A change in the law could mean mediums, psychics and healers face prosecution if they cannot justify their claims. Spiritualists are delivering a mass petition to Downing Street and complaining that a genuine religion is being discriminated against.
Parliament is about to debate measures that will see all forms of paid-for paranormal activities fall under the new Consumer Protection Regulations. As well as tackling a raft of more mundane commercial sharp practice, these regulations will also replace the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951.
And some mediums are not happy. Under the old legislation, it had to be proven that any accused psychic was setting out to commit a fraud. The first case was a man in 1952 on a charge that he did in “purporting to act as a spiritualistic medium, unlawfully use a certain fraudulent device, namely, a length of cheesecloth”. He was acquitted, setting a pattern for the last 50 years of very few prosecutions.
Under the new laws, some mediums feel they will be obliged to prove what they do. And when you’re in the business of contacting spirits in the afterlife, that’s not easy.
The Office of Fair Trading says enforcement of the new regulations will not target sessions like this or churches, instead being more likely to be used against foreign mass mailshot fraudsters extracting large sums of money.
But despite the protestations of officialdom, the medium community has enough foresight to see potential problems ahead.
The story is light on details about the specific changes, so it’s hard to weigh in on it.