Secrets of mediums unmasked: One repents for life of cons and reveals how he duped people into believing he can talk to the dead

Mail, UK/September 3, 2012

He has spent the past 40 years transmitting messages from the dead and reading people's fortunes, but now professional 'psychic' Mark Edward Wilson says it's time to draw back the curtain on his act.

In a new tell-all book called 'Psychic Blues: Confessions of a Conflicted Medium, the 61-year-old medium, who goes by the name Mark Edward, reveals the tricks of the trade that he has been using since the 1970s to make people believe in his 'supernatural' powers.

While Edward's memoir does not reveal any shocking secrets of the profession, it effectively drives home the point of how easily people can be duped, according to the New York Times.

For example, the 61-year-old psychic describes the old-fashioned trick in which he would talk to a member of the audience before the show, who would mention that his father's name was Louis.

Then during the performance, Edward would find the man he spoke to earlier in the crowd and say, 'The name that comes to my mind is Lou. Who is Lou?' More often than not, the targeted spectator will forget about his earlier encounter with the medium and be amazed at his ability to gaze right into his past.

Edward's desire to come clean about his supernatural machinations 40 years into his career is rooted in his claim that he belongs to a special cohort of magicians, among them the duo Penn and Teller and James Randi, who both perform tricks and debunk them to teach people how not to get hoodwinked in the future.

In an interview with the Times, Edward said that after years of sympathizing with the skeptics while capitalizing on people's gullibility, he felt he had to choose sides.

'My conscience - I could no longer do it,' Mr. Edward said. 'I'd been walking both sides of the line. My magician friends' - many of them skeptics - 'thought I was selling out to the psychics, and the psychics thought I was selling out to the skeptics.'

While Edward strikes a repentant tone in his no-holds-barred volume, he at times defends his craft as pure entertainment and wallows in self-pity as he attempts to straddle both sides of the moral argument.

However, the bread-and-butter of Edward's craft is his ability to make vague, general statements about problems that are common to almost everyone, and which are most likely to hit the mark.

'I sense that you have relationship issues,' he told one caller to the Psychic Friends Network where he had worked in the 1990s, 'which sometimes leave you fearful of the outcome.'

Like the fictional repentant pseudo-psychic Patrick Jane (played by actor Simon Baker) in the CBS show The Mentalist, a good medium is able to read people and know what makes members of different socioeconomic classes tick.

In one case, Edward told one wealthy man that 'what seems to be missing for you is a free space where you won't be judged by your peers or have to succeed.'

Despite his expressly stated regret at having spent years conning gullible people seeking spiritual guidance, Edward reveals in his memoir that he is still in the psychic business.

Edward has a day job working for the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation department, but in his off time, the 61-year-old divorced father still reads palms and delivers messages from beyond.

In his view, however, Edward is still one of the 'good guys' because he does not take his psychic work too seriously, injecting humour and scepticism into his predictions and readings whenever he can.

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