Article

Psychic Smackdown: Michael and Marti Parry

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Despite what they believe, or how they may view themselves, what is the appropriate response to psychics who take advantage of the vulnerable bereaved by claiming to communicate with their loved ones?

That’s a question I had to confront directly when I met Michael and Marti Parry at a party last night. Now I’m usually on my best behavior at parties, since people are not there to talk philosophy or re-examine their beliefs. At many parties and events in southern California, there’s a kind of pervasive and fashionable new-age patina. People casually swap their latest musings on astrology, Tarot, or maybe the newest guru-impresario or fad belief system making the rounds. For the most part, it’s harmless entertainment, and I just smile and nod. Nothing pours a bucket of ice-water on a party like a dose of reality. For parties, it’s best to keep the ice in the drinks where it belongs, and the critical thinking under wraps. But last night–that was not to be.

I was introduced first to Michael by my friend who was hosting the party. She happened to mention to him that I was Elizabeth Clare Prophet’s son. Michael, a soft-spoken man who looked to be in his late forties with an English accent, acknowledged that he knew of her and said, "But you don’t believe in her any more." I said, "No." He said he was sure she believed in what she was doing. I said I knew she believed in it. "Some people are just self-deluded," he concluded. We then exchanged a few words about my mom’s Alzheimer’s. "I wish I’d had more time to resolve things with her," I said. Then I asked Michael what he did. "I’m a medium," he said. Then, pointing to his wife, "we both are." I shook her hand, smiled and made a lame joke about it being "rare to meet a medium, let alone two." Everyone laughed. "I don’t talk to ascended masters, though," he quipped. Michael explained that he contacted the dead person "on the other side" and his wife drew sketches, which were immediately recognized as authentic by relatives. I nodded and managed a half-smile. I was not going to say anything negative. It was not my place–this was my friend’s party.

But it was not so easy to remain aloof. I think Michael could smell my skepticism. We talked a little about my TV promo business, and they talked about their appearances on Ghost Hunters. I tried to keep it light. We were fellow entertainers–I could deal with that.

Then Michael went in for the "close." I could tell this was a staple of his business. It had to be. These guys were somewhat famous, and doing public "psychic readings" they must get challenged all the time. Neutralizing skeptics and hecklers is probably the most crucial prerequisite for that kind of career. Here’s a nearly verbatim account of his futile attempt to "close" me:

Michael Parry: "You don’t believe me, do you."

BlackSun: "Well, I’d have to see evidence. These kinds of shows are fun, but they aren’t exactly scientific."

Michael Parry: "What would you consider evidence?"

BlackSun: "Some facts that you’d have no way of knowing, some kind of controlled trial that could be confirmed by multiple observers with no interest in the outcome."

Michael Parry: "What if I put myself in a closed room, and my wife in another room, and we both came up with facts about the deceased, time of death, place of death, what the weather was like, cause of death?"

BlackSun: "Sounds interesting, but I wouldn’t take your word for it. I’d have to have independent corroboration. Maybe you could convince James Randi."

Michael Parry: "James Randi is a DICK!"

BlackSun: "Really?!"

Michael Parry: "He doesn’t even have the money he’s offering [the million dollar paranormal challenge], it’s just bonds and paper."

BlackSun: "I think he does in fact have the money. But that’s kind of beside the point. No one has ever claimed it. But OK, it wouldn’t have to be James Randi, any skeptic or credible scientist would do."

Michael Parry: "I’m so sorry you’ve been ruined by your mother. She’s turned you into a jaded materialist."

BlackSun: "This has nothing to do with her. Frankly, I think you’re fucking victimizing vulnerable people by claiming to speak to their dead relatives, pardon my French."

Michael Parry: "You should ask our clients if they feel victimized."

BlackSun: "They might very well believe you, but that still doesn’t make it real."

Michael Parry: "Oh Sean, I feel sorry for you."

BlackSun: "Don’t condescend to me, I don’t need your pity."

Michael Parry: "Sean, you need to open your mind, you just don’t understand."

BlackSun: "I understand perfectly what you are doing. You’re entertainers. Why don’t you let it go at that?"

Michael Parry: "We’re a lot more than entertainers, we work on the level of the spirit."

