Is There Really Psychic Sight? Ch 4 new Documentary

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Is There Really Psychic Sight? Ch 4 new Documentary

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:37 pm

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Re: Is There Really Psychic Sight? Ch 4 new Documentary

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:43 pm

More about this from the Daily Mail

"Indeed, aside from playing Baldrick in Blackadder, it is Time Team, where he forages around in archaeological holes, and latterly, Unexplained, in which he attempts to unravel some of the psychic mysteries, myths and legends of the past, that he is best known.

This month, Robinson returns to our screens with his Unexplained co-presenter Becky McCall, to take a look at longstanding historical mysteries and see if they stand up to scrutiny, in a series of three one-off documentaries. It's a territory ripe for cynicism, and definitely a departure for the down-to-earth Robinson, though he insists he approached filming with an open mind. 'Like most of my generation, half of me is a sceptic and half is an old hippy,' he says.

Baldrick finds stability
Each documentary centres on a notorious case, starting with Helen Duncan, psychic to Winston Churchill, who was investigated by MI5 and tried under the Witchcraft Act. In the second episode, Robinson investigates a group of housewives who believe that, in their former lives, they were part of an ancient Christian sect, the Cathars, who were persecuted by the Catholic Church.

In all the documentaries, vital information appears to have come from a source beyond our normal understanding, whether it be clairvoyance, 'psychic archaeology' or past-life regression.
Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson) and Baldrick (Robinson) as the unlikely duo in one of Britain's best-loved comedies
As part of filming, Robinson tried some of the paranormal activity for himself. While in regression therapy, he apparently transformed into a subaltern in the Indian Army in the 19th century. 'It's a period of history I know nothing about, yet there I was, talking in this very gruff voice about how I was on sentry duty. It was very odd.'

Robinson's life today is very different from the one he may once have anticipated as a jobbing actor. The son of a London council worker, he started acting at the age of 11, and went on to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

Years of theatre work followed, and he may still have been at it to this day were it not for a phone call from TV producer John Lloyd in 1982, asking him to audition for the role of Baldrick.
'So many people had turned the part down and the pilot was to be made in three days. So, in desperation, they turned to me,' he recalls. 'I think John had seen me in some production being vaguely comic and small, and there we were. I never thought anything much would come of it.'
How wrong he was: 25 years on, the show has passed into TV folklore; a comedy powerhouse. Such is the public's affection for it that the cast of Blackadder appeared in a one-off anniversary documentary on Christmas Day - although the show nearly foundered after Rowan Atkinson first declined to take part. 'Getting him onside is like trying to corral a randy sheep,' says Robinson. 'He's rather shy.'

As for Robinson, despite his happy domestic set-up, he confesses to having an 'incredible drive' when it comes to his work.
'I've always wanted to be successful - my phenomenal drive is embarrassing,' he admits.
The idiot Baldrick (Robinson) gets a dressing-down from Blackadder (Atkinson) in a scene from the show's third series
'The good thing now, though, being older, is that while I still have that ambition, I'm now able to channel it more generally into my work; into allowing others to be good if it means that the work is good. Ambition is so often seen as a dirty word, but it's only vulgar when it's inappropriate.'
Still, even he took some time off for Christmas to be with Louise. 'I section off three weeks at Christmas, a week in spring and three weeks in summer. Nothing will affect that,' he says.
Such commitment raises the question of whether Robinson might marry again, although he deflects the question with good-natured humour. 'If I do, I will make sure you are the first to know,' he smiles.

And, with that, he prepares to take the short stroll back to his home, where his young girlfriend awaits him. Happily for Robinson, it seems his professional ambitions have left room for dividends on the personal front, too.

• Tony Robinson's new series, Unexplained, starts off with Tony Robinson And The Blitz Witch, on Monday on Channel 4 at 9pm"
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Re: Is There Really Psychic Sight? Ch 4 new Documentary

Post by Admin on Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:38 am

Hmm the Guardian was not impressed.

Sam Wollaston The Guardian, Tuesday 30 December 2008

"Baldrick, who's always expanding his portfolio with archeology, history, crime and punishment, you name it, is now taking on the paranormal with Tony Robinson and the Blitz Watch (Channel 4). He's got himself a glamorous sidekick, in the form of scientist Becky McCall, because, let's face it, he needs one. And they're investigating the strange case of Helen Duncan, a wartime medium who knew about the sinking of a British ship before anyone else did.

Actually, it turns out she didn't - the families of the 861 men who died had already been told, so it's possible Helen could have found out about it. The authorities didn't see it that way, and tried her for witchcraft. Bloody idiots. Even Churchill got involved and called the charge "obsolete tomfoolery".

It's extraordinary that anyone took her seriously, especially when you see the photos of her covered in "ectoplasm". It looks as if she wrapped herself in a white bandage, and if that made her psychic, and a danger to the state, then someone needs to arrest Mr Bump pretty damn sharpish, too."
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Re: Is There Really Psychic Sight? Ch 4 new Documentary

Post by zerdini on Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:15 am

The Guardian is notorious for its anti-paranormal stance so one can disregard their remarks.

I watched the programme which was poorly researched in spite of having the services of Roy Stemman.

The statement in the Daily Mail that "starting with Helen Duncan, psychic to Winston Churchill, " is incorrect - there is no evidence for this whatsoever.

The second programme about Bligh Bond and Glastonbury was equally poorly researched.

What was the point of having Becky Mccall, a freelance science journalist, along? Was it supposed to add gravitas to the programme? Or was she taking the role of the token sceptic?

Like all such programmes they need to be taken with a large pinch of salt.

Z

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Re: Is There Really Psychic Sight? Ch 4 new Documentary

Post by zerdini on Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:33 am

A reviewer in the "Leicester Mercury" wrote:

...The show becomes less about Duncan than another Richard Dawkins-style exposé.

