Published on The Huffington Post
Last week, Sally Morgan -- a performer who bills herself as "Britain's best-loved psychic" -- sued the publisher of the Daily Mail for £150,000 for printing an article suggesting that she and other self-proclaimed psychics might be using trickery rather than mystical powers when they appear to talk to the dead.
Maybe the Mail's article (by magician and former psychic Paul Zenon) really did damage Sally Morgan's reputation so much that she needs the money. The irony is that just after that article was published, when the allegations that "Psychic Sally" was a cheat were front-page news, our organization along with peer organizations in the UK offered her $1,000,000 and the chance to clear her name, simply by proving her powers were real. Yet, she declined. Why?
If Sally Morgan is not a fraud, then the preliminary test we proposed to prove her powers should be easy. The test -- devised by Professor Chris French, Simon Singh, and the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) -- was based on the same routine she performs every time she takes the stage: looking at photographs of deceased persons and communicating with their spirits to learn their names.
Since 1996, The James Randi Educational Foundation has offered $1 million to any psychic who can prove their powers are real under fair conditions that prevent cheating. When challenged, many psychics have made excuses for why they won't put their powers to the test, saying they don't need the money or that they don't want to use their powers for financial gain. Neither of those excuses can work for Sally Morgan, since using her "powers" for financial gain is her full-time job, and she's telling a judge she needs £150,000 from the Daily Mail because Paul Zenon questioned her authenticity.
So what's Sally Morgan's excuse for turning down the chance to prove herself for $1 million? She never gave one, preferring instead to respond to the offer with the threat of a lawsuit.
When a celebrity "psychic" spends so much time and money trying to quash reports of fraud and silence people who question her claimed abilities... yet turns down a $1 million opportunity in order to avoid a simple test that could prove she's on the up-and-up... It makes one wonder if even Sally Morgan believes that Sally Morgan's powers are real.