LONDON (Reuters) - Fortune-tellers, mediums and spiritual healers marched on the home of the British prime minister at Downing Street on Friday to protest against new laws they fear will lead to them being "persecuted and prosecuted".
Organizers say that replacing the Fraudulent Mediums Act of 1951 with new consumer protection rules will remove key legal protection for "genuine" mediums. They think skeptics might bring malicious prosecutions to force spiritualists to prove in court that they can heal people, see into the future or talk to the dead.
Psychics also fear they will have to give disclaimers describing their services as entertainment or as scientific experiments with unpredictable results. "If I'm giving a healing to someone, I don't want to have to stand there and say I don't believe in what I'm doing," said Carole McEntee-Taylor, a healer who co-founded the Spiritual Workers Association.
The group delivered a petition with 5,000 names to the prime minister's office, although Gordon Brown is away in the United States. With the changes expected to come into force next month, spiritualists have faced a barrage of headlines gleefully suggesting that they should have seen it coming. But many don't see the funny side. They say the new rules will shift the responsibility of proving they are not frauds from prosecutors and onto them.
This is a really interesting sign of the times story, and not because psychics couldn’t see this coming or even the fact that psychics have their own union and/or association… but because, I keep reading reports all over the Anglosphere which have elective legislative representatives enacting new criminal code legislation which requires a defendant to prove his/her innocence rather than the Crown lay out a case for a guilty verdict.