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Skeptic Abused and Threatened by Husband of ‘Psychic Sally Morgan’

A few years ago a controversy erupted in the U.K. concerning allegedly nefarious techniques being used by popular ‘psychic’, Sally Morgan. At the time, I wrote a commentary concerning how quickly skeptics turned hearsay into a witch hunt (literally?), based only on anecdotal evidence. Now comes a new controversy, though this time there is far less reason to offer any defence of Morgan. In the above video (NSFW language), skeptic Mark Tilbrook documents the harassment and threats directed his way by Psychic Sally’s husband (and tour manager) John Morgan while handing out skeptical information regarding psychics outside of one of Morgan’s shows:

As I explained in the Guardian on 7 October, 2014, I decided earlier this year to leaflet outside various psychic stage shows, encouraging members of the audience to ask themselves questions about psychic ability. My first three visits were to shows by Sally Morgan, and on each occasion her husband John Morgan approached me. I found him to be threatening and abusive.

After being threatened during my first encounter with John Morgan, I felt it necessary to have a camera with me when leafleting, to record events and provide evidence of the threats I faced. This footage shows what happened on the third occasion, at the Shaw Theatre in London on March 30, 2014. I’ve subtitled the video as accurately as I can make out, and you can make up your mind about his behaviour after seeing it for yourself.

None of this has stopped me from being determined to continue leafleting at psychic stage shows. This is why I have been working with the Good Thinking Society to hand out more leaflets at psychic shows throughout October 2014. You can find out about ‘Psychic Awareness Month’ at the Good Thinking website

Now while I don’t think this necessarily provides any direct evidence that Sally Morgan is a fraud, and can understand family members sticking up for their loved ones, in this case things are beyond the pale. John Morgan comes across like a standover man and a bigot, with his threats against Tilbrook surely verging on being criminal (caveat: I’m no expert on British law). I have no problem with Tilbrook providing information outside the theatre – indeed, I encourage people to understand the debate about psychic abilities as thoroughly as possible – as long as he wasn’t bothering those attending, or causing real distress to Sally Morgan in some way.

Hayley Stevens has written an intelligent blog post pointing out that, in the somewhat dodgy world of people claiming psychic ability, when too many incidents start adding up, perhaps it might be time to consider the likelihood that you’re being fooled (and also, whether you’re fooling yourself) – rather than making excuses for the behaviour of people like John Morgan.

When people make excuses for this sort of behaviour what they’re actually doing is acting in their own best interests. They are convincing themselves that the person they have put their faith in- Sally Morgan -is not dodgy in any way and that the beliefs they have invested in are not tainted by any of this controversy. It is difficult to accept that a psychic you so strongly believe in has fooled you into thinking they are psychic and are a good, caring person… but at what point to do you accept that you’re wrong?

While I would say Hayley’s list of negatives against Sally Morgan is longer than mine would be – e.g. I don’t blame anyone for not being tested within James Randi’s framework – it is a very good point. As Robert Anton Wilson once counseled, in regards to the tension between not being dogmatic but needing to make decisions: “I don’t believe anything, but I have many suspicions.” At a certain time, too many suspicions should at least set alarm bells ringing.

For her part Sally Morgan has sacked her husband, saying she is “utterly ashamed” of his behaviour and is not sure where this leaves their marriage. But perhaps at this point further redemption is needed – such as allowing herself to be tested by open-minded scientists endowed with enough skepticism to provide a valid examination of claimed abilities.

Though I’d like to see some sort of system doing exactly that for all professional psychics, regardless of how dickish their spouses are…

