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A letter from Montague about the Jacqui Poole murder case published in The Skeptic, 16.1.

Chris French greatly exaggerates the amount of scholarship required for an impartial assessment of the Dorr-Lethe case, but I won’t press the point because all he has to do his explain away a much simpler case which I have been investigating with Guy Playfair: an Irishwoman is badgered by the voices of a recently murdered woman she’s never heard of. She provides the police with 125 specific statements about the deceased, the murder scene, and the personality, appearance, route taken, method of entry and name of the murderer. Apart from a few unverifiable statements, all but one proved correct.

We have examined all the original documentary evidence. Apart from a very few statements, all must have had a paranormal origin. The only issue is where the information came from — the dead woman or the minds of the policeman who discovered the body, the murderer himself and the woman’s family. The dead woman was Jacqui Poole, and the murderer, Pokie Ruark, was given a life sentence at the Old Bailey in August, 2001.

Any non-paranormal explanation?

Tony Youens wrote a response which was published in The Skeptic, 16.2. Below is Montague's reply.

A brave but doomed attempt by Tony Youens. His confessedly superficial examination contrasts with the detailed inquiries which Guy Playfair and I made when interviewing both detectives and the medium and examining the original records.

Christine Holohan lived well over two miles away, not ten minutes walk. Her sole inaccuracy was a reference to Saturday instead of Friday as the night of the murder. Whether the experience has ever been repeated is irrelevant to the issue of paranormality, but in fact, according to Batters as well as Holohan herself, it has been.

Ruark had already given the police a persuasive alibi. He was no longer a suspect when Holohan was interviewed. As for the supposed inability of the medium to provide a clue to what happened to the stolen jewels after the murder: in fact a written clue, considered meaningless at the time, was provided: details will have to await publication of our full report.

The idea that Holohan had received her information from someone not wishing to Iinform the police directly is another good idea blown away by the fact that she would have had to receive the information from five separate sources who were either unknown to one another or mutually hostile, and included the murderer himself! the police would hardly have been ignored of such an elaborate web had it existed.

The case was reopened in 2000 because another person, not Ruark, has been accused of the murder. Advances in DNA technology enabled Ruark’s discarded pullover, rescued by Detective Batters, 18 years earlier, to pin the crime. It was Holohan’s uniquely detailed evidence, plus a spontaneous psychometric “reading” which produced three strikingly accurate pieces of personal information about one of the detectives, that so impressed Batters and prompted him to ransack Ruark’s dustbin and retrieve the fatal garment. Without it the case would have collapsed.

Holohan produced a large number of statements, the accuracy and relevancy of which cannot be attributed to any normal function. Premature judgment based on inadequate first-hand knowledge and selective evidence is unwise.

The Jacqui Poole Case: "Any non-paranormal Explanations?" by Montague Keen
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