A Blog Post by Gary Mason
A few weeks ago, a few friends and myself decided it would be interesting to terrorise some people at a psychic fayre near me, under the impression it was going to be a big professional event. Unfortunately when we arrived, all that was there were about 6 middle aged women with crystal balls and tarot cards. There were also leaflets giving information about each one. Some claimed to be able to contact angels, some could read palms, and some even claimed they could cure diseases and ailments with crystal (reiki). Being a skeptic and believing that these people are frauds, I was quite shocked to learn of the prices they charge for a simple tarot card reading (£20). I wanted to have a reading for a laugh, but I’m not paying £20, for a crazed old lady to tell me shit that’s so vague, it could apply to my pet dog!
I have always had a problem with the way psychics work. To say that you can contact the dead child of a grieving parent for a fee (any fee!) is absolutely wrong, and anyone who can do this to a person has no morals, and no respect for the grieving process people have to go through once they have lost a loved one, especially as psychic “powers” have never been proven scientifically, all we have is anecdotal evidence. Because of this I have taken it upon myself to begin a movement. I want every psychic in the U.K (worldwide actually, but we will start here) to be licensed. If they are going to charge people for something, surely they have to prove that what they are charging for is legit.
So I am making this the start of the journey, either psychics should prove their abilities, or stop charging people for bullshit. I mean sure, if they enjoy it as a hobby, and their “marks” as I like to call them, know that it’s more like magic tricks than paranormal abilities, there is no harm in this. But for someone to make money (and some of them make lots of money) of the misfortune of others, without ever proving that what they do actually does have some credibility, I’m sure you agree, it is fraudulent, and I’m sure fraud is illegal in this country, so why do they get away with it?
The plan is to get enough members together to write a petition to parliament, explaining our grievances, why we have them and what we would like to do something about it. Seeing as we are not asking for psychics to be completely illegal (just for them to prove their abilities before practising) there shouldn’t be much of a problem, we are not asking too much. Of course there would be some sort of test that has to be taken to get the licence (preferably set up by the James Randi educational foundation), and of course it is not likely that anyone will pass under scientific scrutiny. Of course people will fail, and they will claim the test is unfair, but I’m afraid that if they fail, no job, and they would have to go out and earn an honest living like the rest of us!
Gary Mason - I am dedicated to making skepticism easier and more enjoyable for people to understand. There is a lot of science involved in skepticism and I would like to have it explained to the listener/reader in a friendly way, as to not overwhelm and confuse them. Keep it simple. A copy of this blog post can be found at my site Simple Skepticism.
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
Facebook Group "psychics should be licensed"
A Blog Post by Gary Mason