Perhaps Sally Morgan got a signal from the spiritual realm that she was about to get a lot richer. Or maybe she just figured she had a good enough case to win a lawsuit. Either way, her intuition proved correct: On Thursday, the British medium was awarded $193,000 in damages from the Daily Mail, which had printed a story calling her a “charlatan.”
A September 22, 2011 article purported that Morgan was lying when she claimed to be receiving messages from the dead during a performance in Dublin, Ireland. It went on to speculate that she was actually receiving the messages from crew members backstage via a hidden earpiece. The author of the article, Paul Zenon, is a British magician who had previously expressed skepticism about Morgan’s claims of supernatural ability.
Zenon made the allegation after two women called into an Irish radio show claiming they overheard crew members feeding the psychic messages. But it turned out that the crew members were not employed by the psychic and had no contact with her during the show. (They were lighting technicians working at the theater.)
Morgan’s lawyer argued that the accusations pushed her into litigation. “It… caused enormous distress to Mrs. Morgan, who decided, given the newspaper’s initial defense of the article, that she had no choice but to commence legal proceedings against the publisher of the Daily Mail,” attorney Graham Atkins told a London court.
The Daily Mail apologized and agreed on a settlement and payment of her legal bills. “The Daily Mail withdraws the suggestion that Mrs. Morgan used a secret earpiece at her Dublin show in September 2011 to receive messages from off-stage, thereby cheating her audience, which it accepts is untrue,” attorney Brid Lawson told the court.
On her website, Morgan says that she was libeled and accused of trying to con her audiences. “That accusation was totally unfounded and the subsequent fall out has affected me, my family, my career, my health and the good reputation I have built up over many years. It was an unjustified and unfair attack and it has been a very difficult, costly and painful process to get where I am today and to rectify that wrong,” she wrote.
It should be noted that the lawsuit was specifically over claims of Morgan using the earpiece and did not specifically address her psychic ability. And while the psychic prevailed in this case, her profession is frequently the target of negative publicity. In 2004, psychic Sylvia Brown told the mother of missing Cleveland teenager Amanda Berry that her daughter was dead. Berry was found alive in May with two other women after being held captive for a decade. After a firestorm of criticism, Browne responded: “I have been more right than wrong … Only God is right all the time.”