Discussions about Psychics and Psychic Phenomena, Extra Sensory Perception, Telepathy, Psi, Clairvoyancy, 6th Sense, Psychokinesis, etc.
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I went to see John Edward last night and below is a detailed review of the experience based on MY observations only. My wife had her own, and my observation before, during, and after are that virtually everyone else had their own experience. Before I begin, many of you know that I am a pretty stead-fast skeptic, but I will write it as honestly as I can. I would also like to say that as you’ll read, we were not allowed to have our cell phones on so the notes I was hoping to take during the show could not happen as I was planning on using my smart-phone and didn’t have a pen. I will say that I had anticipated some hot reading through the course of the night being that we all had to give our personal information when purchasing the $90 tickets, but I truly believe that he did not look up our personal information in advance. Also, to prevent anticipation, I sadly did not get a reading from him and my recently deceased parents are still MIA from contact.
The performance had been rescheduled from last Summer when he was unable to make it to town due to flight delays. It was held in an old theater that seats about 2,500 people and I would estimate that about 1,500 people were in attendance. As a show of sympathy for having to reschedule, he offered a free extra seat for a guest for each ticketholder. These seats were in the balcony and I wasn’t able to see how many people took him up on that offer. I offered my extra seats to two friends who sat up there, but I haven’t spoken to them yet about their experience. My wife and I sat 10 rows from the stage, just off center stage left. The audience was primarily female. I took a sample statistic and counted 4 men in 5 rows of 10 for a 92% female ratio.
The first thing I noticed was the buzz from those waiting in line at the box office and the lobby. I overhead three or four different sets of people sharing experiences of people they hoped he would be able to contact. I also heard discussions of readings that they had seen him do as well as readings from the Long Island Medium and the princess of dead people communication, Sylvia Browne. They were all positive and I didn’t hear one person say anything negative about any of the mediums. In the center of the lobby was a table that was swarmed with people with yellow pieces of paper with a young lady in an old hooded sweatshirt and faded blue jeans sitting at the table. I had to see what this was all about so I went over and these people were filling out forms to be a member of John’s Fan Club called “The Five.” The membership cost $60 ($75 if you sign up online) and just for joining, members received a welcome letter, a signed book, 2 rose appreciation pins, 25% off coupon for johnedward.net, and “EXCLUSIVE” immediate access to attend live after show conversation and answer sessions; access to his weekly episodes of “Evolve,” (his online show now that Crossing Over has been axed) access to his electronic book, and “the opportunity to receive tickets to a filming of Evolve and get to sit on the new set fora (sic) taping of the show.” Additionally, each month, 5 members of “The Five” will receive a phone reading, a chance to have a question answered, a pair of tickets, and appreciation packs of his products.” Wow, where do I sign up! (Okay, I didn’t…”)
Once inside the theater, I noticed that the same yellow piece of paper had been folded and placed on every seat in the theater--even the seats that were left empty. So, I got a copy if anyone wants to register, just let me know and I’ll e-mail it to you.
Funny side note: We quickly found our isle seats and shortly thereafter a gentleman and his wife approached me and said I was in the wrong seat. I looked at his ticket and his were for the row in front of us, but as it turned out, they were both meth-heads and couldn’t sit still throughout the entire show which was quite annoying. They both left at different times of the show and came back a few minutes later. Bathroom or sniff? Not sure, but I have a good guess. They both gave him a standing “O” when he came out though! (And no, I didn’t stand… J )
At promptly 7:05 p.m., the same hooded sweatshirt girl in faded jeans came on stage and gave the pre-show rules. No photography or filming, turn cell phones to off (and not just to vibrate! Yes, I mean YOU!), and how traffic on I-40 is the worst (Duh-I would have thought that one of his spirit guides would have told him to take the detour between Memphis and Little Rock, but alas, I digress to skepticism. Sorry.) The stage had only a small stool. No microphone stand, no table, and, what I thought was odd, no water. I don’t think I could talk for 2-hours straight without water, but obviously John’s the man.
And with that, she walks off and hands the microphone over to the one and only, John Edward. Cheers, applauds, more cheers and applauds, some whistling, and the 1/10 of the audience who stood up. The time was exactly 7:10 p.m. John has obviously been working out as he was in very good physical shape (claims he lost 30 lbs). He was wearing a dark blue polo shirt (un-tucked) and blue jeans. And my wife thought I was underdressed!