BlackSun: "You have no proof of that. No one’s ever provided any convincing proof of the spirit world. I know all about how cold reading is done, and mediums have been making these claims for centuries. It’s the oldest bag of tricks there is. Your drawings are undoubtedly vague enough that people latch on to them. And that’s an easy sell when people are so desperate to talk to their loved ones."

Michael Parry: "You don’t believe in spirit or the afterlife?"

BlackSun: "No, for the second time. When your brain ceases to function, your personality disappears forever. There is no afterlife."

Michael Parry: "I am not my brain."

BlackSun: "I’m afraid that’s exactly what you are. And don’t sell it short, you’re brain’s a pretty amazing thing. Of course it’s not perfect, it’s got you convinced you’re talking to dead people."

Michael Parry: "I really feel sorry for you."

At this point, a bystander who overheard the conversation began to ask me about my business, and I became distracted from the Parrys, who began making preparations to leave the party. About 3 minutes later, they headed for the door. Marti Parry, who’d been listening the whole time, turned to me and said "You really should open your mind, Sean. And check out our website at spiritart.com." "Oh, I will," I said.

"Some people are just self-deluded." Hmmm. I’m not sure Michael Parry has ever said anything more clarifying.

 

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Comments (35 comments)

Atheist Okie / August 3rd, 2008, 4:49 pm / #1

What sucks is that the skeptic is usually the one trying to be polite and sociable, then dicks like this have to start their bologna. When you tell them you respectfully don’t buy it they just don’t let it be, but keep on pushing. Finally, when you push back and challenge them, they get pissy about it and usually everyone else that heard the conversation usually ends thinking you are the dick. What a world.

Oz Atheist / August 3rd, 2008, 9:55 pm / #2

What a self righteous prat Parry is, why do religious people, psychics etc have to “feel sorry” for others that don’t believe in their nonsense? It is us rational people who should feel sorry for them that they are living a lie.

Louis / August 4th, 2008, 1:01 am / #3

Guilt. The fall back position, when you have no position at all… at least not a defensible one.

Every snake-oil prick on the planet uses it. That is what they do, manipulate. Guilt is their ace of spades. It is sad and maddening that they win as many hands as they do playing the same fucking cards. Folks hand over the anti of their money, time and energy, and in the worst cases, their free-will.

It boggles my mind that even when completely exposed as fraudulent, these human ringworms wriggle their way back into bilking folk. Tis why Peter Popoff is back selling his blessed spring water.

And the X-stains wonder why we insist on proof and challenge claims…

It would be patently retarded to do anything less.

If someone tries to make you feel guilt or shame for insisting on credible proof… that person should be avoided like a plague.

I commend you for your restraint with this scumbag, Sean.

Last little observation…

Even ‘IF’ James Randi didn’t have the money… why not take the challenge?

Cause Mr. Parry, it isn’t about the money anyway… right?

*smirk*

Toon / August 4th, 2008, 2:29 am / #4

spiritart.com… Very nice site, very convincing. It’s all about ‘helping people’ to ‘get in touch with their deceased loved ones’ all right. What, with the flash intro, the press kit and the testimonials and all. No commercial intentions whatsoever.
This sort of garbage should fall under false advertising laws.

bulldada / August 4th, 2008, 6:43 pm / #5

Sounds like Michael Parry should recieve this years nomination for Biggest Douche In The Universe. I don’t know if John Edwards still holds the title?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biggest_douche_in_the_universe

Kanaio / August 6th, 2008, 2:59 am / #6

People who have psychic experiences should admit up front that they don’t know whether their experiences are real or imaginary. An honest psychic would say: “I don’t know where my visions and impressions come from or how they are brought up in my mind. I can’t tell you if they are real or not, or if my mind is altering a normal impression to make it more acceptable and meaningful; I can only tell you what I see, for what it may be worth.”

Some psychics may get upset when challenged and then try to hide it by becoming condescending, because they know that a vision is not proof of anything. Psychic experience is a power veil that may come up in certain states of consciousness. People who are open to these states must foster impartiality so as not to become overly interested in them. These experiences have no lasting importance on an enlightened path.

