One of the most amazing/amusing stories in the UK this week was the settlement in the libel action brought by self-styled psychic Sally Morgan
against the Daily Mail
. Shortly after the finger was pointed at her, Uri Geller spoke to the BBC endorsing the existence of psychic powers. Ironically, Geller - who conned the world for decades - had already come clean
about his own "magic".
However, Mrs Morgan's victory - and this is what we must call it - says more about the tabloid press than it does about her.
If nothing else, it demonstrates the need for careful fact checking when researching potentially defamatory or controversial articles. A microphone can so easily be mistaken for an earpiece, but by the same token, we don't necessarily call people who hear the voices of the dead and claim to actually see them, psychic. Usually we call them gaga. Mrs Morgan should spend her windfall quickly, before the men in white coats
come for her.
The Daily Mail
can however take comfort from the fact that if the paper has been given a bloody nose by Sylvia Morgan, it can brand her namesake a fraudster with impunity, because that is what Sylvia Browne is
, and a convicted one to boot.
One final point, there are plenty of videos of Mrs Morgan on YouTube, including this one
, which indicates it isn't only her psychic powers that warrant skepticism.
If Mrs Morgan will be picking up a cheque from the Daily Mail
, the boot is on the other foot for Psychic TV. In December 2011, the regulator OfCom
announced a clampdown on psychic chicanery
. Yesterday, Friday, the Guardian
reported that it had exercised this power to levy a fine of £22,500 on operators Psychic Today and Big Deal for breaching the broadcasting code
Unlike psychic nonsense, flying saucers sound good in theory. After all, there are countless billions of galaxies out there, let alone stars. Is it really such a bizarre suggestion that there may be other civilisations somewhere in the Universe that are millions of years more advanced than ours? And maybe they have even visited us? The theory sounds good, and the evidence of their existing and doing so is plentiful, but sadly what it makes up for in quantity, it lacks in quality.
The good news is that some of this quantity has just been released by the Public Record Office, or National Archives as we are now to call it.
The files have been digitised and can currently be downloaded from the PRO website
. There is an on-line guide
to help you navigate them, but according to one report, they will not be available indefinitely, so best download them as soon as possible.
This is in fact the last tranche of this sort of material. A cursory glance reveals some interesting reading matter, but those interested in conspiracies should look elsewhere, to plebgate
or the Chris Huhne affair
. Most conspiracies tend to be grubby little things of no real terrestrial much less cosmic importance, even if the machinations of the conspirators can have serious consequences for the guilty and innocent alike.