ITV hits the depths again with “star psychic” Sally Morgan
ITV really is leading the race to the bottom at the moment. Not content with burning all viewer trust with a number of premium-rate telephone scandals they are now doing further damage to any remaining idea that what you see on ITV is any way, real, true or trustworthy.
The latest embarassment is Sally Morgan Star Psychic. The ITV hype claims: "Yes, now you can join our superstar psychic as she uncovers the real
truth and gossip within the lives of celebrities, past, present and
deceased!" Wow, not a single note of caution, no mights or maybes, she really does uncover the "real truth".
So it’s thanks to Tony Youens for beginning to take apart this nonsense of a programme:
"If you’re like me and haven’t previously heard of Sally Morgan a bit of background might be helpful. According to her website, "Sally Morgan,
with the ability to see and hear psychically, since she was a child,
practices as a psychic medium internationally, and at her office based
near London, United Kingdom". It also informs us that, "Being psychic means having the ability to see, hear and communicate with those who passed over to the spirit world." Hmm, I’m not sure where that leaves you if all you can do is bend spoons.
Chatting with the dead has obvious advantages such as helping solve murders, etc. and Sally claims to have helped with, "police and other investigations". Apart from claiming to assist with the theft of sunglasses (no really!) she also claims to have helped pinpoint the location of the body of a girl murdered 8 years earlier.
The only downside to this undoubtedly useful information is that the
body is still missing. Apart from that minor detail I’m sure the police
found her insights invaluable. Enough background, let’s look at the
"…So let’s look at some of the tests.
Before Sally arrived to give a reading to a celebrity she was shown a
photograph and told who it was. Why? This did nothing at all to help
the process, all it did was give her the opportunity to dig for
information. Whether she did or not I haven’t a clue but to provide her
with the opportunity is just plain stupid. In fact having someone
fairly well known as the sitter is also stupid, but then after all they
are in the business of entertainment – not truth.
one test Sally was expected to guess, sorry I meant psychically
determine, what someone’s profession was simply by touching their hand.
Before explaining how they when about this let me describe what I would
consider a more suitable protocol i.e. not one as watertight as a
colander with extra holes drilled in it.
could begin by having about 10 people from which 5 will randomly be
selected. Their order also determined by the random throw of a dice (10
sided obviously). Each person would put their hand through a small
opening so that Sally is unable to see them at all. Their hands should
in no way offer a clue about the job they do (e.g. rough skin/brick
layer). Their dress should in no way give a clue as to their
occupation. Sally should then proceed to tell us their jobs and she
would only be told how many she got correct when the test was
completed. Even this doesn’t offer definitive proof of course but it’s
still practical to be used for television and a good deal better than
what actually happened.
the actual test 5 subjects were dressed in the outfit they worked in,
e.g. nurse uniform, cook, fireman, etc. and Sally had a scarf tied
around her eyes to act as a blindfold. As any magician will tell you
this is entirely useless, just a peek down her nose and Sally would
have easily seen the lower half of the person’s body along with their
uniform. Once during a lecture I had my eyes covered with half dollars,
black gaffer tape wrapped around my head several times so as to
completely cover my eyes, on top of which I had a metal blindfold
(checked by the audience) and a black hood – and yes I could have told
them what their profession was too.
the less Sally did tell the belly dancer that she had once been raped.
How she knew this exactly I couldn’t say but I find it quite bizarre
that someone is invited to take part in a psychic test and ends up with
the fact that they had once been raped announced on a television
programme. It was also a bit strange that the belly dancer didn’t seem
very surprised. Was this information passed on to a researcher before
the reading took place? Perhaps she gave prior permission for this
information to be used? Again we’ll never know.
guess the thing that annoyed me most about this programme was that it
tried to pretend that it was carrying out genuine testing when in
reality it was doing nothing of the kind. The programme was not about
testing Sally Morgan, it was about promoting Sally Morgan and showing
her in the best of all possible lights. Television producers know that
there is a readymade audience keen to lap up this particular type of
bilge. Belief in the paranormal seems to grow from the symbiotic
relationship between a gullible public eager for more and television
companies equally eager supply it. Supply driving demand and vice
versa. The phrase ‘dumbing down’ doesn’t really do it justice. I
believe Uri Geller appears in a later episode – I can hardly wait."