People who have lost loved ones need to be told that they are not alone and that they are deeply loved and supported. They need to be given time to express their grief. Our capacity to love is infinite, our time on the planet is not. The more real compassion and acceptance we give to others, the less need they will have to cling to superstitious beliefs.

We will not all get the opportunity to say goodbye to those we love or have the textbook example of closure, but that is not to say that we can not find it in some other way and make peace with our histories. Our relationships are more than individual moments pasted together, but are the sum total over long stretches that reveal their truths in who we are today.

I should say by way of full disclosure that a few years ago shortly after a friend’s father died, I had a vision of his father one evening. I got a very strong impression that he wanted me to say certain things and to help my friend through this ordeal. I did not look at the experience as real or unreal, simply as a guide for what I was to do.

Orion77 / August 7th, 2008, 3:12 am / #7

Very enjoyable read, I’m still chuckling at your powers of restraint or lack there of! To quote your intro, “For parties, it’s best to keep the ice in the drinks where it belongs.” What was it, three minutes into your conversation and you tossed the ice, drink & glass in his face, “I think you’re fucking victimizing vulnerable people…”

Valhar2000 / August 10th, 2008, 5:36 am / #8

Orion77, well done! It is high time that these disgusting skeptics learn to accept their place in society, and cease attempting to make the world a better place by challenging sociopaths who prey on the weak and helpless. I mean, come on! If they didn’t deserve to be victimized they wouldn’t be victims, now would they? Support me on this, Orion!

ClintJCL / August 12th, 2008, 10:32 am / #9

Nice job! Remind me to invite you to a party sometime :) And I have a few ‘friends’ that could use a talking to.

Nancy Couick / August 16th, 2008, 6:59 pm / #10

Lovely story! I researched the links you gave about cold and hot reads, Douchbags, etc. — fascinating. Unfortunately, the SpiritArt site doesn’t stoop to allowing dial-up people to use it easily, and I got tired of waiting for it to load….so I guess I’ll just have to figure out what their site is about by using my own psychic powers…. I guess dial-up people don’t have the type of income these helpful people are catering to.

Guess what I learned several years ago while learning to do sweats and stuff like that? Native Americans are just making it up as they go along, too!! Isn’t that great?

BlackSun / August 20th, 2008, 8:14 am / #11

People who have lost loved ones need to be told that they are not alone and that they are deeply loved and supported. They need to be given time to express their grief. Our capacity to love is infinite, our time on the planet is not. The more real compassion and acceptance we give to others, the less need they will have to cling to superstitious beliefs.

@Kanaio, exactly. I think these two could do a great service providing grief counseling, helping people deal with their losses by turning to the compassion of other humans, not phantoms. Keeping people’s false hopes alive is beyond cruel. Their loved ones are never coming back, and it’s one of the biggest losses a person can ever face–hence the deep vulnerability to charlatans.

@Orion77, yes that was kind of the point of the article, wasn’t it? I would have preferred to keep my mouth shut, but the guy insisted on going to work on me. “You don’t believe me, do you” is nothing if not a gauntlet thrown down.

@Nancy, sorry about your internet service. You didn’t miss much on that site. Re: Native American “spirituality,” I was starting to write something about understanding the Native American traditions, given the history of their oppression. But then I realized I was being patronizing. They have as much to gain as anyone by joining the community of science and reason. And the funny thing is no one has to give up their sweats or rituals. They can just transfer the symbology to the metaphorical–to the psyche as opposed to some non-existent spirit world.

Joe / August 21st, 2008, 12:15 am / #12

Hahahaha! Yeah, I think people like this are precisely what the “Biggest Douche in the Universe” Award is all about. Some people refuse to consider the possibility that what they know, or at least think they know is entirely possibly wrong. This kind of fleeting conviction is preciously why religion has become an outsider’s joke. What may have originally been a foundation of human compassion, was twisted when people started spreading a ‘conviction’ that the deity told them to kill all other religions. Or a conviction that the stories passed down and modified through the generations must be literal (yes, the bible).

When spirits start talking to me, I will try to find some concrete and reproducible proof that I’m not insane; failing that, I will cheerfully admit that I’m crazy as a loon and hear voices in my head =)
If only our psychics and mediums felt the same way.

