Byline: Robin Turner
FORTUNE-TELLERS, mediums and spiritual healers marched on Downing Street yesterday to protest against new laws they fear will lead to them being "persecuted and prosecuted".
Organisers of the protest think sceptics might bring prosecutions to force spiritualists to prove in court that they can heal people, see into the future or actually talk to the dead.
They believe that replacing the Fraudulent Mediums Act of 1951 with new consumer protection rules will remove key legal protection for what they claim are genuine mediums.
They say the 1951 Act, which replaced the 1735 Witch craft Act, guarantees mediums legal protection, penalising only thosewho seek to hoodwink the public.
With the changes expected to come into force next month, spiritualists have faced a barrage of headlines gleefully suggesting they "should have seen it coming".
But many don't see the funny side.
Medium Julian Reed, 46, of Neath, said yesterday he believed the new laws were "one sided".
Mr Reed, who says he has a psychic dog called Penny, said the new rules appeared to offer little protection for mediums.
However, he said he welcomed more regulation.
He said: "There are fakes out there and I have been calling for some time for something to be done about them.
"I think what will happen here is what happens in America where I have worked as a medium ...legal disclaimers will be used at large readings and fairs.
"I would have liked these changes to have been thought through so the sitter (customer) and the medium are equally protected. But at the end of the day any medium who is competent will not have to worry."
Diane Lazarus, based in Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire, where she is knownas "the only psychic in the village," welcomes more regulation.
Mother-of-two Diane won Channel 5's Psychic Challenge TV programme in 2006, is psychic columnist with That's Life magazine and her autobiography Mixed Blessings is on sale around the UK. …