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Apr 22 2014

Is ‘Cell Block Psychic’ a New Low for ‘Psychics’ and TV?

Television these days is mostly a vast wasteland of stupidity but this new show may take the cake: Cell Block Psychic features “psychic” con artist Vicki Monroe talking with convicted murderers to put them in touch with the “spirits” of their victims.

A new TV series featuring a psychic who allegedly talks to spirits connected with convicted murderers and crime victims is coming under fire from those who work with grieving families.

“Cell Block Psychic” features Maine-based medium Vicki Monroe attempting to communicate with the otherworld to provide closure to the loved ones of murder victims.

Monroe uses a technique of speaking with the dead known as cold reading. Spirits supposedly send images or phrases, and she asks the people she’s talking with to fill in the blanks.

“I’m getting the letter R? Does that mean anything to you?” Yeah, he raped her before he killed her. Is that close enough, you fraudulent ghoul? If you’re really in touch with “spirits,” why can’t they just tell you the name you’re grasping for? Why does this only work through a very old technique used by con artists forever to convince the credulous that they’re magic?

This is absolutely disgusting, even for an obvious flim flam artist like Monroe, whose track record of being flagrantly wrong in her “psychic” predictions is easily documented. Among her predictions for 2013 was that Congress would ban automatic and semi-automatic weapons. Oh, and that the Boston Red Sex would not be in the World Series (they won it) and that Tom Cruise would leave Scientology.

29 comments

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  1. 1
    gshelley

    She was once interviewed on the “Righteous Indignation” podcast, and talked about how there were a lot of fake psychics out there, who use cold reading and demonstrated an actual knowledge of the type of techniques these people use. She told the hosts she didn’t approve of such things and didn’t do them in her own readings
    She then gave them a reading and it was about as classic example of cold reading with Barnum statements and everything you might hope for as you could possible hear.

  2. 2
    Doug Little

    Oh, and that the Boston Red Sex would not be in the World Series (they won it)

    What is this red sex of which you speak?

  3. 3
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    the Boston Red Sex

    I live in the Boston area. If they’re having red sex around here, why haven’t I heard about it?

  4. 4
    montanto

    This really doesn’t say much for Huffington’s people when they refer to Cold Reading as “a technique of speaking with the dead” as opposed to the subtle way of pumping marks for information that it is.

  5. 5
    Marcus Ranum

    this new show may take the cake: Cell Block Psychic features “psychic” con artist Vicki Monroe talking with convicted murderers to put them in touch with the “spirits” of their victims.

    Cake: taken.

  6. 6
    Marcus Ranum

    What is this red sex of which you speak?

    It’s just a rash; it’ll clear up by itself!

  7. 7
    John Pieret

    As a Yankees fan, beating that Boston team is almost as good as sex.

  8. 8
    richardelguru

    But Ed it has everything a reality show needs…and has at least as much reality as the rest

  9. 9
    John Pieret

    Is ‘Cell Block Psychic’ a New Low for ‘Psychics’ and TV?

    If TV executives have anything to say about it, it won’t be for long.

  10. 10
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    The problem with “new lows” these days is that they’re so short-lived.

  11. 11
    Area Man

    Oh well, it’s probably better than Survivor: Dangerous Convicts.

  12. 12
    blf

    The problem with “new lows” these days is that they’re so short-lived.

    Lord Havelock Vetinari’s solution: Tax the shovels.

  13. 13
    Trebuchet

    No expectations can be too low for Discovery Communications. I’m amazed the Mythbusters are willing to stay there.

  14. 14
    eric

    @9 and @10: yep.

    In terms of the human backdrop used for entertainment, this might be a (modern) new low. But in terms of sheer stupidity, I have to rank it a notch above (i.e. less stupid) the pet psychic shows. IMO its more stupid for participants to try and cold read a dog than a human, AND you have to be a stupider watcher to believe the cold reading of a dog vs. a human.

  15. 15
    Blondin

    It’s almost time for “Ow, my balls!” brought to you by Brawndo (it’s what plants crave).

