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Please note: I am no longer available for ad hoc media enquiries. I have always tried to assist the media but having been messed about once too often I have decided it is more trouble than it's worth. Therefore I am not going to be available for late night radio shows (who keep you up and then cancel at the last moment) or agree to appear on day time TV shows who either cancel after you have made numerous arrangements or make you hang around endlessly in a shabby Green Room supplying you with stewed tea and stale sandwiches.
Tony Youens - Skeptic

I am a founding member of the Association for Skeptical Enquiry (ASKE). I previously edited their newsletter and now manage their website (www.aske.org.uk). The Association has around 70 members. If you are skeptical - why not join?

I have appeared on various TV programmes (some listed below) and given numerous radio and press interviews.

TV & Media work

Frequently asked questions

How did you get into this?
Why did you get into this?
Apart from media work what do you do?
Have you ever experienced anything you couldn’t explain?
What sort of things are you sceptical about?


Television work  

Investigation into animal communication. Flew to Chicago (April 2005) to test a supposed telepathic parrot.

The Tricia Goddard Show.
Broadcast 18th May 2005.

 

The Ultimate Psychic Challenge.
(Discovery Channel and Channel 4 2002) with James Randi. I trained an actor to successfully pose as a medium in under 2 hours. I also helped evaluate a reading given by yet another "top medium". 

 

Stigmata: The Marks of God
(Discovery Channel)
Programme about Stigmata. I gave a demonstration of how I could produce blood on my hands.

Stigmata programme Stigmata programme Stigmata programme

 

Everyman (BBC). Programme looking at the abilities of Mediums.

Everyman Everyman

 

Heaven and Earth Show
(BBC). Two appearances to date.

Heaven & Earth Show Heaven & Earth Show

Lowry (BBC). Yet another debate show. This time discussing witches.

Lowry

The New Zodiac
(Channel five)
I posed as an Astrologer and was accepted as such. Came out more or less even compared with Roy Gillet who I believe is head of the British Astrological Association. He made complex calculations based on the position of various celestial bodies - and I made it up.

The New Zodiac

 

Kilroy (BBC).
Too many appearances to mention. None of them about Arabs.

Kilroy

 

Meridian Focus. Meridian TV documentary type programme. I posed as a tarot reader and performed ‘more accurately’ than a full time tarot reader. She tuned in to the spiritual plane - I made it up.

Vanessa (BBC). Vanessa Feltz morning show.

Central Weekend Live
(A noisy debate show by Carlton Television). Numerous appearances debated just about everything, mediums & psychics, astrologers, UFOs, past lives/reincarnation, alternative medicine, spiritual healing.

Frequently asked Questions

How did you get into this?
My interested was sparked following a TV programme in 1991 called ‘James Randi – Psychic Investigator’. I just didn't know about other skeptics until then. I read Randi's books and one thing led to another. I finally met James Randi (www.randi.org) in 2000 and since then have had the very great pleasure of working with him.

Why did you get into this?
I’m not entirely sure I can answer this but firstly the subject interests me, secondly I don’t like seeing people get ripped off by charlatans and thirdly I want to try and fight against the overwhelming flood of irrational thought that seems to be currently in vogue. Some people seem determined that we all return to the Middle Ages personally I'd rather leave them in the middle.

Apart from media work what do you do?
I have managed to test various psychics (a couple of mediums, a mystic and someone who professed to dream the future) and once they were subjected to properly controlled conditions their abilities faded into nothing. Randi asked me to look at a claim from someone who said he was being visited by an alien intelligence in his backyard. The aliens were coveniently invisible and only contacted him by telepathy. The claimant sent me a film of the aliens he had managed to capture unsing an infra red camera. Rather less happily they turned out to be insects flying close to the camera lens. I also give lectures on thinking critically about paranormal claims.

Have you ever experienced anything you couldn’t explain?
I confess I am at a loss to explain the success of Living TV's 'Most Haunted Live'. I've never seen such unremitting drivel. However not in the sense often implied by terms such as "the unexplained". There are plenty of things claimed by people that are difficult to conclusively explain but this is often due to the lack of available facts. A fairly mundane event seems to become miraculous in the eyes of many witnesses.

What sort of things are you sceptical about?
This is a long list but my main interest is in psychic claims such as those given by mediums. In this respect I have given such readings myself using basic trickery and have successfully passed myself off as ‘psychic’. This has never been done except as part of media experiments and not as a deliberate attempt to dupe or defraud people.

I can bend metal, read minds, perform psychic surgery and various other doubtful feats – all by deception. As far as I can tell so-called ‘psychic ability’ looks no different to conjuring.Here are some of the other things about which I have serious doubts;

Alternative medicines and other unlikely forms of healing (esp. homeopathy),
Astrology,
Bending metal with the mind,
Dowsing,
Ghosts,
Hypnosis (depending on your definition),
Miracles,
Reincarnation,
Talking to the dead,
Tarot and other psychic readings,
Telekinsesis (moving things with the mind),
Telepathy (including ‘remote viewing’),
UFO’s.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but you get the idea. If anyone can prove any of the above I suggest they apply for the $1 Million Challenge on offer by The James Randi Educational Foundation in Florida, USA. The challenge is for anyone who can demonstrate psychic/supernatural ability under proper observing conditions. This challenge is extremely fair but rather than actually accept the challenge most psychics prefer to attack it as unreasonable.

I am also willing to look at anyone who can make some testable psychic claim. See here.

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