In the late 1970s, UK medium Doris Stokes became a runaway hit via The Don Lane Show, giving ‘readings’ to members of the studio audience. She made a number of appearances on the Nine show, many of which had people in tears and attracting extensive publicity.
Later it led to the infamous James Randi incident in which the US sceptic suggested Stokes was using various forms of deception for her performances. But Stokes had been good for the show and Randi’s argument was not about to have the last word. Don Lane walked off the set in fury (keep watching after Kevin Arnett clip).
Stokes crossed over to the other side herself in 1987 at the age of 67.
Evidence later emerged that at some of her live UK shows, Stokes had invited participants to attend, with a manager of the Palladium confirming she routinely booked the front three rows of the theatre for her own use.
Smoke, mirrors…. either way, it was classic showbiz.