Sylvia Browne, Rosemary Altea, etc.

Taininfernus

C7 LEADER
Minecraft Builders
Steam Users
Dec 31, 1969
55
0
18
30
Fairfax, Va
theburgeoningskeptic.blogspot.com
Points
0
#1
Psychics: that's the subject of my rant for today. I have an itching to bitch about "psychics". Now, let me get my views on this thing out first. I don't believe that ANY of the people who have been publicized as psychics have any psychic powers. I'm not saying that psychic powers will/have never exist(ed), it would be foolish to denounce anything out of hand. However, I consider it extremely unlikely that there are any phenomenon that are the result of psychic powers.
Now, having said that, I'd like to introduce you to a few people who you will hate with a passion, if you don't go in for this kind of stuff.
Sylvia Browne is a psychic of some repute. She has been around for about thirty years, only really coming into the spotlight when she landed a weekly spot on the Montel Williams show, Psychic Wednesdays. She goes on and people ask her questions and she answers. Now, you may have heard something about this in the news around oh, say, January of this year. There was a big hubbub when Shawn Hornbeck was found alive. This was, primarily, a great thing because he had been missing for a long time and everybody thought him dead. Now, secondly, the reason they thought he was dead (minus the fact that, after two years missing, you are declared legally dead) was because Shawn Hornbeck's parents went on the Montel Williams show soon after his kidnapping. They were told that he is "no longer with us" and that his body would be found in the forest near their house, near some jagged rock formation. The police scoured the area and no body was found. Sylvia is usually never been called to task for her monumental errors. However, she has claimed an 87% success rate (how she got that number, aside from digging around in her ass, no one will ever know). She says that she can't be right all the time. In a recent interview, she was asked how she could have been so wrong, she just said that she must've gotten mixed up, crossed some wires and got one of the "other missing children" from the area, whose existence is nearly impossible to verify, given the ambiguity of the question and answer.
Now, you'd think I was just throwing rocks at a beehive because of a mix-up. No. She has been wrong CONTINUOUSLY. There was another BIG fuck-up, where a young girl named Opal Jo Jennings was kidnapped. Her grandmother promptly went on the Montel Williams show and begged Sylvia to tell her what had happened to her grand-daughter. Sylvia, with trepidation, stating that this was new to her, said that she had been sold into white slavery in Japan. Later, Opal's body was discovered some few miles from her home. She had been kidnapped and killed that very day.
Again, she claims her 87% success rate and that she has assisted in numerous recoveries of missing persons, in collaboration with the authorities. I would really love to be presented with ONE CASE, there has yet to be one on record, where her psychic powers have aided directly in the reclamation of a missing person.
I have not heard of one time where her predictions have been any more accurate than what one would expect from educated guesses. Every year, she would make predictions for the new year, even an auspicious list of predictions for the new millennium. However, in 2000, all of these lists were stricken from her web site. However, with the aid of the Wayback Machine, we can look at old archived pages of her guesses and see how wrong she was. In her 1996 predictions, she guessed about 12%. A lower score than could have been expected from just random guessing.
The problem I have with this kind of person is
1) They waste precious resources and man hours during the vital first days of a person's kidnapping. A psychic hears of a kidnapping and instantly offers their services. Thankfully, police rarely follow these leads. There have been incidences, as well, where she gives people renewed hope for lost children and it sends them on another long, expensive search to look for their children, finding nothing.
2) They are giving false hope to these families for a fucking buck. For families whose children have died, they spin up lies and give them hope, only to have that final realization be all the more devastating. For families whose children are alive, they kill their hopes of ever finding them and sometimes even make them give up the search. FUCK YOU, YOU CUNT... sorry, just had a sudden flash of irrepressible anger.

Now, this bitch is a REALLY shitty psychic. The only reason she's famous is cause she could bullshit up her own gnostic religion: the Church of the Novus Spiritus, which is bullshit for New Spirit. It has a few members, blah blah blah. It's a crazy gnostic cult that siphons money off in a way that Scientology could have a decent stroke to. Her shitty psychic predictions are as random as the spray of a shotgun. There is only direction, no accuracy. It's a wonder people still listen to her. It's slander, and legally reprehensible, to call someone a fraud or a quack. Let's just say the ducks have it right.


Moving on to other psychics.
These guys are all the same: Rosemary Altea, John Edward, James Van Praugh, etc, etc, etc.
Some of these more famous ones don't deal in missing persons or bullshit predictions. Many of them ply their "trade" by claiming that they can speak to the dead. Now, Penn Jillette on Bullshit! really sums up my anger pretty well:

"We have nothing but empathy for the people who are experiencing the loss and grief at the death of a loved one. That guy whose lost his mom... rips my heart out. I'm a momma's boy, whose mom died a couple years ago, and I'll never get over it and my dad died at around the same time and I was very close to both of them. I love them so much there's not a minute that goes by that I don't miss them. Houdini didn't really go nuts busting these mediums until he lost his mom. Once you felt that pure grief, seeing it exploited can take away your sense of humor. Once a loved one has died, all we have is our memories of them. There's nothing more precious to me than my memories of my mom and dad. We don't give a rat's ass about the money these bastards have taken from the grief-stricken. What we do care about, deeply, is the desecration of memories. These performance artists are, in a very real sense, mother-fuckers. That poor guy's grieving memories of his mother are now all fucked up by somebody else's images. All he will ever have left of his mom are memories and this pig has pissed on those for a buck and a little unearned fame. I'm sure these lame fucks tell themselves that they're easing the grief but skits for money can not replace loving memories. How low do you have to be to exploit someone's true grief to sell some bullshit book?"