Jim1138 / August 22nd, 2008, 12:58 am / #13

I had a friend that was taken in and by Silvia Browne. She was desperate for her life to have meaning. Silvia gave her babel and took her money. Unfortunately, I did not know what to do.

Many people could help with someone’s grief. The Parrys are obviously not in it to help people. Money, greed, and idolization appears to be their goal. If they needed to truly help someone, they would probably use their stage persona.

Good smack-down.

Scotty Roberts / September 2nd, 2008, 6:41 am / #14

Hey Sean,
It’s rare that I run across random blogs that are critical of friends, even more rare would be my taking time to comment on them. However, I wanted to throw in two or three cents worth on my friends, Michael & Marti Parry.

I have encountered lots of skeptics. I’ve debated them, had friendly conversations with them, and even on many points found them to be as interested in fact as I, just on the wholly other end of the spectrum. But one commonality that seems to be shared by most skeptics i know, is their ability to immediately denounce and label as “fake” or “deluded” or “Douch Bag” anyone who falls outside their skeptical bubble of quantifiability.

There is a certain arrogance adopted by the self-acclaimed skeptical intelligencia that establishes their perception of people and phenomena, one that states “nothing can exist beyond the sphere of what I perceive and can explain by current science.” That seems so incredibly limiting. For many skeptics, I believe this is simply their way to dismiss without having to do the work of real research; a preconceived notion governing the process. That’s as much a de facto act of faith as anything they might criticize.

I would think the TRUE skeptic would be the one who seeks before criticizing, and explores before rendering judgement. In the Parrys’ case, I am sure they have had to endure the endless assault of nay-sayers, name-callers, rock throwers and wolves in sheep’s clothing - who have no intention of seeking fact - long before encountering you at that party. It seems as if you didn’t take that into consideration, nor does it appear that you made the effort to present them in any other light save that of charlatans preying on the distressed and bereaved.

I understand that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” but what most skeptics seem to have missed is that the stuff of spirituality isn’t necessarily all that “extraordinary,” and the accumulation of evidences - despite their inability to be replicated at will in a laboratory setting - DO amount to an astounding, though varied and diverse grab-bag of facts and evidence. If skeptics own such a corner on what is fact, why have they not yet grasped the concept that Science may NEVER be able to quantify the Spiritual. To make science the the only hallmark, elevates science to the place of surrogate religion. In a very real sense, Skepticism becomes the new faith.

Take some factual information from someone who knows Michael and Marti Parry. They are friends of mine, so I am sure you will consider my perspective on them to be skewed by my personal experience. One thing I can state for a certainty is that the Parrys are genuine, good hearted people of character and integrity. They are not deceitful, thieving “ambulance-chasing” rain-makers looking for the next fast buck. Much to the chagrin of some of the other people commenting on your blog, the Parrys do not salivate at the news of bereavement, nor do they “prey” on the broken hearted or the recently bereft.

I know many people, and have many friends, who have received readings from the Parrys, who do not represent the desperate, desolate bereaved. I recently had my own reading from them, and it was a wonderful connection to people in my past who have passed-on. And the information garnered from those unseen spirits was remarkably “spot-on.” Michael and Marti do not incorporate “cold reading” techniques. In fact, Michael specifically requests that you divulge NO information prior to or during the reading. There were several times I wanted to spit out, “Here is who and what it is, Michael!’ but he would put up his hand and allow the spirits to reveal the information. And i must say that as a fairly intelligent, pragmatic guy, I found the information to be genuine and revealing - and i am OVERTLY cautious to make sure i am not just hearing what I want to hear, or making the messages “fit” by my own mental and/or emotional manipulation. I was and am truly astounded by the people (spirits) who came forward and revealed private information, connections and names.

All in all the experience was uniquely engaging, and overtly revealing without so much as a word or two being uttered by me to garner information.

I would encourage you, Sean (and your readers), to apply the scientific method to your skepticism. Engage and seek for fact, rather than bait and obfuscate an underlying bias.

The Parrys are good people, and I hope my contribution to your blog is accepted as being as efficacious and honest as those who would nay-say without the effort of exploration or research or knowledge.

Cheers.
~Scotty

BlackSun / September 2nd, 2008, 8:39 am / #15

Scotty,

While I appreciate your desire to rush to the defense of your friends, your analysis doesn’t hold water.

