Mondays are bad days for me. I’m flooded with work and have virtually no time for anything else. But I made a few minutes to share with you this bizarre image from an advertisement appearing in England for tours led by “Dr.” John Ward, the boon companion of Intrepid magazine owner Scotty Roberts and his partner in the History Trippers television pilot, currently under consideration by a major media conglomerate that really should know better. It’s one of the more bizarre things I’ve seen this week.
Take a look at that picture—dressed like Indiana Jones, standing against an Egyptian backdrop, and dowsing! According to the promotional material put out by the College of Psychic Studies, Ward intends to explore whether the buildings of London were purposely built to channel psychic powers. “Our aim is to determine if these monuments and symbols are deliberate acts of inclusion in the landscape and if there is any direct metaphysical effect on the immediate environment and population.”
It’s worth noting that “Dr.” John Ward is not a Ph.D. His “doctorate” is, by his own admission, an honorary award from a Knights Templar fan club in Great Britain who are not accredited and do not have the standing to award academic degrees, honorary or otherwise. This makes his doctorate even less legitimate than Sean David Morton’s, which was a “Ph.D.-equivalency” degree purchased from a for-profit Canadian school. To use his Templar-awarded fictitious degree to ask for money (£130 per person!) to take people on a dowsing tour of the City of London on behalf of a psychic college is, frankly, deceptive.
For the cheaper two hour, £14 workshop, Ward is not even present at his own event. He will be calling in from Egypt.
If you are not able to attend either but still want to give Ward some money, he and Roberts are selling History Trippers calendars.
Ward claims to be an archaeologist because he works in Egypt with Dr. Maria Nilsson, his self-described “partner,” who performs archaeological research. According to Ward’s CV, he serves as her photographer at Gebel el Silsila. According to the College of Psychic Studies, he is now claiming to also be an anthropologist, though on what grounds I can hardly imagine.
The College of Psychic Studies was founded in 1884 during the heyday of the spiritualist movement and currently offers courses in various psychic powers and related parlor tricks from the Victorian era.
It seems like a good fit for a man who clearly has a Victorian-steampunk aesthetic to go along with his Victorian occultism and nineteenth century sense of pseudo-history.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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