Too often over past weeks the name of ‘psychic medium profiler’ Joe Power has hit the headlines in his efforts to claw his way to the top of the psychic tree.
Firstly, we were told of his participation in a deplorable Lennon US ‘pay per view’ séance held last month, during which it was declared that Lennon had communicated the words “Peace… the message is peace” in a tacky stunt roundly condemned by Lennon’s family and estate. With little else happening during a lacklustre broadcast, I’m sure Starcast Productions thanked their lucky stars for the phenomenon of auditory pareidolia!
Secondly, Power hit the headlines again earlier this month in dubious connection to the investigation into murdered teenage model Sally Anne Bowman. Power goes further than is wise for any psychic to venture (and certainly further than even spiritualist Ben Murphy’s previous divinations on the matter) when he claimed that Sally Anne has told him her killer’s name -“Stephen’ or ‘ Stephan’ ‘White.’ In spite of Power’s ‘information’ Sally Anne’s killer is still at large.
Who is Joe Power?
Formerly known as Joe Bolster or Joe Bolster-Power, this Skelmersdale born self-professed psychic has been on the scene for several years telling us on his web site that he is the “UK’s finest psychic medium profiler…renowned for his involvement in helping police solve high profile crimes”. Power has been variously described as:
“THE UK’s next psychic phenomena … incredible psychic powers…”
“recognised on an international level for his spirit communication abilities”
Chat Its Fate Magazine, Mary Bryce, Editor.
According to his site it appears that Power peddles his trade on the basis of “giving private readings and being involved in helping the police solve high profile crimes and, mothers who have missing children by giving evidence of there whereabouts.”
The cases that he uses to lend credibility to his work are also detailed in a series of sympathetic press articles. We are told, “his accuracy as a medium is so precise he could tell you what your house looks like, down to what picture you have on your bedroom wall. Joe is clairvoyant, clairaudient and clairsentient, meaning he sees, senses and hears spirit as well as having amazing psychic abilities. Joe has a number of Guides to help him with his work.”
Notably, corresponding endorsements from official agencies involved are completely absent.
The Lynsey Quy Murder Inquiry
Much of his claimed credibility, and indeed his very development, as a medium rest on one particular case – that of murdered 21-year-old Southport woman Lynsey Quy . Lynsey vanished in December 1998 leaving a young family. Eighteen months later, husband Mitchell Quy dropped his pretence of playing the distraught husband when he admitted his part in killing and dismembering her body after she had threatened to divorce him. His brother Elliot Quy had assisted.
Unusually for a medium, Mr. Power implies, to anyone who will listen, that he was directly responsible for providing vital information which eventually led police to the location of Lynsey’s dismembered body in 2000 saying:
“I didn’t even know I was psychic at the time but Lindsey told me where she was. It was such a powerful message that I ended up talking to the Southport police. They didn’t listen to me at first but she wouldn’t go until they got their information – she was quite persistent”…… Joe added that Lindsey’s remains were unearthed where he had predicted..”
Clearly inferring, for public consumption, that Merseyside police did listen to him after some initial reluctance suggesting the introduction of new lines of enquiry. Surely by any standards a truly incredible feat and, if substantiated, would undoubtedly represent the first recorded instance of a psychic ‘s information directly leading to the location of vital evidence. – Or is it?
A quick check of the web is sufficient to see the huge contribution that Power claims to have made in the discovery of Lynsey’s body even being reported as, “The psychic, who claims to have given police vital clues in the cases of Southport murder victim Lynsey Quy….”
That connection is the very foundation stone of Joe Power’s career and an event that he has used to further his own ambitions ever since. In addition to articles featured on Power’s web site , he has repeatedly stated in interviews that Lynsey’s spirit came to him in the middle of the night, during a fitful sleep passing on valuable information as to her whereabouts.
“I’m Lynsey, Lynsey Quy,” she whispered. “I’ve been carnaged, mangled.”
