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Psychic Roundup: ‘Psychics’ Convicted

BENJAMIN RADFORD

The first few months of 2017 have not been good for those who claim to have psychic powers. Between April and August 2015, a Hong Kong taxi driver tricked one of his girlfriend’s daughters into having sex with him, telling her it would help keep evil spirits away from her younger sister. The man, who was not named to protect the identity of his victims, was convicted of several offenses and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. According to an April 10, 2017, article in the South China Morning Post, “the taxi driver told the then 17-year-old girl that her younger sister was ‘ill fated’ [cursed]. The victim—referred to as ‘Y’ in court to protect her identity—believed this and had sex with him as she was assured that such contact could ward off the evil spirits harassing her sibling.” The girls said that the driver often referred to gong tau, a form of black magic originating in Southeast Asia, and that he claimed to be performing rituals related to astrological signs “to prevent harm” to the girls. “He said he was reincarnated. He said he used to be possessed by many evil spirits,” the younger girl added. Psychological reports on the defendant ordered by the court stated that he was failing to cope with a midlife crisis and invented his mysterious experiences and psychic abilities to impress women.

It is unfortunately not uncommon for people pretending to have psychic powers to use the deception to sexually exploit others. In June 2012, British psychic and spiritualist Karl Lang was accused of tricking two women into stripping and performing sex acts in order to speak to their dead relatives. According to an article in the Daily Telegraph:

A young woman told a jury today how a psychic tricked her into performing “like a porn star” in the hope of getting in touch with her dead grandfather. Medium Karl Lang is accused of persuading the woman, 26, to strip naked during a séance because it increased her powers to contact the spirit world. . . . The other victim, now 27, said: “The first time I stripped off my clothes he said ‘Well done! You’ve gone up a level in the spiritual world.’. . . He told me the more outrageous I behaved, the higher level I would get.”

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About Skeptical Inquirer

Politicization of Scientific Issues: Looking through Galileo’s Lens or through the Imaginary Looking Glass Bigfoot as Big Myth: Seven Phases of Mythmaking The Fallacy Fork Why It’s Time to Get Rid of Fallacy Theory The Fakery of Electrodermal Screening

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