The first thing you have done is attempt to shift the burden of proof. This does not get the Parrys off the hook. They are making claims you yourself admit are extraordinary. They are doing so without providing the evidence.

despite their inability to be replicated at will in a laboratory setting

This is pretty much the definition of quackery. It’s as if I showed up at a business deal with an empty briefcase, and expressed surprise when it wasn’t accepted as being full of money. No matter how much good faith I may have had, the briefcase is still empty.

Your disparagement of skeptics is really a slam on scientists. Skeptics are simply those who insist that the principles of science be applied to everyday claims. Scientists themselves are mostly far too busy doing real research to be bothered with crackpots. Any scientist knows you can’t prove a negative. So they don’t try. They build a body of knowledge by examining positive evidence. Skeptics are those who understand scientific principles, and are tired of seeing fraudsters use personality and “reasonable doubt” to take advantage of a gullible population with impunity.

I understand that the Parrys may mean well. My own parents claimed to be “messengers of the ascended masters.” I assure you that my parents started out with good intentions also. All the good intentions in the world don’t make up for delusion, and especially self-delusion. It is interesting that Michael can see self-delusion in my mom, and yet not in himself. This fact alone should give anyone pause. Just as you support the Parrys, there are thousands of people who claim to have benefited from my mom’s channeling.

I know many people, and have many friends, who have received readings from the Parrys, who do not represent the desperate, desolate bereaved. I recently had my own reading from them, and it was a wonderful connection to people in my past who have passed-on. And the information garnered from those unseen spirits was remarkably “spot-on.” Michael and Marti do not incorporate “cold reading” techniques. In fact, Michael specifically requests that you divulge NO information prior to or during the reading. There were several times I wanted to spit out, “Here is who and what it is, Michael!’ but he would put up his hand and allow the spirits to reveal the information. And i must say that as a fairly intelligent, pragmatic guy, I found the information to be genuine and revealing - and i am OVERTLY cautious to make sure i am not just hearing what I want to hear, or making the messages “fit” by my own mental and/or emotional manipulation. I was and am truly astounded by the people (spirits) who came forward and revealed private information, connections and names.

This is all well and good, but represents only anecdotal testimony. Let’s see this replicated under controlled conditions. If successful, we will have discovered a new principle of science. Don’t you think the Parrys could become a lot more famous and respected if they were to actually prove they were communicating with the dead instead of simply claiming it? Obviously, if they could, they would. As of now, it’s only hearsay. There’s a reason why systems such as science exist: to separate facts from “seances” and other expressions of wishful thinking.

I would encourage you, Sean (and your readers), to apply the scientific method to your skepticism. Engage and seek for fact, rather than bait and obfuscate an underlying bias.

Science is the entire point. If the Parrys aren’t willing to submit to analysis under laboratory conditions (which they would certainly fail), it only underscores the weakness of their position. All your protestations don’t change this one iota. If you claim there is a method which is “better than science” at determining the truth of the Parrys’ claims, then you need to define that method and demonstrate why it is better. Otherwise you are just blowing smoke.

The Parrys are good people, and I hope my contribution to your blog is accepted as being as efficacious and honest as those who would nay-say without the effort of exploration or research or knowledge.

This is completely irrelevant. They can be “good people” (though I could argue that point) and still be wrong. Self-delusion, remember? You can be as honest as you like and still be wrong. If you are as dedicated to research and knowledge as you say, put the Parrys to the test under controlled conditions. Put your money where your mouth is–like James Randi. Otherwise, you and they have become content to remain the blind leading (or following) the blind.

Janna / September 2nd, 2008, 11:24 am / #16

Once at a group event Michael Parry stopped at me and said, “Who’s Frances?”. I had no idea who Frances was. He looked up, appeared to be mumbling something, then looked me straight in the eye and said, “PAUL Francis”. No question about it. A strong, simple statement. Paul Francis was my grandfather. Not exactly “Joe Smith”. Now, it didn’t really mean a darned thing and didn’t change my life, but come on…..how the hell does that happen? All it did was simply remind me that there are more things in the world that we cannot explain than we think. End of story.
Personally, I think that this entire conversation happening at a party was ridiculous. Kind of like political banter between left and right wingers. Didn’t really belong there. And sorry, but I really don’t believe that you were perfectly innocent in this and there wasn’t some baiting going on once you knew who they were.

