Amanda Berry and the psychic charlatans

The rescue of Amanda Berry and two other girls missing presumed murdered surprised the people of the world. And of the other world, according to some reports.

Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus.

Acts of criminal depravity aside, there are none quite so despicable as those who prey on the hopes, fears and at times the misery of others. Men – and for once more often women – of this nature, can be found in abundance in psychic circles. If you’ve ever been to a seance or similar meeting by one of these so-called mediums – or should that be media? – you will understand, that is if you keep your wits about you and are not taken in by their flim-flam.

Whenever and wherever there is a high profile murder or more often a missing person case, these evil, predatory women come out in force. Some have the temerity to claim they have assisted the police; on occasion even seasoned police officers have been duped. These are men and women who are trained to be suspicious, let’s not forget.

For many years until her death in 1987, Doris Stokes was Britain’s leading medium. In her autobiography Voices In My Ear, she claimed to have been instrumental in solving the murder of a teenage girl and the murder of three babies in a Blackpool hospital. Both claims were of course totally bogus.

A psychic also turned up during the investigation into serial killer John Gacy; in the 1992 dramatisation of this case, To Catch A Killer, she is portrayed by Margot Kidder as being right on the money, but in the 1983 book Killer Clown, prosecuting attorney Terry Sullivan paints an entirely different picture.

It should then come as no surprise that psychic charlatans have been sniffing around the Berry family, none more so than Sylvia Browne, who appeared on The Montel Williams Show the year after the abduction, and where she claimed Miss Berry was “not alive”, which in common English means dead.

Now this was not much of a prediction, sadly any police officer would have said the chances of finding Amanda Berry or any missing 16 year old alive after such a time was slim, so she made the percentage guess, and she was wrong. Not only did she guess wrong on TV, but she was addressing not Montel but Amanda’s mother, who is now deceased. Check out Sylvia Browne for yourself; that particular appearance on The Montel Williams Show is now all over YouTube.

Sylvia Browne has now made a statement about her failed prediction on her website. If you visit it, be sure not to sign up for the $19.95 newsletter. The statement reads in part:

“For nearly six decades, Sylvia Browne has dedicated her life to helping others as a spiritual psychic and guide”. [Taking people’s money].

“She has been called upon to assist individuals, families, and law enforcement agencies across the U.S. and Canada on hundreds of high profile criminal investigations”. [Not by the police, she hasn’t].

“She has received numerous commendations for the positive impact her contributions have provided” [Like her predictions of:
the conviction of Michael Jackson
and the death of Shawn Hornbeck to mention but two].

“For more than 50 years as a spiritual psychic and guide...I have been more right than wrong.”

[She tossed a coin 11 times and successfully predicted heads or tails 6 of them].

The most amazing thing about Sylvia Browne is not that she is a proven charlatan but that she is a convicted fraudster. Okay, everyone is entitled to earn a living, but you wouldn’t put a fox in charge of your hen house, so why does the American media give this con woman the credence clearly she does not deserve? Odious as Sylvia Browne may be, she will have to go some to beat Noreen Renier, self-professed psychic detective. Check out her website, then check out this one, and ask yourself if she is such an adept psychic, why didn’t she foresee herself filing for bankruptcy twice?

The prosaic truth is that these evil women are liars, frauds and parasites battening on the elderly, the infirm, the lonely, the weak, and worst of all on at times desperate people, including mothers of potential murder victims who seek the reassurance or certainty the police or even the FBI with all its enormous resources cannot give them.

[The above op-ed was first published May 13, 2013. When Sylvia Browne died in November the same year, her son Chris Dufresne took over her website and continued scamming the gullibles. The eleven year old Shawn Hornbeck was kidnapped on October 6, 2002 and found alive on January 12, 2007. In 1992, Browne and her second husband were indicted for investment fraud; she pleaded no-contest and received a slap on the wrist.]

Back To Digital Journal Index