British satire takes spirited aim at psychics

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Is it possible to speak with the dead? By rounding up enough people who think so, John Edward, James Van Praagh and others have made a handsome living. Comedian Marc Wootton also is profiting from his purported ability to summon spirits. As alter-ego Shirley Ghostman, sporting a white suit and a mullet haircut, he proves over and over just how gullible audiences can be when it comes to paranormal phenomena.

In one segment of the eight-episode series from Tiger Aspect Prods., Ghostman spouts the most outrageous and nonsensical visions to an audience that hangs on his every word and gesture. In another segment, a parody of “American Idol,” he and invisible dead spirits at his side audition aspiring psychics for one of eight spots in his nonexistent Spirit Academy. Also, perhaps to show that self-professed mediums have no monopoly on psychic hooey, Ghostman dispatches Ian Jackson, a “special paranormal investigator,” to check out a woman who claims she can predict your future by looking at your behind.

It might be the perfect antidote to “Medium” and “Ghost Whisperer” except that true believers aren’t likely to recognize themselves among the gullible in Ghostman’s audience. For others, “Shirley Ghostman” is a blast of fresh air and hilarity in an arena that is ripe for satire.

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Reuters/Hollywood Reporter via ABC News, UK
Mar. 17, 2006
Barry Garron

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