Scotty Roberts / September 2nd, 2008, 11:32 am / #17

Sean, without any intention to offend, I have to say that I find you less of a Skeptic, and more of a Cynic.

If Science, as you say, is the ONLY measure by which the Parrys claims can be proven true or false, what would you consider to be an appropriate controlled environment for determining the veracity of their claims of communication with the non-corporeal? When there is a quantity that cannot be measured, how does one place it under scientific scrutiny, other than to observe and measure the outcome, after the fact?

Wouldn’t that be akin to asking me to prove that I possess “love in my heart” under laboratory conditions? I can SAY that I love my wife, and you may be able to measure certain fluxes in chemically induced responses, and the visually observe the blush in my ears and cheeks when my wife gives me that “certain look.” While there is a measurable quantity in the outcome and results of my claim of love, you cannot measure or prove the intangible emotion.

Anecdotal Testimony is admissible in a court of law in the form of written affidavits and the establishment of facts and chronologies. I would contend that I put the Parrys to a scientifically controlled test when I allowed them to conduct a reading on me.

As far as the Parrys “becoming a lot more famous and respected,” I rather think that is not their goal. To attribute that trait to them would be to say that you have judged them based on the actions of other people.

Something I found quite contradictory to a truly scientific or skeptical approach was the number of people who commented on your blog, prejudging the Parrys prior to knowing who they are or seeking out quantifiable information that either establishes or contradicts the Parrys’ claims.

I don’t want to camp on this issue, but when I hear epithets like “douche bag” being used above to describe the Parrys, the veracity of the point is rendered null and void. Especially when the people throwing out those labels have spent no time researching or garnering any knowledge of who the Parrys are and what they do in their private practice. Their derisive commentary bears no earmark of scientific research, and it taints any truly honest skeptical approach, smacking bias and reeking of prejudice without substantive analysis.

And I would think the fact that the Parrys are “good, decent people” would have insurmountable bearing on their credibility. And it IS all about credibility, because there are things that Science may never be able to prove. We’ve seen it happen in the past. 8000 years ago, oxygen was unquantifiable by the rules of today’s scientific method. Did that render oxygen non-existent? No. But Science had to catch up. Until that point, all we could do with oxygen was “experience” it.

As far as putting the Parrys to the test, I believe it could be beneficial to take a look at the episode of SciFi’s “Proof Positive” that featured the Parrys. It at the very least, a presentation of how and what they do…
The Parrys on “Proof Positive.”

BlackSun / September 2nd, 2008, 11:47 am / #18

@Scott, I never called anyone a douchebag. I said they were victimizing vulnerable people. I stand by that assertion.

If you want to prove what the Parrys do is for real, let me select 50 people at random with deceased parents and employ third party observers with no interest in the outcome. Let the Parrys take each person in succession and with no interaction state the names of their deceased parents. If they can do this with an outcome better than random chance, your point is proved. Otherwise, they are inaccurate charlatans who do not posess the powers they claim to.

I leave people to draw their own conclusions as to whether or not this would make them “douchebags.”

Being “good decent people” is a loophole big enough to drive a truck through. More evil has been done in this world by “good decent people” than those who actually display their evil at face value. Ever hear the fable of wolves in sheep’s clothing?

I’ll check out the TV show. But as someone who works in television, I would never take it as anything other than entertainment.

@Janna, your story is interesting, but it was not a controlled trial, and I have only your word to go on. That’s not enough to establish authenticity. And I have never denied that I was a skeptic. But Michael most definitely pressed the issue at the party. With the wrong person, as it turned out.

Becky / September 2nd, 2008, 11:53 am / #19

I am dying to leave a comment regarding Michael & Marti Perry. First of all I do feel you
would be better to open your mind.. Do you have scientific proof that there is no life
after death… ? I am not one to judge but I myself am smart enough to leave my mind
open to things I have know real answers for. I for one do believe there is life after death.
When I was 7yrs. old I had an accident, and I (mean my sprit left my body). I could see
myself on the ground and my Dad and others around me. I was trying to talk to them
but they could not hear me.. Long story short I made it back into my body. I for mself
know that there is a sprit within us that continues to live after are bodies don’t work. And
I know for a fact that there are gifted people like Michael & Marti who can connect with
our love ones. Yeh there are many fakes out there, but I for one have been privleged to
meet with them, and I know that they are gifted.

