The supervisors state that -
The psychic industry today is a multi million pound business; with a plethora of websites, chat lines and text services amongst other ways of consuming the paranormal. Within this, more than 170,000 consumers fall victim to clairvoyant scams every year, losing around £40 million in the process. The repeal of the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951 in 2008 addresses the commercial 'psychic revolution' by the introduction of new Consumer Protection Regulations, and creates a number of issues and problems. Previously, mediums and psychic professionals had to use the disclaimer of 'entertainment' in connection with their services. The consumer of paranormal media can now choose from a wide range of international programming, with formats sold in the global market place, websites profiling ghost hunters, and digital photographs and videos capturing 'evidence' of ghosts. All of these examples utilize new trends in the entertainment industry, ranging from interactive elements, spin offs in the form of webisodes to mobile downloads. Similar to the 19th century, paranormal media is both a means to document, create and promote the paranormal. The key issues of illusion and reality, faith and evidence, frame the regulation and reception of paranormal media. High profile fakery scandals surrounding fraudulent mediums and psychic professionals are reported in the press and discussed by audiences of a range of paranormal media, and have been the subject of OFCOM commissioned research. It is timely that a critical study of paranormal media examines the existing and emergent regulatory framework for the paranormal industry in relation to the reception of paranormal media and psychic professionals. Consumer rights are paramount, especially concerning issues of fakery and the exploitation of individuals in scams or within the entertainment industry.The same 'paranormal revolution' or 'psychic revolution' has, arguably, featured the acceptance of 'paranormal journals' such as World Futures - venue for problematical articles on dowsing, reincarnation, remote healing, precognition and other hubble bubble - that are echoes of publications by followers of Mrs Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner, Edgar Cayce, Keyserling, Grof, Krishnamurti and other fin de siecle gurus whose assertions have been embraced by the great & good without a guffaw, grimace or reference to Sokal's famous 'Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity' hoax [here] or the derision rightly accorded to claptrap such as Steiner's The submerged continents of Atlantis and Lemuria, their history and civilization: being chapters from the Akashic records. Lemuria! Atlantis! Psychic communication with vegetables!
Law reform does not require a resort to 'Mayan Calendar' endism, the 'Lost Cubit' or notions that our brains - or merely the brains of our more enlightened peers (presumably the same ones who embrace claims about telepathic messages from the likes of Marie Antoinette!) - are about to become 'quantum wave transceivers' that tap into the 'Akashic Field' and allow us to have a shortwave chat with the dead or creatures from another planet.
Without questioning the sincerity or smarts of many true believers, we might ask whether the language of parapsychology changes ('eye of newt, bladder of toad' is so yesterday, 'mesodomain' and 'supervening' are in) but human credulity, need, fear and exploitation persist.
Critiquing assertions continues to play a valuable role in the minimisation of harm and the advancement of learning, however disconcerting that questioning may be to some audiences or to the latest vendors of the emperor's very fine new clothes.