The Skeptic site is to be found at http://www.sillybeliefs.com/murder-3.html
[Nigel Latta is a psychologist who observed the whole process of producing an episode of Sensing Murder.]
I wasn't convinced that the human race is ultimately doomed... then I sure as hell am now. After spending years talking about really important things like sexual abuse, violence, how we need to change our parole system so that innocent people don't get hurt, why we should be nicer to social workers, how we can stop people killing their kids (something we're far too good at in this country) etc etc etc... the thing which causes the biggest hoop-lah is me going on an episode of Sensing Murder.
Ye Gods people, can we get a grip?
What's more no one seems very interested in what I actually think, instead they're far more interested in taking my comments and constructing them in such a way as to back up their own view. So far one side is saying that I now believe in psychics, and the other side say that I'm either a gullible ninny, or a liar, or both.
Because I'm getting a little tired of hearing other people say what I think, I wanted to have one last go at stating my position about the show as clearly as I possibly can. So here goes:
There was no cold reading on the day. I know what cold reading is because I use many of the same techniques myself when interviewing various criminals over the last 17 or so years. If it was happening I would have seen it. I didn't.
The show is shot in one day. I know this because I saw it. There is obviously editing of the raw footage--it's television so there has to be editing to make it watchable--but there was no 'slick editing' of the truth. There were pick-up shots added in later to make the episode work visually (for example the hand turning over the photo) but these were of no material importance to the show, no more so than the end credits were.
The psychic's information was specific and not general. She was not making a bunch of guesses and then fine tuning her statements based on responses from the crew.
That means either she was told by the production company prior to the reading, or she was getting her information that day from people the rest of us couldn't see, or picking up some crazy quantum mechanical vibe, or whatever.
I don't believe that the production crew told her information about the case. I have had several conversations with a variety of people at Ninox and my belief is that they are being truthful when they say that the psychics do not receive any information from them. Some of you will undoubtedly scoff at that but then a few scoffs never hurt anyone.
Because of all this I am at a loss to explain what I saw that day. I thought it was freaky then and I still think it's freaky now.
I have never said that I believe this was a genuine display of psychic ability.
I have said that in my opinion Deb Webber genuinely believes she is psychic.
There is a big difference between those two things.
What I have also said very clearly is that I don't know what is happening or how it is done.
So there you go.
I have written about this in my book . Read it if you want a fuller account. Two corrections that I've realised since the book was published. The first is that I approached Ninox first about observing a reading, not that they approached me as it appears in the book. I initially suggested the idea while the first series was screening because I was so curious. Ninox then contacted me at the beginning of the second series to ask if I was still interested. I was. The second is that I say in the book that I couldn't find any information about the case. Turns out there was information out there, including a TVNZ documentary. This doesn't change anything as far as I'm concerned. By the time Deb turned the picture over and confirmed the identity of the victim there was no one else it could have been. She was already committed to too many details to have switched stories at that point. I'm sure some people will yell and sceam about that, but that would be my view.
If nothing else at least it got me on Eating Media Lunch. This is one of the few NZ shows that is consistently bloody funny. Now I can go to my grave with the knowledge that I was, at least for a fleeting moment, important enough to have the piss taken by the consumate masters in the piss taking game. Give me that over a Nobel prize any day. EML was the only media group that had a go at the appalling behavior of NZ journalists when David Bain was released on bail. The prime suspect in the murder of five people was treated like a returning hero. Appalling is what that was, just bloody appalling.
And yes, I had seen the clip played on EML from the internet (where she apparently 'senses' someone who doesn't exist) before i did the observation. Not surprisingly it made me even more sceptical prior to my observation that day. I talked to Deb about that interview and she had her version of what happened. Not for me to say, I wasn't there. I was there when she did this 'reading' and still stand by the points I have made above.
In the meantime all I can say is this: maybe instead of spending all this time debating psychics some of you might want to email your MP's demanding a more robust parole system so that innocent people stop getting hurt. Maybe do something useful that might actually make the world a better place?
Just a thought.
ps I don't believe in magic, I do believe in the tooth fairy, and I know for a fact that somehow, somewhere Elvis, Jim Morrison, and Hendrix are living under new identities working on a new album.
