Objective Productions for Five
Discussed by Graham P Jolley
Several magicians and mindreaders have asked me if I have any thoughts with regard to the Channel 5 television programme Psychic Secrets Revealed.
I would if I may, like to make a few comments. My reaction to the programme is one of disappointment. I don't find it easy to be critical of the programme since I know many of the individuals responsible. Maybe not close friends, but I certainly admire some of their previous work. Derren Brown's Mind Control Specials are in my opinion brilliant programmes.
Psychic Secrets Revealed is by its very nature a completely different matter.
Can we take a look at some of the arguments offered to justify a programme of this type?
1. "We want to protect gullible members of the public from charlatans."
This seems to me on the surface to have merit. Remember however, if you give a person long enough to think about a subject, they will usually construct a defence.
To expose the possible methods used by Uri Geller, is I think unforgivable. Geller has been a successful performer since the early 70's. Surely his spoon and key bending, drawing duplication, movement of a compass needle and seed germination has not caused the public any harm. He has been an inspiration to many performers, and some have included a demonstration of spoon and key bending in their own acts. In fact Ali Bongo kindly introduced to the fraternity the 'Bongo Bender', a delightful little gimmick if I may say so. (A device for bending a key.)
I don't agree that magicians have the right to expose this type of material.
One Justification is that he claims 'Psychic Power'. What other claim could he offer for physical effects? He is being lampooned for his creativity. Obviously NLP, body language or non verbal clues would be inappropriate.
Am I not right in thinking that the above mentioned 'effects' have become a part of magicians and mindreaders repertoires. Surely this material should not be made available to the public.
2. "If we can stop just one person from visiting a Psychic - the programme has done its job."
It is doubtful if the programme would influence opinion.
I have a relative who is a member of the Catholic Church. On finishing reading a book by Ludovic Kennedy entitled The Death of God, I asked her if she would care to read the book as it may give her a interesting alternative to her beliefs. She flatly refused, since she was very happy with her beliefs.
I suspect that if you invited a group who believed in Psychic Powers, Tarot Readers, and Spirit Mediums to watch a television programme which could alter their thinking on the subject, they would not be interested.
I do agree that certain areas should be exposed:
1. Psychic Surgery.
2. Fraudulent Mediums who claim to contact the dead.
But for a programme to have any impact, Channel 5 is not the place. Perhaps BBC1 or 2 and not with the talented Alistair Cook, but a presenter with some intellectual horsepower. Someone with a brain the size of Kent.
Can we take a look at Dr. Richard Wiseman. He seems to have an opinion on so many subjects. What area of Psychology does he specialize in? Not satisfied with explaining Cold Reading, he also in the newspapers gives examples of jokes and why they are funny. Whatís he going to do when his looks deteriorate?
No more 'Unweaving the Rainbow'
I think the time has arrived for us to pull ourselves together, keep our mouths shut, and keep the secrets where they belong. Don't give the layman any clues, they don't deserve any assistance. Just entertain and mystify the best you can, but don't feel a need to educate and enlighten. We are not qualified to provide that sort of stimulation.
I heard this recently, "donít worry about it." Where are you going to draw the line? Look at all the books available to the general public. Such lazy thinking. Draw the line now.
One last thought. The annoying thing about this series is that as a performer it is prudent to watch the programme - just in the event something is shown that is similar to an effect in your own act. Twice now on picking up a Polaroid camera I've heard the comment "saw this on television" it's not serious, but mildly irritating.
So there we are. Get magic back into a studio with a live audience. No more wandering down streets, hanging around warehouses and asking people to select a card in a gents toilet.
© Graham P Jolley, November 2003