Derek Acorah %EXT%
is a self proclaimed "Clairvoyant Psychic" famed for channeling the spirits of "Kreed Kafer" %EXT%
and "Rik Eedles", anagrams of "Derek Faker" and "Derek Lies" respectively, on the TV program Most Haunted
. I decided to go see him at The Alexander
Theatre in Birmingham
He's very popular, I only just managed to get tickets and I booked three weeks in advance. First, a brief comment on the audience - they were overwhelmingly women, and (though I'm not trying to be offensive here...) there was an amazing proportion of overweight and frankly obese people. Strange. I'm not sure why that was.
He started with a ten minute intro with a few jokes and in which he told us we were "children of the infinite", and that the people of Birmingham were famed for their "pizazz and bottle", plus a little bit about his TV programs. Next, an audience member, "Rebecca", presented him with a bunch of yellow flowers. Then he started the main show. He has a spirit guide, Sam, who is a kind of broker for the spirits which appear. "Sam" get the spirits to line up on stage (really!), although we can't see them, and Derek gets the odd word or gesture from them. Often the spirits come up with a name. It could be their name, or the name of somebody in the audience, or of someone that someone in the audience knows, or someone that the "spirit" knew, or even the name of someone who will come into the life of someone that someone in the audience knows. The spirits are often a little unclear on this point to start with, but with help from the audience Derek's "voyance" becomes clearer.
His first one went like this:"A lovely spirit lady... got to about 72, 73,74,75... not of big build...This lovely spirit lady has mentally showed me something. It's like she was whisked away... at speed. Oxygen. Something was placed on her mouth here, and next minute she's...medical people.... she's given her name as Margaret. Who's lost a Margaret here? A grandmother Margaret (pause) or a motherly love.OK a bit further back (something to Sam). There's a spirit man coming after her. Talk to him Sam." An audience member at the back responds, and a microphone is passed back. A camera on stage focuses on her and she's projected on the big screen at the back. "I need your voice vibrations. This lovely spirit lady, she's given her name Margaret. A family member connected to you please.(short pause) You'll know whether she's yours or not. Was a family member whisked away to hopsital conditions when the family were not aware of it. In other words, they weren't around... There were certainly breathing problems with this lady, and I feel something of a seizure, she went into a coma, like a sleep state and blood pressure is very low (erm) and the age is important because she showed herself... she wouldn't be afraid to pull your leg. She had a bit of personality about her. She wasn't like a little quiet shrew."
Audience member: "Definitely not. No".
Derek: "So it's not you then... can we.. yes.. go find the person... because the lovely spirit lady is looking in this direction." (towards 2nd audience member who's been given a mike). "Hello love. Can I take it please then that you would understand Margaret who is in the world of spirit?"
Audience member: "Yes"
DA: "and also the description of the lovely lady that's come into this atmosphere."
AM: "Yes. She was my Grandma and her middle name was Margaret and she died of an astma attack at home. (erm) and she didn't die"
DA: "She was rushed away?"
AM: "Rushed away, yes"
Derek goes on to talk about a battle with solicitors, her daughter's back problems, identify her husbands brother Paul, and predict that her fridge will go wonky tonight. Or so it seems. The transcript below show's that it's not quite so straight forward. There's a lot of visual feedback from the audience member. Coming out from the show, I wondered if this was maybe this was "hot reading", gained from eavesdropping on pre-show chat, rather than Cold Reading
. Having reviewed the conversation, it doesn't seem as miraculous as I remembered.
DA: "Now there's a gentleman spirit who has appeared virtually after her. He's not. I've got to be very honest about it. He's not standing next to her, linking as if to say, husband and wife, but I (pause) what's interesting about this man, it seems as if he shows, though he's not like that any more, he did it then, it that he, I'm not saying that he had a spinal problem, but he was semi bent over. Would you understand who that could be? (pause, no response) Now (unclear). (something from audience member). Now can I also basically, is there John linked to you? John?"
AM: "Yes, there is a John linked to me."
DA: "OK. And also, 'coz we're given the name John as well, for to link with you. (erm) Someone said show me something. I've got to come to (unclear) to find (erm)."
