Close Encounters Of The Coffey Kind

In this pic, Chip Coffey is telling me that he plans to call me this week to interview me so he can write a little piece for his hundred thousand and some followers.

Chip Coffey sure doesn’t like me. He isn’t a big fan of the Centre For Inquiry Regina either. Found this out when I showed up before his show at the Hotel Saskatchewan last night to take some pics of the CFI crew. They were handing out fliers with information about the  methods psychics use in their shows, and I thought a blog post on their action might make a nice coda to our Chip Coffey coverage.

Didn’t realize I’d end up getting a chance to shake the hand of the man himself.

Just as I was preparing to head home and CFI Regina was leaving to have a post-action drink at Beer Bros, Coffey stormed out from the lobby to confront the people protesting his show.

Of course, they weren’t actually protesting. As they tried to explain to him, they were standing around on a public walkway, handing out pamphlets to audience members who were interested. And, they told me, they also went into the hotel and left a few fliers in the bathrooms.

Coffey wasn’t interested in making distinctions between people distributing information and people marching around with placards and shouting slogans as at one point he declared that “you skeptics” are just like the Westboro Baptist Church. A bit of a stretch, but hey, the guy was pretty pissed off.

He even took a moment to single me out. “Where’s Paul?” he shouted into the small group. And when I identified myself, he sarcastically thanked me for being a “duplicitous bastard.” We shook hands and he suggested he’d like to write something about me for his thousands of followers. Said he might call me this week and interview me for it as well.

I’m waiting by the phone.

Throughout Coffey’s tirade, the CFI crowd handled themselves courteously and with good humour, telling him that they were only there to express an alternative viewpoint on paranormal claims. And Coffey, who seemed to be spoiling for an argument, was clearly unprepared for their uncanny powers of Canadian politeness as he eventually settled down and invited CFI Regina members Diane and Shea to attend his show for free and “judge it for themselves.”

I’ll try to get an interview with Diane or Shea later to hear how things went. Who knows, maybe they were converted. (I doubt it.)

On a personal note… There were a few moments where I started to feel sorry for Chip Coffey. He certainly seemed genuinely hurt that people had come out to express skepticism about his professed “gifts.” But then I reminded myself that the guy made buckets of money off his Regina show, and many buckets more off the other cities he’s visited on this tour.

So maybe it wasn’t so much that he was hurt as he was supremely annoyed that his livelihood was being threatened. Not that it was. He’d already collected his money here. And I suspect his Regina audience witnessed a Coffey Talk like none other and will be talking about it for days.

Oh! On a professional note… At one point, one of Coffey’s “people” — I suspect a representative of Trixstar Productions, the Edmonton company that organized Coffey’s tour — mentioned to me that they’d run the numbers and they received no traffic from Prairie Dog’s website. I suppose he was trying to say, “Hey, you suck and your paper sucks. Nobody reads you.”

I prefer to interpret that data as proof that our readers are too sophisticated to be taken in by a traveling psychic show.

CFI ReginaJust as I always suspected.

By the way, that pic above is a screengrab from a video I took of the encounter and as soon as Steve sends me login info for the Prairie Dog Youtube channel I’ll post it. Until then, here’s a pic of CFI Regina shortly after Chip, Diane and Shea went in for the show.


Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

10 thoughts on “Close Encounters Of The Coffey Kind”

  1. Only leaches suck on the blood of others. Seems like you are trying to ruin the reputation of good Canadians by being rude, ignorant and judging someone you don’t know. You are a coward consider you hide behind your computer screen to attack this man.
    You need to grow up and learn that people don’t need others to force their beliefs on them. Believe what you want and let others make their own choices.

  2. @Jane Yes, let people make their own choices, but I believe they were out their giving educational information so that people can make informed decisions about what they choose to believe.

  3. Good on ya, CFI!

    I agree with the above… I think these shows are based on a false premise, and I assume most of the attendees don’t realize that. I’d hate to find out that I had spent hard-earned money on a sham, but it’s always better to know than not know.

  4. @Allen – Anyone who went to the show was never forced to go and they all made their decisions to attend. So why try and change their mind as they know what they are doing when they DECIDED to go. I knew what I was doing when I went to see Mr. Coffey. I also know that CFI never gave out “educational information” but a poorly designed brochure with bias “information” that if they were at the event they would have seen that much to what they suggested would happen, did not.

    Anyone who agrees with the negative statements above were not in attendance and nor are able to judge someone they don’t know. I am glad Mr Coffey responded to your post and cleared up how Mr. Dechene got his interview:

  5. Jane, help me out. How exactly am I hiding behind my computer screen when I publish under my real name — first and last — and I showed up at Coffey’s event and spoke with the guy?

    And how am I forcing my views on anyone when what I did was publish what I’ve learned and can surmise in a free newspaper — free to pick up and free to ignore (at your peril, though that may be)? Same goes for the blog.

    And how is standing on a sidewalk and offering information to people — information they’re free to accept or refuse — forcing a view on anyone?

    Is the faith you apparently have in the supernatural so shaky that this incredibly passive challenge really a threat to you? If so, I’d say Prairie Dog and CFI’s flier are the least of your worries.

  6. Jane,If I may be so familiar.Why are” true “believers always so strident and accusatory when anyone has the temerity to question ?I would point out that it was Chip who lost his cool,swore and had to be told to stand back.Just as you seem to be the only one calling people names and being quit rude.

  7. Jane, first of all, thank you for your feedback. I want to say that when we showed up to Chip’s show, it was never our intent to be rude, ignorant or judge. It was always our intent to be polite and respectful, and I personally feel we achieved this.

    It was by design that our pamphlets did not mention Chip by name and that we offered no direct criticism of Chip himself, even when he came out to confront us. We even asked people to enjoy their show and, if they didn’t know where the room was, we helped them find it. If they did not want our pamphlets, we didn’t ask again.

    However, if at any point you felt like we were being rude or insensitive, I would like to personally apologize to you. This was never our objective. I understand many people go to psychics out of a sincere desire to be reconnected with lost loved ones, which is something I deeply empathize with.

    However, I also believe our brochure was accurate. We did end up having two CFI members in attendance at the event, thanks to the good graces of Chip. I want to be clear, I am very thankful that Chip offered two of our members to attend his show, free of charge. He did not have to do this, yet he did. But it should also be added that Chip hit nearly every point we made in the pamphlet.

    I also think it’s fair to say that, if Chip is not actually a psychic, then doing what he does has the potential to cause real harm. Not just through the amount of money he charges for these events, but by actually deceiving people and offering bad advice.

    From what I have been told, Chip told one person that he expected them to have a positive gambling streak in the near future. If that person gambles away a paycheque because of something they were told by Chip, this could seriously harm that person. I would also hold Chip personally accountable, even though his website clearly indicates his show is for entertainment purposes only. That is my opinion.

    Ultimately, however, it was not necessarily our intent to change anyone’s mind. We only wanted to present information, and I am very glad you took the time to read our brochure. If having read it you still believe in Chip’s powers, then I respect your beliefs. We only asked that you consider the alternative, and I thank you for doing so.

    – Kalen Christensen
    Branch Leader, CFI Regina

  8. Hm. The only person being rude is Jane, who (perhaps tellingly) just happens to have paid money to attend the fraudster’s show.


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