A group of firm believers arrive laden with photographs and mementos, wearing the jewellery of their dead.
Silent mantras to dead mothers, fathers and children are sent into the ether of an almost 100 per cent female audience, who have all paid to see psychic medium John Edward receive messages from those who have “crossed over”.
Edward states that he sees, hears or feels messages or symbols that represent the energy of persons who have passed, and always asks audience members to “validate” what he is saying.
He says he is not an astrologist, but skeptics would say he is definitely a numbers man.
The theory is that Edward puts out statements with the hope that he will get a “hit” from the 400 member audience, and then starts ‘cold reading’ these people for facts.
If this is the case Edward is really good at both.
His comment of “I’m getting a strong smell” sees a woman in the audience stating her dead husband used to call her a hound dog because of her family’s extraordinary sense of smell.
At one stage he quickly turns to a particular area in the audience and says “someone over here is pregnant, not announced yet”, and a woman, who he seems to be directly looking at, shares information that she is about to have an embryo implanted through IVF, to which he shouts “congratulations”.
Another woman who is not the second wife of her dead husband, as Edward states, but the third wife, validates Edward reading that she has a close relationship with the child from that earlier marriage.
Yet another woman “validates” Edward comment that comes from completely left field that her friend’s mother left her husband for a woman.
The precise level of detail that Edward gets correct in his so called “hits” astounds the mind and leaves the parts that want to believe the authenticity of his practice pretty convinced.
But sometimes things get uncomfortable.
Another tactic raised by the skeptics is Edward apparent aggression towards people, pushing and probing and needling the person who fails to “validate” facts.
When he continues to say “I see a brain tumour” and the lady cannot seem to find anything related to this he presses this lady again and again, even threatening to stop and perform no more readings until the validation occurs.
The verbal assault stops when the lady finally pipes up, “the only thing that I think it might be is, on the way here in the car we were talking about cysts and, we get cysts on our heads”.
It is not a tumour, but it seems to satisfy the medium.