Is Derek Acorah A Fake?

Is Derek Acorah a fake?

Who Is Derek Acorah?

Is Derek Acorah A Fake? Before we get into the facts, we’ll explore who Derek was. Derek Acorah (born Derek Johnson) was a British TV personality and medium. However, he wasn’t always involved in the paranormal field. In fact, Acorah’s early life included a career in football when he played for teams like the Bootle Boys and, later, for Wrexham’s academy side.

Acorah even signed schoolboy terms with Liverpool, which was then managed by Bill Shankly. However, he didn’t make an appearance for the first team. His football career was short-lived, though, and ended following an injury on the field.

After his time on the football field and the birth of his son, Acorah decided to pursue a career as a psychic medium and TV personality. This transition didn’t come as a surprise to Derek’s family, although it may have come as a shock to those who knew him as a football player.

Derek Acorah’s Career

Acorah’s interest in the paranormal and spiritualism actually began at a young age when he claimed to have his first supernatural experience. The medium claimed to have seen his deceased grandfather while at his grandmother’s home as a child. Coupled with the fact that his grandmother was a psychic, Derek’s encounter with the supernatural sparked his curiosity and led to his career as a medium.

Once he began his journey with the spirit world, Derek Francis Johnson ultimately changed his surname to Acorah – a name that he claimed was given to him by a Dutch ancestor. After his career began to take off, he became a household name among paranormal enthusiasts when Acorah was featured on a television program where he would make psychic predictions.

Besides making these on-air predictions, Acorah featured on several different paranormal and ghost-hunting shows, including:

  • Most Haunted
  • Derek Acorah’s Quest for Guy Fawkes
  • Derek Acorah’s Ghost Towns
  • Michael Jackson: The Live Séance by Derek Acorah
  • Paranormal Egypt, and many more

Acorah became well-known in the paranormal community and gained even more fans when his psychic adventures led to claims that he received a psychic message from Madeleine McCann via a spirit guide.

While fans of Acorah hung onto every word the medium said, it wouldn’t be long before he was exposed as a fake…

Was Derek Acorah A Fake?

Much to the dismay of Derek’s fans, paranormal enthusiasts, and fans of the TV show, Most Haunted, Derek was ultimately exposed as a fake. But perhaps the most shocking revelation that came from this was that Acorah was exposed by his ‘Most Haunted’ co-star, Ciaran O’Keeffe!

But what exactly happened, and how was Derek Acorah finally revealed as a fraud? Let’s discuss the moment that brought Acorah’s career tumbling to the ground.

The Bodmin Jail incident

The ‘Bodmin Jail incident’ happened during the filming of an episode of ‘Most Haunted’ in 2005, when Acorah and his team were investigating the old jail. During this episode, Derek (who was the show’s medium) appeared to become possessed by a spirit named Kreed Kafer, who was a particularly aggressive South African jailer. Or so he claimed…

Although the possession startled both the audience and the show’s crew, this moment was pivotal for Acorah and the rest of his paranormal investigative team. The controversy began to spread when the show’s parapsychologist, Ciaran O’Keeffe, admitted that he had set Derek up.

O’Keeffe claimed that he had crew members feed false information to Derek about spirits in different locations – including Kreed Kafer. That’s right! ‘Kreed Kafer’ was a completely fictitious spirit invented by O’Keeffe, who came up with the name by using an anagram of the words ‘Derek Faker’.

After it came out that this spirit was nothing but an invention of O’Keeffe, it became glaringly obvious that Acorah faked the entire possession. This led fans and crew on the show to question the authenticity of Derek’s claims, with many reaching the conclusion that the so-called medium was nothing but a very convincing charlatan.

The fallout

As a result of the false possession, Derek was removed from the show and his co-host, Yvette Fielding, even spoke out publicly, branding him as a ‘fake’. Unfortunately, the incident even caused a breakdown in the professional relationship between Fielding and Acorah, and she continued to publicly criticize him for pulling the wool over her – and the audience’s – eyes.

The rift between Acorah and Fielding was spoken about widely among paranormal enthusiasts, and it seemed as though fans started choosing sides in the debate. Sceptics sided with Fielding and O’Keeffe and spoke out against Acorah, while believers and dedicated fans continued to defend him and believe in his supernatural gift to speak to spirits.


Is Derek Acorah still alive?

Unfortunately, Derek Johnson passed away aged 69 in 2020 following a ‘short illness’. His wife, Gwen Acorah Johnson, posted a statement to her official Facebook page following his passing.

Gwen wrote: “Farewell my love! I will miss you forever! I’m devastated to announce that my beloved husband Derek has passed away after a very brief illness. Thank you so much to everybody who has supported me – I can never thank you enough.

Despite the controversies surrounding Derek and his career, fans and believers were devastated to learn about his early death.

Did Derek Acorah ever admit to being fake?

Acorah never admitted to being a fake medium or playing up any of his paranormal encounters. Instead, he doubled down and maintained his claims of being a genuine psychic medium throughout his career – even after being exposed.

Acorah continued to work as a paranormal investigator and medium until his passing and even showcased his self-proclaimed abilities and talents when he was a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother in 2017.

What happened to Derek Acorah after the controversies?

If you thought that being exposed as a fake was enough to slow Acorah down, think again! This larger-than-life personality continued to pursue a career in television, and hosted his own shows after being removed from ‘Most Haunted’. He even became a fan-favourite on Celebrity Big Brother 2017, coming in fourth place at the end of the season.

Derek ended up writing books on the paranormal and went on tours as a medium, giving guests and fans live readings and messages from their departed loved ones. Whether these messages were legitimate was questioned heavily by sceptics, but there were still hundreds of fans who claimed to have spoken to their family members through Derek.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a true believer in the paranormal or pride yourself on having a healthy dose of scepticism, finding out that one of the most prominent TV mediums is nothing but a fake can take you by surprise.

Of course, Acorah never confirmed that he was playing up his self-proclaimed gifts for the cameras. But after being called out publicly by his co-stars, it’s hard to deny that he may have been a fraud. Still, there are individuals who believe that Derek had a genuine gift and that the Bodmin Jail incident was nothing more than a misunderstanding. So, which side of the debate do you stand on?


Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!