The powers of two top psychic mediums have been tested and the results show a distinct lack of insight into their subjects’ lives.
Scientists from the University of London set two professional mediums a ‘Halloween Challenge’. The psychics, Patricia Putt and Kim Whitton, were tested by Dr Chris French as part of an annual investigation into the psychic industry. The mediums were asked to write notes on five different people who took turns to sit behind a screen so they could not be seen or heard. The participants were then asked to choose their description from the other five.
The participants agreed it was a fair and unbiased test of their ability, however after analysis of the results given, neither of the ladies had managed more than one out of five. Dr French described it as “a result entirely consistent with the operation of chance alone.”
“Kim and Patricia felt they’d have no trouble in passing this test, expressing confidence throughout the experiment,” said Dr French. “It’s unfortunate for them that they weren’t able to pass our test, but we’re very pleased they were willing to take part nonetheless.”
Whitton has fifteen years experience as a professional psychic. She said “I have always wanted to be involved in a test like this as I would like to bridge the gap between psychic energy and science.
“I felt very comfortable about the test. I know what I do is very real, it’s easy for me. I’m glad one of the sitters could recognise so many details about herself.”
Putt had been involved in a previous experiment conducted by Dr French in 2009 when she was also unsuccessful. She said “I am sorry that I appear to have failed but not really surprised.
“I would like to point out that my gift covers a wide variety of areas and it is historical investigations that I am currently interested in doing. I do have to say that, difficult though the test was, I did enjoy working with Chris and his colleagues.”
The event was partly organised by the Merseyside Skeptics Society. The vice president, Michael Marshall, said “while the result of our experiment doesn’t disprove psychic ability, the fact that our mediums couldn’t pass what they felt was a very fair and simple test does seem to suggest claims that these abilities exist aren’t based in reality.”
Science writer Simon Singh said “I suspect that people like Pat and Kim are intuitive and are subconsciously picking up on subtle hints, such as body language, verbal cues and so on. This provides the illusion of psychic power. Our test removed such clues, because the sitters were hidden and silent, and I think this explains why Kim and Pat failed.”