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How Come We Always Have To Wait Until Night To Do This? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   

Common sense: Kids should be rewarded for good, not bad, behavior. The adults in their midst have a duty to discourage their anti-social, crazy, and excessively goofy tendencies, and to moderate any wild imaginative flights that could lead them to dishonesty, or to a permanent disfigurement of their budding worldviews. Most of all, adults must be square with them; mustn’t molest their cosmologies or affirm their infantile tendencies in such a way that the children will be mentally crippled or stunted. That’s my opinion.

Also my opinion: For the reasons above and probably several hundred more, Chip Coffey is one bad dude. Check out this clip from his show, Psychic Kids, the second season of which began airing last month, and continue reading after the jump. (I'd have embedded the vid, but its hosts have disabled that option. Probably to keep it from getting posted here.)

There is something almost goofily cynical about the show — about Coffey & Kids’ apparent lack of interest in providing even specious evidence for their claimed abilities. Shows about psychics were once based around the psychics’ “hits”; in Psychic Kids, the hits come only occasionally, and with little fanfare. It appears that the show’s producers believe our brains have been so tenderized by years of psychics and spirits that our already-meager reserves of skepticism have been drained completely. They see no need to sell us what we’ve already so eagerly bought.

So we are expected to nod wisely when co-host psychic Chris Fleming and a pubescent medium, apparently independently, both detect a “female” spirit at the top of a staircase; or when one of the kids, channeling Coffey’s dearly departed mum, says something that makes Coffey smile. “That’s just like her,” he says. If this is an attempt to convince us of something, it’s breathtakingly lazy. In these moments, Coffey reminds me of Michael Jackson in his guise as the Pied Piper of Neverland; gaily leading children into a fantasy world of their mutual devise. It looks harmless, like two lonely and immature souls bucking up each others’ lovely delusions. In fact, Coffey often seems like the loneliest, most immature person of them all. Walking his charges up the darkened staircase of an allegedly haunted house, holding aloft a tiny lantern as though it were the only thing staving back the devil himself, he stubbornly ignores the question posed by one young medium: “How come we always have to wait until night to do this?” Because, sweetie, nobody’s afraid of the monster under the bed at high noon.

I cannot say with certainty whether Coffey’s Kids are psychic, deluded, dishonest, or what. But it seems surpassingly unlikely that they are all psychic, especially since Coffey and Co. are so loathe to test their claims. For that reason, it is only in a world in which children are incapable of dishonesty or craziness that Psychic Kids make sense. If even one of the children to appear on the show is exhibiting not psychic power but pathological attention-seeking behavior, then Chip Coffey is responsible for informing that already-sick child that the way to get on television is to lie, lie, lie — and that if you lie enough, rich grownups will fawn over you and tell you you’re special.

At the end of most episodes of Psychic Kids, the children are put in touch with grieving non-psychics who’ve lost a loved one, either literally (as was the case with the season premiere, which featured a family whose son had disappeared) or figuratively (as in the episode linked to above, in which the little girls counsel a woman whose father has died). Watching it, I try to imagine how I’d feel if I was one of those kids, realizing suddenly that the progress of a missing persons investigation may partially rely upon my deployment of abilities I’m pretty sure I don’t possess. I know that this is the moment when I should come clean, yet — there is the TV camera; and there is the director, giving me a thumbs-up; and there is Chip Coffey, smiling kindly —

The kids make their choices on camera, with heads full of every adolescent insecurity, and live with those choices off-camera ever after.

 

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Child Abuse
written by HarveyC, January 14, 2010
I agree, with the above article. The one occasion I tried to watch this drivel, the children seemed to want to be anywhere but where they were. A&E used to have shows that were worth watching such as, "American Justice", an "Cold Case Files", but lately they are trying to tap into the paranormal scheme wchic it seems all channels are trying to tap into. So far of all of them have found, "NOTHING". I wonder if this will last beyond this next term????
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Come on
written by Sadhatter, January 14, 2010
So last weekend me and some friends decided to partake in a tradition we have dubbed Jagselvania in which we drink 20 shots of jag throughout a short amount of time.

Now we were about 16 shots in and i get my first taste of the show psychic kids. Sadly i missed it this week, but even drunk as hell we managed to call out exactly what was going to happen on this show. It is getting kinda sad that the " psychics" don't even have to try anymore. I remember the good old days when fox would have ( somewhat) well done fake videos of hauntings, or a one shot ( wrong) documentary about how a psychic has solved crimes, or things like that. Stuff that was at least saying " hey take a look at our evidence" even if it wasn't admitting it was bunk.

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written by KWC, January 14, 2010
A&E is bad enough but the fact that the History Channel and Discovery are about 50% woo now saddens me deeply.
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Adults encouraging children to make things up...
written by houdin654jeff, January 14, 2010
...is usually a good thing. Imagination is a wonderful tool that human beings have at their disposal. However, believing something like this in attention seeking kids is borderline irresponsible parenting. I blame The Sixth Sense, personally. Parents see it and listen to their kids when they talk about spirits, psychic powers and other such childhood imaginings.

