Psychic Sally Sues

Last month I facetiously noted that skeptics now count anecdote as evidence, after much celebration in the wake of British newspapers claiming that 'Psychic Sally' Morgan had been caught out using an earpiece to receive information. In that post, I noted that a prevailing attitude amongst many skeptics was "if she's innocent, then she can sue". Welp, apparently she's going to do just that:

On behalf of Sally Morgan we would like to confirm that Sally Morgan has instructed Graham Atkins of Atkins Thomson to commence libel action in relation to press allegations that she is a cheat, following her show in Dublin. Thank you for your support and patience in this matter. Sally Morgan Management Team.

At his Jack of Kent blog,lawyer David Allen Green has so far discussed the topic in two parts (one and two). He firstly compares it to the infamous BCA libel case against Simon Singh, and then seems to spend some time trying to point out 'anomalies' in Sally's statements (though he later updates the post to concede that these statements were probably justified) (personal opinion withdrawn, see statement in the comments below from David Allen Green).

I said plainly at the time this first happened that skeptics and newspapers had gone way too far in their claims in this case, based on the source (a few callers to a radio show) and the counter-claim (the theatre manager said Sally's alleged information sources were actually just light technicians employed by him). From all I have heard, 'Psychic Sally' makes a good living from her performances, and newspapers printed a headline claiming that she had been caught using an earpiece to receive information during her Dublin show. Regardless of what anybody's opinion is on (a) psychic abilities and (b) Sally Morgan's abilities and honesty, I think in this case it simply boils down to whether the newspapers can show their claim to be correct. In the end, this case will have far less to say about the reality (or not) of psychic abilities than it will about poor journalistic standards.

To reiterate what I said in my previous post, I don't have a clue about 'Psychic Sally', I've never heard of her before this. But given she makes her living from her 'ability', I'm not surprised that she's willing to take legal action against news headlines like this. At least we might get an insight into the truth of this matter, if the lighting technicians and radio callers are brought into court (though I think perhaps more likely is that the newspapers will happily pay out a settlement based on the extra sales/eyeballs they got out of the story).

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Rick MG's picture
Member since:
2 May 2004
Last activity:
6 days 11 hours

I don't know much about Psychic Sally, but I think a few people involved need to slow their mustangs down.

See video

~ * ~

@levitatingcat

David Allen Green's picture
Member since:
10 October 2011
Last activity:
3 years 2 weeks

"...(though he later updates the post to concede that these statements were probably justified)."

This statement is false and misleading, and readers should see my posts for what I actually do say.

Thanks.

Greg's picture
Member since:
30 April 2004
Last activity:
11 hours 30 min
David Allen Green wrote:

"...(though he later updates the post to concede that these statements were probably justified)."

This statement is false and misleading, and readers should see my posts for what I actually do say.

Thanks.

Hi David,

Thanks for stopping in with the correction. I may have read more into your post than you intended (and you may be reading more into mine than intended as well). Most specifically, this was the bit I was referring to (with bold to point out my reasons):

and (curiously)

- that she would "like to state that I have never met these two boys before in my life and more importantly, they have nothing to do with my show. I have no communication with them and there is no way they would have been able to talk to me while I was on stage".

This positive account - by which I mean it is not a bare rebuttal of what the callers said to RTE radio - is rather detailed, and it is especially emphatic in its final denial. Somehow she knew that it was two lads, what their employment status was, and that she had never met them. One wonders how, in the circumstance, she can be so sure of each of these points. [UPDATE - this now seems to have been based on the Faloon comments, now quoted below.]

And my point was simply that you found things "curious" (ie. the anomalies I mention), then with your update pointed out that she had a valid reason (ie. my words "justified") for being sure of the "curious" details. This grew out of my (personal) general feeling over the course of your two posts that you seemed to be looking for 'Gotcha!' facets to Sally Morgan's account and actions, for whatever reason, rather than simply commenting on the legality of the newspaper headlines (if, as she claims, she was not in fact receiving information from the 'technicians').

It was not meant to put words in your mouth, so I apologise for over-stepping in that regard - though I think, as shown above, there's reason enough for my original comment (I would appreciate further explanation on why you thought it "false and misleading"?). In any case, I trust readers are intelligent enough though to follow the links that were posted in the article and work things out for themselves.

p.s. I have added you to the 'trusted user' group, so you shouldn't have to jump through any anti-spam measures if you choose to post again.

Kind regards,
Greg
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You monkeys only think you're running things
@DailyGrail