future, but it's nothing but a big, elaborate magic show.First, I'll cover Sonya Fitzpatrick, who is the "psychic" for the show
and I found a good articlecalledStupid "Pet Psychic" Tricks, by Bryan Farha. Here is the article:
Stupid "Pet Psychic" Tricks, by Bryan Farha, from The New England Journal of Skepticism, Volume 6 Issue 15/1/2003
If David Letterman wants to expand his "Stupid Pet Tricks" segment on the Late Show to include stupid petpsychic tricks, I believe we have a winner. Move over James Van Praagh and John Edward, there's a new television show in town. The Animal Planet cable network has launched, "Pet Psychic," which is hosted by England?born Sonya Fitzpatrick. During Sonya's introductory bio on each telecast, she claims to be ableto "hear the thoughts" of all animals in her vicinity. On the show, Sonya "reads" the thoughts of a variety of animals?asking questions to the pets, and claiming to get answers from the critters. She then communicatesthe answer to the pet owner, who feels comforted after the alleged telepathic communication. Sometimesquestions are requested by animal owners, who are often interested in finding out reasons for peculiar pet behaviors. And she's multi?talented, also crossing over to communicate with pets that have died.Further, Sonya also professes ability to function as a pet psychic detective. For example, there is a $4,000reward for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons who abused a cat named “TLC.” Theabused cat “told” Sonya that the guilty person was a thin male with dark hair who didn't like cats. One memberof the veterinary staff who treated TLC said of Sonya's psychic detective work that the staff was “shocked” ather accuracy and that “any kind of skepticism fades away.” Excuse me, but this is where skepticism enters.Let’s look at some “Stupid Pet Psychic Tricks” used by Sonya Fitzpatrick to make her appear psychic. All aretaken from a single program, which aired on July 1, 2002.
Prediction Based on Prior Knowledge
“Tony” the LlamaSonya made a house call to a ranch outside her current residence of Houston for this alleged telepathicexperience. She accurately pointed out that Tony had some behavioral issues. He’s been a problem llama.Confirmation from the owner made this seem very impressive.Stupid Pet Psychic Trick: Immediately before her psychic vision of behavioral problems, Tony jerked andflailed noticeably while being observed by Sonya and the owner. After watching this unruly behavior, just how psychic is it to predict disciplinary problems in the llama? Before being told of their problem anyone couldhave the same psychic vision of a child who misbehaved like this. Yet the owner seemed convinced. Much of the television audience likely was as well.Percy & BogieIt was never established which one was which, but referring to one of the dogs, this dialog took place betweenSonya and the pet’s owner:Sonya: When did he have some medication?Owner: He’s had an ear infection.Sonya: Yah?he [dog] says that was bad. He says he’s had that on and off.Stupid Pet Psychic Trick: Notice Sonya only makes this last comment after already hearing the owner say thedog had an ear infection. If Sonya can communicate with animals, why didn’t she just ask the dog initially whatthe medication was for and report the answer to us before the owner did? But she asked a general questionabout medication and got a specific answer from the pet’s owner, and wants us to believe that the dog told herthe experience was bad? Please, Sonya.“Bonnie” the DomThis dog kept growling and snarling before Sonya said anything. Therefore, Sonya’s first comment on the dog’s behavior was, “she’s a talker.”Stupid Pet Psychic Trick: How hard is it to convince an owner of this given the free prior knowledge of snarlingand growling? Please, Sonya.
Making the Obvious Seem Telepathic
Two CatsSonya asked the owner if one of the cats crawls under things. The owner confirmed with amazement by saying
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