Colin Trumpet Fry

Colin Fry is the resident medium on Living TV’s “6ixth Sense”.

The programme 6ixth Sense is presumably a successful endeavor for both Living TV and Colin Fry. Fry himself has been a medium for many years and in the early nineties used to work as a ‘physical medium’ under the pseudonym of ‘Lincoln’. Demonstrations of physical mediumship are pretty rare these days, unlike its heyday in Victorian times. Fry was (is?) part of an organization known as the ‘Noah’s Ark Society’ which was involved in physical mediumship and used to hold private seances for members.

Updated 21st February 2005
Why isn't Colin Fry's picture here?

The trumpet incident

The relevant articles published by Psychic News (Nov '92 - April '93)

Colin Fry's explanation of the trumpet incident.
Reproduced from a posting on the JREF Forum

Quote from Meridian Focus TV programme

Photo of Colin Fry and some 'ectoplasm'. The picture has been removed. Why is that?

The afterlife as explained by Colin Fry

Basic reading from 6ixth Sense without commentary (opens a new page)

Same reading with my analysis

Summary of information provided during reading - and by whom

The trumpet incident
This concerns a controversial event that took place during a séance at Scole in Norfolk (nothing to do with ‘The Scole Experiment’ which didn’t involve Fry). There was very little information publicly available on the web so I have tried to find out what information I could. The only account I could find on the Internet was this: Colin Fry medium for Living TV The Debate.

The incident itself involves a light suddenly coming on during a séance. Fry who was supposed to be tied firmly to a chair was allegedly discovered to be free of his bonds and holding up a trumpet that hitherto was believed to be levitating by itself (or presumably with the aid of ectoplasm).

I have now managed to find account originally published in Psychic News along with other relevant articles from the same publication. They are available here.

Meridian Focus TV programme
A clip from a TV programme (which I'm pretty sure Meridian Focus) had been posted on the web but for some reason had disappeared. I have managed to obtain a copy but rather include it here I shall simply quote from presenter Debbie Thrower who when referring to this incident says;

Those events lead some to accuse Colin Fry of fraud. But his explanation was later accepted by leading figures in spiritualism. He had agreed to talk to Focus about his career at his home in Hayward’s Health but when he found out one of our questions was about that controversial séance he changed his mind. He shouted at us, told us to leave and called us dishonest. He also threatened us with legal action if we mentioned the fraud allegation in this programme.

This clip has now been placed on YouTube by Jon Donnis of BadPsychics


The afterlife as explained by Colin Fry

Here’s a few comments from Colin Fry about the afterlife. I have a few of my own, perhaps those of you who believe you can contact the dead will let me know.

Would a non-believer be able to make contact when they pass over?
Colin: Yes, it doesn’t matter, many have come to believe once they have passed over.

Well yes I confess if I die and find myself still conscious on some other plane I too will be utterly convinced. However even though now dead I might still retain some skepticism as to whether Fry would actually be capable of passing on my messages to the physical world. (See my analysis below). To save time I'll pass on my love to my family now.

Do people with an illness/disability fully recover on the other side?
Colin: Yes, definitely. All illness is solved.

“All illness is solved”. A strange thing to say surely? Disabilities and illnesses are not necessarily the same thing but what they do have in common is that they are both entirely physical. The fact that they would not continue to bother you in the afterlife seems a tad obvious. My problem is, where do you draw the line? I can believe we all want to get rid of the various aches and pains that accumulate later in life but what about baldness for example? Can you opt for a full head of hair? Can you choose a different colour from that which you had whilst alive? If your hair was curly can you choose to have it straight, or vice versa? You’ve always felt your nose was too big can you request a smaller version? In fact are you limited in anyway to what you once were physically? If not then can you change your entire appearance on a monthly, weekly, daily or even hourly basis? How will you recognize your family if they all choose to look like someone else?

