John Edward in South Africa 2009

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AcinonyxScepticus (November 20, 2009, 15:31:57 PM):
Welcome to the South African Skeptics forum.

If this is your first visit to the forum, please take a look at the forum rules (in the blue menu bar above).

We are interested to hear about your experience of attending John Edward's Johannesburg show at Gold Reef City (Friday or Saturday). We would be interested to know if the flyer that you received (the one which came with the little note which had the URL of this discussion) helped you in understanding what John Edward does, as apposed to what he claims to do.

But this is an open discussion; you can talk about anything that you would like to when it comes to John Edward and his claims of psychic ability (there are other areas of this forum where you can discuss other psychic personalities, or any other topic that interests you). There are a number of regular members here who would also like to enter the discussion and I hope that you find the discussion interresting and stimulating. The idea is that this is an open debate, we would prefer it if you don't "fire and forget" - in other words; post your opinion and then never return to read how your opinion has been received or to answer questions that were directed to you.

Welcome, and enjoy the discussion.

James
cyghost (November 20, 2009, 15:43:49 PM):
Nice informative flyer. Well done.

Hope we get some responses here, it would be interesting.
mdg (November 20, 2009, 16:05:36 PM):
I'm only going to the Sunday evening performance, so I'm sure he'll have improved a little as far as getting names right goes, but I will be giving my opinion after the show.

I listened to his interview on 94.7 yesterday morning and have to say I was disappointed with the whole Rude Awakening team, there was not a sceptic among them. John Edward apparently "picked up someone who had been with him the whole morning" (so he claimed), and passed a message off air to Darren Simpson. Jeremy mentioned it on air, but didn't go into specifics. I thought it was quite clever of John Edward to rather do a "reading" for one of the others on the team instead of choosing Jeremy Mansfield, Jeremy would have been too much of an obvious choice.
He also mentioned doing a reading on a show once about a couple's baby girl and saying that he didn't realise that he was talking about a dog until the husband told him so, that should have been a red flag to the Rude Awakening team, but they never picked him up on it.

I also hope we get a few responses here, I'd very much like to see opinions from believers and sceptics alike.

mdg
mdg (November 23, 2009, 16:34:02 PM):
From my blog......

Last night I went to watch psychic John Edward strut his stuff in front of a packed audience, each and every one of them eagerly anticipating a message from a loved one who had crossed over to the other side.

We arrived about 30 minutes before the show started and I waited in the foyer while my daughter got us something to drink and eavesdropped on a few conversations to try and gauge whether there were any other sceptics around. My daughter and I seemed to be the only ones in the area we were standing in.

About 10 minutes before the show started an entertaining young lady came out on stage to lay down the rules for audience behaviour. The show was being filmed so she set about telling people, in a light hearted and humorous way, how to behave if the camera happened to focus on them, and how and where to put the microphone if it was passed to them – apparently people can be quite stupid when they’re given a microphone. There was also a large screen behind John so that we could see who was being read and what their reactions were, we could also see John’s face clearly.

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but there was no fancy introduction or drum roll before John Edward strode confidently onto the stage. He went through a brief description of what to expect, and then put the audience at ease by telling us about himself. There was one interesting titbit of information he gave while he was talking about himself and his family that I focused on, and it made me watch him even more closely – but I’ll let you in on it at the end of this post.

John explained that he was going to allow the audience to ask questions and that the questioner may or may not get a reading , that he may instead focus on people within the vicinity of the person asking the question. He then asked who’d like to ask him something and then selected ten or eleven people in various sections of the audience, only two of those questioners got a reading, the others were given answers or advice from John or his guides.

I’m not going to go into the details of the readings. Most of his guesses were “misses” and he had some “hits”. However, the “hits” he had somehow made me feel that he knew something about these people beforehand. One family in particular was related to the murder victim of a well publicised crime, although he had the way she was murdered incorrect, he quickly picked up on the complications of the case and related them to the family, but then all of the information he gave them is already in the public domain. What made me think that he may have had information beforehand, was that one of the conversations I happened to eavesdrop on in the theatre foyer, was between the person who runs the theatre and a woman who was thanking her for organising for her and her family to be there. This woman wasn’t one of the audience members who had a reading, but she could well have been one of those who were given special cards for a private reading after the show – these were handed out to a very few members of the audience, and to some of those who had been given readings during the show.

If you’re wondering how I knew the woman was speaking to the person who runs the theatre, the theatre manager was wearing a t-shirt with the theatre logo on it and her face was shown on the big screen when John Edward specifically thanked her at the end of his show.

The “misses” were memorable too. There was a woman he was reading who had lost her daughter, John said the daughter was one of three siblings, the woman denied it, saying that she only had two children. John said she must be mistaken because her daughter was insisting that she was one of three and that this woman must have had three pregnancies, miscarrying one. Again this woman said that she’d only ever had two pregnancies and two children, there never was a third. Again John insisted that this woman must be wrong; even I was beginning to get annoyed with him, surely she’d know how many pregnancies she’d had?!

He also got quite impatient and a little aggressive with people when they didn’t understand the message he was giving them, either it didn’t make sense or they were straining their memories to connect what he was saying. He bullied them into thinking that they were stupid for not understanding the message.

John Edward is slick, confident and has been doing his show long enough to come across as someone who is convincing as a psychic medium. If I had been undecided about the existence of an afterlife and if I didn’t know about the cold reading and hot reading methods that these charlatans use, I may have come away from that show as a believer.

I may be mistaken about how John Edward knew some of the stuff he got right, I’m not too clued up on the sneaky techniques psychics use to gather information, but I do know for certain that it wasn’t supernatural. How? Remember I said John Edward was relating some stories about himself and his family? He said that all his friends and family know when he’s receiving a message from the other side because his ears go bright red. I didn’t see his ears change colour once.

BTW.....
John Edward is coming back to South Africa next year - not surprising since all five shows were sold out. I really hope that a group of us sceptics can get together and go to one of his shows, I'd love to see him answer more sceptical questions, and plus it's an education in cold reading techniques.

mdg
cyghost (November 23, 2009, 18:29:36 PM):
Thanks, mdg. That was a fun read.

Should one possibly count the misses and hits in such a show to get an idea of how often or not he 'scores'?

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