Extraordinary People: The Million Dollar Mind Reader
Derek Ogilvie Claims he can Read the Minds of Infants

Extraordinary People: The Million Dollar Mind Reader
Derek Ogilvie Claims he can Read the Minds of Infants

You may remember a dubious series from 2006 called The Baby Mind Reader. It featured a glib "psychic supernanny" called Derek Ogilvie, who claimed to understand toddlers via telepathy.

Only four episodes of The Baby Mind Reader were ever made, but now Derek's back and in this intriguing documentary he undergoes scientific tests, hoping to prove that his powers are real and he's not just, consciously or unconsciously, using other methods.

You have to admire Derek's willingness to submit to stringent experiments in London and Miami (in the latter, under the venerable James Randi) to prove, as he wails tearfully on camera, "I'm not a liar!"

But that's about all you have to admire about him. The programme affects to keep an open mind about his powers - and if he convinces James Randi, he'll win a million dollars.

I've written previously in RT that Derek is, in my view, "about as psychic as my stapler," but I'd hate to spoil the outcome of the programme, so I'll leave you to guess whether he wins the money and shames my stapler.

Derek Ogilvie is a self-proclaimed psychic medium and self-styled baby mindreader from Paisley, Scotland. He lives in Kilbarchan, near Glasgow.

He performs live shows around Europe in his capacity as a medium and has filmed TV programmes showcasing his talents for Ireland's RTÉ, where he has appeared weekly on The Afternoon Show, and has recorded Derek Ogilvie - The Baby Whisperer for Dutch Television station RTL4.

According to his website, Derek communicated best with children who have not yet developed talking skills. 'Children who are talking fluently are much harder to connect with telepathically'.

His book, The Baby Mindreader is published by HarperElement. Ogilvie claims on his website to have had great success communicating with special needs children, especially those with autism.

In 2008, he applied to be a candidate on the 'Five' programme, Extraordinary People: The Million Dollar Mind Reader. In the show, sceptic James Randi challenged Ogilvie to prove he has psychic abilities. Ogilvie failed the test.

In the film documentary, Extraordinary People: The Million Dollar Mind Reader Ogilvie participated in and failed two experiments that tested his claim that he could read babies' minds.

In one experiment at Goldsmiths College, London, Ogilvie was tasked to produce some unique knowledge about the baby's parents under conditions where the baby was brought in by a child minder. 

Derek Ogilvie says he can read the minds of infants who are too young to communicate verbally. Now he agrees to undergo a series of controlled experiments to test the limits of his alleged abilities.

He even faces the ultimate skeptic in the form of James Randi, an investigator of the paranormal who has offered $1million to anyone who can provide evidence of the supernatural.


Derek Ogilvie

Ogilvie did not get to meet the parents. In the opinion of the researchers, Ogilvie appeared to cold read the child minder, but failed to produce any valid information pertaining to the baby's parents.

Ogilvie failed to demonstrate mind reading ability, as per the test. Ogilvie argued that he could only report what the baby was telepathically projecting.

Ogilvie then flew to Miami, to participate in a controlled laboratory experiment, constructed by skeptic James Randi, to test for psychic ability.

If Ogilvie could correctly guess 6 out of 10 randomized toy choices made by a toddler in another room, then he would have proven his psychic ability to the satisfaction of Randi, thus winning one million dollars.

Ogilvie correctly guessed 1 toy choice out of 10, thus failing the test and losing the challenge. A correct guess of 1 out of 10 random toy choices was expected by chance alone. In a final test, Ogilvie subjected himself to an electroencephalogram (EEG), insisting to Coral Springs psychologist Dr. Gerald Gluck that he (Ogilvie) was not faking his abilities.

Ogilvie pointed to his forehead, saying he thought his ability was related to activity located in the "frontal lobe." Gluck produced charts and graphs that seemed to support the possibility that Ogilvie's brain was sensitive to emotional and non-verbal communication.

In the film, Gluck did not interpret the data to mean Ogilvie possessed telepathy or mind reading ability. Gluck did not conclude on the basis of the EEG results that Ogilvie was a mind reader.