The ‘Crosby Herald’ reported that “The Southport murder victim spoke to the medium in his sleep, he says, telling him where she was buried, which led to the police exhuming her remains where Joe had told them.” While the ‘Southport Visiter’ reported, “that Lynsey came to him in dreams four months before her dismembered body was unearthed. She told Joe where she was and he saw vivid images of a fairground and a railway station. Although the police took some convincing, Joe ‘ s dreams were incredibly accurate, even down to the colour of Lynsey’s bedroom wardrobes. Since Lynsey’s remains were discovered where Joe had predicted, he has been approached by the police again for assistance with other cases.”
According to Power the story went something like this:
“I was convinced the police would write me off as a nutcase who’d nothing better to do then waste their time. But a young woman who had gone missing had been murdered. And I knew where the body was….Getting the police to take me seriously wasn’t going to be easy. I knew they dealt in hard evidence, facts, witness statements, clues not dreams.”
“First of all, they must have been suspicious of me, what with me telling them things like she’d been chopped up,” he says. “I told them that they needed to search around a railway and fairground…..I was getting flashes of those places in my mind.”
However, to the skeptic, Power’s claims look rather more like wishful thinking. He seems unable to produce anything in the way of testimonial or ringing endorsement from either the police or the family involved. Lynsey’s parents, Peter and Linda Wilson, did call in a psychic to help at one point but it was not Joe Power it was Uri Geller, who, rather unhelpfully bearing in mind the Southport’s location by the sea, told them to look “near water”.
In any event, eighteen months after Lynsey’s disappearance, the Merseyside Police murder team, headed by Detective Superintendent Geoff Sloan, decided it had enough circumstantial evidence in the absence of a body, to form a case against Mitchell Quy. The team’s hard work and persistence paid off resulting in his eventual conviction. When asked about Joe Power’s supposed contribution to events; Detective Superintendent Sloan was most emphatic, saying:
“I wish to state, categorically, that as the Senior Investigating Officer on the Lyndsey Quy murder, I made a policy decision not to use psychics on the investigation. Joe Power has allegedly made claims that he assisted the enquiry but this is not the case.”
So despite Joe
Power’s claims to the contrary, the police insist that Power was most certainly not involved in assisting in the Lynsey Quy case. History records that the police discovered Lynsey’s dismembered body after husband Mitchell confessed to her killing in June 2000. It was in fact husband Mitchell Quy who informed the police as to the sites where her body parts had been buried not Joe Power.
Blurring the lines
Now that Merseyside Police have kindly established the facts, subsequent claims by the medium that after the Quy case that ‘the police began to take his powers more seriously’ and have ‘approached him since, hoping he could provide leads in other cases’ now look hollow, inaccurate and misleading. The degree of detail appearing in the ‘Chat Its Fate’ article, in particular, looks suspiciously like a simple though distasteful case of retrofitting the facts as they became known into his original speculative vision to manufacture a false impression of accuracy.
Clearly, an early reliable independent account of Joe Power’s initial visions from the preceding 18 months before Mitchell Quy was charged would do much to clarify matters. Unfortunately for Joe Power, the majority of accounts available appear to stem from one or two interview pieces originating as late as 2004 – four years after Quy’s arrest. Certainly, contemporary news reports going back to January 2001, the time of Mitchell Quy’s conviction, neglect to mention Mr. Power or his alleged contribution. So often in these circumstances the line between fiction and fact can become conveniently blurred.
Of course, the technique of retrofitting has long been identified as the mainstay of psychic detectives (Nickell 2001b, 125-126) and involves the simple practice by some psychics of augmenting their vague initial speculations with known facts as they surface in the public domain for their own self-promotion. In this way a history can be re-written, the facts distorted and the uninformed beguiled.
‘Assisting’ the Police
The Skeptic Express did contact Claudine Hope, Joe Power’s manager, for clarification of his precise role in the Lynsey Quy case. To which she commented:
“Thank you for your email and concern about the Lynsey Quy case. Joe Power did how ever make a statement in the Southport Police station where he spoke with a women officer who gave Joe a receipt for the statement made.”
