First of all, thanks to everyone who came out to Boston Skeptics in the Pub last night! We had about 70 people packed into Tommy Doyle’s top floor to hear Sam Moulton talk about Twins, Telepathy, and Smut. The main gripe was that there wasn’t enough smut, so for December I’m thinking of booking a porn star to talk about the science of . . . well, the science of anything she wants to talk about, I guess.
As soon as the December event is booked, I’ll let the world know. Stay tuned for that, as well as the audio and hopefully the video from Sam’s talk! We’re working on producing a regular Boston Skeptics in the Pub podcast for those of you outside the Hub of the Universe.
In the meantime, let’s go to the mailbag!
Today’s letter dropped into my Skepchick in-box like manna from heaven. The letter may as well have had the subject line, “Please open: I am ready for your ridicule!” Here it is, unedited, in its entirety:
My name is Sean Sugrue, a psychic medium based in Dublin, Ireland.
I came across your site earlier and thought it would be useful on my list of useful links on my site, so I took the opportunity of adding you to my links page.
The page where your site is listed is here :-
Please let me know if you would be interested in providing a link back to my site, and if you could use the below desciption that would be great.
Sean Sugrue is a psychic Medium based in Dublin, Ireland. He provides tarot readings and is also a Reiki master and practitioner.
Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
PS I may have hit the send button twice by mistake – sorry if you get this a second time
Well hello there, Sean! As requested, I am linking to your site – from three different popular blogs, you lucky dog!
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to take a look at your web site and mock it mercilessly. Hope that’s okay! FYI: what follows is not a skeptical evaluation of Sean’s web site so much as it is one long ad hominem attack. There are times for seriously considering a paranormal claim and there are times when the claim is just so ridiculous that it deserves nothing but ridicule. This is a case of the latter. That said, I’ll throw Sean a bone at the end in the hope (however faint) that he will be willing to show he and his magical powers deserve respect.
Let’s start at the top. There’s an angel hovering over the page, indicating that Sean receives psychic messages straight from Yahweh Himself, though the evidence to back this up is scant (see next paragraph). The next image down is the obvious choice to grace the title banner of an Irish psychic medium: a Native American. Yep, nothing says authentic Irish quackery like a noble chieftain of America’s indigenous people. I’ve included a screenshot to the right, in case Sean decides to change the image to something more appropriate, like Genghis Khan or maybe a marmoset.
Near the bottom of the home page, we learn that Sean has been “Qualified under Diana Cooper School Of Angels,” which I’m sure brings you all a lot of relief. I once visited a psychic medium who claimed to be qualified under Diana Cooper School Of Angels, but actually he never completed his thesis on the Quantum Effects of the Ascension of Celestial Beings and Their Correlation to 18th Century Quackery, so when he tried to spiritually heal my smoking habit he accidentally gave me scurvy. The bastard. Anyway, I’m sure that Diana Cooper’s Made-up School for the Deluded and Fraudulent seriously vets all students and only qualifies the best of the best, so you have nothing to worry about when visiting Sean.
Here’s how Sean describes how the angels help him out:
Angel Readings are performed by psychics. It is a type of psychic reading whereby the psychic is able to channel readings from the angel guides. Some psychic readers use Angel Cards whilst others channel the energy directly.
In other words, “angels” and “angel cards” are convenient excuses to lean upon when performing a cold reading, the common magic trick psychics use to fool people into believing the psychic has access to information that can only be obtained via supernatural means. There has never been any reputable, repeatable study to show that psychics are doing anything other than lying to themselves and/or their paying customers.
Another of Sean’s services is to do psychic tarot readings over Skype for the low, low price of €50. Here’s the description:
Psychic tarot reading is both and art and a science. It is a science because magic is a precision science, so all procedures need to be repeatable and produce reliable results. But at the same time, reading tarot cards is also an art form that requires and enhances the development of intuitive and psychic abilities.
Wow, Sean’s totally speaking our language! We love science here. And this is shocking, because Sean claims that his psychic tarot readings are repeatable with reliable results, traits that have never, ever been proven in a scientific study. Never. EVER.
So, Sean, with that in mind, I’d like to see your proof. After all, it is a science! Here are some other things that are science: chemistry, physics, and astronomy. Each of these sciences has led to incredible discoveries about the universe and our place in it, and each is supported by a myriad of strict scientific studies. If you want to place “psychic tarot reading” in that list, all you have to do is show us the evidence. I can enlist the aid of skeptics and scientists in the UK to take a look, or maybe we can even set something up over Skype, so you can prove to the world that you are (unlike every other psychic ever tested) the real thing. Wouldn’t that be exciting?