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Old 5th August 2008, 02:36 AM   #1
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Concetta Bertoldi: the new "psychic" media-darling?

I assume that some people here might be more familiar with Concetta Bertoldi than I am, but for benefit of others, I'll explain what I've observed so far:

Concetta Bertoldi is another professional "medium", currently making the rounds with a book tour. Just recently, she's appeared on at least two major media outlets: NBC's Today Show and Time Magazine. Not surprisingly, neither of her interviewers dared mention such things as "cold reading" or "Million Dollar Challenge" or otherwise displayed the slightest degree of skepticism - and I'll wager that Mr. Randi, or any other voice of reason, was never invited to appear on that Today show segment.

Her website says she's been endorsed by James Van Praagh (whom she has toured with) and was "Tested at Edgar Cayce Institute and abilities identified as "Clairsentient" (Don't laugh too hard) At least Uri Geller had the brains to hoodwink a few prominent scientists to back him up, but she's had to settle for using fellow performers as endorsements.

Her Agent is Richard Arlook of The Arlook Group, who is apparently fairly well known in entertainment circles. That he was able to get her featured on the national media and should speak for itself.

Reading through her website, one thing I found a bit troubling is that she has an upcoming book signing in The Montville, NJ Public Library, the town where she lives, apparently. Is it a common practice for public libraries to promote psychics? I always figured the people who ran libraries would have at least some degree of intelligence. (You know, being surrounded by books all day long -- and hopefully not those kind of books) It's one thing for commercial television to produce shows that push this kind of stuff to boost ratings, but libraries are supposed to be respectable institutions, or so I thought. I hope that the public schools don't get infected too.

I could not find any mention of Ms. Bertoldi on Randi.org. It's my opinion that, like a precancerous lesion, this deserves to be watched carefully and treated expeditiously. Perhaps a flood of emails and/or letters to news media such as NBC and Time whenever they feature unbalanced reporting of "psychics"

http://www.time.com/time/arts/articl...l?xid=rss-arts

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http://www.amazon.com/Dead-People-Wa.../dp/0061351229
(21 Amazon book reviews, nearly all 4 & 5 star - where are all the skeptics hiding?)

Last edited by Darat; 7th August 2008 at 01:37 AM. Reason: Links activated - youtube code added
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Old 5th August 2008, 07:37 AM   #2
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Sadly there's no balance with these psychics. I assume the library you mentioned may want a bit of publicity from her book signing. I'm sure a lot of librarians feel the same way as we do but they cannot be bias in which books they store for reading. I know what you mean though. It goes against the grain to allow someone like Concetta Bertoldi to advertise herself in such a way.

It would be nice if the media, etc, would give a more balanced approach to these mediums. I'm sure though Concetta will earn her place on this forum in no time at all. I've never heard of her before but we have to start somewhere.
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Old 5th August 2008, 06:03 PM   #3
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Oh great, another member of the "woo woo club". Is it me or does it seem as if there are these mediums/psychics coming out of the damn woodowork? Maybe it's a terrorist plot? I should probably bring that up in the conspiracy theory thread.
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Old 6th August 2008, 06:10 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by chainlink View Post
Her website says she's been endorsed by James Van Praagh (whom she has toured with) and was "Tested at Edgar Cayce Institute
You'd have thought that proclaiming yourself to be a certified nutjob would tend to put people off.

