now these obituary sites even have comment sections for each person who has died whereby people can leave messages. This is gold for a medium. So they go through names of people they know will be attending their show, they scan obituaries for surnames that match, they match up names of the living to that on their list. And if all of this is matching up, and if the person died young. Perhaps the obituary says something like "They were taken from us too young", then the medium can assume this person was in an accident, or even killed, and now the medium as the name of the dead, their relatives name and so on, a quick google search for "Bob McBobberson Accident" and it was probably covered in the local paper, and now you have the name and how they died as well as the names of all their relatives.

And all this from Steve McBobberson clicking "going" on a facebook event page, or from steve.mcbobberson@"£$%.com email address.

We live in a world where nothing is private, we moan about excessive CCTV cameras filming us everywhere, yet we invited the world into our living room through social media.

And criminals are taking advantage of this. You are making life easier for mediums than it has ever been in history. Yet you then tell me some medium told you something they had no way of knowing!?

Before you think the medium had no way of knowing something, ask yourself, what is more likely? Is it real, or were you fooled.

There is no shame in being fooled, it has happened to all of us, even me, but there is shame that after you are fooled you keep being fooled by the same trick. And if you do not do anything to prevent being fooled, especially in this age of technology and living our lives online, then you have to seriously question yourself and ask why you invite this upon yourself.

If you post on a forum, the webmaster can see your email address, they can see your IP, on some forums they can even read your private messages. However much you convince yourself that no one can research you, I promise you, you are wrong. And if there is a possibility that someone can research you, even if you consider that chance to be small, it is still infinitely more likely than your dead granny telling a medium that she thinks your new kitchen looks lovely.

Be smart. Try it yourself, research yourself. And then try to tighten up that security, it will never be perfect, and if someone is knowledgeable enough then can still figure things out, but ask yourself, if you make it really hard for a medium to cheat, then they are less likely to try and cheat you.

But of course my final piece of advice is simply to save your money, don't go to that medium, don't take the chance you will be conned.

By Jon Donnis

2 June 2021

The Jon Donnis Show - Psychics Help or Hinder?



An short original Documentary made for www.badpsychics.com, part of "The Jon Donnis Show" Network

1 June 2021

Interview with James Randi from 2009

Interview conducted by BadPsychics member Phil Jenkins in 2009.

Following the sad passing of the Amazing Randi I thought I'd republish this interview that we conducted in 2009......

Background.

The Blackpool Magic Convention is world's biggest annual convention of its type; regularly attracting over 3500 magicians from around the globe. For three days attendees are treated to performances and lectures from some of the worlds leading conjurors including Jeff McBride, Rudy Coby, Wayne Dobson and James Randi.

I was lucky enough to catch up with James Randi in the main concourse of the Winter Gardens and he kindly answered a couple of questions.

Question = Q
James Randi = JR

Q. Have you heard of the Badpsychics website?

JR. Yes.

Q. Do you think that it's a worthwhile venture or do you think we're fighting a battle we can't win?

JR. Unfortunately, I can't answer that. For me to give a specific answer I'd have to do some research into the website; in order to see how successful it had been in the past at achieving its goals. Having said that, anything that helps to educate people can't be a bad thing.

Q. Last year Uri Geller was presented with a 'Services to Magic' award what do you make of that? (This was a question that I heard several times over the weekend)

JR. Geller would accept an award for being the 'best dog in show' if it meant publicity. What you must remember is that it was presented to him by David Berglas (former President of the Magic Circle) who's a friend of his. What I can't understand is why David has started to take his side; after all David Berglas was the first person in the UK to expose Geller for what he is… a fake. I've not seen David for sometime but I certainly intend to put him on the spot when I do.

It's also interesting to note that Geller is starting to change his stance. He no longer wants to be called a Psychic instead he prefers the term Mystifier. Personally, I think he's created a monster that he can longer control. Over the years various governments, companies, etc have spent millions of dollars researching his claims. Just imagine what these organisations would do to Geller if he was to ever admit that he doesn't have any special powers; that he'd lied to them. I can see the lawyers queuing up now. A similar thing happened to the Fox sisters (spirit rapping) and Elsie Wright & Frances Griffiths (Cottingley Fairies) once the monster was out of it's cage they couldn't stop it.

Q. Do you believe in God?

JR. In my view atheists fall in to two categories; those who do not believe full stop and those who are willing to believe should they be presented with sufficient evidence. I would say that I fall into the second category. As it is I don't see any evidence for an afterlife.

