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Is John Edward Genuine?

  1. Oct 15, 2008 #1
    Over the years, I have seen many so-called mediums on the TV. They claim to be able to talk to the dead, and there are millions of people who believe that they have received communications from the other side.

    Many are convincing - at first, others are quite obviously total frauds.

    There is one, however, who for me suggests that perhaps he does have 'something' - John Edward. Unusually, he appears not to work and develop on his subject's body language, or vocal feedback. He gives the impression that he knows he is correct when he makes statements allegedly from the beyond. Some of his statements are quite outrageous and most unlikely to work in with coincidence. For example, he might say, "This person was shot in the shoulder, and passed over two weeks later." A fraudster might have said, "He tells me that he died unexpectantly. Is that right?"

    I would appreciate any feedback you might have on this guy. I know that he has declined to appear on TV for scientific evaluation with Randy (forgotten his second name). He has said that his readings over the years are sufficient validation for what he does.

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2008 #2
    I'm not familiar this this guy, but all of these mediums are tricks based on suggestibility, hypnosis, and NLP (neuro linguistic programming). Someone just needs to have a good emotional intelligence to implement these techniques well.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2008
  4. Oct 15, 2008 #3
    Perhaps I should have added that John Edward heads an American TV program called 'Crossing Over.' It is a very successful program that has been running for about ten years now, and is syndicated throughout the world (via Sky for us).

    He travels throughout the States, and his voice suggests that he is of Irish descent. He is a very fast talker, and works quite comfortably even when the recipient doesn't say a word. Some of his sessions are done with complete strangers over the telephone, or hidden behind a curtain where he cannot see them.

    If I didn't know better, I would have to say that he is either genuine or a mind-reader. The trouble with the latter is that the sitter often has to think back in their memories to find the associations, so it probably isn't that.
  5. Oct 15, 2008 #4
    Here is a short youtube NLP demo done by Derren Brown showing how you can influence someones thoughts over the phone. Listen carefully to his every word as it is meant to influence you.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  6. Oct 15, 2008 #5


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    These performers have teams of researchers looking in to the background of their 'randomly chosen' sitter. They also had people chatting to the sitters before the show 'just to reassure them'.
  7. Oct 15, 2008 #6
    Yes, I am quite sure that this happens. Also the very careful monitoring of the audience as they are waiting to go into the studio: 'I hope Aunty Agnes comes through', and 'Wont Uncle Herbert be suprised if Aunty Mavis turns up.'

    John Edward is the head of a huge corporation. They can afford to hire detectives, and surveillance equipment.

    Perhaps because it is such a slick operation, he is able to persuade guillable people such as myself that there maybe is such a thing as a conduit through to an afterlife. There again, I am one of the doubters - there are millions who believe him totally.
  8. Oct 15, 2008 #7
    Duh!!! I still don't know how he did that. Worse still, I have read Derren Brown's book.

    As a matter of interest, did you pick up the 'instruction' to write down bicycle?
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  9. Oct 15, 2008 #8


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    Cold reading + Editing

    http://www.randi.org/jr/2006-04/042106edward.html#i1 [Broken]
    http://www.skepticreport.com/psychicpowers/jeblues.htm [Broken]
    http://www.csicop.org/si/2003-09/seeing-dead-people.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  10. Oct 15, 2008 #9
    No because you would have to actually engage in conversation with someone doing the trick. Perhaps if someone is very suggestible could be influenced by this clip to write the word "bicycle."

    It's simple, but depends heavily on subjects being suggestible. If you listen to his dialogue, Derren says he is a "cyclological illusionist,"

    "I will be asking you to do three things" - three

    "write a word in your mind on a big chalkboard" - makes you feel like you in an elementary school.

    "say the word over and over again" - could suggest something spinning

    "try to do the whole think without thinking about it" - makes you feel free

    "three different cogs going around in you mind" - clearly makes you think of spinning wheels

    "imagine you are six years old back in elementary school" - it anchors the cogs he set up with feeling free again
  11. Oct 15, 2008 #10
    Whew! Having read through these references, I no longer harbour any doubts. It is all cold reading, with some practitioners more clever than others.

    I still believe John Edward to be the slickest of them all, but fraudulent anyway.

    Perhaps in another forum, we should ask if what they are doing is ethically wrong. Should they be offering council and false hope to bereaving members of families?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  12. Oct 15, 2008 #11
    As a small postscript to this topic...
    I mentioned to my wife that we have been talking about whether John Edward is an authentic medium, and the general consus of opinion is that he is not.

