In 2009 Stuart made a number of challenges to the ‘Sensing Murder’ producers:
"The first was ignored, the second had a pleasant reply to my offer of a $100,000 prize to each of the three psychics AND the program director for a successful test. Among other things, he stated that he would be happy to discuss their methods with ‘opened-minded people who seek the truth – but it would be a waste of everybody’s time to enter discourse with those whose single minded purpose is to seek discredit’. To me, this statement is quite amazing: I offered to work with the program on ‘mutually agreed tests’. I believe I am skeptical but 'opened-minded’. I am willing to do tests, they are not - who is seeking the truth?!"
Stuart's offer was for the now-defunct, Ninox Productions to cooperate on producing another 'Sensing Murder' program but with much stricter operational conditions, "I must also be allowed to have two TV cameras of my own, recording every second of the day’s action. I would also supply the day’s ‘dead’ person’s story and photo to the presenter at the start of the day’s recording. No other person in the room would have knowledge of the case. As this in no way can be regarded as a proper scientific ‘double-blind’ testing method, there would be NO financial prize. However, it would be a start. The producer says we are getting closer, I think we are still miles apart. That is as far as we have got"
Stuart was amazed to learn that this series (including the 2018 edition) is largely financed via the publicly-funded ‘New Zealand on Air’ grant program, "Surely this government funding is for serious programs that, because of the nature of their content, have no ability to pay their own way? This, sadly, is a top rating program. I wonder - how much of this money is being paid to the psychics?"
The Live Shows
In the interests of studying Psychic's behaviour and gain further understanding of how they interact with the public Stuart (and other family members) attended some shows when they toured Wanaka & Queenstown.
The first show he attended was by Sensing Murder 'psychic detective' Kelvin Cruickshank - whose website, a vast e-commerce store pushing his books, spirit family memberships, workshops and live show tickets demonstrates the bank-ability of his trade. The whole experience surprised Stuart, but not in a good way as he, and his wife gained more attention than they'd bargained on - read about it here.
Sue Nicholson, another Sensing Murder medium, or in her words, 'a travel agent for the soul' also has a website dedicated to chasing every pecuniary opportunity her brand of 'exploitainment' offers, but also acts an as actual travel agent with hyper-inflated tours to the middle east and an unusual 'Absent Healing' option - i.e. pay for healing “sent across time and space". Our review of her show, a mix of wild guesses, light-hearted fun and alarming medical dismissiveness can be read here.
Deb Webber - while we haven't personally seen the final psychic of the main 'Sensing' trio perform on stage it's fair to say she has had her fair share of negative publicity. Take this article by Eating Media Lunch (2012) for instance.