First there was paranormal investigator Ryan Buell who capitalized on his affiliation with Penn State (starring in Paranormal State), now the school is promoting another student as a psychic medium for a new TV show. Oh, wait, not really…
Ms. Ten-Kate, a junior at Penn State University, is shooting a nonscripted series in State College. The program “Monica the Medium” will be a snapshot in the life of the young woman, who has been giving readings since she was a teenager.
The network promises “a fascinating look at Monica … navigating friends, family, relationships … and the fact that she’s a medium and can talk to dead people.”
The “Penn State blog” Onward State, billed as an alternative news website (to the Daily Collegian, I guess) with a student voice, featured Monica in a story.
This seemed no different than any other promotional story about mediums, without any hint of skepticism, just assuming that mediums are real. However, the story hit a nerve and was retracted. In a scathing takedown, another writer rips psychics a new one…
As we reported yesterday, Monica Ten-Kate, the “Penn State Medium,” is indeed getting her own reality show on ABC Family — if nothing else, that much is true. Unfortunately, in trying to provide a relevant piece of news to the Penn State community, we inadvertently promoted one of the most fraudulent, predatory practices around: psychic readings. Our mission statement promises that Onward State will work to generate honest conversation in the hopes of enriching the Penn State community and experience. Yesterday’s article did not do that, and we hope to rectify that. We apologize for the oversight, and are issuing a full retraction of that piece.
After we published the article, Ten-Kate and her publicists requested that we “correct” several parts, claiming there were errors. She was absolutely right. There were significant mistakes in our piece. Instead of reporting critically, we presented her implausible assertions at face value, and implied that Ten-Kate can actually speak to the dead. In reality, she most certainly can’t talk to the dead, because that’s quite simply impossible. Anyone who claims to have that power is a liar. We apologize for any confusion or ire this may have caused amongst our readership, and we appreciate your comments.
It’s a very adamantly skeptical piece. Perhaps TOO adamant. We note that Mr. Randi is featured at the top of the page and a number of prominent skeptics are mentioned, yet, the piece goes too far in calling psychic mediums “lying frauds”. It seems the writer is not well versed in libel claims. I expect this piece might be retracted as well. While there certainly ARE many psychic mediums who are frauds, not all are deliberately lying. Many believe they have this power and simply take advantage of the human propensity to find patterns and seek reassurance, thus convinced that the person is really psychic. It’s not a valid sixth sense, but it does convince many people who believe. That’s why psychics get their own TV shows and sell tickets to events — people believe and that’s enough. But throwing the words “liar” and “fraud” around will get you into hot water.
A corollary to this subject harkens back to Buell’s Paranormal State. That show attempted to use the reputation of the university to bolster the scientific cred. They failed. PSU disassociated with the show. (Good for them, because Paranormal State was incredibly UNscientific and contrived.) Will Monica the Medium promote her as a smart college student to enhance her reputation as a real psychic? The show will take place in the college town. Hard to say. Grabbing the younger crowd to promote such a belief is also worrying. I can empathize with writer Purcell but a gentler approach may have been more reasonable. The comments on the piece are not all positive noting the piece is more opinion than retraction (if the retraction was even needed) and seems inappropriate.
Since psychics have not convinced more critical thinkers that they do anything special, and every TV psychic show is plain old awful, the real question is why the hell do we need another psychic show?