Psychic Investigators
Posted: 05 December 2010 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Has anyone seen this show on cable? I saw it on a channel called, “Dusk”, here in Canada. But it is a program developed by “W Network” [see: http://www.wnetwork.com/Shows/psychic-investigators.aspx for show description] On Dusk they air two shows a night and portray it as very realistic…no “Hard Copy” hyper sensationalism.

Now I like watching thrillers and mystic shows for entertainment. For instance, I enjoy watching Friday’s Medium regularly. But that is because I suspend disbelief for the sake of entertainment. If a psychic like the one in Medium existed she would be just like her—regularly employed in places like the District Attorney’s office—because she would have plenty of reasonable evidence to back herself up.

But this show, Psychic Investigators, bothers me because it is developed and presented in a completely factual manner and given apparent supports by various professional authorities in law enforcement and justice to give it credibility. I’ve carefully watched a few episodes to try to see what they were doing. What was their techniques? How were they crafting this? I still haven’t figured much out yet as it has only been a couple times that I’ve purposely paid close attention.
Here’s what I found out so far (of the two episodes mainly):

- the ‘seeker’ of the psychic in the first episode I saw was represented as a “Forensic Consultant”. She seemed to be some type of teacher because had a group of young adults (all women, I think) and she would communicate with the psychic originally by phone through loud speaker in the room with the apparent group of students. This was maybe an attempt to give the ‘consultant’ the impression that she was some type of professor that she may not have been. Perhaps her consultation is her own designation rather than a formal degree. They may have simply staged the apparent students there for us viewers to just guess on our own. She never said that she was a professor or teacher. So technically, she can’t be held for lying.
-the ‘seeker’ of the psychic in the second episode I saw was labeled as a “R’trd Det. Midwest City Police”. From this it was confusing because it didn’t indicate whether she was retired at the time of this case investigation or before. It is possible she was already retired and they wanted her credibility so they made this seem ambiguous.

- both psychics seemed to present dubious claims according to police but were vindicated in the end
- the first psychic claims that she even began to doubt her own abilities until they discovered the truth.

- they interviewed police and other officials but it was not certain whether they knew what the show was they were being interviewed for. There was some indication in the second show that the official stance was certainly against the psychic’s views because the retired detective said that her friends on the force still were singing the tune to the Twilight Zone and they never gave credit to the psychics for their supposed contributions.

- though the psychics made definite claims on some things, they were overlooked later on when reviewing the actual discoveries.  In the second case, the first psychic claimed that the body will be found northeast of town. She said she felt he was in a small tin barn close to train tracks and could see “Hereford” cattle. It was unclear whether she could see the cattle or the words “Hereford” but the program showed the word written in the side of a hill of grass. The other psychic came to town and wondered all around the country-side with some officer but never found anything. Then at the end of hunting season, a couple of hunters found the body of the guy they were looking for. It was in some field near a fence. But the program claimed that the psychics were right because all of those things they mentioned were “close by”.

- the most disturbing factor of this program: the credits! First of all, they go by very quickly. Then, they are blurred slightly as if they intentionally do not want us to read them. The first credit was a referral to go somewhere, a website or something. I’ll have to record the program to actually get the credits by pausing.
- at the end you can catch that the program was sponsored by Canadian Film Board or Incentive, Cineflex is the company that makes it I think, and besides the W Network channel, there were a few others. The most disturbing which bothered me was, the Discovery Channel, and Biography Channel!

I am concerned that programs like these are not being relatively challenged on the skeptical side. There is this one and only one show that I’ve seen on the Science Discovery Channel that is remotely skeptical-based. But it runs the same two episodes over and over. I’ve never seen any new ones. We really need to compete better.

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Posted: 05 December 2010 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Sophisticated fairy tales designed for adult children.

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Posted: 05 December 2010 05:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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While I love good Science Fiction, I detest fantasy such as vampires, ghosts, The Medium, etc.  So I assiduously avoid ever watching them even when I’m tuning past their channels.

Occam

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Posted: 05 December 2010 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I detest that they present the show as reality.

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Posted: 05 December 2010 08:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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It’s kind of sad to think that some shows I like are contributors to delusions for weak minds. That reminds me of science fiction television and movies. Most of them tend to actually go against science. The theme is usually of some cool scientific advancement we imagine would be admirable. Then the program ‘teaches’ us the evil of how science and its cold atheistic scientific beings, rulers, or things can cause havoc on the blind believing heroes of the story or none if there are no believers. The “Outer Limits” was a really bad one for this.

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Posted: 05 December 2010 08:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I actually enjoyed The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone. The Outer Limits especially scared the crap out of me as a kid, but I knew it was not real. I also enjoy a good Scifi program. The difference here is that there is no pretense of reality.

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Posted: 05 December 2010 08:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Agreed with Occam and asanta. It’s like the difference between Uri Geller and Randi, or Geller vs. Penn and Teller. They all do magic tricks, but Randi and Penn and Teller are honest about the fact that it’s fakery.

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Posted: 05 December 2010 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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dougsmith - 05 December 2010 08:12 PM

Agreed with Occam and asanta. It’s like the difference between Uri Geller and Randi, or Geller vs. Penn and Teller. They all do magic tricks, but Randi and Penn and Teller are honest about the fact that it’s fakery.

And Geller isn’t even good at it!

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Posted: 05 December 2010 09:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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That’s why I bring up “Psychic Investigators”. In the late 80s/early 90s fake sensational programs purposely looked fake. Remember, that was the pre-Princess Diana television shows were inundated with “Hard Copy” and its copies of rag-television. But after that they have decided to appear absolutely real and acquire credibility and acceptance from the general public as serious realities.

I don’t want society to go without the entertainment of fantasy, science fiction (including pseudoscience, mediums, etc.), and horrors, but many of the programs today tend to support ideals away from reality which if taken seriously in the consciousness of viewers beg that the phantoms they view are more likely. All it takes then is a little encouragement or justification from programs like Psychic Investigators to verify their desired beliefs.

I guess we shouldn’t attack the precursors though. The fault lies with the con artists’ programs. Unless, that is, the entertainment could be shown to be designed by the con artists to prepare their latter agenda…

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