Psychics Fail in Laboratory Tests

Once again, psychics who volunteered to be tested in a university laboratory failed to demonstrate any presence of psychic powers.

The Daily Mail is reporting that two professional mediums – Patricia Putt and Kim Whitton – accepted a challenge from scientists at Goldsmiths University in London  to a fair test of their abilities.

Kim Whitton (L) trying to read subject during test

In the test, which was designed by Professor Chris French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, the psychics were asked to write down characteristics of five randomly selected people who sat behind a screen. While the subjects remained completely silent, the mediums were asked to write things related to each subject. Later, the subjects were asked if they could identify themselves from the psychics’ notes.

“Kim and Patricia felt they’d have no trouble in passing this test,” Professor French explained. “Despite expressing confidence throughout the experiment, neither were able to gain more than a single correct reading, a result entirely consistent with the operation of chance alone.”

Neither psychic was able to score more than one hit in five from the readings.

However, the one correct reading by Whitton was impressive with the subject saying the psychic had “hit it right on the dot” about something she had been thinking at the time.

Whitton, who claims to have more than 15 years experience as a medium and healer who regularly appears in spiritualist churches in London and environs, was not at all discouraged by the outcome.

“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,” she said. “I felt very comfortable about the test.”

In reference to the Merseyside Skeptics Society, who arranged the test, Whitton said: “Sceptics need to realize you cannot see, hear, feel everything as solid matter with the human eye, ear, and body. Psychics and mediums use a whole other part of the brain which is under-developed in the average man. Overall, I really enjoyed the experience.”

There is, of course, no evidence that mediums are using “a whole other part of the brain which is under-developed in the average man.”  The scientific community rejects the existence of these powers (also known as ESP, clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition) because of the lack of experimental techniques that can provide reliably positive results.

This is not the first time – nor will it be the last – that psychics have failed to rise to the challenge of science. The other psychic in the Goldsmith experiment, Patricia Putt, took part in 2009 in a preliminary test for the James Randi Educational Foundation Million Dollar Challenge which offers a cash prize for anyone who can demonstrate psychic powers in the laboratory. She failed to pass that test.

Just for some perspective – Randi’s offer isn’t the only one on the table. There are at least 10 other sizeable awards available, including one by Scientific American which has remained unclaimed since 1922.

While demonic activity is responsible for some psychic activity, the field itself is riddled with charlatans who use all kinds of tricks to “read” people who come to them for answers.

“Pat and Kim clearly felt that they were receiving psychic messages, and their regular clients are convinced that they have psychic powers, but our test showed no such supernatural power,” said renowned science writer Simon Singh, who helped design and conduct the test.

“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.”

However, he did respect the fact that the two were willing to come forward and submit themselves to testing.

Learn more about psychics and channelers in our Learn to Discern series.



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