The scene in which Margaret Matheson exposes a psychic healer by listening in on a partner feeding him instructions wirelessly was based on the case in which skeptics James Randi and Steve Shaw (better known under his stage name Banachek), with technical assistance from crime scene analyst and electronics expert Alexander Jason, exposed Peter Popoff in 1986. In that case, as in the scene, Popoff's wife Elizabeth was feeding him information that she and her aides had taken from prayer request cards filled out by audience members over wireless radio. Some of the dialogue is taken almost verbatim from the actual case. In May 1986, Randi presented the evidence on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), exposing Popoff's fraudulent practices. In 1987, Popoff declared bankruptcy, only to make a comeback in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The videos of the parapsychological experiments done with Silver at the university mimic those done in real life with Uri Geller at the Stanford Research Institute in the 1970s. These experiments are discussed at length and clips of the actual video are shown in the James Randi documentary, An Honest Liar (2014).
The character played by the Argentinean actor Leonardo Sbaraglia, carries by last name PALLADINO. It is a nod to one of the great mediums of the early twentieth century, the Italian EUSAPIA PALLADINO who was investigated by Dr. Eugene Osty and discovered in fraud on several occasions. Evidently, the scriptwriter-director has researched a lot ...
The black and white clip of the Russian woman moving metal objects and matchsticks around on a table shown by Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) in class, is the same clip used in The Atticus Institute (2015), another film about clairvoyants.