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This Morning 09 Thu show.jpg

This Morning (Headline Prediction Trick)

(Photos below). This show was broadcast on Thursday, Nov 10th, 1994. I was able to date it precisely from the football result (with the help of sports fan friends).

'This Morning', hosted by husband and wife team Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan, was ITV's national 'flagship' daytime TV show from 1988 to 2001.

The producers invited me on to the show to demonstrate a few 'psychic' things, such as giving a psychic reading and making spoons bend by the power of my mind. The idea was that first of all I would give the demonstrations and then reveal that I'm not actually psychic after all. However, it was agreed I wouldn't provide any explanations except to mention cold reading.

One idea I offered to the producers was to perform what mentalists call a headline prediction -- predicting newspaper headlines a day or two in advance. This is kind of a 'rite of passage' among mentalists. If you get into mentalism, sooner or later you have to try a headline prediction!

The producers liked this idea so it was agreed I would add this to the agenda. In fact, it was specifically mentioned in the production notes for the show (as seen in the photo).

The show was produced in Liverpool. I lived in London (and still do). On Monday, Nov 7th, 1994, I sent a sealed envelope to the production team. On Wednesday, Nov 9th, hosts Richard and Judy signed this envelope and signed it on air just as the closing credits rolled. The envelope was then kept somewhere safe by the producers (I don't know where).

I travelled up to Liverpool on the evening of Nov 9th. (In fact, I got to stay at the legenedary Adelphi hotel, which was later featured in a 'reality' TV series of its own.)

On the morning of Nov 10th, I went to the studio. I met someone chosen by the producers (one of the other participants in the show) and gave her a tarot reading so she could be asked for her reactions later.

When the time came for my item, I was taken to the main studio and met presenter Richard Madeley. Judy was unfortunately unwell that day so Richard was hosting the show on his own.

At the appropriate point, Richard asked for the envelope to be handed to him by one of the production team (I didn't have it). He assured the viewers, live on air, that it had been kept under lock and key and I had not been allowed anywhere near it. Richard himself checked that the envelope was still sealed and still had his and Judy's signatures on it. He opened it, not me. When he opened my prediction, it matched the headline of that day's Times newspaper perfectly. My prediction also mentioned another news item and a football result from a match that had been played on Wednesday night.

How was it done? It's just mentalism – the branch of magic devoted to doing things that look psychic. It was a trick, but I hope it looked quite convincing at the time.

After the headline prediction we talked about other things (psychic readings, spoon-bending and so on) and I also took part in a live phone-in.

I probably have the video for this somewhere, on VHS or DVD. However, I'd need signficant tech help to transfer it and present it online and it might be tricky for copyright reasons.

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