Thursday, 6 September 2007

Sensing Murder: Insult II

I confess. I am one of the intanglible forces haunting Nigel Latta. After his appearance on Sensing Murder: Insight, the poor man must have received about 15,000,000 emails from every self-proclaimed sceptic, cynic, doubter, nay-sayer and scourge of the paranormal in New Zealand. I was one of them, in fact, I was two of them as I replied to his short - but courteous - response. Probably, the man is wondering why the legions who have responded to his appearance on one ludicrous TV show don't appear at his seminars on parenting, or buy his books.

Understandably enough, Latta didn't answer everyone individually, or all the questinos that were thrown at him. Instead, he published an account of his experiences on his website (1). He says he's pretty happy with the way that the Sensing Murder team presented his views. Though I was surprsied to read that, after afew moments reflection it made sense. After all, if you are going to let a smart, observant fellow like Latta watch you work, with the express intention of exposing any funny business, you're going to think carefully before trying any of that funny business. Equally, they would have had to have been foolhardy to try to manipulate or misrepresent Latta's comments. He would have been alert to that, and would have made sure that the deception was exposed. So they played it straight.

This doesn't answer important questions, however. True, they played it straight on this occasion. There are plenty of instances in other episodes when they have been seen to be guiding the psychics and breaking their own rules, however. In an earlier post (2) I linked detailed examinations of a couple of episodes. Here's a couple of gems from the much longer transcript (3) of the episode concerning the death of Alicia O'Reilly:

Kelvin: She's also talking about 'What Now?', as in the program, so 'What Now?', I've got to go into the eighties.

Rebecca: Alicia was murdered in 1980.

Rebecca's short concise statement implies that Kelvin's prediction is spot-on. What Rebecca and the production team deviously omit to tell the viewer is that the kid's TV program 'What Now?' did not go to air until 1981. Alicia was murdered one year before it began so it can never have been a show she watched. Never.


Kelvin looks at Alicia's drawing of a four storey house:

Kelvin: It's almost as if this girl's drawn her own life, before she's gone. It shows her house…

However Kelvin's guess is wrong, but we are not told this. Alicia lived in a single storey house. He continues:

Kelvin: It shows… her animal by the look, her dog, by the look of it.

A member of the production team is heard to respond very quietly:

Woman on production team: Cat.

Kelvin: Oh, cat is it? [Kelvin looks up at the person who said "cat" for confirmation and smiles]. She talked about the cats earlier. Oh it is too.

This is a blatant example of cheating. The production team not only tells the
psychic that they are wrong, they also give him the correct answer. (4)

Which shows that they do cock up, continually, and that the Sensing Murder team aren't always as scrupulous as they were when Latta was present. That is just a couple of examples of blatant guiding. There are plenty of others, and also instances where the production team may have unintentionalyl have guided the 'psychics.' Though long, the two transcripts are well worth a read.

Which brings us back to the queastion of how Weber was able to perform so well. I can't answer that. As I pointed out yesterday, the story of Margaret Walker has been publicised. It is reasonable to wonder if Weber had been aware of it beforehand, through the 20/20 program on it or the activities of Walker's son. Weber has a professional interest in unsolved murders, after all. It is possible she was familiar with the case. Even if the Sensing Murder production team were keeping everything above board, and Weber had no idea what case she was investigating, it would have been easy enough to identify it from a cold reading. It is even possible she didn't consciously recall the case, but her unconscious memory provided enough detail to give an impressive reading.

Latta goes further, pointing out that the 'psychics' have managed to identify information known only to police, and even identify suspects. I'm not convinced by either claim. In the case of Olive Walker, Weber prepared a fairly generic photofit of the supposed killer. If this was shown to police, along with firther clarifying information, it might have yeilded some sort of a match, but it proves nothing, except that there is a person who looks vaguely like the photofit and has a history of violence against women. Doubtless, an entirely different photofit would also have yeilded results. There are plenty of violent bastards out there.

As for Latta's claim that the 'psychics' came up with "specific names that were persons of interest to the Police but were never made public" (5), we'll have to take his word for it that these were specific, identifying names, not vague suggestions that the killer might have been called "Mike." Though even then, we're left with the fact that these "persons of interest" were not charged or arrested, and the killers remain unknown. And consider this: if the psychics unwittingly stumbled on something that the police were trying to hold back, one of these pieces of evidence that is known only to them and the culprit, and they felt this evidence might be signifigant, would they endorse the psychic's 'findings'? I think not.

1 - "Sensing Murder: Some Answers," by Nigel Latta, on, viewed 5th of September, 2007. (
2 - As described previously on lefthandpalm:
3 - "Sensing Murder Episode: A Bump in the Night," unattributed analysis of the episode on Silly Beliefs. (
4 - ibid.
5 - Latta, op. Cit.


Ian said...

Nice Work mate.

I am Ginarley on the sensing murder forums, and I am based in palmy as well - we should catch up about this Sensing Murder madness. There is considerable discussion going on at this forum as well which may be worth checking out.


Anonymous said...

We confess as well. We are also haunting Nigel Latta. Our critique of 'Sensing Murder - Insight' can be found here:

Contrary to Nigel we found many examples of cheating and plenty of rational explanations to explain what we saw. If you detect any errors or have any advice or criticisms please let us know. We welcome feedback. Enjoyed your review of the Olive Walker case. It's nice to know there are others who can see through this crap.

Unknown said...

Envy is an insult to oneself.
See the link below for more info.


Song for Georgia