  16. 16
    Marcus Ranum

    the pet psychic shows

    I had a wonderful run-in with an “equine communicator” back in 2000. This person showed up at the barn where my horse lived. I’m leading him out and suddenly I’m accosted by a person in a sunburst muu-muu who says “what a pretty fellow, what’s his name?”
    “you tell me.” and I walked off.
    The funniest thing about it is: a) I didn’t realize they were an “equine communicator”, I was just trying to be funny but apparently it ruined her little fun. b) P-nut’s halter has a big brass plate on the side that reads “P-nut” and I thought they were giving me the piss by asking his name while he was wearing a big shiny label.

    It’s not hard to learn different species expressions. And when in doubt if it’s a dog you can say “I get the feeling he’s hungry!”

  17. 17
    eric

    It’s not hard to learn different species expressions. And when in doubt if it’s a dog you can say “I get the feeling he’s hungry!”

    True, but I still maintain the audience has to be stupider (than the jail psychic audience) to accept that there’s anything psychic about [dog wags tail] “I’m sensing…h? Happiness?”

  18. 18
    Gretchen

    I would absolutely watch a show called Cell Block Skeptics, about the Innocence Project and groups like it, which actually help convicts by investigating the evidence against them and, in some cases, overturning false convictions and setting the prisoners free after years of unjust confinement.

    But I guess that’s not as interesting, huh.

  19. 19
    tommykey

    Presumably, “red sex” is sex between communists!

  20. 20
    grumpyoldfart

    I wonder how long it will be before one of the victims thanks the murderer for giving them the opportunity to enjoy life on “the other side”.

  21. 21
    felidae

    from the same fine folks who brought you shows on finding bigfoot, UFO encounters, ghost detectives and the like that make a living off the sadly large credulous segment of the population

  22. 22
    Thorne

    “Red Sex” would be traditional (read: Conservative) missionary position intercourse.

    Between legally, and biblically, married heterosexual couples, only.

    For purposes of procreation only.

    In the dark, so you won’thave to see the naughty bits.

    And ONLY after inviting Jebus into your bed as an observer.

  23. 23
    Richard Smith

    Dog psychic: I’m sensing… Wednesday?
    Dog owner: No, he always does that to people he meets…

  24. 24
    matty1

    It used to be said reality TV was scraping the bottom of the barrel, since then it has bored through the barrel, through the earth and is currently hurtling into the interstellar space of awfulness.

    I fear we may actually see televised death matches before too long.

  25. 25
    Sastra

    Cell Block Psychic features “psychic” con artist Vicki Monroe talking with convicted murderers to put them in touch with the “spirits” of their victims… “Cell Block Psychic” features Maine-based medium Vicki Monroe attempting to communicate with the otherworld to provide closure to the loved ones of murder victims.

    “I’m communicating with your victim now. He says to tell you it’s okay … he’s very happy being dead. And he says he forgives you for killing him.”

    Is she helping the convicts or is she helping the loved ones? It’s either one or the other. Not both.

  26. 26
    Rick Pikul

    @montanto

    This really doesn’t say much for Huffington’s people when they refer to Cold Reading as “a technique of speaking with the dead” as opposed to the subtle way of pumping marks for information that it is.

    To give HuffPo some credit, here’s the next paragraph from the article:

    Cold reading involves asking leading questions or making general statements that can apply to anyone. It has been used for hundreds of years by magicians, mentalists and self-proclaimed psychics like James Van Praagh and John Edward.

    The overall tone of the article is against her, with most of the position bits being from groups critical of her and the show.

  27. 27
    Trebuchet

    Even Comradde Physioproffe might root for the Bostonne Redde Sexe.

  28. 28
    dan4

    “Boston Red Sex…”

    Jesus Christ, Mr. Brayton, what have you got against proofreading?

  29. 29
    gshelley

    In case anyone wats to hear her give one of the most blatant cold readings you will ever hear minutes after telling the hosts about the evils of cold readings, the interview has been re-released
    http://www.merseysideskeptics.org.uk/2014/04/be-reasonable-episode-016-vicki-monroe/

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