Status: Psychic mumbo-jumbo
This week Channel Five in the UK will begin airing a documentary about Derek Ogilvie, a guy who claims to be a "Baby Mind Reader." That's right, he can read the minds of infants and tell desperate parents why their little darlings won't sleep, or why they're fussy about eating, or why they cry all the time, etc., etc. The Scotsman
has a pretty sympathetic article about him, describing him as a "respected Scottish medium." The Sunday Times
, however, rakes him over the coals much more, pointing out that:
He used to drive a Rolls Royce and own three of Glasgow’s most fashionable bars until a nightclub venture failed six years ago and he was declared bankrupt. Now he has reinvented himself as a psychic who claims to be able to communicate telepathically with babies.
Ogilvie says that he understands people are skeptical of his claims, but that he's willing to submit himself to rigorous scientific scrutiny to prove his abilities. Yeah, I've heard that before. Psychics and other charlatans say this all the time, but if they ever actually submit themselves to any tests and then fail them (as they inevitably do) they're full of all kinds of excuses: "The negative energy of the researcher blocked my powers," etc.
has examined some tapes of Ogilvie in action and concludes that he's simply cold reading
(i.e. throwing out random guesses in the hope that some of them will strike gold). They write that: "It is bad enough to take advantage of grieving people for your own gain, but to take advantage of children and a Mothers love for her children, both dead and alive, is a whole new level of evil." (Thanks to Kathy for the heads up about Ogilvie.)