If You Could Read My Mind

There’s a show taking place at the University Concert Hall in Limerick tonight that I wouldn’t mind seeing but I can’t make it due to work commitments. Even if I was available, however, I’d prefer not to hand over my money to the performer in question. Joe Power hails from Liverpool and is, wait for it, a medium whose main claim to fame is that he can communicate with the dead. I must admit that I’d never heard of the guy until I read about his visit to Limerick in a local newspaper last week. Since then, I’ve read a few articles about him and also watched a rather interesting documentary that attempts to discover what makes him tick

According to the University Concert Hall’s site, he played two shows at the venue last year. The rest of their information seems to have been taken from a poorly-written and outdated press release that contains a number of errors. It actually looks forward to 2009 and then makes a number of outlandish and hyperbolic statements about the psychic that rely quite heavily on the use of exclamation marks to make their point. See what you can make of this sentence:

His scouse humour ensures that you have an exceptionally evening proving that your loved ones live on. Joe Power is like no other psychic medium, he promises a night packed with messages! If you want to prove, you must see this man!

Yes, that is actually what it says. It reads like it’s been translated from another language (Scouse, perhaps?) using a computer program. I’m quite surprised and a little disappointed that a site associated with one of Ireland’s most established universities would publish this rubbish without checking it. Surely the Limerick Co-Ordination Office wouldn’t make such a mistake. Or would they?

You might think that I’m being a little sceptical about Joe and his, er, powers, but I can assure you that I’m not alone. The folks over at SkepticBlog believe that Mr Power is merely “a second rate fake psychic medium trying desperately to break into the first tier”. “A medium he may be, but when it comes to being an arsehole he is a definite XXXL”, says Pete Cashmore at The Guardian. The most insightful and humorous stuff comes from the wonderfully-named Merseyside Skeptics. Over there, you can read about their bizarre encounter with Power at a book-signing, their thoughts on his psychic detective skills and their handling of his police compliant about an alleged case of harassment. If you reside in the British Isles, I urge you to watch this brilliant Channel 4 documentary where Derren Brown investigates The Man Who Contacts The Dead. Brown is also a bit of a chancer, but he does a great job of exposing Power’s tricks and shows him up for the charlatan that he is. If you’re going to see Joe tonight, I’d like you to do a little favour for me. I don’t want you to be taken in by what he says, but I don’t want you to be too critical, either. Instead, I’d be delighted if you could strike a happy medium for me

Fortune Teller – Robert Plant & Alison Krauss (Benny Spellman cover)

Read My Mind – The Killers

I Predict a Riot – Kaiser Chiefs