DA: "Yes. Close to you right now please, is there someone having some battle, not with a solicitor but getting a solicitor to do a battle on their behalf. "
AM: "Yes there is. It's my daughter."
DA: "Bless you. OK. You're the one. Let me go back up to them and I will get whatever's needed to be told. OK"
AM: "Thank you"
DA: "Hold on a second.(unclear). Can I just say this to you please. Also, around you, around your family link, is there someone please complaining with a back condition."
AM: "Yes there is. My daughter is."
DA: "Oh,woah. She's not here is she."
AM: "No she's not"
DA: "Right. OK. Well they're come here, Margaret's come here to bring healing to her, also obviously, the business with the solicitor."
Derek goes back on stage, says "...the solicitors, is there like a battle with them?"
Am: "Yes there is"
DA: (talking to "Sam") "What. Fine... In the kitchen area? Is that what the spirit want to say? "
DA: "She's remarking about something, that's she's come into the atmosphere, in, I don't know whether it's your home, or whether, in the kitchen (short pause), where, she realised that she made things go wrong, something happened. and stepping back (?) and alarmed that she knew that because she comes down, a bit of (something) in the kitchen area."
AM: Tells story of juicer and another electrical appliance going wrong in last two days.
DA:"Well, she's apologising love. OK"
DA: "And to give you top up proof tonight, so when you go back home, OK? (AM: yes). She'll only do it once to prove to you, she's make your fridge go wonky" (audience laughter). "... Now there's not going to be any danger... I think you'll sense her around"...
DA: "Who's Paul?"
AM: "My husband's brother"
After starting with grandmothers, Derek went on to give some less convincing messages from other, younger "spirits", which somehow seemed much more exploitative. I guess it's that you expect old people to die, it's not such a shock, or such a "life wasted", but when he went on to relay messages from recently dead husbands and dead children, it really did seem he was overstepping the mark.
The spirits often weren't very helpful, looking at the wrong section of the audience, causing Derek to try find their relative in the right hand side of the stalls, but eventually turning them up in the left hand side of the grand circle. They were also generally imprecise and slightly repetitious (predicting a lot of back problems). They did make predictions though, for example that an obese woman might have had problems walking (correct). Derek's or that the mother of a 5 3/4 foot rather stout man was about 5"6 with "some meat on her bones" (incorrect - the spirit wasn't looking at the right part of the audience. ).
Bob was a spirit who's had a history of heart problems (no audience response), then blood problems(no audience response), then a seizure (still no response). Derek persevered with him and found out his surname was Williams, "Bob Williams". Derek repeated his name several time (no response) and he had a link with a Tricia or Patricia (no response). After quite a while, we did get an audience member who "connected very strongly with them", the woman who had brought the flowers. Apparently it was her brother. Except his surname wasn't Williams, but she did have a dead uncle called "Pat". Derek asked if there was a lot of disappointment connected with his death! Later Derek saw the spirit make the letter "S" appear in front of the woman's face. She said this would indicate the first letter of her surname. Derek also stated that the woman was the "visionary in her family", which she confirmed. Next Derek asked "did you had a dog like a bulldog, no, not a bulldog but a bulldog face". She stated "erm my husband had had a boxer dog", Derek checked that the dog was "now passed", and then informed us that Bob (who's surname isn't Williams) had brought the dog along from the "animal kingdom". Derek next fished for something connected with "Nursing", or "nursery nursing" or "state registered" or "any kind of nursing". Definate "no" from Rebecca. Derek then said that she would hear about something in the family to do with "caring for children or pre-school, that sort of thing" and to look out for it.
He's a brave performer, prepared to take the risks, accept failure (or pretend that failures to divine something from the past is now a prediction of the future) and move on. When you see him do it, with the very vague signs he gets from the spirits (they don't even know their own surnames), the way he uses common ailments as predictions or causes of death, and his high failure rate, then if you know about Cold Reading
then you'll see right through him. If you don't, then I guess you'd be taken in.
Overall, he's raking it in, exploiting gullible people. People whose friends and relatives have died. Should I really have handed over my money to him to see the show??
(You can read a review of the Saturday Show %EXT%
at badpsychics.com %EXT%