BBC Exposes Fraudulent ‘Psychics’

The BBC did an expose where they caught three “psychics” faking it with a very clever trap. They planted a fake story on a website about a guy who once ran a chocolate factory and invited the “psychics” to tour the factory and communicate with the spirits there. And wouldn’t you know it, they came up with all the details of the fake story that had been planted.


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  • Modusoperandi

    Man, the ghost of Augustus Gloop is gonna be pissed.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Thanks for posting this video. It has been on You Tube for years but I had never even heard of it until now.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    That’s hilarious. You’d think the ‘psychics’, being aware of the internet, would also be aware that anyone would also be able to read those same stories, even if they were real.

  • NitricAcid

    I was surprised that none of the psychics seemed angry at the reveal, but I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that one of them claims to have been telepathically reading the story from the host’s mind….

  • eric

    That doesn’t prove they are frauds! It just proves that they contacted a spirit who Googles the answers to questions….

  • katzenklavier

    Reminds me of a “60 Minutes” episode maybe twenty years ago wherein they exposed lie detector operators as charlatans by employing a sting in which “employees” in their fake office were tested for “stealing.”

    Before each testing session, the “employer’s” suspicion about one particular person was whispered into the ear of the operators. Would anyone like to guess what percentage of the time the suspected employee was fingered by the use of this “scientifically-based” machine?

  • eric

    @6 – that is somewhat more surprising than the psychic thing. The 2002 National Academies report on polygraphs showed that they are basically crap/operator bias when it comes to general questions, but they work above chance levels (the NAS report looked across multiple studies, and saw about a an 86% median accuracy index) when the questions given are specific. For the 60 minutes test you’re talking about, they must’ve either limited the operators to general questions or the operator themselves went against what the machine told them. The NAS report was critical of polygraphs not because they never worked, but because of the way the government uses them; for trying to ferret out bad people, they suck. Basically just dousing rods if you use them that way. If you want to know who stole your lunch from the refrigerator yesterday, they do okay, though not good enough to pass any criminal court’s “beyond a resonable doubt” level.

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker

    @7 That is odd because the report itself says that the evidence is awful and almost certainly overestimates the accuracy.

    They probably work better than the Russian version which involved a guy sitting in the next room trying to read the subject’s mind. Marxist-Leninism was all woo so hardly surprising that their science was mostly woo as well.

  • Rich Woods

    @NitricAcid #4:

    I was surprised that none of the psychics seemed angry at the reveal, but I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that one of them claims to have been telepathically reading the story from the host’s mind….

    I wasn’t surprised they weren’t angry: from time to time they’ve probably been caught out before. I remember an occasion in Ireland where a medium was told by an audience member, “I’ve lost me Da”, and after the standard lengthy generic waffle by the spiritually-enabled medium (“He misses you and he forgives you”) the speaker said “No, wait, I’ve found him — here he is!” and pointed to his father who was sitting right there next to him.

    The idea that psychics could be confused by accidentally reading the mind of someone nearby is brilliant. On the surface it excuses their mistakes, but anyone who considers it more closely is likely to think their psychic skills are thereby made effectively useless. I also wonder why psychics don’t pick up the fact that they are the target of a sting: surely the mental message “You’re a fraudulent scammer and I want to expose you to the world” is a fairly strong one.

  • Jafafa Hots

    I saw the 60 minutes episode also.

    The lie detector operators were tasked with finding out who had stolen a watch from a drawer, or at least who was being deceptive about it.

    In fact no theft had taken place… and every operator pinned it on whoever the “office manager” previously told them he suspected.

  • Jafafa Hots

    Found the original 60 minutes report.

    Shows how bad my memory is, it was a camera not a watch, etc.

  • katzenklavier

    @#s 10, 11

    Thank you for that blast from the past. Considering its serial unreliability, my memory proved hearteningly accurate for once.

    Its rewatching exposed some minor questions of logic in “60 Minutes’s” thesis, but I will maintain my ongoing resolve to never allow them to strap me into such a machine.

    My apologies to Ed for brazenly hijacking his thread.