The Cost of Psychics

The facts are these.

Earlier this week, the police in Liberty County, Texas received a tip that as many as 30 dismembered children’s bodies were buried at a property in Hardin. The police followed up, and found nothing at the address. The psychic, known as  Angel, called back and told them they were at the wrong house. They showed up at the second house and found blood on the porch and noticed a strong foul odour. On this basis, a search warrant was issued, and in came the 15 car loads of reinforcements, the tracker dogs, and the FBI.

The media picked up the story and it immediately went viral.

After spending over $1m, they found a pile of rotting garbage and identified the blood on the porch as belonging to a failed suicide attempt of a family friend.

Upon hearing this, Angel said no,the police didn’t listen to her, they were supposed to be looking for 3 missing children.

Angel said she has had visions her entire life and after confiding with two friends who were having similar visions that three children could be in trouble, she contacted the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Monday.

She strongly denied telling officers that they needed to search for bodies or that anyone was dead.

“They did not act on what I told them,” she said. “My biggest concern is definitely the children,” she added. “I think they are hungry and thirsty. They are still alive.”

The police obviously bought into the foolishness. It is certainly reasonable to follow up on a tip, however it comes in. Someone may claim to be a psychic to cover up actual knowledge of a crime, but it seems to me that they could have evaluated the blood and garbage without bringing in such a large team. They must have expected to find some major crime to justify such a large presence.

It isn’t as if there is a great history of psychics  solving crimes

“These guys don’t solve cases, and the media consistently gets it wrong,” says Michael Corn, an investigative producer for Inside Edition who produced a story last May debunking psychic detectives. Moreover, the FBI and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children maintain that to their knowledge, psychic detectives have never helped solve a single missing-person case.

Even renowned psychic Sylvia Browne has a success rate of exactly 0. In a 2010 study, sceptics evaluate her claim to having an 85% accuracy rate. They look at

Browne’s comments to the press and on television about missing persons and criminal cases. No case was excluded. We have listed each case Browne made predictions about as well as provided a reference or broadcast date. When we began to research this, we expected Browne to have been correct at least a few times, but as the list demonstrates, she was not. The references show that the only cases in which Browne was not proven wrong are those that remain unsolved.

In several cases, she told grieving families that their children or spouses were still alive, albeit involved in drugs 0r sold into sexual slavery. Eventually it was shown that most had died within hours of disappearing, and none had met the fate Browne ‘saw‘.

People go see psychics all the time. They are in every village, town, and city. Mostly people go for advice on their love lives, or to look for future career or financial advice. Many go to contact loved ones who have died, and are sorely missed. Most of this is relatively harmless entertainment, however, there can be some real damage done.

Most psychics fall into two categories, those who truly believe they have ‘the sight‘, and those who are scam artists. The techniques they use, consciously or unconsciously include ‘cold reading‘, or using vague guesses and body language to convince the client the psychic knows things (as in the TV show ‘The Mentallist’); and ‘hot reading‘, where the psychic researches the mark first, either by themselves or with the aid of accomplices or microphones. The frauds often prey on the recently bereaved as a means of separating the vulnerable  from their money.

We can’t know the motivations behind Angel and the Hardin (non)massacre. Did she truly believe she was going to help or was she merely looking for attention, perhaps to expand her client base. Chances are, this case will fade from the public eye before we find that out, and Angel will continue making her predictions.

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3 Responses to The Cost of Psychics

  1. Great Blog post. I am going to bookmark and read more often. I love the Blog template if you need any assistance customizing it let me know!

  2. Pingback: 3M: médiuns, média e (pés-de-)meia | Blog de Astronomia do astroPT

  3. What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable familiarity regarding unpredicted feelings.

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