Toon / September 2nd, 2008, 12:05 pm / #20

Ah yes, the typical response of quacks when challenged: simply drown out the voice of reason and claim prejudice. Nice one. Either one of these cases is true:

The Parrys are all in good faith, but self-delusionalIn this case, Sean is doing them a favour
The Parrys are not (completely) in good faith and are actively scamming peopleReason enough to debunk them any way possible
They are completely for real and are actually communicating with the deadThis should be easy to replicate in a scientifically controlled setting. In fact, if they refuse to this and thereby deny humanity the benefit of their astounding ability, that in itself would be extremely selfish and arrogant. Just think of all the missing persons cases that could be solved.

Bottom line: either way, these people are either sad and pathetic or disgustingly egocentric.

BlackSun / September 2nd, 2008, 12:09 pm / #21

@Becky, my mind is clearly open. It is a fallacy to think that I therefore have to accept things presented without sufficient evidence. The rest is just bluster. This is not a popularity contest.

Phyllis Pircher / September 2nd, 2008, 12:20 pm / #22

My son and some friends had a private reading with the Parrys and later he called me and asked who Uncle Bob was. I hadn’t mentioned him or kept in touch with him so never spoke of him. Later my son brought a drawing that Marti had made and there was Uncle Bob. I later found a picture of him and, yes it was him. I think this proves, assuming you take me at my word, that it could not have come from his subconscious but I also believe that you are intent on holding on to your skepticism because to do otherwise would be very frightening.

BlackSun / September 2nd, 2008, 12:30 pm / #23

@Phyllis Pircher, again, anecdotal evidence I have to take your word for is meaningless. As are your ad hominems accusing skeptics of harboring “fear.” What could a true scientist possibly fear–other than ignorance? Nothing.

Scotty Roberts / September 2nd, 2008, 1:09 pm / #24

Toon,
I don’t believe that people with a belief in the spiritual or supernatural are void of reason.

Black Sun,
I will step out on a branch and postulate that no amount of evidence would be sufficient to satisfy what you would need to see. Applying the same rules of “lack of detailed information” that you use in denouncing the Parrys’ abilities, I would say that you probably have deeper personal issues with the subject matter than a simple lack of scientific proof. And there’s nothing really wrong with that - it’s your experiences that have brought you to the position you take. Mine have led me elsewhere.

It’s like Carl Sagan’s “purple floating dragon,” only in reverse.

I am not out to convince you or anyone of anything, I simply believe that a reasoned mind cannot blot out the unknown and label it “non-existent.” Further, a rational scientist would not declare a negative on something he has spent no time substantiating or disproving. Scientists don’t simply sit in their cloistered worlds and accept only the things they WANT to determine as factual. They also delve into arenas where they have to stretch the limits of what they know in order to determine what is factual and what is not.

You may not have fear, but you certainly can’t claim the moniker of “true scientist,” AND declare “quakery” without sufficient research. What you state above is opinion, not fact. Having said that, I will also state the obvious: you also have no reason to set out attempting to prove something which you believe is fake. So, unless you rely on others’ research, you are ever dwelling in the land of personal opinion as opposed to hands-on scientific research. Your point-of-view is as valid as anyone else’s, but your leaping off point is disingenuous, as it appears obvious that you have an axe to grind with spirituality.

But I love a good debate, and you’ll never find me stomping my feet.

