Stop “Psychic” Sylvia Browne
April 15, 2010
Has psychic Sylvia Browne aided the police to find a missing person?
In the case of the missing girl Opal Jennings, the answer was NO .
In the case of the missing boy Sean Hornbeck, the answer was NO .
In the case of the missing man Richard Kneebone, the answer was NO .
In the case of the missing woman Holly Krewson, the answer was NO .
Last week the Saskatoon Freethinkers (in Saskatchewan, Canada) organized a protest outside a presentation by "psychic" Sylvia Browne. As reported by group leader Kendra Getty, no serious confrontations erupted, but they did receive considerable attention and negative comments. The Freethinkers circulated a handout that stated the facts above, and then the following:
In fact there are NO cases where Sylvia's psychic insight has proven to be useful or correct. Valuable police resources have been wasted and precious time has been lost. When Sylvia assured a family that their daughter was alive when she was actually dead, and told another family their son was dead when he was still alive, this only magnified the grief of a family in a terrible situation. In light of these failures – when psychic insight would have mattered the most – we must conclude that Sylvia is a cold reader and not a psychic.
They suggested Ms. Browne - and other psychic candidates - be asked to answer specific questions, like "What are the names of the next three people to die in Saskatoon?" or "What are the winning numbers of the next Lotto 6/49 draw?"
The Saskatoon Freethinkers also released a press statement, available here , which includes the following:
Sylvia claims her psychic abilities are real and this has caused significant emotional harm to the families of missing persons. In addition to wasting police resources by giving false leads, she has told missing person’s loved ones that they were alive when they were really dead, and dead when they were really alive. The website “ StopSylvia.com ” documents many instances where Sylvia Browne’s claims have been proven false.
Check out an article entitled "Psychic Defective: Sylvia Browne's History of Failure" by Shaffer and Jaswiszczok in Vol 34, Issue 2 (2010) of the Skeptical Inquirere for more details.
#1 Kritikos on Thursday April 15, 2010 at 2:16pm
While you’re bashing pretended “psychic” crime-busters, don’t neglect forensic psychologists who pretend to do the same thing, with much the same fog of fallacious reasoning and about the same rate of success, at least according to an article by Malcolm Gladwell that appeared in The New Yorker a couple of years ago: “Dangerous Minds.”
#2 Koinosuke (Guest) on Thursday April 15, 2010 at 9:51pm
Thanks for the shout out Justin.
#3 zenn (Guest) on Friday April 23, 2010 at 7:34pm