If you're an adult who has decided to lie, cheat and bilk people out of their money using "psychic" abilities, that's your choice. Keep it up and you'll make enough enemies that the JREF will ask you to test it. If you're an adult convincing a child that they can do the same thing, you should not be a parent. This is very unhealthy behavior and is not good for these kids. Unfortunately, there is probably no legal recourse to get these kids into better homes... stupid legal system. Fortunately, I don't have cable, so I'm not contributing to this shows ratings. Hopefully it'll get cancelled soon.
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written by Kitty, January 14, 2010
As a teacher of young children, I can not bear to watch this show. It breaks my heart. Adults should be protective of children. Somewhere, someone is making money off of these kids and the show. That's not a good thing. Now I know parents are going to start asking "ohhh, do you think my child could be psychic?" I've had it with the starseed thing, and now I'm sure this will pop up.
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written by MadScientist, January 14, 2010
Are there any TV channels whoch are not channeling?

The state of the entertainment industry is truly deplorable; where are the original people like Ernie Kovacs? Every channel wants to ape the dumbest successful show of another channel - Big Brother, American Idol, Crossing Over, and on and on (nothing even close to Ed McMahon's Star Search).
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written by Holmstrom, January 14, 2010
Get these poor kids some therapy and acting classes.
I liked 'pitching woo' better the way Eddie Cantor did it!
Jeez!
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written by JohnRatti, January 14, 2010
A&E isn't the only ones supporting this crud. The Discovery Network ( as in Discovery, History, Military, ETC...), which I usually adore, have been doing this a lot lately. Things like Ghost Hunters, Monster Hunter, A Haunting, etc... all revolve around this new fascination with pseudo-science. I personally think of the Discovery channels as a great place to find "REAL" reality shows, documentaries and shows about science in general. The more they support this kind of stuff the more respect I lose for them.
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Kitsch sells, unfortunately
written by Michieux, January 15, 2010
I can recall during my childhood being extremely frightened by stories my elders would tell of ghosts and hobgoblins. Coupled with their manifold other character defects, including sending me to a Catholic school although they themselves weren't practicing Catholics, my childhood was a mostly sad, joyless one, the only redeeming feature of which was that I have devoted a good deal of my life to debunking the sorts of stupidity I was subject and exposed to.

To see this sort of irresponsible twaddle shown on TV today makes me very angry. Evidently those responsible have no conscience and no shame, and put their own lust for the almighty dollar above every other consideration.

I don't "buy" their "product," and, where possible, I don't buy their sponsors' products, either.

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written by kedo1981, January 15, 2010
I think that this is one of those cases where the JRF should call out the producers and or network in a very public and (loud) manner.
Would the network or producer take the JRF test, no, but would one of these kids do it (humm) or their parents, (remember anyone who prove the claim can win, not just the kid with the “power”.
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written by patrick767, January 15, 2010
Were it me, I'd make one small correction, Brandon.
But it seems surpassingly unlikely that they are all any of them are psychic, especially since Coffey and Co. are so loathe to test their claims.

Let's not call it impossible, but given how many so-called psychics have tried and failed to provide evidence that they have any such ability and the fact that precisely zero have succeeded, we can safely say that most likely none of the kids are psychic.
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'How To Sell Snake Oil To Children', by Chip Coffey.
written by CasaRojo, January 18, 2010
Check out the BS on Coffey's website forum as well as Psychic Kids' forum and the Paranormal State forum at A$E.
Coffey's members only (have to register): ---> http://chipcoffey.proboards.co...n=register

A$E Paranormal State forum, including Ryan Buell's (the creepy little boss) personal section:
---> http://community.aetv.com/serv...254205-p=1

A$E Psychic Kids forum:---> http://community.aetv.com/serv...254205-p=1
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Psychic kids- food for thought
written by matt6510, March 01, 2010
The thing about this show that really chaps my ass is the fact that these children and their parents are dealing with fear and are in a very sensitive and fragile state. These "psychics" and their producers are just playing on this fear and cashing in on the childrens/families vulnerablity, it's just plain wrong and irresponsible. I'm sure they would tell you "You just don't understand cus you're not psychic" like we don't have enough faith or something, and are too "close-minded" and unwilling or unable to recognize the reality of our surroundings. The real question is are they doing damage to these children and their futures? These kids seem to feel isolated and the show seems to make them feel more at-ease, confident and less fearful which are all good things but only by reinforcing their beliefs that they all have "psychic powers" without really even doing any tests or anything that would even help verify that these claims have any truth what so ever. These kids may feel better while they are at "psychic camp" but what happens when they get home and tell everybody they are psychic and they are not around people who are so eager to agree and believe them? Did A&E or the producers of this show think about that, or are they more concerned about the all mighty dollar? This show claims to help kids but I think it could have exactly the opposite result once the 15 minutes of fame ends.
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This show is soooo wrong on so many levels!
written by Bea, April 07, 2010


For the first time, I actually watched an episode of Psychic Kids during the commercial breaks of Deal or No Deal. Sitting through the whole thing would require restraints and sedatives!

