Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Talking a Load of Crystal Balls: A Lazy Tale of ESP-Enhanced Children Leaves Common Sense Far Behind

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Talking a Load of Crystal Balls: A Lazy Tale of ESP-Enhanced Children Leaves Common Sense Far Behind

Article excerpt

Cutting Edge: my kid's psychic

Channel 4

Television has become awfully worried about our children. When Jamie Oliver is not delivering them from Turkey Twizzlers, Supernanny is whacking them with tough love. With all but the final of Young Musician of the Year now shunted off on to BBC4, it would normally be encouraging to see a documentary celebrating their special talents. When these talents, however, include the ability to see the dead, read tarot cards and perform reiki healing, it is time to get depressed again.

Cutting Edge (7 August, 9pm) got itself mixed up in a New Age movement that believes mankind is currently taking a huge evolutionary leap and, in a single generation, producing ESP-enhanced kids, otherwise known as Indigo and Crystal children. It identified Britain's pushiest mother, Nikki Harwood, a flame-haired regular on one of the digital channels devoted to selling live psychic readings. She was desperately keen for her unexceptionable daughter Heather to do nothing less than "heal the earth" (and earn some pocket money doing psychic readings at the local town hall).

One doesn't want to be too hard on Harwood who, we were told, has had seven miscarriages. Since she believes these seven foetuses are alive and well and experiencing a happy parallel childhood as spirits in the very house in which she lives, she is clearly suffering some form of not very sophisticated denial. Nor does one want to castigate 15-year-old Heather for trying to please her mum. I am more inclined to call in the social services to give a stern lecture to the Cutting Edge producer Vivianne Howard, who apparently did not think it her duty as a responsible citizen to let us know that Heather and Nikki were talking crystal balls.


Admittedly, the evidence was all there for us--or rather not there. Anxious for independent verification of her child's powers, Nikki sent Heather and her best friend Sarah off to a senior New Ager. "Telepathy is like a broadband stream," said Ms Green, comparing Heather's ESP with the dial-up brain most of us get by on and instructing her to practise telepathy on Sarah. The girls stared at each other, giggled, and got a feeling that the other one was saying: "Hi, this is fun." Next, Heather was asked to stand up and receive the broadband from the Other Side. …

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