It was published shortly after Gerbic wrote up her own account of an experiment her group ran on medium Thomas John, one of those guys who claims he can connect with dead people based on his interactions with you. In order to make it a truly double-blind experiment — as much as they can allow for, anyway — Gerbic and her friend Mark told the group they were going to purchase VIP tickets for a psychic medium (they didn’t say the name) and they needed public backstories.
However, just to prove to the world that Thomas John wasn’t actually connecting with them, the group made fake profiles for “Susanna and Mark” without telling them what their backstories were. In short, if Thomas John used his “psychic” ability to uncover details about their lives — details that were both fictional and unknown to Gerbic and her friend — it would be evidence that his staff got the information by looking for it on Facebook rather than possessing any supernatural powers.
That was the plan, and it worked like a charm.
Thomas Westbrook (Holy Koolaid on YouTube) just put that whole story in a wonderful documentary-like video and it’s well worth your time. If nothing else, skip ahead to the 8:35 mark to see what Thomas John “revealed” — since the screen shows you exactly what was posted on Facebook that might have given him those ideas.
This is incredible to watch and the realizations from Gerbic’s team are stunning, but it’s also disturbing because of how many people are duped into thinking something magical is happening. These “grief vampires,” as Gerbic calls them, get rich off of playing with other people’s emotions. It’s obvious they know what they’re doing, too, yet plenty of talk show hosts and television networks continue giving them platforms anyway.