When we pass over do we meet up with our loved ones?
Colin: Yes, we do. Unless the person does not want to be contacted.

So you can go ex-directory in the afterlife. No matter how much you search they will forever be hidden from you. Not so much as an answering machine. This makes me wonder about meeting up with your dear departed. Your husband dies a few years before you and meets up with someone else in the afterlife (she might choose to look exactly like you – how irritating) and prefers to stick around with her. You’re basically left alone. Charming. Do people still have sex when they’re dead? Do they eat, play sport, argue, take each other to court? Do you have any physical feelings and emotions? Could you wind up an old enemy by taking on the appearance of someone else perhaps and then permanently refuse to allow them contact? It’s all very perplexing.

When children die do they grow up in the spirit world?
Colin: Yes of course, or they can hold a child like form until their parents join them.

Bizarre. This sounds typical of the Never-Never Land qualities that mediums portray as being the afterlife. To me it just sounds like a way of saying you’ll get whatever you like. But maybe the child will not keep it’s present form and choose to grow up. Does it then pass through puberty? How does it’s mental capacity grow? Who decides what limits there should be on its intelligence or how it’s character develops?

A few final questions from me. What is God? Which religion is correct? (and no they can’t all be) Are the dualists correct and if so how do the two substances (physical and non-physical) interact?

An analysis of a TV reading. (If you would like to read a transcript without my commentary first then click here)

I’m going to work through the whole reading one piece at a time. I have highlighted the text in blue whenever Colin asks a question. Try as I might I cannot distinguish Colin's mediumistic gift from cold reading. Perhaps I'm missing something. You decide.

CF: “I’ve got this gentleman trying to connect with me and all he’s putting in my mind is cheese and chutney sandwiches…” [Colin looks a little perplexed]

I’m going to start off by being generous. This is really a question because CF is trying to elicit a response from someone in the audience - but as I say I’ll let this one go. As to the subject matter, obviously there is a good chance “cheese and chutney sandwiches” will have at least some relevance to an assembled studio audience. Equally I think it’s worth asking why anyone trying to communicate from beyond the grave, and probably for the first time at that, would start off with something so vague and utterly trite. The only exception being if they had some special significance like they had actually choked to death on one.

This does however fit in with cold reading technique i.e. start off with something general before trying to come up with something more specific. Note also the phrase, “he’s putting in my mind”. Presumably Colin can tell the difference between his own thoughts (i.e. his imagination) and those being transmitted by a dead spirit. For instance he already knows the sex of the deceased so is he hearing a voice? If he is then why doesn’t it say something a bit more comprehensible – like his name! We are also not told anything about the relationship this gentleman had with cheese and chutney sandwiches. For example we don’t know if he loved or hated them. Perhaps he was renowned for making them. This again is exactly what a cold reader would do: leave plenty of room for people to come up with their own preferred interpretation.

CF: [pointing towards the back row] “There’s something going on up there, in the very back row…”

Personally I think Colin saw someone talking or a slight reaction and then homed in – but I couldn’t swear to it without seeing an unedited clip.

Woman: “My dad used to like cheese. But he weren’t allowed to eat it.”

“My dad…” Notice now the sitter has kindly identified the relationship between her and the deceased. As for the relevance, excuse me? He liked cheese? Anything about “chutney” or “sandwiches” here? I think we can all agree that we know plenty of people who like cheese. But remember if you knew someone who really didn’t like cheese at all it would still have fitted in with Colin’s original statement. The only apparent relevance being that he was unable to eat it. A fact of which Colin was apparently not aware.

CF: “Right, I’m going to tell you something really funny. As I’m looking over here, I can see like a silhouette… of him, or he’s trying to tell me something… Why can I see a balaclava?