A producer of “Sensing Murder” writes to the Silly Beliefs website to refute their unfounded speculations.
A producer of “Sensing Murder” wrote to the Silly Beliefs website to refute the “could haves”. The full text of his email can be read at the above site. In it the producer wrote, “It is .. the case that psychics often concur ... with police records. However, psychics do not and cannot gain access to police files - therefore they can't cheat. The production crew rarely get access to police files - another fact. Only by contacting the police after a filmed reading will the police confirm or deny questions we put to them. These questions are composed from our analysis of the filmed readings and at this point our investigators (former police officers) make enquiries with investigating police to check the relevance and quality of content. Neither we nor the psychics have access to police files. In the George Engelbrecht case, when the psychic's findings were presented to police, the former 2IC on the case admitted that the psychics had come up with detailed information held in the police files that had never been made public. Superintendent Paul Nickalls (who appeared on the Insight programme to congratulate psychic Kelvin Cruickshank) confirmed that the psychics correctly stated information about the weapons; the offender's shoe-print; the location of the victim's body; where the offender's footprints went in the house; as well as crucial details about a suspect that was originally discounted, but is now being actively re-investigated as a result of the psychic's conclusions, with police hopeful of a breakthrough. Superintendent Paul Nickalls said this information was closely guarded by top-ranking police, was never made public, or leaked to the media, and there is no way the psychics can have obtained it. ...”
Later, the producer describes his own beliefs about what is happening, in this TV series:
“I'm the biggest sceptic of all. I directed 8 out of the 16 Sensing Murder shows and was also one of the two associate producers. I am not sure if I believe the psychics communicate with the dead. I am more inclined to believe they have some kind of gift or savant inclination that enables them to see things or tune into passed events. I believe, in fact I know, the crew and production team don't cheat, and do not pass on information. [Elsewhere in his email, the director notes that camera crews are hired at short notice at the time of production, and have no other involvement in what is going on.] Nigel Latta ([a psychologist] whose expertise in profiling criminals and liars is indisputable) does not believe the psychics have studied up and retained information about every unsolved case in New Zealand . He was confident he could ascertain through the psychic's body language whether they were recounting previously learned facts.
FROM NEW ZEALAND REALITY TV WEBSITE
The following items have been copied from http://www.nzrealitytv.com/search/label/Sensing%20Murder
which is in Blog form, and changes. To read the originals, please go to this site. But in case the material becomes superseded by later material, then it can be read below.
posts on the sceptics
offering NZ$2 million for proof of paranormal activity and psychic
ability has raised a lot of debate over the authenticity of
psychics and their use in solving crimes. We invited David Harry
Baldock, Managing Director of Ninox Television which produces
reality television shows Sensing Murder, Ultimate MITRE10 Dream Home
and Location, Location, Location to respond to the $2 million
challenge on behalf of the four psychics approached by
Sensing Murder is an award winning show and is the Winner of the Best Reality Format in the Qantas Television Awards 2006. It is also a top rating show. According to producer David Baldcock Sensing Murder had 45% market share in its target market (18-45 years of age Aucklanders) and ranked 6th in that age group across New Zealand.
His unedited response is below:
The psychics are often approached by extremist sceptics with outlandish schemes to try and expose them as frauds. In one case the psychics were asked to pay $1000 to a sceptic for the privilege of attempting to locate a needle in a paddock! The sceptic claimed he would then pay them $100,000 if they located the needle....
From our perspective, why should the psychics have to prove themselves with these pathetic parlour tricks?
Their abilities have been proved time and time again by the fact police are now actively following up many of their leads generated through Sensing Murder. In the case of murdered 91 year old George Engelbrect, for example, the police are now actively pursuing the psychic theory that 2 people were involved. The psychics provided a clear description of the possible accomplice. Police have located someone fitting this description and are currently investigating. The fact that they are dedicating police resources to this a real criminal investigation is, in our opinion, a much more valid testimony to the psychics' ability than some silly test devised by a group of radical atheists.
Regardless of whether this group has the money or not, Ninox Television does not believe that they are objective enough to conduct an independent test. By labelling the psychics "liars" they have clearly stated their position. Who could trust them to conduct a fair trial of the psychic's abilities?
