Joe Power is angry. "The man's a snake," he says, spitting out the words. "I wouldn't shake his hand if I met him again. I want nothing to do with him."
The Liverpudlian is one of the most celebrated psychic mediums in Britain, and enjoys a significant following in Ireland. The subject of his ire is Derren Brown, the popular TV mentalist who debunked Power's claims in a Channel 4 documentary this summer.
"He screwed me over, big time," Power says. "All my good psychic readings were edited out, and the bad ones left in. I've made a complaint to Ofcom [Britain's broadcasting watchdog] because Derren Brown tried to destroy my reputation."
In the psychic world, Joe Power has a big reputation. His story is compelling, having risen from the Merseyside slums and a life surrounded by criminality to being a TV star and a recipient of a multi-book deal from Penguin. Many claim to be able to communicate with dead people, but few have become as much in demand, even if Derren Brown Investigates has tarnished his lustre.
Now, the 44-year-old's sights are set on Ireland. After dates in Belfast and Ballymena, he will appear at Limerick's University Concert Hall on October 12, and is planning to run the country's first ever psychic school in the city. He says he is flabbergasted that such an academy does not exist here already. Similar schools are commonplace in the UK.
He chose Limerick, because of an affinity he feels for its people. "It's said to be a rough area, but I grew up in a rough area. I can identify with the problems that are going on there, but the people are lovely there."
Through the school he believes he can produce top-quality psychics. "Everyone has psychic potential," he says. "Everyone has a gut feeling, a sixth sense. What I can do is to teach them to reach another level of awareness, to grow within themselves and to connect with the spirit world."
The Irish, he insists, make particularly good psychics. "I've an Irish background myself and I just think the Irish are especially open to the afterlife. Maybe it's something to do with their Catholic backgrounds. I was baptised a Catholic too. I think the Irish are less cynical than other nationalities when it comes to the paranormal."
One Irishman who would baulk at this suggestion is magician and mentalist Keith Barry. He is offering €50,000 of his own money to any professional psychic who can prove their claims to his satisfaction. "I ask that they sit a test under my specific conditions," he says. "Everything I do is based on psychology, misdirection, hypnosis, all sorts of other techniques that people wouldn't even be privy to. We use them to deceive people, and as far as I can see, these psychics are doing the same thing."
Barry is angry that the psychic industry seems to target people desperate to believe they can communicate with a deceased loved one. "These people are vulnerable; they're tortured."
Power says he is keen to take up Barry's challenge. "I could do with the 50 grand," he jokes. "I'll take him on on live television in Ireland, say The Late Late Show, and I'll show him that I really do have psychic abilities.
"I absolutely believe in my ability to communicate with the dead -- I've had the gift all my life -- and I take great exception to anyone who thinks I'm bluffing. I am not a charlatan, but unfortunately there are lots of big-name charlatans out there who are interested in making a quick buck."
Power says he is cut from a different cloth. According to the florid text on his website, "his amazing psychic ability began in infancy and expanded quickly to include mind-boggling visions, out-of-body travels, auras, premonitions and a motley array of constant spirit visitors".
It continues: "Through the years, Joe learned he possesses the full array of psychic skills including clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience. He sees, hears and communicates with the spirit world with incredible ease."
Power rejects the suggestion he has become wealthy as a result of his talent. "Absolutely not," he says, pointing out that he was paid "about 500 quid" for the ill-fated Derren Brown programme.
Yet, there is serious cash to be made for psychics at the top of their game. The famed US medium, John Edward, is a multimillionaire whose television show, Crossing Over, is syndicated globally and has a weekly audience of millions.
Last September, he gave five sold-out "seminars" in Dublin's Helix venue, with tickets costing up to €75. Ten months later, he was back for three sold-out performances.
In the US, Edward was widely criticised for his alleged ability to communicate with victims of 9/11, yet the controversy has done little to dampen his popularity.
And Ireland's love affair with the paranormal is not just confined to visiting celebrities. There is no shortage of people happy to pay €2.40 per minute for an over-the-phone tarot card reading from one of the mediums employed by Irish Psychics Live.
Established by former journalist Tom Higgins in the late 1990s, Irish Psychics Live recorded a €1.7m profit last year. Business was down just 3% on the previous year, which suggests that the psychic industry is largely immune from recession.
Meanwhile, Dublin psychic Joe Coleman continues to attract publicity thanks to his claims that he is in contact with the Virgin Mary. Up to 15,000 people -- including an RTE crew -- turned up at Knock on the day Coleman claimed the Virgin would appear.
There were reports of eye damage among pilgrims after they had stared at the sun, hoping for an apparition. Coleman has subsequently complained about being "disrespected" by Church authorities, although he is planning to reveal the date of a further visitation.
For his part, Power believes Church teaching and his psychic powers can complement each other, and although he is not familiar with Coleman, he thinks some psychics have the ability to conjure "miracles".
"The cynics out there can't believe it, but what's the point of life if there's nothing after? It brings people enormous comfort to know that their loved ones are not gone for ever."
A committed fan of Liverpool football club, he is disheartened by their poor start to the season. He "senses" that manager Roy Hodgson will be in charge for another 15 months, and will step down due to health reasons.
Power fully believes he can read people's "auras" over the phone, and contends that mine is "green, but with white too -- which is good for health reasons" and asks me to draw my own conclusions from that, which I can't. The notion of auras makes no sense to me whatsoever.
He also suggests that "three" is a significant number for me, possibly in terms of my family, but that doesn't hold up either; nor does the suggestion that I've a "positive outlook on life", which, unfortunately, is not close to the truth for this perpetual cynic.
Sensing that he is some way wide of the mark, he is uneasy about the "reading" being published and once again mentions his misfortunes at the hands of Derren Brown.
"I don't want to be set up again."