I don’t know Colin. Why don’t you ask the person whose trying to tell you? Already we are using the familiar cold reading technique of throwing out statements and letting the sitter come up with the meaning. Again asking ‘why can I see a balaclava’ does not tell us anything about the actual context. If he wore one himself at sometime during his life – it’s a hit. If he once wore once in a play – it’s a hit. If he made his son or daughter wear one to school – it’s a hit. If his favourite poem was the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ (Battle of Balaclava) – it’s… well you get the idea.

Woman: “He always used to wear a balaclava to work.” [audience laughter]

Always? Throughout his entire working life? Even in the summer? Did this really define him as a person? Your dead father returns to speak to you and he vaguely mentions a balaclava?

CF: “He’s standing here in front of me, I can only see his silhouette, but what I can see is this balaclava. That…that’s the evidence, alright?

Woman: “Alright.”

CF: “I can see him more clearly now. I can see him (words indistinct) standing here in a pair of Long Johns, a vest and a balaclava. [more laughter]. A pair of Long Johns, a vest and a balaclava. Is there some way this is supposed to be evidential for you?

Okay I realize this is meant to be a lighter moment but I cannot imagine why anyone would use this (especially on television) as a means of identifying themselves to their daughter. If he constantly walked around like this then maybe, but the Long Johns (Long John are a type of underwear for those unfamiliar with the term) make what should be a tremendous moment become trivial and a little embarrassing. I for one would not thank a medium for portraying the memory of my dead father in this way.

Woman: “He used to work up the masts in ships and he had to wear them”

Such a pity Colin hadn’t asked, “Why is he showing me a ship?” then we would all have been as impressed as hell and it would have been a damn sight more relevant than mentioning his preferred underwear. Even better, though highly improbable, he could have said, “He’s showing me a ship which he used to work on. I can see him at the top of a mast.” I really can’t see any reason why, if actually in contact with her father, he shouldn’t be able to come up with something like this. Thus far cold reading would have achieved just as much.

CF: “Right, okay. And how many of you are related up here?” [pointing to back row].

Woman: “He’s my son and this is my daughter.” [pointing to each].

CF: [To son] “Okay thank you because that’s relevant because he’s seen you do something over the last few days. He says it’s not going to fit any better by forcing it.

This is really a question because Colin now pauses for the son to respond. My working definition of a question is if the psychic is trying to elicit and answer, by whatever means - then it's a question. Okay let’s be clear what Colin is saying. He asked about who was related because that fact was relevant. He speaks to the son so presumably his Granddad has told Colin that this is aimed specifically at him. The message is that “it’s not going to fit any better by forcing it”. This is still peppered with ambiguity. For a start he could have clarified what exactly “it” was. “Not going to fit” is also vaguer than say “It’s not going to fit in” or perhaps, “It’s not going to fit together”. As it is this statement could mean a number of things. It’s worth emphasizing again that using ambiguous language is an essential element of successful cold reading.

Son: [No response]

CF:What is it that just won’t go into place or won’t go in properly and you’ve been trying, I don’t know to force it or shove it in? [audience laughter at obvious sexual connotation]. Shows the calibre of audience I’ve got in. [son still shows no reaction] Hang on a minute, hang on a minute [CF speaking as it he’s had a sudden realisation]. This has shifted. I think I might be making a bit of a mistake. It’s not… I need to come back to you my love.” [pointing to mother]

Whoaaa. The son, who to me looks like he is far from convinced about all this, shows no reaction and worse yet for Colin doesn’t offer anything he can work with. If only the son had obliged by saying something like he was trying to move furniture around and it wouldn’t fit. Alas no such luck so suddenly Colin admits he’s made a ‘bit of a mistake’ by using the highly ambiguous statement “This has shifted”. What does that mean? No matter, it sounds good.

Woman: “Well I’m always fiddling around with things.”

CF: “No only within the last few days, I don’t want to go much more than a week. You’ve said to somebody, ‘Don’t force it’”.

More cold reading technique. Colin now increases his chances of making a hit by widening the possibilities. Note it could now be that the woman simply told someone not to force something.

