Saturday 27 September 2008

The Million Dollar Mind Reader

On the UK's Channel Five TV last Thursday night we were treated to an hour-long documentary in the Extraordinary People strand - the Million Dollar Mind Reader, about Derek Ogilvie, who had a series in 2006 on the same channel called The Baby Mind Reader. (1/5) (2/5) (3/5) (4/5) (5/5)

(Thanks to threespeed79 for posting the YouTube videos.*)

Credit must go to Derek Ogilvie for stepping up to the challenge. That he did so reinforces the impression given in the documentary that he genuinely believes he has psychic powers. A charlatan would know that he or she stood very little chance of coming through a proper scientific test. How many other high-profile 'psychics' have accepted James Randi's Million Dollar Challenge? Maybe some are in the process, but, so far, no others have been tested.

After his miserable performances at, firstly, Goldsmiths College, University of London (under the supervision of Professor Chris French), and secondly at the University of Miami, Florida, where he was tested by Randi, Ogilvie willingly submitted to some EEG tests that apparently showed something unusual going on in his brain, but the scientist concerned too readily linked this to some kind of 'ability'. So what if Ogilvie is able to go into a kind of semi-trance when he does his readings - that doesn't mean he's psychic. Googling the the scientist himself doesn't inspire confidence in his scientific rigour, bringing up this website (amongst others) for Dr. Gerald Gluck, PhD.

Derek Ogilvie: genuine person? Possibly. Genuine psychic? No.

(*Also available via BitTorrent, here.)