Judge John Hodgman Episode 203: Habeas Spiritus

Carrie Poppy

Rachael brings the case against her boyfriend Anton. Rachael believes that psychics with real spiritual gifts do exist, and wants Anton to visit one with her. Anton is "an unshakeable realist" and says all psychics are faking it, and are just in it for the cash.

Should Anton give psychics a chance? Only one man can decide (with the assistance of expert witness Carrie PoppyTfor!)

This week's episode title suggested by Aurora Hannigan! Thank you!




Points of Contention by the Plaintiff:

1) A plethora of research and resources exist pertaining to connecting with the afterlife. The validity of said resources is not to be dismissed:
Vision Quest, Metaphysical Bookstore in Phoenix, Arizona
Example of a book you'd likely find in the Metaphysical Bookstore
World-famous psychic, Sylvia Browne, recounts the afterlife

2) Some psychics have a proven track record of success in psychic proficiency:
Rachael's favorite psychic, Viretta, is on LinkedIn

3) The Confirmation Bias Theory explains why the validity of psychics should not be baselessly discredited


Should you hear the case regarding Psychics filed against me by Rachael, my longtime adversary on this contentious topic, I request that you take the following evidence into consideration:

1) Psychics have a proven track record of incompetence
Sylvia Brown
2) Psychics engage in illegal business practices and cannot foresee getting caught
Miss Cleo
3) Psychics prey on vulnerable people
April Lee
4) Psychics commit fraud when claiming to predict the stock market
David Morton

While the aforementioned points are merely individual case studies, they are representative of the underlying character of Psychics as a whole. I firmly believe that so-called psychics -across the board- are con artists, delusional or both. Furthermore, I believe that the psychic-industrial complex causes greater harm to a society than any benefits it may provide in the form of entertainment or personal insights derived from the incessant drivel of these swindlers.

Despite numerous appeals I have steadfastly refused to humor this nonsense on the basis that anyone engaging in a psychic reading is lending credibility to a practice that is rooted in manipulation, misrepresentation and outright fraud simply by showing up. I have been called a skeptic and a cynic, I have been accused of being “no fun.” I accept this and request that after weighing the arguments you order Rachael to cease her efforts to get me to visit a psychic “just for fun.”


Movie rip off

These two sound like a rip off of the Jennifer Aniston, Ben Stiller movie "Along Came Polly" where Ben's character was a risk manager and Jenn's character is a free spirit. I think they caught the judge in an elaborate movie rip off. Understandably the judge or bailiff did not see this "RomCom" spectacular, so he may not have been able to see this gas lighting of his honerable court room.


This podcast is clearly all in good fun, and Judge J generally imparts the wisdom of Solomon, but this was the most polarizing case I've heard! I can honestly say I was irked with how the flighty plaintiff got off with such a weak argument, and how the judgement flew in the face of the oft-used tenet of not forcing what you don't like. Clearly someone should never be forced into something in a relationship, and his boundaries are just as valid as hers. Though I am a continued lover of this brilliant podcast, this judgment was...weak.

You let her off too easy!

You were on the right track with the leprechauns, but really when someone says that you can't prove that there are no real psychics then the rational reply is something like, "True, but YOU can't prove that psychics don't cause cancer! So why would you take the risk?"

The trouble with believing things on the basis of no evidence is that you often have the same (no) evidence for the opposite things, and a million other crazy and conflicting things. You can't give them all the benefit of the doubt.