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SKEPTOID BLOG:

Skeptic vs Psychic

by Guy McCardle

May 20, 2012

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Donate Usually I am not one to feed the Trolls, but it seems, dear reader, that I have managed to ruffle a few feathers in the psychic community. Let me start my story at the beginning. Last July I wrote a piece for Skeptoid entitled "Did Psychics Help to Find Caylee Anthony's Body?" Long story short, my focus was on a psychic named Ginette Matacia Lucas. I concluded that psychic powers (all psychic powers and not just hers) are non-existent and that "she took advantage of a very distressed family to make a buck and further her psychic business." She has since informed me that she took no funds from the Casey family. I'm glad to hear that and I'll take her at her word. I withdraw the portion of my statement that has to do with making a buck. I'm sure that being on CNN during the Anthony trial wasn't bad for business, however.

It turns out that I am not the only one to raise questions about her psychic abilities and dealings with grieving families. You can read more about that yourself here. I am also not the only skeptic to address her involvement with Anthony case. You can read that piece from Tampa Bay Skeptics Online here.

Out of the blue, a few days ago, Ms. Lucas threatened me with legal action in the comments section of my Skeptoid article. What follows is a portion of her comments on my piece.
Good news — I have interviewed a Lawyer and guess what I have legal action against those who have "intent" to slander me — even if it is an opinion — watch what you say and do ...

I am a resident of Virginia, I have found over 20 missing persons — what have you done for your community? I am a mommy, housewife, volunteer and professional dowser and psychic ....

I never took advantage of anyone and your intent is to slaughter my good name — wake up and smell the coffe — I am onto my next big missing person case, (as a volunteer) and when I find him or her — I will be sure to read more of your garbage and lack of correct analysis thru the media or your limited reading.
A fellow Skeptoid blog reader came to my defense suggesting that we should "play a game of name that logical fallacy" with Ginette's post. This is her reply to that idea.
Wow — comments comments comments — what are you all doing for your neighborhood? Do you donate to your church or do you take advantage of your employer — goss — omg — you got paid at work ... well well well — I didn't and I didn't expect a pay check on the Anthony Case — if you are a blogger — you have a limited life — and you are wasting people's time. I am the only "so called fallacy" that was correct and written about in the Smithsonian Mag. to pinpoint two missing objects from my home in VA to the location in NY — let's see if you can do that...

Additionally, the skeptic assoc. with money has done nothing but complain, complain, complain — that's funny your top dog who runs the skeptic group came to my home town in DC, and actually trained people to dowse — why DC, why not Florida — I guess he doesn't want to look as tho he's a believer in the Dowsing ...

he got paid for lecture and the training class in dowsing — omg — I guess he took advantage of these good, tragedy upset skeptic people/ his students — how dare he

- and a blog about ginette — back off — let's talk about your kids, family, home address, and tell people — like some idiot did on the internet — let's charge ginette's house with "shit" or "poop" and chant at her house — first it's illegal and second I have younger children — you are not a judge and jury.

When people need help they call me or my father (who happens to be a good guy) — I guess you aren't working and no one calls you. Oh, I forgot you just write your petty notes of hot air and attack attack attack.

Here's my legal note to you ... cease and decist about talking about me, my work, and stop making up lies and misinformation. And you talk warnings — the world is make up of let's of people skeptics, volunteers, service oriented people, jerks, and lawyers ... and there are plenty in every field.
It just so happens that someone whom I greatly admire, one Mr. James Randi, read the article that Ms. Lucas mentioned above (Urban New Agers have taken over the art of dowsing, Smithsonian Magazine, January, 1996) and apparently he liked it so much he decided to write about it last March on his website. As you might infer from title, the article was mostly about dowsing. Randi, responding to a line which read "The relationship between dowsing and established science has always been distant, mutually suspicious." wrote "Nonsense. There is no relationship. Science is logic, rationality, careful investigation, and experimentation — and that works: dowsing is wishful thinking, superstition and mythology that doesn't work." Classic. Psychic abilities, as well as dowsing, so far have not been proven by science to exist and as such must be classified as make believe and wishful thinking.

That said, I personally don't feel that most psychics are frauds. "Fraud", as defined by the fine folks at dictionary.com, is "deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage". Giving people the benefit of the doubt, I feel that most psychics likely believe in their "powers". They no doubt have "visions" and unexplained feelings about what is going to happen in the future.

Yours truly once was driving home from work in light traffic when someone passed me on a motorcycle. No big deal, happens several times a day. However, one time I got a feeling out of nowhere that this unfortunate guy was going to crash. He wasn't speeding and I had no earthly reason to feel something bad was going to happen to him. A few seconds after I had this odd thought, I watched the rider lay the bike down and begin skidding along the road. He just went down out of nowhere for no apparent reason. Very, very strange coincidence. That's all it was though, a coincidence. I don't claim to have psychic abilities. If I did have psychic abilities, I'd be spending most of my free time at the casinos. You know what? No casino have ever banned psychics from their gaming rooms. There is no need.

What is my point in bringing up this old issue? My point is that we, as skeptics and rational minded people, cannot be made to back off of our beliefs for any reason, least of which being threats of legal action. We should work with the likes of Ms. Lucas and give them a fair chance to scientifically prove their abilities. That is why I'd like to take the opportunity to invite her to attempt the James Randi One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge. I'm feeling bold enough now to predict that there is no way she will accept the challenge. I'm certain numerous excuses are forthcoming. That's too bad, but it is also OK. Failure to try is probably preferable to failing the challenge.

P.S.: Skeptical bloggers (or anyone else) please feel free to publish this piece if you'd like. I'm trying to get the word out as far and wide as possible on this topic and that's why I'm initially posting this at Skeptoid.com and on my site, The Inconvenient Truth. Maybe if enough of us come together she'll accept the challenge.

Sources:

Two psychics credited with foreseeing location of Caylee Anthony's remains, Tampa Bay Skeptics Report Online.

Psychic's Credibility Questioned Amid Claims she Talked with PI, WFTV.com

The Dowsing Delusion is still with Us, James Randi Educational Foundation

Breakout Productions and Management, Ginnette Matacia Lucas "Paranormal Advisor"

Urban New Agers have taken over the art of dowsing, Smithsonian Magazine, January, 1996

How did the psychic Ginette Lucas know where Calyee's remains were?, The SOP: News, Interviews and More

The Skeptic's Dictionary, psychic

by Guy McCardle

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