3 Oct 2019

Sceptics aim to shut down NZ tour by spiritual healer

12:21 pm on 3 October 2019

A group aiming to stop a national tour by a New Zealand-based "psychic" is challenging the ethics of the host venues.

The New Zealand Skeptics group has emailed all the venues booked for the tour of spiritual medium Jeanette Wilson, in a bid to shut it down.

New Zealand Skeptics' chairperson Craig Shearer told Morning Report the tour was "dangerous" because Ms Wilson was claiming to heal people of illnesses, by talking to spirit surgeons.

"You often have psychics touring the country doing entertainment-style shows, and they're doing things we call 'cold reading' where they're sort of attempting to ... pretending to contact dead people.

"Unfortunately, it's for entertainment and unfortunately there are people in the audience who have lost loved ones, they are grieving and we think that's pretty sad."

Mr Shearer said the series planned by Ms Wilson was at a different level, as she was claiming to be able to talk with "spirit surgeons on the other side", and heal people of illnesses they have.

"We think that's pretty dangerous as it seems there's no evidence she can actually do this, so we would really like to shut this down."

He said people with serious illnesses might put stock on her healing rather than visiting a qualified doctor.

"There's also financial harm through people having to pay money to have this sort of ... thing done to them."

Mr Shearer said it was fair enough that people who wanted to pay to attend such events should be free to do so, but society should be protecting vulnerable people from the mental and financial harm that might arise from them attending these events.

The group had emailed all venues hosting the tour, but so far no city councils or venues had pledged to take any action to stop the show.

Mr Shearer said only one had responded so far, to say it had no control over what was booked.

"My response to that would be, they really need to look at their ethics, and ask if it's really ethical to promote this sort of behaviour at their venues where people are actually going to be harmed.

"We've also talked to the Auckland City Council who say they can't shut down a show unless something unlawful is happening.

"That's a pretty high bar to reach, I guess."

Ms Wilson, who has been working as a spiritual healer for 25 years, runs events, workshops and consultations around New Zealand and in the UK.

Mr Shearer said the sceptics' sister organisation in the UK ran a similar campaign to have her tours shut down there.

"They contacted all the venues there and they managed to get quite a few venues to pull out of the tour.

"That's what we are hoping will happen here as well."

Ms Wilson told Checkpoint people who attended her events experienced genuine signs of healing.

She said the only complaint about her work had come from a member of the New Zealand Skeptics, who hadn't attended any of her shows, which she said didn't breach any ethical codes.

"I never ever tell them not to see a doctor, not to follow what doctors say, I work complementary to doctors," she said.

"I've been doing this for 25 years, and it surprises me that the medical profession do not want to know what I'm doing. I don't make any scientific, medical claims for what I do. I say 'come and see'.

"I never can say I can cure a condition. Because I don't know, everybody's different. I never ever use the word 'cured' because that doesn't fit my framework of beliefs.

"What is happening here in New Zealand - it's only happened in the last two days - is one man that belongs to some sceptics society that is supposed to be a charity ... has not met me, not been to a show, and I've not got a complaint from one of my clients... I don't get complaints."

She said she knew people had been healed because they could "move a leg that was paralysed, or they can see out of an eye they couldn't see out of".

Ms Wilson said one woman healed two months ago no longer needed to use a wheelchair and was "continuing to make progress".

"Occasionally, I will find a person I can't help, but usually I'm able to help them. It sometimes takes more than one session."

She also said people had been cured of cancer through her healing sessions.

"But, I've also seen people with cancer where the healing has not helped them. Everybody is different," she added.

Ms Wilson is about to embark on a nationwide tour of New Zealand conducting psychic surgeries and workshops.

Tickets range from $40 for a two-hour show where a team of spirit world doctors and surgeons claim to remove pain and restriction, "often within just minutes", to $350 for a weekend workshop in Invercargill, which aims to train others to become healers.

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