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Tyler Henry Koelewyn is an American reality show personality who appears in the series ''Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry'' as a "clairvoyant medium". The series began its broadcast on the E! Television Network in the United States in January 2016, and was E!'s largest launch of a non-spinoff unscripted series in the past three years with 3.2 million viewers for its third episode. In November 2016, Henry released a memoir, ''Between Two Worlds: Lessons from the Other Side''. Skeptical activists and others including John Oliver concerned with Henry's rise in popularity have actively attempted to counter the public perception that what Henry does reflects reality. Numerous critics maintain that Henry's readings are performed using deceptive cold reading and hot reading techniques, and not "psychic" powers. Susan Gerbic and others also criticize his TV show for targeting people who are grieving and vulnerable, and exploiting them for entertainment.

Early life

Henry is a native of Hanford, California, a small rural city near Fresno. According to Henry, he noticed that he had clairvoyant abilities when he was ten years old. He gave readings to students and teachers at Hanford's Sierra Pacific High School, from which he graduated on an accelerated academic program. Henry initially aspired to attend college and become a hospice nurse. However, Henry soon was "discovered." Before long, he gained a celebrity clientele and a reality TV development deal. Henry began filming his E! television series when he was 19 years old; the show began airing a week after his 20th birthday. Henry reportedly welcomes skepticism about his work: "I am content with people asking questions," he told the ''Fresno Bee''. Henry is openly gay.


Career


In November 2015, Henry appeared on ''Keeping Up with the Kardashians'' where he gave a reading to one of the Kardashian sisters. ''Hollywood Medium With Tyler Henry'' premiered on E! on January 24, 2016. After a successful premiere, E! ordered two additional episodes, making it 10 episodes total. In March 2016, It was announced that E! had ordered a second season of the show. A memoir, ''Between Two Worlds'', was released in 2016. Henry has given readings to many celebrities, such as Nancy Grace, Alan Thicke, retired NBA player John Salley and actors Monica Potter, Amber Rose, Jaleel White, the Kardashians, Carmen Electra, Matt Lauer, Chad Michael Murray, Rick Fox, Megan Fox, Chrissy Metz, Kristin Cavallari, Bobby Brown, Roselyn Sanchez, Tom Arnold, Erika Jayne and many more. Alan Thicke's death several months after his reading with Henry has become the subject of media reports and controversy. In 2016, Henry published a memoir titled ''Between Two Worlds: Lessons from the Other Side''. In February 2018, ''People'' printed an article in advance of the third season of ''Hollywood Medium''. The article detailed Henry's claims about his abilities, the development of his "powers", and his reading with La Toya Jackson set to air in the new season, in which he claimed to contact Michael Jackson.


Death of Alan Thicke


On December 13, 2016, actor Alan Thicke died due to aortic dissection at the age of 69. Several months before his death, Thicke was the subject of a reading done for the ''Hollywood Medium'' TV show. Among the many topics discussed by Henry, the concern of possible heart problems was addressed: After Thicke died, this part of his reading was referenced by Henry's fans as evidence that Tyler had actually predicted Thicke's death. Various news outlets reported on this. Skeptical activist Susan Gerbic challenged the claim that this was a successful psychic prediction in a September 15, 2017 ''Skeptical Inquirer'' article. In a detailed break-down of the entire reading, Gerbic reports that immediately following the above statements, Thicke joked "Thank you Doctor Henry, I'm going to take that to heart." Gerbic reported that this prompted Henry to throw back his head and laugh. Gerbic said "I'm mentioning this because it seems so heartless (pun intended) that if Henry REALLY thought that Thicke's heart would give out only a couple months later, he should have been less flippant about it, and actually very stern." Gerbic continued:


