Conversations With Spirits

By E O Higgins

The story of a dissipated genius in a borrowed hat and coat

Friday, 31 August 2012

Joe's Power

On the 19th February 2008, ten-year-old Shannon Matthews disappeared from outside her school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. 

Hearing of the family’s plight, and realising that his services might be of help, psychic medium, Joe Power, got in touch with Karen Matthews — Shannon’s mother — and organised a sitting with her. 

Power’s official website explains that the story was covered by The People newspaper — and that, as soon as he sat down with Shannon’s mother and clutched the missing girl’s favourite Bratz T-shirt, he sensed: 

"That Shannon had got into a car with someone she knew.” 


“I told them that the abductor was connected with Craig Meehan (Karen’s boyfriend) and that his name was Mick or Michael.” 

Shannon was found a week later, at a house a short distance from Dewsbury — belonging to 39-year-old Michael Donovan, Craig Meehan’s uncle. 

The 'case file’ on Power’s website, relating to Shannon Matthew’s abduction, closes with the following: 

“The British media interviewed me extensively about the Shannon Matthews case. It truly shows how accurate my (spirit) guides are when I work with them on criminal cases."

This glowing assessment of his own work doesn’t seem unreasonable, when one considers that everything that Joe Power said later proved to be entirely true. 

Weirdly, though, when I went to The People's website this morning to find the account of Joe Power’s meeting with Karen Matthews, I found it makes no reference to him saying any of the stuff he claims to have done on his website.  

In an article written in The People by Simon Lennon on March 8th 2008 (about a week before Shannon was found) it states that Power had informed Karen: 

“The car had a baby seat and a brown cushion in the back, and a religious card hanging from the rear-view mirror. 

“(It had) stopped near a church Shannon knew — and the driver used a Texaco garage.” 

And, finally: 

“I can see a lay-by near farmland".

The car driven by Michael Donovan — Shannon’s abductor — was a silver Peugeot. No one has ever bothered to verify if it had a brown cushion in the back. Or if it had a card hanging from the rear-view mirror. 

Since Donovan lived alone and had no children, a baby seat in the back of the car is unlikely. 

It is likely, however, that Shannon and her kidnapper drove by 'a church' — considering she was abducted from outside her school in the middle of town. 

The fact that the kidnapper might have stopped at a Texaco garage is, again, quite possible — but is also about the least helpful piece of information in the world. (Is Power suggesting that the kidnapper would have put some petrol in his car at some point..? Is that it?) 

His final assertion — that he could see “a lay-by near farmland" — is just wrong. 

Twenty four days after going missing, Shannon Matthews was discovered concealed in the base of a divan bed in Donovan’s flat. She had been kept in his home throughout the period, and it later transpired that Karen Matthews had been aware of her whereabouts all along.

Shortly afterwards, Shannon was taken into care and Michael Donovan and Karen Matthews were both arrested for kidnapping and false imprisonment. 

Evidently, Joe Power had wrongly guessed that Shannon’s kidnapper had already killed the 10-year-old and dumped her body in 'a lay-by near farmland’. Since this was later found to be entirely incorrect, it was obviously omitted from the revisionist account of her 'case’ on his website. 

Many psychic mediums are able to justify the work they do, because they are in a unique position to bring comfort to the bereaved. 

This is not what Joe Power seems to be about.  

Joe, like Derek Acorah (who recently informed a number of British tabloids that missing Madeline McCann was dead — and, as a result, upset her already-devastated parents), seems keener just to generate headlines and raise his own profile. 

It is certainly odd — considering how undoubtedly 'accurate’ Joe’s spirit guides are — that, during the course of his sitting with Karen Matthews, they didn't bother to mention that he was actually talking to one of Shannon’s kidnappers… 

Joe Power’s spirit guides would appear to be about as accurate as the contents of his own 'case files’.

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