Surely Ms Hope is not asking us to choose between the word of a psychic whose abilities remain untested and unproven and that of a respected senior police officer?
In any event, what is apparent is the vast difference in meaning that the term ‘assisting the police’ has for both psychics and the police. While it’s possible that Joe Power made a statement to police at the time as she says (ensuring to collect a receipt for future use), the critical point remains not that he did – after all anyone could do the same – but the precise value of the ‘information’ imparted. It’s a sobering thought that despite, Mr. Power’s ‘amazing accuracy’ and the help of a ‘number of spirit guides’, sadly Lynsey’s head and hands have never been found.
In view of Ms Hope’s words, a psychic has only to make a statement (ensuring to collect a receipt) however banal to claim that they have ‘assisted the police’ with a case albeit in a technical sense. A convenient and deplorable PR ploy for any budding psychic sleuth with ambitions for the top!
Joe Power has traded on his alleged connection with the Lynsey Quy murder investigation for too long. Even as I write Power is still cashing in on this tenuous connection in several ways:
- The Canadian TV show ‘Psychic Investigators’ is scheduled to air May 31, 2006 – 11:30 PM. As the programme blurb describes : “Series 1, Episode #003 Lynsey Quy Lynsey Quy a young mother and wife mysteriously vanishes on Christmas day, her husband reports her missing, the police start their search. Psychic Joe Power has a nightmarish vision of a woman brutally murdered, and he’s convinced it’s Lynsey contacting him beyond the grave, seeking help.”
- Press Release advertising his stage tour ‘Power of the Seventh Sign’
- His web site
Unfortunately as his web site shows, Mr. Power’s claims have not stopped there. Not only has he recently claimed to know the name of Sally Anne Bowman’s killer, he has made further claims in the past of alleged assistance to police concerning other high profile murders namely those of 8 year old Sussex girl Sarah Payne and especially Merseyside woman Helen McCourt who disappeared in 1988. It is reported that Joe began working with Helen’s mother, Mary, over three years ago and now believes he knows where the body is. Looking back he has made a number of predictions:
- In March 2005 he said: “Let me say, from the information I’ve given to the police, I’m pretty certain it will lead to Helen being found, ” he says confidently. “We’re waiting for the officers to come back to us.” Source
- June 2005: Police have missed something very early on which will be the clue to finding her. I believe the killer had help, if not in Helen’s death, in the events which followed afterwards.” Source
- July 2005, he made similar pronouncements in a local newspaper Wigan Today in June 2005 saying that “Helen has been “coming to see me” for the past three and a half years, and he is able to see and hear her with the help of a spirit guide. But it has taken him this time to assemble the information into an understandable form.”
Sadly, it is now May 2006 and Helen McCourt is still missing.
So who benefits from Joe Power’ s claims of ‘incredible psychic powers’? Not the police. Most UK forces have come out firmly opposed to the use of psychics as a recent survey has shown. From experience they treat all such psychic sleuths with great caution to the extent that a guidance report on missing persons for the Association of Chief Police Officers produced in 2005 advised:
“Information from psychics. . . can create pressure for searches to be made of these areas, ” it reads. “Such information must be treated with extreme caution and evaluated against the prevailing situation.”
Certainly, not the families of the victims concerned who waited back then and continue to wait in the hope of news, when:
- Only Mitchell Quy could find Lynsey,
- Helen McCourt is still missing*
- Sally Anne Bowman’s killer is still at large*
Of course, the answer is none other than Joe Power ‘Psychic Medium Profiler’ himself.
*If you have any information concerning these cases, please contact: the National Missing Persons Helpline
FreeFone 0500 700 700 from the UK, or +44(0)2
0 8392 4545 from abroad
All calls are confidential
With special thanks to Det. Supt. Geoff Sloan, Merseyside Police.
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