Critical analysis


It is the opinion of scientific skeptics that mediumship is a con, and that Henry is no exception. As such, skeptical activists and others concerned with Henry's rise in popularity have actively attempted to counter the public perception that what Henry claims to do reflects reality: * Gerbic, a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, has dismissed Henry as one of many "grief vampires" who have gained recent cultural notoriety, and she is particularly critical of Henry's stated aspiration of offering counseling to parents who have lost children to suicide, a practice Gerbic describes as "preyngon families when they are the most desperate and vulnerable." Gerbic describes the performances as "a fabric of lies," saying that people like Henry "prey on the poor and disaffected." As of February 2018 she has published seven articles detailing how she believes Henry's feats are actually accomplished. In March 2018, Gerbic published an article on the ''Skeptical Inquirer'' website summarizing a number of techniques which she says are used by psychics, such as Henry, to achieve their effects. * Author Sharon Hill of Doubtful News and the 15 Credibility Street podcast, has also been critical of Henry, stating "It's hardly a 'skill' to guess at celebrities' lives," noting that his apparent successes on the show are "craftily edited" for television audiences. * "What Henry's doing isn't entertainment" states activist Hemant Mehta, "it's deception." Mehta doubts that Henry will submit to scientific trials, and feels that he is "just the latest telegenic star on a network dedicated to celebrating vapid people." * Neurologist Steven Novella, founder of the New England Skeptical Society and host of The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast, states that psychics like Henry are "grief vampires" who say they are giving comfort to grieving families: "Henry wishes to inject made up BS. He is not a trained counselor, and working with the grieving is very tricky. The potential for harm is tremendous." * Surgical oncologist David Gorski of ScienceBlogs writes in his January 22, 2016, article "The rise of a new grief vampire" that: :Gorski goes on to say: * ''Huffington Post'' entertainment writer Cole Delbyck criticized the show and Henry's claims to connect celebrities with their deceased loved ones, saying, "from the previews, it looks fairly exploitative and tasteless." * Mentalist Mark Edward and Gerbic commented on the readings Henry gave to Ross Matthews, Margaret Cho, Jodie Sweetin and Jillian Rose Reed. They state that Henry does not need to know whom he is reading in advance as "it appears to be nothing more than lukewarm cold reading, flattery and generalities." The sitters in the post interviews claimed that Henry had been very specific, but Gerbic and Edward could not find one single hit, noting errors in memory for each sitter. In the case of a reading Henry did for a staff editor from Cosmopolitan Magazine and which was released on video by the magazine, Gerbic notes that there might also be evidence of Henry having information ahead of time, thus also doing some hot reading. * Bobby Finger calls ''Hollywood Medium'' "the worst show on television" and a "deceptively cruel little experiment in exploitative programming." He analyzed an episode in which Henry met with Carole Radziwill and showed that everything Henry told her was easily accessible public information. He concludes "The loss of a loved one causes its own special, terrible category of pain, and to exploit someone's grief in a way that presents the afterlife as this bleak, murky place where our dead friends and family members are constantly on the hunt for people like the Hollywood Medium ... to spread a message that is almost without fail, 'I'm fine,' doesn't just con their desperate, mournful targets out of a few hard-earned dollars, it does a disservice to the memories of those they lost." Susan Gerbic agrees with Finger that "this is not innocent fun." She analyzed that same episode and came to an only slightly different conclusion. She states that Henry doesn't need to have advanced knowledge of his sitters "because he just needs to throw out general statements and then remain silent while the sitter fills in the details." She looks at the specific time when Radziwill handed Henry a woman's gold ring and Henry states that the ring is a reference to someone who died at an early age, then asked if she knew anyone who fit that. Radziwill said, ""yeah ausea girlfriend auseher name is Carolyn." Gerbic points out that "These pauses are important to note. This is where Henry is just letting the sitter talk and dropping all the information he is going to need." * In 2016, the Independent Investigations Group awarded Henry's