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  1. DO something sign Petition!!!!!!!!!!
    ANYONE claiming to be psychic is in one, or both, of only TWO states.
    1) A CON ARTIST.
    2) MENTALLY UNWELL.
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/70539
    How many of the con artists display the disclaimer, “For entertainment purposes only”?
    In any event, they should not be permitted to influence the feeble-minded or vulnerable people who might believe such nonsense!
    Whilst most of them look and sound incredibly stupid to those with more than two firing synapses, one can only assume these thieves they simply don’t care because they are making so much money,.
    Trying to con others is one thing but, if you are trying to fool yourself, you need urgent help.
    (Incidentally, if YOU are one of the many people who genuinely believe in such garbage, I defend your absolute right to believe in whatever nonsense you chose, no matter how stupid. However, it is highly recommended you seek urgent help immediately.)
    NOW, at last, YOU can actually DO something positive! Click the link above and sign the petition!
    Join the campaign to stop these evil individuals stealing from so many such unfortunate individuals. Email your M.P. and request the issue be raised in parliament to prohibit these thieves from advertising or performing.
    If ALL thieves should be imprisoned, why does the government condone this huge (and growing) group of con artists stealing with impunity? They should also be imprisoned and their vast profits applied to support victims. It’s nothing short of legalised theft!
    The truth is posted everywhere that these con artists should be in PRISON like ANY con artist so isn’t it strange why they never try to sue me if they claim they really possess such a supernatural skill ? !

    1. That is such a silly reply
      That is such a silly reply and such an ignorant stance. Institutional skeptics love making a big brouhaha over the obvious frauds thereby hoping to taint the entire field of mediumship – it’s a tactic called “association fallacy,” and it is quite transparent.

      1. Very true
        I agree, emlong, and while I am glad when the actual frauds are exposed, or when behaviour like this comes to light, a part of me can’t help but shudder when I think of the prejudice and generalising that’s going to come from strong and pseudo-sceptics. I know several psychics and mediums personally, they are very lovely people, and they are not hurting anyone in any way. (Neither are they wealthy, for that matter.) The fact that these people are also targeted and derided makes me very, very sad.

    2. The Famous Cash – there are
      The Famous Cash – there are many psychics and mediums who provide their service for free and do not charge a penny (with the exception of sometimes expenses to cover their travel fees.)

      Aside from that, it is something they do in their spare time, and they make no money whatsoever. They are in no way thieves, and those individuals should certainly not be prohibited from advertising or displaying their ability to the public. After all – regardless of whether they actually have the ability – if they’re not taking money, they’re not breaking any kind of law, are they?

      Furthermore, if someone truly believes themselves to be a psychic or medium, they’re not a thief.

      I think the abilities are real. In fact, I’m attending an awareness group at my local spiritualist church, because I’d like to become a medium myself – and I do want to earn some money doing so, and I fervently hope I will always have the right to make my living that way.

  2. Answer to strange comments posted.
    Whilst I believe evryone has a right to believe in anything they wish, no matter how stupid but I also believe it is up those with more than two firing synapses to TRY to educate those who believe on things which simply DO NOT EXIST!

    1. Firing synapses
      You will refrain from enlightening us feeble-minded individuals who give psychic phenomena the benefit of the doubt in a civil manner, otherwise you’ll see your proselytizing comments mysteriously disappearing from this site –as if by… magic.

      1. I can count to two
        [quote=red pill junkie]You will refrain from enlightening us feeble-minded individuals who give psychic phenomena the benefit of the doubt in a civil manner, otherwise you’ll see your proselytizing comments mysteriously disappearing from this site –as if by… magic.[/quote]

        So glad I made many of the functions of this website only require two firing synapses. Not sure how I’d operate it otherwise…
        😉

      2. Would that “parliament” were
        Would that “parliament” were as keen to incarcerate politicians who promise and steal with much more alacrity than certain mediums. Imagine a society so reckless and craven as to attempt to define what a “medium” is and then jail everyone caught up in the definition which would be a cavalcade of semantics. They used to do this sort of thing in Nazi Germany. It did not work out very well for them as we all know.

        1. And many are born as they are
          Another point is that a lot of psychics and mediums are born the way they are – not all, of course, but a substantial number. This isn’t something they chose. In that sense, hating them (and jailing them) would be akin to persecution of gay people and minority races.

          I just hope such a society never comes to light.

    2. *Strange* comments?
      I don’t think any of the comments are particularly strange. The website welcomes debate and dissent, but might I suggest that you state your case in a more polite manner? Your tone is coming over as very condescending and insulting.

      If you want to try to convert others to your worldview, I’m sure people will give you a fair hearing, provided you are civil. That said, I hope you will respect others enough to leave them be if they make it clear they are not interested.

    3. My Two Firing Synapses
      [quote=The Famous Cash]I also believe it is up those with more than two firing synapses[/quote]

      It’s good to be aware that I have only two firing synapses.

      But…how are we going to convince all those people who think I’m a genius??? 🙂

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