Q. Do you think that there are any special powers be they magic, psychic or esp, that might be proven over the next 15 years and are there any mysteries you can't explain??

JR. Yes, there's one… Sophia Loren! How the hell she can look so good at her age is a mystery to me (laughs). To answer the first part of your question… no. I don't believe that anything like that will ever be proven.

Q. What do you make of faith healers?

JR. These are some of the worst kind of Woo merchants. Over the years I've had lots of visits from people asking for help after one of their relatives got involved with one of these individuals. The stories are very sad "Mother has given all her money to a faith healer, she's penniless" etc. I'll offer advice where I can but often they don't have a legal leg to stand on. Not only that but many people won't go to court because it would mean admitting they've be duped.

One of the worst healers I came across was Peter Popoff who was making approximately $4 million dollars a year 'curing' people. I took Steven Shaw (better known as the mentalist Banachek) and a camera team from the BBC to investigate one of his meetings; what we found was absolutely disgraceful. Steven managed to get close to Popoff and quickly reported back that he (Popoff) was using an ear piece. We quickly set up a scanner and started to monitor the venue, within seconds we started to pick up transmissions that were being sent to Popoff by his wife. She was giving him the details of various people in the audience; what their name was, where they were sitting, what was wrong with them, etc all of which Popoff would repeat out loud to the amazed audience. Some of what was broadcast was sickening racist comments that I won't repeat here. Another thing which emerged was the use of wheelchairs as a gimmick. People would be wheeled onto the stage and subsequently cured; rising from the wheelchair and walking away. Only problem with this was that these people didn't need a wheelchair; they were just put in one in order to get them onto the stage. Then Popoff worked his magic on them and to the audience it looked like he'd cured them. The final thing we found was possibly the worst of all. In order to gain access to the venue you had to be vetted by Popoff's security team who were under strict instructions not to allow any seriously ill people in to the building. We filmed a mother with her 8 year old son who was seriously ill being refused entry; she was absolutely desperate and had been following Popoff around in the hope of meeting him but was always denied access. Finally, out of shear desperation she pushed past the security guards and managed to confront Popoff. She pleaded with him to help her child. Placing his hand on the child he said "God cure this child, I know you're busy so if you can't do it right now can you do it some time in the future. Whether it's in half an hour, a week or years from now cure this child'. What a cop out! The woman was then hustled away and thrown outside. We had the whole episode captured on film and were prepared to expose Popoff but then his lawyers contacted the BBC and threatened to sue them if they showed the footage. This would hold up the film for years and would be extremely costly; the BBC backed off and the film was never shown. Fortunately, I was able to arrange for some footage to be shown on the Tonight Show and this time we were able to include the prompting from his wife. In 1987 Peter Popoff filed for bankruptcy.

Q. Have you ever been threatened?

JR. Yes, lots of times usually by telephone or email. I just pass the information on to the FBI. Sometimes I'll get a call back saying the 'problem' has been dealt with.

Q. Can you tell us about the TV series you had in the UK in the 80's?

JR. The programme was called James Randi - Psychic Investigator which I believe was wrong. I am not a psychic investigator I am an investigator of psychics; but it was their programme so I had to go along with it.

I'm amazed we had so many people apply for the programme considering what it was we were setting out to achieve, i.e., to expose fraudulent mediums etc. Some of the candidates did get quite volatile when things didn't go their way.

I remember we had a Psychic Medium called Maureen Flynn appear on the show. She did a sitting for one of her clients; it was typical cold reading. Afterwards we interviewed the client to see how accurate she had been and he said how good she was. One of the questions we asked him was 'how many names did she bring up'. The gentleman was adamant that she had only brought up about 6 names and that most were a hit. We then showed him a transcript of the sitting and pointed out that 37 names had in fact been mentioned. He still wouldn't listen; which just goes to show how difficult it is to change the views of a believer.

Q. How do I enter the Million Dollar Challenge?

JR. It's quite simple. You fill out the form on the JREF website and send it in. Basically, you have to tell us what you can do and with what accuracy. If you are accepted to take the challenge you must first take a preliminary test and if you score high enough on that you are then invited to take the main challenge for the million dollars. To date no one has gotten past the first test.

Also, I should like to mention that there have been many claims by psychic, mediums, etc that the million dollars doesn't exist. Well, I can assure you that it does and anyone can apply for proof just by asking. The fact of the matter is that none of the psychics, etc who are making this claim have ever asked to see the proof.

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank James Randi for his time.

Interview conducted by BadPsychics member Phil Jenkins in 2009.