No wonder people think psychics are full of s**t if this is what is pawned off as psychic ability. Chip is about as psychic as a doorknob. I have said it before and I will say it again. CHIP IS AS FAKE AS FAKE CAN BE WITHOUT ACTUALLY BEING MADE OF PLASTIC!

Just put me in a room with this fruitcake and give us the same people to read and all will know the difference between a true and very clear spiritual channel and whatever Chip thinks he is . . . because I don’t even know.

During this episode, these three sisters believe they are psychic . . . in fact, they have been smoking way too much pot.

Chip tests them by taking them to a dark tunnel in a “haunted house” which used to be used for the underground railroad and was also a munitions storage. One girl smells burning . . . brilliant. They sit there in the dark with Chip the Dip and it’s like . . . what the f**k. What on Earth does this have to do with psychic ability! In a word . . . NOTHING!

These girls are clearly troubled, scared and unhappy and looking for love in all the wrong places.
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Cold Readers In Training
written by William, April 09, 2010
These kids are nothing but cold readers in training. I watched one episode, and the girl seemed quite proud of her "hits", and yet somewhat disappointed by all the attention and the "gift" she has. John Edward has some up-and-coming competition!
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Well, I am French . . .
written by Bea, April 10, 2010
A charlatan (also called swindler or mountebank) is a person practicing quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception.

The word comes from French charlatan, a seller of medicines who might advertise his presence with music and an outdoor stage show. The best known of the Parisian charlatans was Tabarin, who set up a stage in the Place Dauphin, Paris in 1618, and whose commedia dell'arte inspired skits and whose farces inspired Molière. Ultimately, etymologists trace "charlatan" from either the Italian ciarlare, to prattle; or from Cerretano, a resident of Cerreto, a village in Umbria, known for its quacks.
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Skeptics can always use a good laugh!
written by Bea, April 17, 2010
http://autumnforestghosthunter.blogspot.com/

BILL NYE: Thank you, gentlemen. I think we’re ready for Ryan Buell at this point.

RYAN: (stands up and waves his arm with spooky music playing in the background, fog machine sending tufts of white fog around the panel and dressed all in black. He clicks on his hand-held recorder and speaks into it.) Director’s log. Imagine if you will that you live in a trailer park in Kokomo and every night something evil lurks over top of your bed. (leans forward and studies them through his squinting eyes and whispers scarily.) And, you feel the cold fingers of a demon encroaching on your warm living flesh, probing and edging his way to completely consuming you with unbridled passion so that he may possess your very soul! (slams his fist on the table for emphasis)

PSYCHIATRIST: Exactly what does this have to do with proof of ghosts, Mr. Buell?

RYAN: I’m going to demonstrate for you the absolute proof that demons exist and walk amongst us, waiting to take over the unfaithful. I’d like to present my dear friend and psychic, Chip Coffey. We have allowed a demon to enter his body and take him over. Now, I cannot tell you the name of the demon because I believe it’s the one that has been chasing me since my TV series began and if I reveal that name, it will basically mean I don’t get another season of the show. You see, I’m trying to hold out the suspense and prolong my contract. It’s a hard world for college graduates, which is why I’ve changed my major eight times in the past two years…

PSYCHIATRIST: Please, Mr. Coffey?

(Chip Coffey sashays forward)

RYAN: Demon, are you inside of my friend, Chip Coffey?

CHIP: (Deep scratchy voice with a suspiciously southern dialect) I am a demon from hell! I have inhabited this man’s body and will remain here until I have proven to the world that I exist.

PSYCHIATRIST: What is your purpose, demon?

CHIPsmilies/sad.gifhisses) I exist only to do the Devil’s bidding!

PSYCHIATRIST: And do you know that your host, Mr. Coffey is wearing a horrible scarf that doesn’t match his outfit? Aren’t you ashamed to be in his body?

CHIPsmilies/sad.gifputs his hands on his hips) How dare you! I take a lot of pride in the fact that I am an expert at matching my scarves to my clothes! Oh! (gasp) How dare you! (girlie head bob back and forth in anger, finger pointing) You, wearing your boring suit off the rack from Men’s Wearhouse!

PSYCHIATRIST: (rolls his eyes, leans back in his chair.) I rest my case. The only demons in Mr. Coffey are of the theatrical variety.

(Ryan ushers Chip from the room as he displays over the top histrionics and sobs like an adolescent girl in Ryan’s arms.)



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