Woman: “Well it’s my husband, he’s trying to get the back off a mobile phone.”

CF: [Referring back to son] “I apologise sir, alright. ‘Cause it just like.. shifted over.

Let’s back track a bit here. Firstly it was important to find out who was related to the mother. Having established this connection the son was clearly chosen. Next came the presumably important (yet strangely vague) announcement that “it’s not going to fit any better by forcing it”. Now we discover that the relatives on the show are in fact of no relevance at all and Colin may as well have just continued talking to the mother. Finally Colin gratefully accepts the woman’s interpretation i.e. that she expressed some sort of caution to her husband who was not in fact trying to force something to fit or “shove it in” but was in fact taking the back off a mobile phone. Her father came back to tell her that?? Okay believers out there will say that this was merely to provide something “evidential”. Something Colin could not have known himself (and clearly didn’t). But there are far better ways than this surely. All we got was a rather confused verbal fumbling that ended in a pointless piece of trivia.

CF: "Would you please understand, was Dad involved with an old people’s club or a senior citizen’s club?

Woman: “He used to go to a Labour Club.”

Not an “old people’s club” then. Once again we’re back on cold reading territory. This is a statement that had it turned out to be true might have sounded precise and specific but is of course likely to be true of a great many elderly people.

CF: Was it mostly older people there?

Oh please. Notice how “old people’s club/ senior citizens club” has now become a club that some older people went to. Did the woman really know the average age of the membership or was she simply being polite?

Woman: “Yeah.”

CF: “Right okay. Just he’s saying about a place where all the old codgers were. [audience laughter] His words not mine. Alright. Okay.

So he’s using ‘words’. Colin can hear him. So why didn’t he hear him say the Labour Club? Not only that but we never learn why this was supposed to be significant. It was just a couple of random and fairly pointless questions Colin threw out that the woman managed to make fit – just.

CF: Right, there’s quite an emotional feeling he’s giving me here. [at this point CF’s mood becomes more serious] It’s almost as if he’s upset for seeing you go through something. He said, ‘Tell her it wasn’t so bad in the end’.”

Woman: [Woman starts to cry]

CF: “It… I know it looked… [then, as if speaking directly to the deceased] alright sir, alright okay. [back to woman] I know it looked horrible but in the end it wasn’t so bad.”

This is obviously an emotional pressure point for the woman so, as we should expect from any cold reader, the statement is repeated so as to ram the point home. Once the emotions have been triggered it’s very hard to regain your objectivity. Not being emotionally involved ourselves we can see that Colin is once again leaving his options open by not specifying anything at all about this person’s death. For all we know at this point it could have been a heart attack, a car crash, an accident on board ship or the final stages of a long illness (in fact we learn later it is asbestosis). The sudden switch from the comedic situation with Long Johns and balaclava to the emotionally charged aspects of his own death seem out of place to me. Is her father likely to have behaved like this in life?

Woman: [Crying]

CF: “And he’s… upset for you because you thought he was going through so much pain… and distress at the end.”

Still staying firmly on the point.

Woman: “Yeah.”

CF: “He’s just saying honestly love it wasn’t so bad at the end.”

He obviously can’t let this point drop. He has mentioned, “it wasn’t so bad at the end” three times now plus one slight variation when he says “distress at the end”. At no time does he expand on the point and give some indication of what ‘the end’ was. It could be argued that he is doing this to spare the woman emotionally but I find this a little weak considering how he keeps repeating something that is making her cry.

Woman: “It’s alright.”

CF: “And I am now with my greatest love, which is what I wanted. Can you understand that?

