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Mentalist Edward lectures on psychics

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 10:02

Laughter filled the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Multicultural Education Tuesday as professional mentalist Mark Edward spoke on skepticism as part of Darwin Week.

In his lecture, Edward discussed the need to be skeptical of psychics and mentalists, which is the subject of his new book “Psychic Blues: Confessions of a Conflicted Medium.”

As both a mentalist and a skeptic, Edward wanted to bring an end to what he described as “the age of cons.”

“Anyone can talk to dead people, but do they really answer back?” he asked.

Edward went undercover to flesh out all the details on ways psychics trick people into believing they can really communicate with the dead.

“A mentalist is someone who uses the five main senses to create the illusion of a sixth,” Edward said. “I know a trick when I see one.”

He named the current generation as one that often tries to portray fiction as reality.

“We want to believe there is another side,” Edward explained. He discovered that psychics use this wish to their advantage.

Psychics “make bold statements that sound like fact, and then … ask, ‘Does that mean anything to anyone?’” said Edward. Audience members then begin to think of people or events from their own life that could apply to the statements of the psychic.

“People want it to be true, so they will make connections,” Edward said.

Another technique Edward uncovered is research. Psychics often do research before the show on people they know will be in the audience.

One of Edward’s audience members, UNI alumna Aleigh Glazier, was called up to the front of the room so Edward could demonstrate some of the techniques mentalists use.

Since she was already aware that Edward did not possess any psychic powers, his demonstrations did not work on her.

Glazier said she thought the lecture was “really good.”

“I thought that he (Edward) was very engaging, and a lot of the anecdotal evidence he gave he was able to back up with real evidence because he’s experienced it so much,” said Glazier.

Glazier did, however, say she was surprised by “the call for us to take a stand against that kind of stuff. That wasn’t really what I expected it to be about.”

Edward asked his audience to start being skeptical of people who claim to have supernatural powers.

“Take the first step,” Edward said. “Challenge this stuff.”

For more information on Mark Edward and his work, you can go to iigwest.org or look for his book.

 

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