This did ring true for me when I first heard it but never so much as after I lost someone close to me. I lost a friend in February who was like a second mom to me. My grief never surfaced fully and I went around numb, barely feeling it, for a while. Just the thought of someone else trying to invoke her name and her memory in some bullshit scam brings tears to my eyes and rips me apart, to say the least.
These psychics don't bring closure. They just make shit up and actually prevent closure. If there is no isolation, no feeling of the lack of their presence, then there can be no true healing. If I thought that I could go to a medium and talk to my friend again, I would be there every day telling her how much I love her. There's no real feeling of loss if you believe there is no true death.
There is true death. After they have passed beyond the veil, there is no coming back. "You don't heal a broken heart by pretending it's not broken."

Besides, these people are engaging in the number one sales technique that has allowed gypsies, carnies, and every good salesman ever to take people for their dollar. That's cold reading. They look at a person and make an educated guess on their appearance or reactions, maybe even throw something out there, and then wait for them to take the bait. They'll throw out a name or an initial and hope someone will volunteer the information. They'll have a knowing look on their face and ask "Who's Mary? I'm getting an M, Mary, Margaret?" "Oh, my sister's name was Margaret." Looking at the woman, they see she's pretty young so they ask "I'm getting that her death was untimely." This method works especially well in large audiences, cause of the larger odds of a larger group.
Basically they make a lot of guesses and hope that someone will volunteer.
This basically picks up on a basic human trait called the Barnum Effect: people want to be fooled.
Sometimes there are hot/warm readings, where they have done research on the person in advance or have a hidden mic before the show to pick up information. Sometimes, they'll even talk to people before the show and get info that they use later.

Mostly, there are a lot more misses than hits when they're guessing. But if they were really talking to the dead, why would they ever be close to wrong? Is there psychic interference? Can they not speak and can only communicate through mime?
On the shows, before the editing, there are huge misses and huge gaps that they edit down to look like direct hits on the first guess, when they took usually about three or four stumbling guesses to grab at something.
Now, if you haven't heard of this before, I wouldn't be surprised because there's a very complex non-disclosure agreement that people who go to the taping have to sign. Basically it bars them from talking to any media people about the events of the taping.

Mark Edward is an unusual case. He was a fake psychic and con artist who reformed himself and began to combat this bullshit. He saw how easy it was to manipulate how people viewed the world and thought. He has worked with people on figuring out the tactics that psychics use. He finds cold-reading, information-gathering, etc. in all of them.

These people are so full of shit and they take advantage of people's gullibility and grief by capitalizing on their fears and pain.
One-on-one readings, when unexpected, are shoddy and lack any accuracy at all. Many guesses, one or two hits, and they go away looking like fools.


Anyway, psychics are bullshit. Your thoughts?
 

BioHazard

Steam Users
Dec 31, 1969
436
0
16
Ishpeming, MI, USA
Points
0
#5
Yes, I agree. The whole "psychic way" is a matter of random guesses. Nothing more than that. Some I cannot believe people believe in either the guess or the psychic. Such obvious guesses that I find almost unbearable to watch. "Oh yes she did die!" "She was young am I correct?" "Yes! Wow!" Yeah, probably half, no all the people have lost someone close to them in that audience. Being a woman or young is besides the point. The truth is that probably most of the people there are gullible enough to believe anything they hear. Or they have simply lost hope in everything else, so they turned to a "psychic".

All in all, like you said, it's just another cheap way to get money. And it's already wide spread around the world. Even some adding to certain religions. I find it pathetic, but I guess that's the world we all live in, huh? And to end my piece of thought I leave you with this..

Religion, psychics, and fictional stories/beliefs are what seem to rule our thoughts now. Maybe even the way we live.
 
Dec 31, 1969
650
20
98
Cumbria, UK.
Points
0
Steam
76561197970599045
#6
Its all bull.
 
