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Tony Stockwell at the Sunderland Empire on 14th March, 2007 - My Review

Tony StockwellLast night I went to see my first ever live medium on stage - Tony Stockwell. You will probably have heard of Tony Stockwell as he is a well known TV medium who is currently featuring in "‘The Psychic Detective" on Living TV.

I sat there in the audience eagerly awaiting his appearance on stage. Suddenly, there he was, along with a cameraman who was there to capture on film anyone who received a message, so we could all see their reactions to what Tony was saying.

Firstly, let me make it clear from the outset that I have a healthy degree of skepticism about mediumship and the existence of "the other side". I would love there to be one - after all we'd all like to live for ever and be reunited with our departed loved ones. Realistically, I am tempted to believe that life after death is really just wishful thinking, pending someone convincing me otherwise. However, I will attempt to write this review in a fair and unbiased way.

Tony is a skilled entertainer and has a relaxed and jovial manner in front of the audience. Members who received readings were treated sensitively and with respect. Tony did not try to pressure them into agreeing with him if they disagreed. I was riveted for the entire performance which must have lasted over two hours - and I was disappointed when it finished because I wanted it to go on longer. So from an entertainment perspective, it was definitely worth the £18.50 ticket price.

Tony completed in the region of ten readings over the course of the evening. Though they may all have demonstrated a degree of accuracy, only one was stunningly accurate and another was reasonably accurate.

In a way though, the lack of accuracy reassured me about three things of which I had been concerned:

  • Plants in the audience (and I'm not talking about Tulips). I am certain that all members of the audience that received readings were just that - members of the audience. The lady who received the most accurate reading was sitting not far from me. It was clear that she had come with a group of friends, and her reaction was interesting to watch after the reading had been completed - she was visibly stunned.

  • Pre-information - I was imagining the queue on the way in would be "bugged" or researchers would be hovering around posing as audience members. However, when I arrived at the theatre there was no real queue to bug. The place is huge and people were scattered everywhere. The logistics of researchers gleening information, then priming Tony directly before the show, details of which he would have to remember over the following two hours seemed to me to be highly unlikely.

  • Mediums are skilled cold readers - I had the preconception that perhaps mediums were just skilled cold readers - I still think that some of them might be. However, Tony appeared convinced about what he was saying. If anything, the audience members would try to twist the facts so that they fitted their circumstances - Tony was the one to say that the message was not right and that he was looking for someone else. Also facial expressions of audience members told me that what Tony was saying was incorrect - but he didn't change tack at all. He wasn't molding his readings to fit. The one exception to this that I can remember was when he suggested that a departed lady was a "good knitter". Apparently she wasn't. So Tony asked if there was was new baby around - the implication being I suppose that people knit outfits for babies - and there was. This was apparently evidence that "she sees what is going on".

    Some details given in readings, eg a photo recently being reframed, were unverifiable - the audience member didn't know so they would have to go back and check. This happened a number of times throughout the evening, so we were unable to know whether Tony had made a "hit" or a "miss".

Most, if not all, of the readings gave details of how the person concerned had passed over. Some of them also offered details of physical ailments that the audience member was currently suffering from. I was wondering if Tony could study posture so that he would know if someone was likely to suffer from back pain, but that is just the cynic in me. Tony also said to one audience member, who he had correctly named, that he had been a boxer, which was correct. I was straining to see if he had a boxer's nose (but I couldn't really tell).

Many of the readings contained none specific details that might apply to a large number of people, such as "he had a good sense of humour", "he had dark close cropped hair", he "loved his garden". He also referred to a necklace that an audience member had, that belonged to the deceased. In fact, the audience member denied the existence of such a necklace. However, referring to jewellery is normally a good way of getting a hit because people often hold onto jewellery for sentimental reasons. Sorry, I'm being cynical again.

Tony also said that spirits might visit us by appearing as butterflies in our house, or leaving feathers in unexpected places. I thought that was rubbish, but when I was teaching an exercise class the following day I saw a small white feather in the middle of the dance studio. A strange place to find a feather, so who knows. The timing was impeccable.

There was one part of a reading I remember in particular. Bear in mind my words used are not entirely accurate because I can't remember word for word what was said.

Tony: "Who is 86 years old in the spirit world?"
Audience Member: "Errm, I'm not sure".
Tony: "George, is there a George in the spirit world?"
Audience Member: "Two Georges are alive. One is about 86. He's really ill ".
Audience sighs uncomfortably.
Tony: "How old is he?"
Audience Member: "He's 85 or 86"
Tony: "And his name is George?"
Audience Member: "Yes"
Tony: "Oh, well..."
Audience laughter

Conclusion

Am I any more convinced about mediumship than I was before I went? No. Would I go again? Yes. Was it worth the money? Yes. Most of the articles I have read on the internet have been people trying to dismiss all mediums as frauds or charlatans, or people claiming that it is all real. Hopefully I have given a view of the middle ground, a view that perhaps you can relate to. I think I would need to go for my own private reading and analyse it myself before I am in a position to draw any real conclusions one way or the other.

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