From RNZ

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' chair 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 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.