If newspapers were written by astrologers and psychics…

One of the enduring tales about “what readers want” in newspapers is that they want the astrology columns – take them out and people will either complain, or silently switch to another paper – and that they do respond to the “psychic help line” adverts (otherwise, why are there so many of them in papers?).

Building on the excellent work of the Churner Prize in running to ground precisely what the self-proclaimed psychic Patrick Hutchinson actually did in helping secure the conviction of an alleged paedophile (it turns out that Hutchinson, by his account… well, here’s what he told Churner Prize:

Suffice to say, when I gave the girl in question the reading at the demonstration it was directly to her, personally, giving the name of her grandmother and details of the abusive situation etc. There is, obviously, no way my conversation with the grandmother in spirit can be used as evidence because, even if everyone believed in the Spirit World, it would still be in the third person which is inadmissible in court. Having said that, the demonstration was referred to all though the trial as being the reason why the girl had been forced to tell her mum and in turn decided to report it and also why the other girls had felt able to speak up and come forward as well. Therefore, in the trial it was pointed out that if I hadn’t given her the message from her grandmother and in front of her mum then it would never have come to trial..

So, translated to what someone who doesn’t call themself a psychic might describe it as, he said something equivalent to “You know, you really have to tell these police about it.”

Yes, well. The Churner Prize (it’s about churnalism – geddit?) points to the papers that lapped up the tale of “psychic reading convicts paedophile” (is Mr Hutchinson in a hurry to correct their errors of fact?).

But I wonder: if this is so popular with readers, why not write the papers that way? And so here we go…

By R. Psychic
A senior politician whose name begins with M, or possibly G, or knows someone like that, will face serious problem arising from abuse – perhaps of their expenses?
By Ann Astrologer
You may feel that this MP’s bad behaviour has affected you seriously. But a chance encounter at work, or before or after it, will show that you were right all along.
by Gimeda Munny
Economics figures that will come out tomorrow show that your grandfather, who is watching this over your shoulder – look, just there – see? – was right when he warned that it’s all going.. it’s fading.. no, he says it’s bad, and Doris wants her tea. Was his wife not called Doris? Ah, perhaps it’s someone he took up with on the spirit side..
By Gimeall Yumuny
Your great-grandmother on your father’s side says you’re better off than ever she saw, the likes of it – does her name begin with a P? – they didn’t have the internet. No, I don’t know how she knows that it’s called the internet, given that she died in 1921. If you’d like to call my consultancy number on 0901 0901 0901 then I can explain fully, though.
A celebrity who is a Pisces [find a pretty one for cutout pic – Ed.] will suffer a shock in her [make that a female one – Ed.] life, and money troubles will add to the problems – a baby may be involved. [Just make sure it’s someone like Britney Spears and not somenoe who might sue – Ed.]

I don’t know why nobody’s thought of it before. Is it because psychics and astronomers astrologers (oops, ta, G) actually cost more than journalists? And if it is, why is that?


  1. Somehow I doubt that “astronomers actually cost more than journalists” and it is just adding insult to injury to lump them in with astrologers and psychics.

  2. I did read – in Private Eye, admittedly – that Jonathan Cainer is the highest-paid newspaper columnist in the UK. Makes sense, depressingly – people are more likely to follow their personal sage than a name in a byline. And that’s before he convinces them that the news is all about them, which is all the current hail of stories about house prices, madmen stealing your children etc. do anyway.

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