Before I continue with the show review, I want to make a note about human behavior that is common knowledge, but what I believe is paramount to a demonstration of an experience with a psychic. People don’t remember specifics. As soon as the show was over, my wife and I began a discussion about the last person who was read and although the last reading was a mere 10 minutes prior, we both had already remembered things differently. The emotional response from a believer must be so overwhelming that specifics and the desire to actually have contact with their loved ones must be so great that I am certain that virtually all people who are read do not remember what was said unless it is recorded. In the case of this audience, I doubt anyone was able to record it.
John began by apologizing for missing the last show. As I’m sure you know, he is an extremely fast talker and doesn’t appear to breathe. He went on to tell stories about his past, his show Crossing Over (do you know that it’s been 10 years since that show was on the air! My how time flies.) After about 10 minutes of listening about his time in the Atlanta airport and his upbringing, he began to speak about how he was recently tested at the University of Arizona (the one and only Dr. Gary Schwartz, I presume). He claimed that one of the tests involved him having to give a reading to a person who was behind a screen and the person was not allowed to talk. He said this freaked him out because part of how he gives readings has always been receiving feedback (no shista?!). However, he said that his readings during this test proved to him that he didn’t need feedback from the receiver as he was still successful even without contact with the person. He was straightforward in saying that thanks to that experience, he no longer needs the feedback so he doesn’t ask questions any longer to the person. He just tells them what he sees. Of course, I was excited by this revelation, however, I can truthfully and honestly say that his method of presentation of a reading hasn’t changed in all the years I’ve been watching him on TV. He still relied on questions and responses from the audience. I do wish I had a different story to present on that subject, but I am being quite honest.
He then stated that he would pick five people from the audience for questions so several people raised their hands and he picked his five.
The first question from the audience was a lady just a couple rows right in front of us. Before her question that I don’t remember, she exclaimed that her and her friend are “huge fans of John Edwards.” I had to giggle at that since this huge fan didn’t even know the dude’s name.
The second question was about those who have passed away but still on the earth and he said he usually isn’t able to communicate with them, but everyone has their own interpretation of crossing over and spirits who walk among us.
The third question was being posed and he abruptly stopped them and asked who Abigail was. He said he was seeing an “ABG” which usually means Abigail or Abby. Oh, and it’s a mother figure. They didn’t have a clue. Some people right above them in the balcony said they had an Aunt who went by Abby and he went to them and continued to miss 4 out of the next 5 questions he asked them. (Yes, I counted.) He continued back and forth between the back row and the balcony, but with the exception that this guy (obviously from the south) had gone on a trip with his Dad to Alabama and ate shrimp, I don’t remember anything special materializing.
Instead of finishing with the questions, he began the reading of another lady in the audience who matched a profile he was looking for. Her deceased husband’s name matched one he was looking for from the people in the balcony (Marvin, I believe he said). I will say that he had a couple good hits with this new lady. John asked her if she was going overseas soon and her daughter who was standing next to her said that she used to be in the military and lived in Saudi Arabia. He told her yes, he’s seeing 1994 and she said no, that was between 1990 and 1991. He said he’s seeing ’94 and ’95, what’s important about those dates. When nothing came of that, he then moved on and was insistent about someone in her family and milk out of a big metal container. They were both perplexed about that, but the lady next to them said that her cousin used to work in a school cafeteria. He went to the milk lady for a minute, but then when he asked her about the importance of the letter “R,” the other lady he was just talking too butted back in and said that all 8 siblings in her family all have names that start with the letter “R.” By god there just might be something to this medium stuff.
Then came the highlight of the evening when something he said made a few girls in the front row stand up. I don’t remember what their hit was, but after a bit of mother figure stuff, he asked what was important about a cat. None of them had cats or what could have been important about a cat. He then asked if anyone in the audience knew these people and a lady a couple rows behind me stood up and said she ran a restaurant and those girls come in all the time. “Hi ladies!” she shouted. Okay, so did she have a cat? No. John said I’m seeing “C-A-T,” which usually means a cat. Well, her son’s name is Carter. John -“That’s it!” (How a cat turned into a boy’s name of Carter, I’ll never know, but I digress.) J - “So your son’s name is Carter?” Lady -“Yes.” J-“And he’s passed on?” L-“No. He’s a happy 3-year old, but his Dad passed away.” J-“In December? Cause I’m seeing the number 12?” L- “No, it was in November.” J-“Was his birthday in December?” L- “No, but we got married in December.” (L begins to sob) J- “That’s it! He’s telling me to tell you to get along with his parents. Do you understand that?” L-“Yes, kind of. They baby sit Carter a lot” J-“And he’s telling me something about a piercing. Do you understand that?” L - “Um, I have piercings, but it’s not a big deal or anything we ever talked about.” J-“He’s telling me about the piercing to validate him as there’s no way I could have known about a piercing, is there?” L-“Um, no” J-“He just wants you to know to make sure you know he’s okay and watching over Carter.” Note, she never said where her piercings were, but they could certainly have been her ears. He made it sound like it was in a naughty place, but she never confirmed that. She did a lot of sobbing.