Thread Starter
Thread Starter
Taininfernus

Taininfernus

C7 LEADER
Minecraft Builders
Steam Users
Dec 31, 1969
55
0
18
30
Fairfax, Va
theburgeoningskeptic.blogspot.com
Points
0
#7
Woot, better reception than I thought. If you feel differently, please say so. I forgot to mention that we should keep this a civil conversation. If you believe these people, it doesn't make you a bad person. If you support these people because they're frauds, then you're a bad person. I believe these people are frauds and crooks. They should go to prison for this. "We're all vulnerable but, no, we're not all suckers."
Typically the scam psychic's career is marred by a few scrapes with the law, usually concerning fraud. This would make them usually untrustworthy but they seem to be adept at telling people what they want to hear and gaining a certain reputability from it.
Barney, go ahead and read the whole thing. It's only a page or so :wink:
Bio, it really is all a matter of guess-work. Usually it's pretty shitty guess-work. People are coming around, though, in droves. The live shows look like carnie trash tricks. The taped, edited shows look like amazing David Blaine-esque... scratch that, he doesn't do tricks anymore, Criss Angel-like feats.
On a side notes, I don't like people like the Amazing Kreskin and David Blaine because they do these tricks and you ask "Is it real?" and they either say yes or give some mysteriously ambiguous answer that errs to the affirmative. People like the Amazing Randi and Criss Angel are lovely, lovely people. THEY TELL YOU THEY'RE LYING. They admit that everything they do is a trick, clearly explainable using the current laws of physics and they say that anybody else who claims to do their tricks through supernatural means are full of it.
In fact, the Amazing Randi (randi.org) is a celebrated "skeptic" who, for the last few decades, has offered the Randi Challenge in which people who claim supernatural abilities can win a million dollars cash, tax included, if they can demonstrate their abilities in a controlled, scientifically-observable setting. Here's the kicker, the contestant decides the trial and the circumstance in which victory is considered, along with the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). The judge is an impartial third party who is agreed upon to mediate the trials.
Great stuff, except nobody has made it past the application stage. They can't follow the guidelines of application, like the length of claims (less than 2 pages or something like that). Nobody has won the million dollars. Sylvia Browne and Randi were on the Late Show together and she agreed to do the Randi Challenge on national television. She never got around to contacting Randi, first saying that she didn't know how to get in touch with him... SHE'S A PSYCHIC! DER! Then she said that she refused to deal with Randi because she said he wasn't a religious person. He's an atheist and that's shallow bullshit to puss out on proof for something like that. If anything, you should do this in order to prove it and convert him. She's also mentioned that she has put private investigators on Randi (cause psychics can't gather their own remote reconnaissance, apparently) and she has enough to bury him. Just try it, bitch.

I also forgot to mention a great site to visit. Stopsylviabrowne.com It's made by the same guy who made StopKaz.com to put an end to Kaz "DeMille" Jacobson's reign of fraud and exploitation. Surprisingly, it worked and this hack hasn't been heard from since. His site is also dealing heavy, reasoned blows to Sylvia's bullshit with the help of ex-church members and people who have interacted with her. The Articles section is the bulk of the site.
Check it out.

I could go on, but, BLEH!
 

HumeDog

Steam Users
Dec 31, 1969
110
0
16
Nebraska
Points
0
#10
Hey, if people want false hope then by all means talk to a psychic. But in actuality a psychic is just as useful to finding people then throwing a rock and searching where it lands. Thats basically what psychics do. Religion is very popular today (go figure) so naturally there's people who will believe some people have a "power" and can help find lost people. In my opinion if the family wants to believe that a psychic can help them then go for it but don't expect them to actually find them. Instead of wasting your time sitting, talking to a psychic, who will probably give some random, irrelevant guess of where they are, you should just get off your lazy butt and go look around the places they were last seen.
 

BioHazard

Steam Users
Dec 31, 1969
436
0
16
Ishpeming, MI, USA
Points
0
#13
Well as Tain was saying about people like Criss Angel and what-not, I don't mind the entertainment side. For like you said they say its a trick. They aren't trying to fool anyone, just amaze us with their incredible feats and illusions. I's the people that are trying to fool people into false hope and powers that piss me off. A scam for money "We can read your mind! of course with a price.. $50.."

Yeah, I'm thinking if we REALLY TRULY had physics then we would use them for better reasons. Instead of "Finding your true love!" or, "Will you get rich? Ask me!" Or some other stupid bullcrap. Yeah, yeah I guess it does give people hope. False hope, but I guess it's hope nonetheless. I guess it's up to the person to have either nothing or a bunch of lies. I guess people these days want to only hear what they want. And lying is good enough for them..
 

daxs4

C7 GRUNTS
Steam Users
Dec 31, 1969
7
0
1
dansville, NY
Points
0
#14
:D there nothing but a bunch of fakes :twisted:
 

Zid_Jing

New Member
Dec 31, 1969
10
0
1
Arlington, Texas
Points
0
#15
I'm a devout Catholic, so...

And also, hope never comes with a price tag, nor does it lack in quality by lies. Hope is something an individual creates for him or herself.

Pity, the whole world should fall so far from actuality (especially America) that even ancient, dominating religions (i.e. Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, etc) ring as much logic as science itself.

We, as humans, are so fragile to our emotions... Where is the old but strong thought of ethics from the "classical" days?

It's only a little while longer before we cry "Havoc."
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 1, Guests: 0)