But blimey, it was a tough life being a medium. They were given a full cavity search – no details were given, but you had the feeling it was worse than getting the once-over from Colombian customs officials.

This is one of those programmes set up to make the viewer feel part of the investigation. But, given that the story must be well-documented, it doesn't convince. For example, when Tony announces that "new evidence has come to light", he just means they've got to the next chapter of the book they're following.

So, was she a fraud? They don't really know.

Do you, Robinson asks Duncan's granddaughter, still feel she's around? "Oh yes," says the elderly lady. "My grandmother's always been with me – ever since the day she died.''

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Re: Is There Really Psychic Sight? Ch 4 new Documentary

Post by obiwan on Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:31 am

zerdini wrote: Or was she taking the role of the token sceptic?

Like all such programmes they need to be taken with a large pinch of salt.

Z
It was full of the usual sceptics (pun intended) as far as I can see French, wiseman etc. Maybe I am biased but the sceptics often appeared to be misdirecting people with their inappropriate debunking examples. On the other hand the witnesses to HD particularly appeared rational and reasonable to me. This programme really disappointed me.

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Re: Is There Really Psychic Sight? Ch 4 new Documentary

Post by Admin on Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:55 pm

Thanks for the feedback Obi and Z its a shame they cannot seem to put on a decent unbiased show.

I guess because of "Baldrick's" involvement it will eventually turn up over here.
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Re: Is There Really Psychic Sight? Ch 4 new Documentary

Post by zerdini on Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:38 am

HI Jim

These were the two sceptical reserchers quoted in the programme:

Chris French Ph.D....

...often appears on British radio and TV in the role of an "informed skeptic". He is the editor of The Skeptic magazine, a publication of the British and Irish Skeptics, produced and distributed by CSICOP. He is head of the Psychology Department of Goldsmith's College in the University of London, where he is also head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit.

The purpose of this unit is primarily to investigate "why people believe in the paranormal" and it has "only a secondary interest in whether psi may, on rare occasions, naturally operate." French is under no illusions as to the prejudices of many of his colleagues. "Most psychologists could reasonably be described as uninformed skeptics - a minority could reasonably be described as prejudiced bigots - where the paranormal is concerned". ( The Skeptic 14(9)) He is also more self-aware than most skeptics about his own prejudices.

As he wrote in The Skeptic, 14(4): "I am biased in my approach to evidence relating to the paranormal…..I make no claim to be a neutral assessor of the evidence". He takes the view that the on-going debate about the existence of psi "is more consistent with the notion that psi is a powerful illusion rather than the idea that it is real and we are making progress in understanding it". Nevertheless, he concedes that: "Many of the most sophisticated experimental designs within parapsychology are easily on a par with the best psychological studies. Furthermore, some parapsychologists appear to produce evidence in support of the existences of paranormal forces even from such apparently well-controlled experiments." In the end, he concludes, "only time will tell".

Richard Wiseman Ph.D.is a fellow of CSICOP, a consultant editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, and an associate of Rationalist International. Having started his career as a conjuror, he took a degree in psychology (University College, London) and a PhD in parapsychology from Edinburgh University, and is now based in the Psychology Department at the University of Hertfordshire.

His speciality is the psychology of lying and deception, and he is the author of Deception and Self-Deception: Investigating Psychics.

He is Britain’s most ambitious and ubiquitous media skeptic and has appeared in hundreds of TV and radio programmes. In 1995 he was awarded a Perrott-Warrick research fellowship for psychical research, and according to his web site has received more than £400,000 sterling in grants. He has been at the centre of many controversies with researchers in parapsychology, and has often been accused of deliberately misrepresenting data.

In 1995, he replicated Rupert Sheldrake’s results with a dog that knows when its owner was coming home, and then claimed to have debunked the 'psychic pet' phenomenon ( www.sheldrake.org/controversies/ ).
He has been described by the President of the Parapsychology Association as motivated by "obvious self-interest", and by a desire "to support an a priori commitment to the notion that all positive psi results are spurious and all methods which seem to show the presence of psi are flawed" (see ganzfeld controversy).

In December 2000 he carried out what he described as the 'world’s biggest ESP experiment' which, like many of his activities, was widely publicised in the media. A skeptical observer of the experiment claimed that he had designed the experiment to fail and interfered with the procedure in such a way as to gain the non-significant result he expected. (See O'Neill - Wiseman controversy).

In September 2004 he took part in a classic CSICOP debunking excercise, claiming that a young Russian girl who had seemingly psychic powers of diagnosis had failed a test he and his fellow skeptics designed. In fact the girl scored at a level well above chance. Prof Brian Josephson, FRS, a Nobel Laureate in physics, investigated Wiseman's claims about this test and found them to be seriously misleading: see www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/propaganda/

Mary Rose Barrington of the SPR takes Wiseman and his colleagues to task in The Natasha Demkina Case

By the autumn of 2004, after a series of other very questionable claims, widely publicized in the media, many of his peers in the parapsychology research community concluded that his behaviour was not consistent with commonly-accepted standards of scientific integrity, and he was voted off the main research forum in parapsychology by a large majority.

In addition, for similar reasons, some members of the Society for Psychical Resaerch called for him to be expelled for the Society. He resigned.


Despite his strong skeptical beliefs, in 2004 he applied for the newly-established chair of Parapsychology in Lund, Sweden, which was endowed to promote research in this field.

The Mexican, Etzel Cardeña, was appointed to the post.

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Re: Is There Really Psychic Sight? Ch 4 new Documentary

Post by Admin on Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:32 pm

Thanks Z great information with people likee that on the team what chance do we have of a decent result from this programme
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