Quote:
and abilities identified as "Clairsentient" (Don't laugh too hard)
Interesting. I've only ever heard that one used by Gary Mannion, an up and coming con artist in the UK. I wonder if they know each other, or if this is just going to be the new buzzword for psychics for the next few years minutes.
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Old 6th August 2008, 07:38 AM   #5
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Van Praagh calls himself clairsentient too among other things. I read the article where she plugs her book a few weeks ago and noted a disgusting similarity between her style and Sylvia Browne's. Van Praagh has picked it up, too, but most notably when you see him live. There's a trend with the psychics away from pretending to be sweet and compassionte toward arrogance/abusiveness and humor bordering on rudeness. But I guess if you are a con artist seeking after power and money, it pays to copy the ones who have been successful. Isn't there something especially obnoxious about someone trying to be funny while lying through their teeth to con people? There's nothing funny about it. It seems people who are inwardly rotten just cannot be funny without their true self showing.
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Old 7th August 2008, 01:08 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ExMinister View Post
a disgusting similarity between her style and Sylvia Browne's. Van Praagh has picked it up, too, but most notably when you see him live. There's a trend with the psychics away from pretending to be sweet and compassionte toward arrogance/abusiveness and humor bordering on rudeness. But I guess if you are a con artist seeking after power and money, it pays to copy the ones who have been successful. Isn't there something especially obnoxious about someone trying to be funny while lying through their teeth to con people? There's nothing funny about it. It seems people who are inwardly rotten just cannot be funny without their true self showing.
Just like with barnstorming religious preachers, it's all about entertaining the audience. It seemed Laura Schlessinger made a name in the talk show business by abusing the people who came to her seeking help, so maybe that's where that sort of thing started. I don't think Sylvia Brown would be anywhere if not for the exposure she gets on Montel Williams. Ugly and hoary sounding, she displays a complete lack of any grace or tact. In the little I've seen of him, Van Praagh acts as the most touchy-feely guy I think I've ever seen. Certainly no John Wayne. And John Edward seems the spitting image of the stereotypical fast-talking scam artist. All the kind of people I usually avoid.

I wonder what makes a successful psychic? Is it good looks, charm, lie-without-blinking confidence? Or perhaps like in any entertainment field, it's all about the skill of the promoters and agents in getting their otherwise-mediocre client favorable publicity, getting in the public eye, and making her name a household word?

Last edited by chainlink; 7th August 2008 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 7th August 2008, 01:16 AM   #7
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lol @ "Do Dead People Walk Their Dogs?"
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Old 7th August 2008, 05:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Concetta Bertoldi is another professional "medium", currently making the rounds with a book tour. Just recently, she's appeared on at least two major media outlets: NBC's Today Show and Time Magazine.
Now that's peculiar and interesting. It seemed to me like psychics were of less interest to big, mainstream jobs* like NBC and Time now than in times previous. I wonder why they would change their mind now?

Or was my perception merely mistaken?

Chainlink, I think you're right about the sorts of images that psychics need to cultivate to be successful. Randi et al have remarked at just how poor some of these folks are as entertainers, so I suppose it may have been a matter of time until someone took the old cold reading tricks and slapped them on a shiny, slick and salable new performer with wide appeal.

Kinda odd that they would go out of their way to claim ties to someone as old school and discredited as Van Praagh. People today would see that name and most likely have to google it, and if they google for too long, they'll likely see something that turns them away.



*Yeah, I mean it that way.
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Old 26th May 2009, 09:09 PM   #9
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Bumpity-bump.

I just read a review of this book in my local fishwrapper and went to Amazon to check it out. It has been released in paperback (April, 2009) and has 3 five star ratings and 1 four star.

I repeat chainlinks complaint below. Instead of talking to the choir here, how 'bout going to Amazon and putting up a fuss there?

Originally Posted by chainlink View Post
www.amazon.com/Dead-People-Watch-You-Shower/dp/0061351229
(21 Amazon book reviews, nearly all 4 & 5 star - where are all the skeptics hiding?)
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Old 27th May 2009, 12:55 AM   #10
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Here's a recent NYT article about her. A quote

Quote:
She asked her interviewer to state her name; she then asked permission to get in touch with whatever kindred spirits might be feeling chatty on what she called “the other side.” Ms. Bertoldi shut her eyes, breathed heavily and asked who Tom was. A grandfather, perhaps? No, but he had been a grandfather figure and confirmed horse-lover, some 20 years after the real deal had died. Tom wanted to assure the reporter that heaven was crammed with dogs and horses, including her favorites from yesteryear.

Ms. Bertoldi then rattled off a string of names that meant little or nothing to her impromptu client (this mini-consultation was a freebie). Lee, Linda, Lisa? No dice. Lillian? Yes, a long-dead aunt on the paternal side of the family. Helen? No clue.
A true chip off the Sylvia Browne block.
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Old 27th May 2009, 08:47 AM   #11
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From one of the 2-star reviews:
Quote:
And why is it that a personal reading lasts about 10 minutes, because that's all the spirits can last, but they tend to be able to hang out in her hallway all night? I sound like a skeptic, but I am not. I do think Concetta has the ability, but perhaps just needs to clarify some things.
Poor dear, she just couldn't take that ONE final step into the light...
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