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Some Questions for Psychic Sally Morgan

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This blog is a follow up to my recent Guardian article, and it highlights the questions that need to be answered before we can start to understand this mess.

The Sally Morgan incident at Dublin’s Grand Canal Theatre has generated quite a bit of discussion over the last month, but it has been hard to draw any conclusions because the two sets of parties seemed to have incompatible accounts of what happened that night.

 

On the one hand, three separate callers to RTE’s Liveline radio show seemed confident that they had heard a voice apparently feeding lines to Psychic Sally. On the other hand, Sally stated that the overheard words were merely chit chat between theatre technicians. Who was right?

 

The three callers were confident that the words that they heard were repeated by Sally on stage, which is incompatible with idle chatter. However, the theatre issued a statement that seemed to support Sally’s account. In light of these contradictory explanations, I decide to start asking questions to everyone involved.

 

I began by emailing the radio station, and I asked RTE to contact the callers and to let them know I was trying to get hold of them. Two of the women (Sue and Dorrie) then emailed me and were willing to answer any questions I put to them. They have been very helpful and have added some flesh to their original accounts. Their stories remain consistent and both accounts are very similar. They agree that the voice talked about “David”, “pain in back” and “passed quickly”, and they both claim that Sally repeated this. The mystery voice then talked about “Stephen”, “pain in back” and “passed quickly”, and again this was repeated on stage. They claim that several others heard the voice, and the resulting fuss caused an usherette to leave the auditorium and the window was then closed. According to their recollections, the show came to an abrupt end soon after this.

 

I then contacted the Grand Canal Theatre and asked to visit, but Stephen Faloon (General Manager) merely restated his position: “Am afraid that everything that happened that night is very much out in the open and I don’t think I can throw any new light onto subject. Suffice to say they were our technicians, they were not communicating with Sally in anyway on stage and we would never ever mislead our customers in anyway by participating in such a scam.”

 

I emailed Mr Faloon again on the 3 and 7 October reiterating my request for a meeting, but I received no reply. I then asked specific questions in another email on 10 Oct, but I have still not received any reply. Mr Faloon, if you read this blog, it would be very helpful to have answers to the following:

 

-         Did Sally have her own sound person/crew at the Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin?

-         If so, was this unusual, and was this necessary for such a straightforward show?

-         Did the show end early? If so, why? Please provide timings for the first and second half.

-         Do Stuart McKeown and Mick Skelly have English or Irish accents?

-         What were Stuart and Mick wearing that evening in terms of their sleeves?

-         What name is given to the room where Stuart and Mick were located?

-         What were Stuart and Mick doing in that room and what were they discussing?

-         Was Sally wearing an earpiece that evening?

-         If so, was Sally receiving stage directions via the earpiece that evening?

-         Was the show being filming that evening?
(the last five questions were not in my email to Mr Faloon).

 

Mr Faloon already has my email address, or he can contact me via my website. I should stress, I am not doubting his version of events. I am merely confused by the disconnect between the two sets of accounts and I am trying to reconcile them or pin down where an error might have been made. Also, I would be happy to hear directly from Mick and Stuart.

 

After contacting the theatre, I contacted Sally’s office. Again, no reply. And again, I am not doubting anyone’s version of events, but the incident remains mysterious. Hence, it would be very useful to have some answers from Sally to help clear up the confusion:

 

-         Does local theatre provide the sound team for Sally’s shows, or does Sally have her own sound crew at each show?

-         What were the running times for the first and second halves of the Dublin show on Sept 11, i.e, the show when the controversial incident took place? What are the typical running times for Sally’s first and second half in the 2011 tour?

-         There is currently a contradiction between what some people heard in the theatre and what Sally and the theatre management claim. I have communicated at length with the women in the audience, and their accounts of overhearing a third party fit together very well, but they cannot be tallied with Sally’s statement. What is Sally’s way of understanding this mismatch? Does she believe that several people have all been mistaken in what they heard? Or does she believe that these people are all lying? Or does she have another explanation?

-         Please could you let me know more details of your defamation action, eg which publications and which articles, and who are the defendants in the defamation actions? Also, what are the defamatory passages?

 

Since publishing my article for the Guardian, Sally has issued a statement that explains that she does sometimes wear an earpiece. Hence, I have a few more questions for Sally:

 

-         Were you wearing an earpiece in Dublin during the show in question?

-         What percentage of shows in 2011 have involved an earpiece?

-         What percentage of shows in 2011 have been filmed?

-         What percentage of shows in 2011 have needed stage directions, for reasons other than filming?

-         Who provides the stage directions during a filmed performance or during any other performance?

-         do you regret not mentioning your earpiece until the Daily Mail highlighted this issue?

 

And I have one final question: I did ask Sally’s lawyer for details of her defamation action, but Mr Graham Atkins answer was marked: “STRICTLY PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL – NOT FOR PUBLICATION” – am I allowed to reveal that? In any case, his reply was not very helpful – am I allowed to reveal that? Sally, in light of your lawyer’s coy nature, please could you let me know more details of the libel action being taken:

 

-         Which publications are being sued?

-         Which articles are being sued?

-         Who are the defendants in these libel actions?

-         What are the defamatory passages?

 

In short, there are still lots of unanswered questions. I repeat; I am not making any accusations. I am merely trying to clear up the contradictions.

 

Indeed, if anybody else can throw on the light on the incident, then please drop me a note:

 

-         Perhaps you were in the audience (fourth tier, in the back few rows) and heard the voice(s).

-         Maybe you can let me know if the second half was unusually short?

-         Are you the usherette who spotted that there was a problem?

-         Are you one of the technicians named by Sally?

-         Have you been part of the sound crew at one of Sally’s shows?

 

If you can shed any light, then please drop me a note via http://www.simonsingh.net/contact/ . Sally and Mr Faloon can also use this contact page if they have lost my email address.

 

It would be great to get to the bottom of this matter, but in many ways the fundamental question is simply this: does Sally Morgan have genuine psychic powers? Regardless of whatever happened in Dublin, this is a question that can be answered with some level of confidence if Sally were willing to take a rigorous scientific test. As I explained in my Guardian article, I am working with Professor Chris French and Merseyside Skeptics to arrange such a test and in due course we will be inviting Sally to help push forward the frontiers of scientific understanding. More details soon.

 

I will also be writing a blog in the next week or so that explains what happened when I went to see one of Sally’s shows earlier this month.

Originally posted on slsingh’s posterous

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