Let the Dead Rest In Peace
An open letter to the RSL regarding ‘psychics’
Through its clubs, the Returned and Services League commemorates our servicemen and women, including some who made the ultimate sacrifice.
We are concerned that those clubs are occasionally used for a form of entertainment that is disrespectful to the departed, and to their relatives and friends.
For many years RSL clubs have hosted performances by so-called “psychics” or “clairvoyants” who purport to make contact with the spirit world and to relay messages between audience members and deceased relatives or friends.
If these performances were described as “for entertainment purposes only”, then there would be less objection. But they are described by “psychics” as actual contact with the dead, with all of the intense and potentially distressing personal and emotional impact that that entails.
Such performers have been thoroughly investigated by experts over a long period. The performers use the time-honoured technique of “cold reading”*, which is well known to specialist magicians known as mentalists. The psychics are not communicating with spirits – they are performing a trick, though in a context that we suggest is highly distasteful.
People need to work through their grief when a loved one has passed away. It cheapens the memory of any deceased person to use their name for entertainment. It is completely out of order when the deceased person had served their country and when the performance occurs in a building dedicated to the memory of the fallen.
We therefore call upon the RSL and its clubs to stop hosting this exploitative and disrespectful form of ‘entertainment’.
Australian Skeptics Inc
Gold Coast Skeptics
*See “Guide to Cold Reading” by Ray Hyman, https://www.skeptics.com.au/resources/articles/guide-to-cold-reading-ray-hyman/
About the Skeptics:
The Skeptical movement in Australia is a loose confederation of groups and individuals who are interested in and regularly investigate pseudo-scientific and paranormal claims from a responsible scientific viewpoint.