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SKEPTOID BLOG:

The harm in psychics

by Mike Weaver

May 7, 2013

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When we go to bat against people who prey on fear, uncertainty, grief, and ignorance, such as many psychics, we often hear "What's the harm? If it makes people feel better, let them find their comfort" or something to that effect. Sylvia Brown yet again shows us the harm.

It will come as no surprise to any frequent readers/listeners of Skeptoid that Sylvia Brown does not have psychic powers, or if she does, they don't work very well. She has been wrong on so many occasions that it is difficult to keep track of them. Back in 2003,three young women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, were abducted in separate incidents and were, apparently, kept captive for over ten years. They were just recently found and rescued and the investigation is proceeding.[1][2]

In 2004, Ms Berry's mother, Louwana Miller, understandably distraught over her daughter's disappearance, sought the guidance of Sylvia Brown on the Montel Williams show.[3][4] Sylvia Brown told Ms Miller:

"She's not alive, honey," Sylvia Browne told Louwana Miller on The Montel Williams Show in 2004. "Your daughter's not the kind who wouldn't call."[3]

Sylvia Brown told Ms Miller that her beloved daughter was dead, straight up, without even the customary "weasel words" we usually expect out of psychics and fortune tellers. Ms Berry was 16 when she was abducted. It is hard for me to imagine the thought process that went through Sylvia Brown's mind when she crushed the hopes of Ms Miller.

Ms Berry was not only not dead, but was actually quite close to where she was originally abducted. It is a horrifying event and very tragic that it happened at all, much less that she was imprisoned for so long. The event that makes this even crueler than Sylvia Brown's handling of Ms Miller's hopes and grief is that Ms Miller died in 2006 without ever knowing the fate of her daughter.

This is the harm.

Be well.


[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/police-three-rescued-cleveland-women-6-year-old-are-in-good-health/2013/05/07/dd65ea5e-b719-11e2-aa9e-a02b765ff0ea_story.html

[2] http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/USA-Update/2013/0507/Amanda-Berry-two-others-found-in-Cleveland-the-tale-of-how-they-escaped

[3]http://www.torontosun.com/2013/05/07/amanda-berrys-mom-told-she-was-dead-by-psychic

[4]http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/07/sylvia-browne-amanda-berry-cleveland

 

by Mike Weaver

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