I have to admit I didn’t necessarily think much about the psychic medium, Sylvia Browne, until I read a few of her books. Seriously, you should read one. I really do think that her unusually gruff voice and appearance causes people to form unfortunate opinions of her when they may know nothing about her. For many people, her appearances on the Montel Williams Show (cancelled in 2008) may be all they know about her and her work.
Most likely you’ve run across some statements or articles being passed around social media this week following the shocking, sad, yet celebratory news of three missing women in Ohio escaping the hell where they were held captive for a decade or more. In 2004 Browne told the mother of one of the missing women that her daughter, Amanda Berry, was dead. The other big miss that people remember and refer to was in the case of Shawn Hornbeck. For me, this story was close to home and I remember it well. I had just moved to the St. Louis area to begin my teaching career when the young man went missing. In 2004 Sylvia told his parents that he was dead and a few years later he was found alive. (Click here for Shawn’s recent interview by the St. Louis Post Dispatch in light of this week’s events.) These were two very unfortunate blunders that no doubt caused pain and suffering.
This week I’ve seen some people from what I’ll call the “paranormal” and “spiritual community”, some psychic/medium personalities, turn on Sylvia Browne so very easily and quickly. Some of these community members constantly plaster statements all over social media about how everyone can learn to use their natural psychic abilities, trust your intuition, use your third eye, kum ba yah, etc. Most psychics and mediums (including Sylvia) will tell you that not all readings or predictions will be accurate. They are human just like anyone else. Apparently for some people, practicing what they preach doesn’t count in some situations. I don’t have any personal experience to back up whether or not Sylvia truly has the abilities she claims to possess, but scientists have gone back and forth for over a century trying to prove or disprove these phenomena. With so many psychics and mediums popping up on the scene, most of whom are relatively unknown, how is anyone to know who truly is “the real deal”? Is someone keeping track of and publicizing all of the misses of every local psychic/medium? Perhaps shaming another while they’re down will make them look more real and put some distance between them and the skeptics?
This has definitely caused a setback for those of us interested in learning and researching all things paranormal or spiritual. All of this just shows how very careful a psychic/medium should be with their gift. Maybe these very heavy and emotional statements should never happen in such a public forum, and maybe they shouldn’t even be stated if they can’t be more certain of their accuracy.
But… a few highly publicized misses does not make someone a horrible fraud.
I hope I never have to eat my words from this post, but I’m not jumping on the tar and feather wagon just yet. Maybe I’m a fool. For now, my thoughts and prayers go out to those women and their families, and to the many missing people in this world who are holding on and just waiting to be found.