Respected clinical psychologist Nigel Latta observed a full psychic reading and did not believe that psychic Deb Webber had cheated or was recounting previously learnt facts. The fact that extremist sceptics are now challenging Nigel's credibility, when he has 17 years experience interviewing some of NZ's worst criminals, is surely a sign that nothing will convince these die-hard non-believers. When Nigel asked to observe a reading, we agreed because he has proven experience detecting deception - far more experience, I would suggest, than these armchair critics with blatant agendas of trying to disprove life after death. In a future episode, you will see that the former detective in charge of a case also sits in on the psychic readings. Surely if it was all a hoax, he would have something to say about it???
If we make a third series of Sensing Murder, we may indeed devise other tests for the psychics. However, the need for objective and impartial adjudicators to preside over these tests is paramount.
Incidentally, the psychics do not believe this 'atheist' outfit have the funds to back up their challenge. I'd have to say I'd go with the psychic's instincts on that one...
David Harry Baldock
Building Inspector and part-time photographer Simon Buis was savagely beaten and kicked to death in Auckland’s Gribblehirst Park in 1980. Simon was viciously kicked and stomped to death in an attack so brutal almost every bone in his face was broken. To this day, his killers have evaded capture and police have few clues to the identity of the killers. There were no witnesses to the murder, but neighbours described hearing noises at the park, and described two cars seen leaving shortly after Simon Buis was murdered.
One of the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle is determining how Simon Buis got to Gribblehirst Park from where he was last seen on the corner of Upper Symonds Street and Khyber Pass Road in the early hours of April 4th 1980.
In this episode of Sensing Murder, entitled Taken for a Ride, psychics Deb Webber and Sue Nicholson turn to the spirit world for clues about Simon's unsolved murder. Armed with only a photograph of Simon, the psychics are asked to reveal the circumstances of his death and lead a team of investigators in a hunt for new clues.
How the psychics operate
Psychics are not given the location of the filming in advance, or any details of the case or people involved, and are only given the flight details at the airport
They are kept under constant supervision to prevent them from undertaking any research on the case
Only correct statements are confirmed
Each psychic is kept separate from the other and filmed on separate days
All the filming is conducted on a single day
Unfortunately the good parts are bleeped out, due to legal concerns with naming potential suspects, so we are unable to hear the names that the psychics come up with during the show.
The show opens with background about Simon's murder as well as interviewing friends and family of Simon, including friend Tim Shadbolt.
Next the psychics are given a photograph to aid them in "connecting" to the spirit world, although both place the photo face down during their initial read which is conducted from a downtown hotel.
Deb Webber believes that he is a European immigrant and picks up Holland. Sue Nicholson also believes he is Dutch. Both psychics believe he is married with children and is a social drinker. They seem to be on track with their descriptions of Simon.
Deb is picking up letters. She comes up with o, n, i, s and then says Simon. She looks very pleased with herself and very excited at coming up with this. Presumably the Sensing Murder production crew confirmed that she was right with the letters as she came up with them. We have no way of knowing whether Deb also came up with incorrect information that isn't shown during filming, but from what we see she appears to be uncannily accurate.
During the filming of Deb's segment a photo falls off the wall, leading Deb to believe that Simon is communicating with her to show her that photography is his hobby. The photo was screwed to the wall and is believed to be the result of poltergeist activity, according to presenter Rebecca Gibney.
The next stage is for Deb and Sue to describe the events of the night of the murder and attempt to identify the killers. They both point to Gribblehirst Park on the map they are given. Rebecca Gibney says there are more than 800 parks in Auckland, but both psychics appear to find the right park relatively quickly.
Finally, Deb Webber and Sue Nicholson visit the murder scene and further describe Simon Buis's murder and describe the people they see and the car they believe was used to transport Simon to the park. They come up with very similar descriptions of the murder, believing he was kicked by two young men who initially appeared friendly and then turned violent.
Duncan Holland heads a team of investigators that takes the information provided by the psychics and checks it with local police as well as using their own resources to investigate the leads. He states that a lot of the information provided by the psychics matches information held by the police.
