Yes, things are looking grim for Sylvia Browne. She might have to settle for however many millions she’s already made by telling credulous people that she’s a psychic, and not collect any more suitcases full of money.
“The [Ariel Castro abduction] is a test case for all psychics,” said Joe Nickell, editor of Skeptical Inquirer, a magazine that encourages science-based analysis of paranormal and fringe-science claims. “Why didn’t one psychic wake up in the middle of the night and know where they were?”
Ummmm…interference on the astral plane?
Browne responded with an official statement to The Huffington Post earlier this week that included this line: “Only God is right all the time.”
For more than 50 years as a spiritual psychic and guide, when called upon to either help authorities with missing person cases or to help families with questions about their loved ones, I have been more right than wrong. If ever there was a time to be grateful and relieved for being mistaken, this is that time. Only God is right all the time. My heart goes out to Amanda Berry, her family, the other victims and their families. I wish you a peaceful recovery.
Browne has estimated an 87-to-90 percent success rate with cold cases, but Skeptical Inquirer did a 2010 analysis of 115 predictions she made on “The Montel Williams Show” and put her success rate at zero.
Oh? Is that how she markets herself? More right than wrong? In everything I’ve read of hers she just asserts things, confidently, as if she knows them. She doesn’t say she’s probably right.
Nickell has also headed projects researching the success rate of psychics working on police investigations, and found no substantial evidence of their effectiveness. However, he concedes that some investigators will accept psychic assistance as a very last resort.
“One detective, a homicide commander, told me, ‘you can be skeptical, but when you have a distraught family and a psychic has convinced them they have clues, it’s hard to refuse,'” Nickell told HuffPost.
Problem is, according to Nickell, many of the so-called “clues” offered by the psychics are too vague to be of use. Once the police find out the answers through legitimate police work, the vague clues might seem to fit after the fact, a process he calls “retrofitting.”
Same with god. After the hurricane, the people who aren’t squashed by falling trees or drowned retrofit the whole thing into god saving them.
Browne is also drawing criticism from other psychics like Craig Weiler, who said Browne’s callous prediction to Berry’s now-deceased mom crossed a line, possibly doing “harm to the family.” He advises mediums to use disclaimers.
“They need to say, ‘this is my impression’ or ‘this is my truth,'” Weiler told HuffPost. “Something like ‘this is what I feel’ is OK …”
Weiler runs a blog that attempts to explain scientific studies of parapsychology in layman’s terms, but said off-the-cuff predictions make things harder for people like him who are trying to demonstrate psychic ability is real.
“Failed predictions that are so high-profile are a pain in the ass,” Weiler said. “There’s a public perception that psychics are fake. They’re not, but it hurts.”
Ah yes the real psychics. Nice job, Huffington Post.