Scotty Roberts / September 2nd, 2008, 1:14 pm / #25

Eppur si muove…

Carole / September 2nd, 2008, 1:41 pm / #26

I have had many readings with the Parry’s, and hosted two sessions with them in my home. I had my first session as an “OPEN-MINDED SKEPTIC,” and was blown away by their accuracy. They knew NOTHING about the people I invited to the home session, and Michael brought through names, dates, private messages, as Marti drew pictures that matched photos of people who have passed that several people brought with them. The cost was for two and a half hours, but Michael continued for almost 4 hours because so
many connections were being made. He brought closure to parents who had lost children, identifying the causes of death, and messages of peace. He gave key words, terms, and details that he could not have guessed, not vague.SPECIFIC….they are amazing!
It is only in the last five years that surgeons have accepted “healers” into the operating rooms in hospitals, medical doctors have recognized the value of aroma and music in healing, and out of body experiences are being kept track of. We have come a long way.. but, based on closed-minded people (such as those responding her)..we have a long road to travel. To each his own….you’ll understand your errors when you get to the other side, For now, you are missing opportunities to grow and learn….and that’s what this life is all about, is it not?

BlackSun / September 2nd, 2008, 2:13 pm / #27

I will step out on a branch and postulate that no amount of evidence would be sufficient to satisfy what you would need to see.

I told you what evidence I would need. Put up or shut up. Quoting Carl Sagan to support your position is beyond the pale. Sagan was writing to expose just such unscientific nonsense, and his precise point is that without evidence your claims of communication with spirits are no more real than the “invisible dragon in the garage.” Dr. Sagan would have abhorred the Parrys’ unscientific charlatanism.

I am not out to convince you or anyone of anything, I simply believe that a reasoned mind cannot blot out the unknown and label it “non-existent.”

We label it “unknown.” Nothing else. We don’t make unsubstantiated clams about it.

you also have no reason to set out attempting to prove something which you believe is fake.

It is not up to me to prove it. Just like I don’t have to prove there are no leprechauns, fairies or unicorns or to use Bertrand Russell’s example, no flying teapots around Mars. No, Scotty, the burden of proof is all yours and the Parrys. That is–if you want to be taken seriously outside your little circle of psychic friends.

Next time you get in this kind of debate, you might want to consider doing something else other than tap-dancing between 1) anecdotal evidence, 2) shifting the burden of proof, and 3) ad hominem attacks.

Black Sun Journal » Fans of Michael and Marti Parry Respond / September 4th, 2008, 11:23 am / #28

[...] Thanks to Google search or maybe word-of-mouth, a couple of days ago I suddenly got a deluge of comments from Parry supporters on the month-old article. Honestly, I’m dumbfounded. It’s one thing to hear about psychic mediums, to be vaguely aware that people like the Parrys and John Edward exist. It’s another to actually meet them and experience their unctuous condescension in person. And it’s stranger still (a little reminiscent of CUT believers) to be set upon by their followers. [...]

searching mom / April 11th, 2010, 7:23 pm / #29

Dear Mr. Roberts, I really liked your response, ironically I was researching mediums to try and connect with my son who passed away last june, my son's name is Scott Roberts, we of course called him Scotty. , thank-you for your thoughtful posting.

jon / May 20th, 2011, 10:10 pm / #30

hold on a mo, while i think its good to question people

many people have claimed they have said things they would never know.

hows that done if they are lying.

we should be open minded to both objections and possibilities

Yancy Ramirez Solano / November 9th, 2011, 10:26 pm / #31

Not much English but I've always wanted to know about my brother and the mystery surrounding his death.
I saw you on TV and google search. how you can help me?
I'm from Costa Rica.
Thank you very much.
I await your response
Yancy Ramirez

marina / May 23rd, 2012, 5:12 pm / #32

I was Michiel/Marty events. i was flabbergast. Nobody could know about my private life.
I just want to tell THANK you.
All this skeptic are just narrow minded or trolls.
Thank you again Michail and Marty

Del / April 29th, 2014, 2:55 am / #33

Just a thought; Are the ten of thousands of recorded NDEs experiences to be simply written off? If there is no afterlife how come ALL these people say there definiitely is a separation of body and spirit when the body draws its last breath? Nearly all recorded NDEs actually happen in hospitals where they all flat lined - and their death WAS RECORDED on real, genuine, precise scientific instruments. Is that not scientific proof - at least of death itself? Then come the testimonies, anecdotal yes, but testimonies nevertheless. Are ALL these people raving mad? As I said; just a thought.

Anonymous / June 22nd, 2014, 10:08 pm / #34

there is such thing as an after life….

Napitenkah / October 3rd, 2014, 7:10 pm / #35

James Randi isn't just a guy, it is a religion. A religion of faith.

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