Both psychics believed that there were two young men (age 16-20 years) driving a stolen car. Two men found driving a stolen car were initially charged with the murder but charges were later dropped. The descriptions provided by the psychics did not match these two individuals, however there was another pair of men joyriding in a car around the same time. They weren’t investigated at the time, and this is considered a possible lead.
During the show psychic Deb Webber gave three names which match those of someone who lived in the area at the time. These names were bleeped out by producers for legal reasons.
The psychics describe the killers as driving an older car, possibly a light coloured 1950s DeSoto Chrysler. Witnesses saw a similar car leaving the area. Given the age of the vehicle, and its uniqueness it seems astonishing that this didn't lead to the owner of the vehicle at the time of the murder, however it appears to be a loose end.
In addition, an orange Torana was seen arriving about one hour before the murder and leaving shortly after. Detective Senior Sargeant Scott Beard would still like to hear from anyone who may know anything about the orange Torana or has any other information relating to the case.
Prozac has decided for future episodes to skip the first 30
minutes of Sensing
Murder. The first half hour rehashes the circumstances of
the presumed murder of prostitute Jayne Furlong who disappeared
14 years ago when hooking on K Road. Then it repeats the
criteria for selecting the ‘psychic detectives’ and
the conditions under which they operate. Check last
week’s review of Simon Buis for the criteria.
This week Australian psychic Deb Webber and New Zealand psychic Kelvin Cruickshank come up with remarkably similar statements on the physical description and bolshy personality.
Without looking at the photo of Jayne, both describe a young woman and both mention that she tries to tell them she’s 16 years old. Deb says that Jayne is telling her she was molested as a child but isn't certain if she is serious about this.
The psychics go on to say that she’s a prostitute and Deb says her name is Jane but that it is spelt with five letters, eventually suggesting her name is Jane with a Y. It turns out that Jayne was born Jane Furlong and later changed the spelling of her name. This is pretty impressive. Less impressive is Kelvin’s statement that she worked in K Road. If Miss Prozac had to guess where a prostitute worked in Auckland this would be her first guess, too.
Both Kelvin and Deb believe that Jayne was grabbed from K Road, and went with the man thinking it would be just a chat. The man was described as a balding middle-aged businessman, who possibly gave the name Clyde. They also suggest it may be someone Jayne knew, so it seems strange she didn’t give his real name. Later Deb gives a name of a financial type firm that she believes could be involved. Naturally, this hot development is bleeped out leaving Miss Prozac none the wiser.
Investigator Duncan Holland says the psychics have come up with promising new leads for the investigation. This sounds like a case of hyperbole given the analysis he provides of the “new leads”. This episode was the most disappointing to date. Both psychics were confident that her body had never been recovered and appeared to give an accurate read on her character, and similar readings on her murderer.
However, they failed to locate her body. After the success of last week, when psychics Deb Webber and Sue Nicholson both identified Gribblehirst Park as the location of the murder, Miss Prozac expected the psychics to identify the murder site. It seems like they were suggesting that it could have been somewhere in the 75ha Auckland Domain or the Symonds St cemetery.
In their defence the psychics can only pass on information that they receive and stated that Jayne didn’t want to revisit the murder site and felt that no one cared about what happened, but the episode ended up being a bit of a non-event. It raised questions when they could provide so much information about the murder but not the murder site.
There was also a suggestion from Kelvin that it could be payback from a motorcycle gang. This fitted in with existing police evidence from retired officer Dayle Candy that Jayne was going to give testimony against a motorcycle gang. Kelvin gave the first name of a man (also bleeped) that matched the name of one of the people Jayne was going to testify against. Miss Prozac hopes the name was something unusual like Trent or Sharif and not John or Dave…
Kelvin also felt that Jayne had been buried under concrete or at a construction site. Miss Prozac was intrigued by that as she recalls hearing a similar theory from an ex-detective over the watercooler.
The police initially focused their attention on Jayne's partner Danny, which he is still peeved about. Danny usually acted as a 'minder' staying in the shadows to watch Jayne and her two friends and act as a lookout. On this night he had an errand to run and wasn't around when Jayne went missing.