    My wife said, "I don't want to know."
    She enjoys the show so much, and does not want to be disappointed.

    We are neither bereaving nor particularly religious.

    Human nature is a strange thing......

  13. Oct 15, 2008 #12
    Why were they so impressed? I knew how he did it. He suggested that image to Joe by having him think back to his childhood days. Did these people fall asleep or something when he mentioned that?
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  14. Oct 15, 2008 #13


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    <zombie voice> I did - I think Darren Brown is amazing.... must buy his books ....</zombie voice>

    Lawsuits will probably take care of it.
    Stage hypnotism is now banned in most theatres. Somebody claimed that a hypnotist taking them back to their childhood brought back 'hidden memories' of abuse. Since the abuser was long dead / didn't have any money, they sued the venue instead. Now most theatre's insurance policies don't allow hypnotism.
  15. Oct 15, 2008 #14


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    No, he's simply an evil person who preys on the sorrow of families and individuals. His process is an old stage trick - a fancy form of 20 questions, that has been used by people from performers in Vegas to the Amazing Kreskan.
    As noted above, people have detected his agents moving through crowds, prior to shows, gathering information from people whom he later "randomly" selects.
    Finally, his "hit" rate, for questions, even for the people he selects, is far at or slightly below the rate for simply guessing.
    There is no more touch with supernatural here than there was in the 1800s when seances and crystal balls were the rage - just slick operators taking advantage of others.
  16. Oct 15, 2008 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    I agree with everything said, but there is one interesting twist to this. What of those whom he helps? Clearly he does make people happy.

    If Edwards consoles a grieving mother by convincing her that her son didn't suffer when he died, can it be argued that Edwards provides a valuable service?

    Could it be that mysticism is an essential aspect of mental health, for some?
  17. Oct 15, 2008 #16


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    So lying to people who are in grief is ok? I don't buy it, and I don't believe Edwards' goal is to console, but only to fatten his wallet.
  18. Oct 15, 2008 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    I'm not asking if lying is okay. I am asking if he provides a valuable service when he provides comfort to people who have suffered a loss.
  19. Oct 15, 2008 #18
    No, he's not. Anyone can say something that's comforting to make someone grieving feel better. It doesn't require you to fork over money as in the case of John Edward either.
  20. Oct 15, 2008 #19
    Help is available in form of shrinks, therapists, and even hypnotherapists. But if you are gong to provide a service by faking something as talking do the dead, I would make sure to put this in the contract.

    I suspect it is. Once a person accepts some arbitrary mysticism it will eventually get tied to the body chemistry given enough time. The attachment could be in forms of anchors, meaning that something small such as a gesture or a thought in something could trigger an emotional state. An example of such anchoring is a prayer. After saying the prayer, the person might come out in a different emotional state, usually more at peace.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2008
  21. Oct 15, 2008 #20


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    "I'm not asking if lying is okay. I am asking if he provides a valuable service when he provides comfort to people who have suffered a loss."

    I would have to answer no - I can't see how providing something that is totally baseless, a lie, in fact, can or should be considered to be comfort. My answer would not change even if money were not charged for the service; charging fees for sessions is adding insult to the fraud.
  22. Oct 15, 2008 #21
    I don't think the people who believe him are being damaged by it. They are being mislead if the guy is false. But...

    Ignorance is Bliss
  23. Oct 16, 2008 #22
    I am reading these responses as to whether John Edward provides a 'service' to the bereaved: the mother who has lost her son in a terrible accident is assured that he didn't suffer, and that he is happy where he is.

    If she believes in the afterlife, then she may well be consoled. In this instance, then John Edward has indeed provided a service.

    Is this question any different than trying to justify a medic giving out placebo drugs? Somebody dying from a terminal disease must gain some comfort from taking the little pink pills that might/will help them. (I am not talking about pain killers here).

    How about the clinical trials where half of the patients are given drugs that may well help them, but the other half are given placebos. I understand the need to do this, but the poor people on the dummy pills seem to be getting a raw deal..?
  24. Oct 16, 2008 #23


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    Honest doctors don't give placebos to their patients.
    If someone agrees to partcipate in a study group, he is warned that he can be assigned either to the test group (the one receiving the therapy to be tested) or to the control group (the one receiving a placebo or an already proved therapy).
    By the way, since you said that you and your wife follow John Edward presentations, I suggest you to print the bingo card http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2007/11/john-edward-jam.html, and see how many hits you have in the next show.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2008
  25. Oct 16, 2008 #24
  26. Oct 16, 2008 #25
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