What do we reckon about........ Derek Acorah?

He's informative and entertaining, I'll give him that. Who could forget his legendary rant, whilst allegedly possessed at Manchester's Brannigans night club, during his run on Living TV's 'Most Haunted'. "My name is Godfrey Parks.... my name is Godfrey Parks.... I will damage you!"

During his tenure as a medium with 'Most Haunted', he was probably the main influence in turning me from 95% sceptic in 2000, to 95% believer by 2010. But does he really possess a gift enabling him to communicate with the other side, or is it all just acting? Do those names, and the facts and figures he couldn't possibly know come from Sam, his alleged spirit guide, or from research and hearsay?

On 'Most Haunted', he regularly came up with a mass of information related to places, and people associated with them, allegedly without knowing where he was going in advance. But the bubble burst during the sixth series of the show, when he became possessed by Kreed Kafer (at Bodmin Gaol), and Rik Eedles (at Prideaux Place).

It turned out that the names had been made up by the excellent parapsychologist Ciaran O'Keeffe, and fed to Derek prior to filming. Kreed Kafer is anagram of 'faker Derek', and Rik Eedles is an anagram of 'Derek lies'. And during a ghost hunt I attended with my wife, Debi at Avebury's Red Lion Inn, Mark Webb of ITV's 'Haunted Homes' told us in no uncertain terms that Derek knew where he was going, prior to the visit of 'Most Haunted' to the location.

Sadly, Debi stopped watching 'Most Haunted' after that, but I continued viewing to the end of the final series in 2010. You see, I still believe that Derek Acorah does indeed have a special gift of some sort - so many of the predictions he has made in magazine columns have come true, and numerous of his historical insights are very difficult, or even impossible to find in the public domain. So why did he make up the two 'possessions' above?

The answer lies, I think, with my late friend Leo 'The Hat' McMackin. Leo was a fantastic 8-ball pool player, he gave exhibitions all over the country, and played for the Northern Ireland pool team for over 20 years. But as wonderful as his exhibitions were, now and again things didn't go so well, and Leo once confessed to me that if he felt under pressure to perform, he would "cheat just a little bit...."

I can't say fairer than that.

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