The three women who worked that area usually recorded car licence plates when they any of them jumped in a car to go with a punter. Unusually the other two women did not see Jayne get into a car, and no one recorded the licence plate.
If you have any clues that you would like to pass on to the police, telephone 09 302 6446.
Oops! Miss Prozac forgot something when she put this review up last night...
Retired Detective Dayle Candy described herself as initially a skeptic when it came to the use of psychics but now thinks some of the results have been unnerving.
After saying in last
week's Jayne Furlong recap that the first half hour of
Murder is tres boring, Miss Prozac was excited to find that
tonight’s episode of Sensing Murder, A Mother's Worst
Nightmare, kicked off with predictions that stated that a
clairvoyant provided advance warnings that the family, and in
particular the daughter, was facing danger.
Nicky Cruickshank lost her daughter Amber-Lee on October 17, 1992. Nicky, partner James and children moved to Kingston at the southern tip of Lake Wakatipu in the hopes of starting a new life and turning their backs on drugs and a turbulent home life and constant fighting.
Prior to moving they received information from a clairvoyant that they would have car trouble, that the letter K is significant, that Nicky’s partner James would break his arm and gave warnings to watch her little girl.
James did break his arm, and the letter K became very significant when Amber-Lee went missing from Kingston. Intriguing. Miss Prozac wonders why this gem of a psychic was not contacted as s/he sounds amazing.
Amber-Lee goes missing
The family and friends had a good old kiwi barbeque by the Lake for dinner and then took Amber-Lee for a ride on a boat after dinner. There was a lot of activity, cleaning up the housebus and beach, and hunting for drugs. As it is explained to us everyone’s attention was divided and each thought someone else was minding the three children.
In what can only be a move that she would later regret, Nicky goes back on her promise to turn her back on drugs and was picking wild poppies in the hopes of scoring drugs. Partner James came out to talk with her, and see how the drug score was coming. At this point they suddenly realise no one is watching Amber-Lee and start calling for her. Miss Prozac was very impressed with Nicky’s openness in fully disclosing the circumstances of the disappearance. This must be heartbreaking for her.
Nicky raises the alarm about 45 minutes after Amber-Lee was last sighted. Family and friends swing into action and start hunting for Amber-Lee. At around 9pm they contacted the police who organised further searching. Kingston is a small area and Nicky had high hopes her daughter would be found.
When the search team couldn’t find her, the police thought she may have drowned, but mother Nicky was adamant that she wasn’t comfortable with water and unlikely to be in there. Police explored many possibilities including abduction, hit and run, being lost or drowned. Police divers checked the lake and ruled out drowning. There was one person that they were suspicious of, but could find no evidence linking Amber-Lee’s disappearance.
Police believe they are dealing with an unsolved murder, but Nicky is convinced her little girl is alive somewhere, and hopes that she is living a happy life.
Tonight ‘psychic detectives’ Kelvin Cruickshank (who is not related to mother Nicky) and Deb Webber start with a downturned photograph and both say they are getting female energy, probably a child. This phase is observed by a retired detective who worked the case (His feedback is at the bottom of this post).
Deb comes up with letters and forms the name Amber. Later comes up with Lee and the name Amber-Lee. She picks up on her favourite toy, a pink bike. Kelvin says the name Cruickshank is coming strong and that her name is the same as his. He also picks up that she is one of three children.
Deb says she feels Amber-Lee being taken away from her mother and has picked up that the mother was out of it on drugs a lot of the time. Both sense that Amber-Lee’s biological father is not around (they split when Amber-Lee was a baby) and pick her age as 2½ years.
Deb picks up that Nicky wasn’t watching Amber-Lee at the time she disappeared, although this is probably obvious.
Deb and Kelvin feels she was grabbed or abducted and not returned. Police considered this possibility but could not see how this could have happened.
Kelvin believes she was scooped up from under everyone’s nose. He says she did not wander off. Both believe she was taken by someone she knew and was covered in the vehicle which they describe as an older van or 4 wheel drive.
Both feel that she has a sore or broken neck or a pain at the back of the head. Kelvin says her passing was swift and she didn’t suffer.
