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Char Margolis

Sometimes our wishful thinking gets in the way of our intuition. --Char Margolis

Char Margolis (b. 1951) works primarily on Dutch television (Char het Medium - RTL4) doing cold readings as a psychic, but she got her biggest boosts in show business from US TV personality Regis Philbin and from the youngest son of singer Dean Martin.

Philbin's relationship with Margolis goes back to the 1980s, but Philbin gave her a mighty bump when she appeared on his show in November 2000 and told the world that Kelly Ripa was pregnant. This news was presented as if Margolis had tapped into her psychic reservoir to get it. Philbin acted surprised and Ripa, who was co-hosting in a tryout role that day, said: "I haven't told my boss yet."

In addition to appearing several times on Live With Regis and Kelly, Margolis has appeared on Larry King Live, The View, The Ricki Lake Show, and Geraldo, among others. Larry King calls Margolis "a master at psychic intuitiveness" who "teaches people how to hone their own intuitive skills." Of course, Larry King's job is to hype his guests, not investigate them to discover if what they claim has any merit.

Margolis claims to get messages from dead spirits and to be a valuable psychic detective. Like Sylvia Browne, however, she failed the reality check. An investigation of her claims found that she was exaggerating her abilities or just making stuff up. She claimed to have helped locate missing pilot Dean Paul Martin, the son of singer Dean Martin. Paul Martin's younger brother Ricci supports Margolis's claim. He wrote in his memoir That's Amore (2004):

Even though Char had never been over the area, she seemed to be familiar with the terrain, giving the helicopter pilot directions just as the Air Force captain did. As we neared the site that Char had pinpointed, the pilot suddenly announced that we had to turn back. The military had located the crash site, cordoned off the airspace, and was ordering all civilian craft out of the area. The wreckage of Dean Paul's plane had been found in the precise spot where Char had said it would be.”

Martin was a California Air National Guard jet fighter pilot. He was on a training run in his F4-C Phantom jet. Two other fighter pilots in their F4-C Phantoms were also on the mission. They took off from March Air Force Base and were flying maneuvers near the San Bernardino mountain range when Martin's plane crashed. It's not like he was on a secret mission in the middle of nowhere. The Los Angeles Times reported that it was believed his plane crashed into the side of Mt. San Gorgonio, about 22 miles northeast of Riverside, California. (The wreckage was found on the east side of Wood Canyon, east of Potrero Canyon in Riverside County.) In 2008, the Dutch television program Zembla contacted the search team that located the plane. They had never heard of Margolis and denied that she had helped locate the pilot.* But even if she had gone with Ricci Martin in a helicopter to search for the wreckage, the likely whereabouts of the plane was no secret. Furthermore, his claim about her identifying the "precise spot" of the wreckage can't be right, since he admits they were turned away and ordered out of the area.

Margolis's show in the Netherlands is very popular. In 2010, she started her eleventh season on television there. Perhaps her popularity in The Netherlands explains why Dutch prisons are using psychics to counsel inmates.

See also channeling, clairaudience, cold reading, electronic voice phenomenon, ghost, hot reading, mentalist, Ouija board, psychic, Ramtha, shotgunning, subjective validation, spiritualism, warm reading, and my review of Gary Schwartz's The Afterlife Experiments.

reader comments

further reading

My commentaries on various alleged psychics and psychic powers:

books and articles

Blackmore, Susan J., In Search of the Light: The Adventures of a Parapsychologist, (Buffalo, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 1986).

Christopher, Milbourne. ESP, Seers & Psychics (Thomas Y. Crowell Co. 1970).

Christopher, Milbourne. (1975). Mediums, Mystics & the Occult. Thomas Y. Crowell Co.

Frazier, Kendrick  and James Randi, "Predictions After The Fact: Lessons Of The Tamara Rand Hoax," in Science Confronts The Paranormal, ed., Kendrick Frazier (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1986), first published in the Skeptical Inquirer 6, no.1 (Fall 1981): 4-7.

Gardner, Martin. How Not To Test a Psychic : Ten Years of Remarkable Experiments With Renowned Clairvoyant Pavel Stepanek (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1989).

Gordon, Henry. Extrasensory Deception: Esp, Psychics, Shirley MacLaine, Ghosts, Ufos  (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1987).

Hansen, George C. (2001). The Trickster and the Paranormal. Xlibris Corporation.

Keene, M. Lamar. The Psychic Mafia (Prometheus, 1997).

Marks, David and Richard Kammann. Psychology of the Psychic (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1979).

McClain, Carla. "Varied readings on Arizona psychic," Arizona Daily Star. January 17, 2005.

Nickell, Joe. Secrets of the supernatural : investigating the world's occult mysteries with John F. Fischer (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1988).

Randi, James. Flim-Flam! (Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books,1982).

Roach, Mary. (2005). Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. W.W. Norton.

Rowland, Ian. The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading, 3rd. ed (2000).

Shaffer, Ryan and Agatha Jadwiszczok. “Psychic Defective: Sylvia Browne’s History of Failure,” Skeptical Inquirer 34, no. 2 (March/April 2010): 38-42.

Sefton, Dru. "A Spirited Debate," Knight Ridder News Service, The San Diego Union-Tribune, July 10, 1998, p. E1.

Shermer, Michael. Why People Believe Weird Things : Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time (WH Freeman & Co.: 1997).  Review.

Stein, Gordon. "Spiritualism," in The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal edited by Gordon Stein (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1996).

articles on the WWW

Michael Shermer on James Van Praagh

Review of Psychic Medium Van Praagh on CNN's Larry King Live by Joe Nickell

John Edward: Hustling the Bereaved by Joe Nickell

Investigating Spirit Communications by Joe Nickell

Talking to the Living Loved Ones of the Dearly Departed
by Gary P. Posner

"Guide to Cold Reading" by Ray Hyman

Talking to Heaven? Like Hell! The Spirited Trickery of James Van Praagh by D. Trull

James Van Praagh: Medium, or Conman?

John Edward / James van Praagh Bingo - Skeptico


Watch Margolis at work:


Last updated 26-Oct-2015

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