TV show the "Truly Terrible Television Award", which read: * In a 2016 article "The Hollywood Medium has a secret," Ryan Houlihan describes and analyses the Tyler Henry phenomenon from a skeptical perspective. He explains how Tyler uses cold reading, and likely hot reading techniques as well, to give the illusion of psychic powers. Houlihan attributes Henry's success to the gullibility of celebrities as well as the media: "Henry's shtick is polished, but it only works because he has such great support. Besides the celebrities he interviews, Henry seems to have the full-throated endorsement of the entertainment press." Houlihan concludes his article with: * In a May 2017 article she wrote for Skeptical Inquirer, Susan Gerbic analyzed in great detail a widely viewed E! Network video of Henry giving a fan, Jamie Horn, a reading. Following the session with Henry, Horn said "It was amazing and emotional!" But Gerbic's conclusion is that Henry simply used cold reading techniques to deceive her: * In June 2017, Nancy Grace sat for a reading with Henry. Grace was convinced that Henry was communicating with her dead father, as well as her murdered fiancé, and said she had received closure. After the reading Grace said "there were many things enrysaid were impossible for him to have gleaned on the internet or even a computer search, speeches I've given, of things that have happened, I find it difficult to believe … I find many of the things he said to be absolutely amazing." In April 2018, Susan Gerbic analyzed the reading, and detailed in ''Nancy Grace Should be Ashamed of Herself!'' exactly how Grace had unfortunately been fooled by the usual fraudulent techniques of cold reading and hot reading used by "grief vampires" like Henry to convince people that they have paranormal powers. * In April 2018, Ben Fowlkes of MMAJunkie.com reported that during a reading of former UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, Henry conveyed information about her father's suicide, as if obtained through mediumship. However, Fowlkes points out that the "revealed" information was easily available via a Google search because Rousey had publicly discussed these details on multiple occasions. Doing this is an example of a deception called hot reading. * In a 2019 segment of ''Last Week Tonight'', John Oliver criticized the media for producing shows such as ''The Hollywood Medium'', because they convince viewers that psychic powers are real, and so enable neighborhood psychics to prey on grieving families. Oliver said that Henry may use hot reading in addition to cold reading. As an example, Oliver dissected Henry's reading of Matt Lauer concerning the father-son fishing trip that was part of the reading. Oliver showed examples of publicly available information about Lauer's love of fishing with his father, including Lauer stating this on his own show several times. Oliver summarized "Look, maybe Tyler Henry genuinely accessed the afterlife, an action which would fundamentally change our understanding of everything on Earth. Or maybe he just googled ‘Matt Lauer Dad’ and hit the fucking jackpot”. Speaking about psychics in general, Oliver said: “At best, it is reckless for a stranger to take a stab at ventriloquizing the dead. Loss is complicated, and mourning doesn’t look the same for everyone. But at worst, when psychic abilities are presented as authentic, it emboldens a vast underworld of unscrupulous vultures, more than happy to make money by offering an open line to the afterlife, as well as many other bullshit services."

Paranormal challenge

* In September 2019, the Center for Inquiry's paranormal investigations group, IIG, challenged Henry to demonstrate his psychic abilities. The organization offers $250,000 to anyone that can demonstrate psychic powers under agreed upon scientific conditions, but no one has yet claimed this prize. The organization sent registered letters to Henry and his agent. but as of February 2020, the CFIIG were yet to receive a reply to their challenge.

See also

* List of prizes for evidence of the paranormal * ''Long Island Medium'' * ''Monica the Medium'' * One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge

References



External links

* *
Psychic Methods Revealed: Hot Reading

Psychic Methods Exposed - Cold Reading Tricks

John Oliver's analysis of the problem with TV psychics

The Hollywood Medium isn't talking to the dead: An analysis
{{DEFAULTSORT:Henry, Tyler Category:Year of birth missing (living people) Category:Living people Category:American psychics Category:American spiritual mediums Category:Gay entertainers Category:LGBT entertainers from the United States Category:Participants in American reality television series Category:People from Hanford, California Category:Mediumship