Kelvin says the person who took her was on drugs or chemicals and can also smell cigarette smoke. Deb sees jeans and a winter jacket, a youngish man of around 5’8” or 5’9”. They both feel Amber-Lee was taken for a reason connected to someone else in the house. Kelvin says it is some sort of payback.
Kelvin is convinced there is some sort of family history provoking this payback, possibly hurting the family because of something the father did, although it’s not clear if this is the biological father or Nicky’s partner. He believes it is a vendetta against the family.
A psychic numerologist is consulted. This is a new one on Miss Prozac. She has heard of numerologists. These are people that reduce dates, names and places to numbers and analyse them. After frenzied googling it turns out that a psychic applies their intuition or psychic skills to the resulting numbers. Hmmm.
Australian Scott Russell Hill was apparently so traumatised by the last case he investigated that he quit working murder investigations and asks to do the reading from the safety of his home.
Based solely on her date of birth he suggests that she was abducted and believes the culprit is a fire sign (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) and is familiar or known to the mother. He is a married man, who is fit, athletic and strong, but also grows dope and is involved in drugs. He is convinced that it is someone who knows Amber-Lee and the mother, and is aged late 30s to early 40s.
Kelvin confronts the mother
Kelvin tells Nicky that the abductor/murderer is someone she knows and it may be someone that she ripped off or did a bad deal with who wants revenge. He asks her to search her memory for who it may be. Nicky asks if it is someone with facial hair and Kelvin says he may have a moustache.
Nicky wants to know how he can be certain that she is ‘on the other side’. Kelvin tells her that she was strangled and died quickly without being sexually insulted. Amazingly he says some pretty blunt stuff but manages to sound sensitive at the same time. That’s quite a talent.
The follow-up investigation
As usual Duncan Holland investigates the leads provided by the psychics. According to Duncan, Nicky had already raised the possibility that she may have upset someone who had taken revenge. A few days after her discussion with Kelvin, Nicky recalled that there had been a major falling out with someone that they grew mary-jane with. He accused them of stealing the plants from the plot only a few days before they left for Kingston.
Duncan says the man is a Sagittarian who drove a 4 wheel drive, and was in his late 30s at the time of the abduction. Each of the details match the man that Nicky and James had the falling out with including the letter K which is the first initial of one of this man’s names. The height, age, physical description and smell of ciggies on the man all match.
Duncan’s investigations reveal that the man travelled out of town at the same period that Amber-Lee was abducted and has never been interviewed by the police. This information has now been passed on to the police.
This appears to be the most promising investigation to date with a promising lead coughed up by Nicky after prompting from Kelvin.
If you have any relevant information contact:
Det Sgt John Kean
Ph 03 211 0400
There was no feedback from the detectives currently handling this case but, retired Detective Senior Sergeant Warwick Walker, who sat in on both readings, stated that both psychics independently gave the same readings.
He went on to say that both psychics mentioned that Amber-Lee abducted from behind the house, put in the front seat and covered with something. Both said he had dark hair and an association with hunting. This was something that police had previously investigated. He did not comment on the new leads that came about a few days after the psychics did their readings, and Duncan Holland's team investigated the man who argued with Nicky and James.
It would have been great at this point to get comment from both the retired police detective and the current team investigating the murder/disappearance.
Tauranga police yesterday confirmed that a man named by the psychics as Ms Yorke's killer was already a "person of interest" in the case. Another person identified as a witness was also known to detectives.
Detective Sergeant Lew Warner, the current head of the investigation, said both people had been spoken to at the time of the original inquiry but police had yet to speak to them again.
"We're doing some follow-up inquiries but at this stage there's nothing new."
He was reluctant to comment further on plans to pursue information revealed by the psychics but said police had also received three or four phone calls yesterday, following the screening of Tuesday night's episode.
Ms Yorke's parents, Willie and Jane, did not want to comment yesterday, other than to say the psychics had proved what they had known all along.
believed that Judy was murdered by her lover in a fit of range.