Now clearly Colin feels unable to commit himself here. He uses the obviously ambiguous phrase “his greatest love”. I see no reason to speak this way unless you just haven’t got a clue who his greatest love was. Her own mother might well be alive. He really can’t risk saying anything too specific otherwise the whole verbally contorted edifice could collapse. As it is Colin once again leaves a variety of possibilities open, mother, wife (and don’t forget he could have been divorced) sister, son. Considering the communication Colin has supposedly established with the deceased man he seems unable to say anything remotely precise. If this is standard of evidence for post mortem survival they I won’t be joining the believers just yet.

Woman: “Probably his mother, yeah.”

CF: [to the deceased] “What… What… please sir, once more please. [to woman] What is this thing about frequent injections?

Woman: “Yeah, he used to have dozens in his back.”

Another question. If Colin had been given real information he could have been a lot bolder. For example he could have said, “He’s showing me a syringe and is pointing to his back.” In fact we are about to learn (from the sitter of course, not the medium) that strictly speaking these weren’t ‘injections’. They were needles inserted to drain fluid (i.e. extract not inject). I’ll accept though that in everyday language people might still use the word ‘injection’. However I probably don’t need to point this out again but this is yet another ambiguous phrase. He could have been an insulin dependent diabetic, he could have been given morphine or even an intravenous drip might be accepted as being injected.

CF: “Alright. It’s… the thought he’s giving me is that, absolutely sick of injections.”

Again a successful hit is being reinforced in order to drive it home. Colin’s terminology has now moved from actually being told something e.g. “his words, not mine” back to the more vague “the thought he’s giving me”.

Woman: “He had to have fluid drained off his lungs.”

CF: “Alright, okay. He doesn’t ……(indistinct)… to mention significance to you. He wanted to come and say hello. He wanted to come and express his love to you and he wanted more than anything to say to you, I know it looked awful for me at the end but it wasn’t so bad.”

Colin’s summing up. Yet again we get the “it wasn’t so bad at the end” As with most mediumistic readings we get told that the deceased sends their love.

Woman: Thank you.

CF: I’ll leave your dad’s love and your Granddad’s love with you.

----------- End of reading -----------------

Summary of Information provided - and by whom
Let’s now have a look at what information was provided and by whom.

Colin asked ten questions in all. The unassisted information he provided was;

1. Something to do with “cheese and chutney sandwiches”. This was offered to the entire audience and when it was taken up the chutney and sandwiches were forgotten. Not really of any significance at all in my opinion.
2. He could ‘see’ a balaclava but didn’t elaborate until receiving confirmation.
3. He could also ‘see’ a vest and a pair of Long Johns. As above.
4. Her father’s death “wasn’t so bad at the end”. Vague and likely to be correct in some way.
5. Your father sends his love. Obvious statement.

I haven’t included the old people’s home, the injections, or “something needed forcing” as these were questions and not statements.

The sitter herself provided the following information;

1. That her father was dead.
2. That he liked cheese but couldn’t eat it.
3. That her father used to wear a balaclava (but not when, how frequently or how often.
4. He wore Long Johns when working on a ship and climbed a mast.
5. That the two people with her were her son and daughter.
6. That she’s always fiddling around with things.
7. That her father used to go to a Loabour Club.
8. That some of it’s members were old.
9. That her father’s ‘greatest love’ was probably his mother (and by implication she is dead).
10. That he had his lungs drained via needles inserted into his back.

If this is typical of readings given by Colin Fry on “6ixth Sense” then I think he’s a pretty poor medium. I did not single out this reading. It was only the second time I had watched the programme. I may have a look at some others but carrying out an analysis like this takes time. First I have to transcribe the reading then type it up and then finally go through and analyse it. So far I’m not impressed.

So why make people cry on television? Why send them purile messages that you wouldn't even bother sending by text in life? Well basically it's 'entertainment'. Here's Living TV's disclaimer.

This is an entertainment
Programme only.

Differing opinions exist to the
true nature of clairvoyance
& clairaudience

Colin's official site seems to have gone off line ( but if you prefer you can go one of his courses in Sweden for around £500.

See Colin's college the International College of Spiritual Science and Healing.

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