And then the hooded sweatshirt lady comes over the mic and says he only has time for one more question, which he answered but didn’t read. He then had us do an energy exercise for a minute, said thanks and concluded with what he always said during his TV shows, and then he literally ran off the stage at 9:10 p.m.--exactly two hours after he started.
Well that is about it. I will say that I’ve since heard from our friends who went with us and sat in the balcony that after seeing him, they were even more convinced he was the real deal. One goes to Psychic Palm Readers often and the other lost her son a couple years ago--for what it’s worth. My wife said there were two occasions where she was baffled at how he came up with what he said (The “R’s” and “Carter”). Myself, I tried to count how many questions he asked, but he was just too fast. My guess is out of the six people he did actual readings on, he asked or stated things at least 25 times each, but he talked so fast that it was probably closer to 50. (Note, if he said “I’m seeing Pam, Pat, Paul--a short name that starts with P,” then I would count that as 3 guesses, wouldn’t you?) If there were two occasions that he got spot on (again, according to my wife), then that’s a 1 in 50 shot of guessing something right about someone. The reaction from the crowd as we left the auditorium was odd in my opinion. My observation was that the majority of people were rather silent as they left. Silence due to amazement, rejection, confusion, information overload, emotion, or something else I’m not sure. But it was rather silent whereas if someone had done something truly extraordinary, I would have thought it should have been abuzz with excitement.
And that’s all I have to say about that. Would I go see him again in a public setting? No. Would I sit in with him for a private reading? Yes--if I could tape it.
Again, sorry if I rambled. I truly want to be fair in this critique and I know that my skepticism came out a time or two, but then again, is it skepticism or is it critical thinking? I’d like to believe critical thinking. If y’all have any questions, just ask!
From observing JE on his TV show (it might have taken a few more years to get to Oz! Or has it really been 10?) I drew the conclusion that he has some sort of basic psychic ability to read minds of the audience members. I have grave doubts he genuinely channels spirits of dead people, or can communicate with them effectively, or that they show up at his beck and call, rather he just picks ideas and names from the minds of living audience members, many of which are about their relatives of course, as you point out with the audience makeup and their belief in him -- many women value their relationships and kin highly. His picking of random thoughts in the audience is borne out in your observations time and again also -- just getting 'Abby' from somewhere in the room, getting 'R's from the person next to the person he's focussing on, CAT to Carter -- who was a living relative, not a dead one, etc. It's very scattergun.
Also, whenever he's pretended to channel a dead relative, I've noticed he just gets a couple of names for the relatives, then he says something very trivial like 'they say they're happy, don't worry about a thing' or something platitudinous like that. Or 'he just wants you to know to make sure you know he’s okay and watching over Carter' as noted.
I've seen something similar each time I've seen him on TV, which is not often -- he once channelled a name while talking to an audience member and it turned out to be associated with the cameraman behind him lol.
So, fake and legit at the same time. He has a basic ability, as do a percentage of people, but unfortunately he presents it as something other than it is and misleads a great many people for money. Hence the silence and the confusion as you point out of the people leaving, feeling somewhat dissatisfied although they had seen 'something'.
I now know several genuine psychics who 1) crap all over him in terms of reading minds and people's living networks and their fortunes accurately, and 2) crap all over him in actually being able to communicate with and see spirits. I've never understood how the guy got a TV series and so much fame on such little real ability. Just from being a motormouth maybe.
That is a most excellent recount (sans written notes) and it sounds like what I will call, "the usual dog and pony show".
I had been watching his repeats on afternoon TV to try and compare it to an article that I had read about him. The repeats didn't stay around long enough (replaced by 'Rosanne') for me to notice any sort of pattern with an Edward reading.
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