Both Sue Nicholson and Kelvin Cruickshank felt that the man
dumped the body and returned to the party. They believed the
man then disposed of the body in or near water a day or so
later, possibly with the help of mates. Both 'psychic
detectives' think the man is now living in Australia. The
psychics theories were considered feasible by the detective
investigating the case at the time of Judy Yorke's
Gossip from Bay of Plenty locals suggests that some individuals know what happened but have been reluctant to come forward and speak to the police. Sensing Murder's private investigator stated that the eye witness that they interviewed has received counselling and is willing to speak with police. For the sake of the family we hope this happens soon.
boards have been buzzing with debate about the authenticity of
the psychic detectives employed on Sensing
Murder to help solve crimes, particularly in light of the
of the Hidden Camera expose
I put some questions to Sensing Murder producer David Baldock and asked him to respond to claims from the sceptics. We suggest you watch the show tonight (TV 2 at 8:30pm) and make up your own mind, then vote in our poll on the right hand side to let us know if you think the psychics are genuine or fakes!
Is investigator Duncan Holland present at the filming, and does he pass “inside” information to the psychics at any time before or during the filming?
Duncan Holland has no contact or dealings with the psychics whatsoever. I think the only one he has met is Sue when we all gathered during the screening of the Insight programme.
Duncan’s investigation work does not begin until after the psychic readings. He does not always know what cases we are covering until after we have done the readings and started our investigations.
Duncan does not have any special access to Police files. Information which we have been able to confirm from Police Files has come from the investigating officers after our readings.
In the George Englebrecht case in Series One – former police superintendent Paul Nickalls stated that the psychics had come up with very specific information relating to the murder weapons, the crime scene and the killers’ movements in the house which had never been made public (the police withheld this information for evidential reasons.)
Do you have any response to the "hidden camera" test or any explanation for Deb talking to three dead people that do not exist?
No I don't specifically, however I had already viewed the original item and found it to be a bad piece of current affairs reporting. We have a documentary being aired shortly on the four main psychics used on the show. I wanted to include the segment in that documentary myself but was unable to afford the international rights to use the footage (as I would have been contractually obliged to do). I wanted to include it so that all experiences Deb has had over the years would be shown.
Do you believe the airing of the hidden camera test will affect viewing numbers or the popularity of Deb or Sensing Murder?
No I don't. I am responsible for the process undertaken by Sensing Murder and have full confidence in that process. The reality is, the programme speaks for itself. Several unsolved murders are under active investigation because of the Sensing Murder programme.
We understand that Alan Charman of the $2m challenge has been in contact with you. Can you give us an update on this?
He assumed I had the same cynical approach to the show as he did - I don't. I said I would be happy to accept his money when we have a Police result from the show. He misinterpreted this – and came back to me suggesting that he control how I produce my series, which I am not interested in.
I am happy for the programme to speak for itself and eventually for results to be achieved by the Police. (Check out the $2 million paranormal challenge and Sensing Murder's response)
How do you explain the psychic detectives being unable to locate the bodies of murder victims?
As I have expressed previously, I have no rational explanation for any elements of what the psychics are able to reveal.
A published article by Victorian Skeptics claims an ex-crew member from Sensing Murder questioned the ethics of the editing. Is that true?
The crew member who approached the Victorian Sceptics worked on the Australian series. Ninox Television had nothing to do with the making of the Australian series of Sensing Murder, and so I cannot comment on their procedures. I have had no concerns expressed to me from any of my production team who worked on the New Zealand series.
Alan Charman again... he says on James Randi’s forum that people are abusing you and your crew in the streets. Any truth to that? on popular Australian psychic Deb Webber.
He told me that both he and his staff have had to put up with considerable insults from members of the public who ring or call in to abuse the crap out of them!
The only abuse we have received has been personal abuse via websites and e-mails to us from sceptics.
Are you familiar with the complaint to TV2 from the skeptics? Do you have any comment on this decision or the skeptics plans to complain to BSA?
The decision accurately reflects the situation. If the sceptics are not satisfied with the response from the Broadcaster they are free to pursue their complaint to the BSA; that is what it was set up for.
Can you update us on the future of Sensing Murder internationally?
I purchased the rights to Sensing Murder from Zodiak in Demark, as identified in the end credits. They have since sold our completed series to the UK, France and Norway. A further major international market sale is imminent.