was basically it although I have probably forgotten a great deal.
He made a big show at the end arguing with the Director and saying
that they were trying to make him look stupid. This was obviously
for my benefit. He yet again mentioned that damn 'butterscotch'.After
leaving the set I couldn’t help feeling
that something wasn’t quite right. The constant ‘evasiveness’ from
the time I arrived to the time I left had
made me a little wary but only because I thought it would be biased
in favour of psychics and I would be tricked. This obviously not
being the case left me somewhat confused. It felt "wrong"
but for the life of me I couldn’t think why anyone would
set me up. After all, despite a fair few brief TV appearances,
I really am unknown. When
I arrived back home and relayed the day’s events to my family
I felt I should, just for the record, say something about my reservations.
So I sent a quick email to the Assistant Producer (14th December
Hi ****, All went well -
I think. If "Shirley" is
a medium then I'm a lion tamer! Cheers, Tony
couldn’t really be specific because it still seemed so
unlikely that any TV company would go to the trouble of setting
me up. I suppose I should feel flattered that they did. I never
received a reply to this email.
next day (Wednesday 15th December 2004)
The day after filming I reluctantly came to the conclusion that
this must have been a set up of some kind. But
if it was a spoof then I knew no TV company would go to all this
trouble just for me. Recalling Wendy's name had also been mentioned
I sent her an email, but as we had not been in touch for sometime
this turned out to be an old address. I had copied in another friend
who knew us both as a sort of back up. This
is the email I sent…Hi
I haven't emailed either of you for so long I'm not sure my address
book is up to date so maybe you won't get this at all!
I took part in a programme yesterday being put together by Tiger
Aspect. Anyway I was checking to see if you were involved in anyway
or knew anyone who was (at one point they mentioned you)? Basically
it was an obvious set up but not so obvious to me at the time.
It is obviously going to be a "taking the piss out of people" type
programme but whether it was aimed specifically at sceptics or
involved believers as well, I have no idea.
The "medium" was so over the top, and so bad, that in
normal circumstances you would fall over laughing. It was the fact
that some mediums really are like that, although not to that degree,
that held me back. At the time I wasn't sure who was setting up
who but it's obvious that I was in fact the 'mark'.
I'm probably too late but if you're approached then be careful.
she did get my message and she had already done some research and
discovered the true identity of 'Shirley' and had confronted the
Assistant Producer with this information. In fact to date we know
of 5 of us who were set up - there could be more. Who knows? When
I originally wrote this the AP still thought I was in the dark and
although he had contacted at least some of the others he had not
spoken again with me. In fact if I have a problem with my own involvement
it was the continued silence and only ever being contacted when
they discovered they had been rumbled. It seems they operated a
'need to know' policy which makes me wonder about how straight they
were with other unwitting contributors. Normally I would have expected
to be contacted and had the true purpose explained to me, then,
and only then, would I be asked to sign a release form and not as
I was being hurried out the door.
Well yes I was, at least for a time but I should have spotted it
sooner dammit. Various things stopped me from working out what
was happening during the actual filming. Firstly as already mentioned
I never considered myself a worthy target (and maybe they still
won't actually use anything from my contribution anyway). Secondly
most of the time skeptics are brought in in the expectation that
they will ridicule mediums & psychics but in my defence although
I always attack their claims, vigorously if necessary, I’m
not there to attack them as people. “Shirley” was obviously
gay, very loud and more than a little theatrical but none of those
things are relevant to determining his ability as a medium, which
was what I had been asked to do.
Let me say again, yes it is pretty funny at times although other
bits are purile nonsense My own view is that it would have
worked much better as a 1 hour special. Please feel free to
email me if you have any comments of your own. firstname.lastname@example.org
more Shirley stuff
Apart from Chris French the other skeptics who appeared were Wendy
Grossman and Nick Pullar.
can read Wendy Grossman's account here and Nick
even provides a clip of her appearance: