Sylvia Browne: In her own words…

My last post on the recent and ongoing backlash and criticism of the psychic medium, Sylvia Browne, brought on more discussion and comments than we’ve seen here at the Big Séance in a while. It’s still a hot topic among bloggers and in online paranormal and spiritual circles.  

Since that post I’ve discovered that Sylvia responded in a statement. 

“For more than 50 years as a spiritual psychic and guide, when called upon to either help authorities with missing person cases or to help families with questions about their loved ones, I have been more right than wrong. If ever there was a time to be grateful and relieved for being mistaken, this is that time. Only God is right all the time. My heart goes out to Amanda Berry, her family, the other victims and their families. I wish you a peaceful recovery.” – From the Huffington Post

Regarding the other similar highly publicized case involving Shawn Hornbeck in 2007, Browne’s publicist told CNN “She cannot possibly be 100 percent correct in each and every one of her predictions. She has, during a career of over 50 years, helped literally tens of thousands of people.”

Psychic Medium Sylvia Browne


Since it is highly unlikely that Sylvia Browne would pop in to defend herself on my blog, and since I own many of her books, I decided I would highlight just a few of her statements that seem to fit this situation. 


“I have never used a ‘ringer’ in my life, or participated in a hoax. I would never forfeit my credibility, my career, and my life’s work for the sake of a cheap trick.”
From Life on the Other Side: A Psychic’s Tour of the Afterlife


“Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some mistakes along the way — and I mean some real whoppers — that if you don’t know the whole story could make it look as if my integrity was a little blurry from time to time. Again, ask me and I’ll tell you exactly how stupid I’ve been, how naive and inappropriately trusting of the wrong people I can be, and just how incredibly unpsychic I am about myself. But accuse me of ever being deliberately dishonest, or indiscreet, or greedy and ambitious at someone else’s expense, or careless about the issue of integrity, you’ll have a fight on your hands, and that includes the subject of celebrities, both past and present.”
From Visits from the Afterlife: The Truth about Hauntings, Spirits, and Reunions with Lost Loved Ones


“I love being right. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. My career depends on my being right a lot more often than I’m wrong, and I’ve been tested at somewhere between 85- and 90-percent accuracy as a psychic. Averaging, let’s say, twenty clients a day for fifty years, plus another forty years of lectures, print interviews, radio and television appearances, added to several decades of very private pro bono work with the medical and psychiatric communities and various law enforcement agencies, and my own extensive research and writing, I wouldn’t have the strength, the skill, or the courage to try to calculate the number of hours of information I’ve transmitted in my sixty-six years on earth this time around, and I’d be ecstatic to find out that 95 to 90 percent of that information has been accurate and give all the credit to God where it belongs. 

There’s no doubt about it, either, that when I miss something, I miss it, and when I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to point it out. The terrorist attacks of September 11? Not one inkling. The sniper killings that held the Washington, D.C., area hostage in the fall of 2002? I called Lindsay and recorded detailed descriptions of the two suspects several days before any arrests were made. They turned out to be very accurate descriptions of the two alleged suspects who were mistakenly surrounded by the authorities at a gas station and completely exonerated several hours later. I’ve been thrilled to hear it when I turned out to be wrong about the outcome of a missing-persons case or two, and heartbroken on more occasions when I turned out to be right.”
From Visits from the Afterlife: The Truth about Hauntings, Spirits, and Reunions with Lost Loved Ones


“Psychics don’t solve crimes. Law enforcement solves crimes. We simply bring another set of tools to what’s usually a long, exhaustive, difficult process of identifying criminals and putting them behind bars. We’re no different from the criminal profilers, the geographic profilers, the forensic anthropologists, the sculptors and other experts who were viewed with initial skepticism until they proved their worth, as any participant in an investigation should be expected to do.”
Included in her section on “Psychic Forensics” from Phenomenon: Everything You Need to Know About the Paranormal


“However, Mr. Randi and other anti-psychic skeptics have called me a liar and a charlatan numerous times, and there are even entire Websites devoted to trying to stop my work for God. How miserable is it that instead of helping others, some people choose to start atheistic or skeptical societies and ridicule, or even try to destroy, the men and women who are trying to help others?”
Mystical Traveler: How to Advance to a Higher Level of Spirituality


Update for 5/13/13

I have been reading Prophecy: What the Future Holds for You by Sylvia Browne and had actually started it just before the women in Ohio were found. Today I came across a passage that I sure wish I would have found before I put this post together. In this particular section she was discussing the prophesies of Edgar Cayce. It’s the perfect response to this situation. I probably wouldn’t have even needed the passages I included above. Here it is.

“There are prophesies of Edgar Cayce’s that haven’t come true. I wouldn’t presume to speak for him, but my guess would be that his explanation for that would be similar to mine when I find out I was wrong about a reading or a prediction. Any prophet, psychic, clairvoyant, medium or other paranormalist who claims to be accurate 100 percent of the time is a fraud and a liar. Only God is right 100 percent of the time. All the rest of us can do is receive and transmit information we’re given, and stay out of the way as best we can. We can’t take credit for any of the information, but blame for inaccuracy falls justifiably on our shoulders, because it means that somewhere along the line we misspoke, misunderstood, misinterpreted and/or somehow involuntarily interfered, and the messages suffered in the translation.”



About Patrick Keller

Patrick Keller is an educator, blogger, and the host of the Big Séance Podcast, which is a place for paranerds to have an open discussion on all things paranormal, but specifically topics like ghosts and hauntings, paranormal research, spirit communication, psychics and mediums, and life after death. He’s the founder of the now inactive Missouri Spirit Seekers and has spent a lot of time experimenting with spirit communication tools and techniques, such as EVP. Patrick also has a passion for spending hours at a time in cemeteries and loves cemetery photography. Visit! View all posts by Patrick Keller

19 responses to “Sylvia Browne: In her own words…

  • Gary Leigh

    Personally, it’s easy to say you were wrong after the event, however after listening to what she did say at the time, she said it in such a way that there was no room for doubt. It was cruel and should never have been done, even if it might have been true.

    What I find fascinating, though, is the claims that psychics help police, whereas there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to this actually happening. At least none I could find. If there is verified proof out there, I would really love to see it.

    I make no judgements on Ms. Browne and her enterprise, but will say that my feelings, when I think on her, are anger and annoyance.

    • Patrick

      Thank you again for your comment, Gary. In the last several days I’ve thought a lot about the opinions and comments on this situation. I really can understand many of the points and views, although on the last post there were comments that I felt were bullying to Sylvia or myself that I did not approve. I know (and as she has pointed out) that she’s not perfect. I wish she would have chosen wiser or more careful words back in 2004. I still don’t believe this miss makes her a “fraud”. Regarding your comment about helping the police, are you saying you find no evidence of psychics helping police in general? Or Sylvia helping the police general? Or her helping the police in this case specifically?

      • Gary Leigh

        I’m not saying she is a fraud or not… my opinion isn’t going to change what people believe anyway. 🙂 However, people MUST take responsibility for what they do. It’s the sktting around that I find annoying.

        For the police assist, I have looked for it online. That’s not to say it’s not there, but generally, there are skeptics out there who have looked into this and found no evidence either.

        I think that if something like that really did happen, and on a frequent basis, it would be front page new, don’t you agree? It’s clearly not a secret as Ms. Browne speaks of it herself.

        As an Empath, I can pick up things from time to time, however I really ahve to say that when I try and focus on missing people, I get nothing. Well, rather, I get anxiety, but no clear answers.

        What are your views?

  • Randall Keller

    I think people should jump on the Amazing Randi, frankly. Doesn’t he ever get birthday gifts? Did the tooth fairy miss him as a child? What a piece of work THAT guy is. Wait! Sylvia Browne. Sorry. Well, I admire your loyalty. I hope when people start trashing me, you’ll be there. Standing for what you believe to be true is a fantastic trait, so hats off to you, sir! I still stand on what I said before – people ought not put so much faith in the accuracy of any medium. Ya can’t blame the medium when you do. Lets just wish Sylvia well, and hope her life is peaceful. I thought geo.w. bush was much more dangerous, and I wish him well, so… Peace!

    • Gary Leigh

      Personally, I feel we need people like Randi. Yes, he is very skeptical, and yes, he probably is he own worst enemy, however he has exposed a lot of frauds. I mean, frauds who make a living out of duping people, such as Uri Geller did.

      Truth is, there are genuine psychics out there, but few can fully control their abilities to switch it on and off. If they could, they would be a million dollars richer by now.

      However, there are psychics that do make claims that are simply not so. You want to see how good a fortune teller is? Don’t look at what they get right, look at what they fail to predict. For instance, the internet, cell phone, growth of technology, etc. All very major things.

      We need people like Randi. The supply the balance.

      • Randall Keller

        Oh I agree, Gary. But he annoys the crap outta me, and he’s as much a fraud as anyone else. I’ve seen him change conditions, and minimize people’s research to further his own meager career. Just because its possible to fake evidence doesn’t mean it is faked. And he’s reneged paying his million dollar bounty four times. There are better skeptics out there than this guy. I guess every good needs an evil. 🙂

      • Gary Leigh

        Oh, for sure. Thing about skeptics, any of them, is that they will often ignore or dismiss facts that don’t fit into their scheme of things. But as I said, we need them for the ones who really are scamming. You might call them a necessary evil.

        Balance is always the key.

        By the way, I’d love to know more about the reneging of the bounty. (though not sure if Patrick wants his blog used for such a discussion.) 🙂

      • Patrick

        Please… discuss away!

  • LeeAllenHoward

    No psychic is ever right 100% of the time. Just because they mispredict doesn’t make them charlatans. Good physicians diagnose correctly only about 80% of the time, but we don’t accuse them all of being quacks because they’re not perfect. They do the best they can, just like everyone else. I do believe in accountability, though.

  • Patrick

    Wow… I just typed a huge comment and it disappeared in front of my eyes before I was even finished typing. Rather annoying. Anyway, consider this to be a response to Randall and Gary and the previous comments. I LOVE discussions with smart people such as yourselves, because it then makes me look kind of smart. 🙂 Thanks! And yeah… ehhh… I’m not going to find too many nice things to say about the Randi, although to be honest, Randall just spouted off more than I ever knew about him. I apparently need to do some research. And Gary, I definitely believe that psychics and mediums have been helping police and FBI for decades, if that’s what you meant. I haven’t seen anything online documenting her helping authorities on this case specifically. I wasn’t meaning to lead people to believe that, if that’s what you meant.

    • Gary Leigh

      Thanks, Patrick.

      Personally, I’ve heard that a lot from people. It’s just odd that it doesn’t get much exposer.

      • Patrick

        Funny, Gary… (actually it’s not) I just opened your recent blog post about depression… today I was looking through and thinking about a chapter from one of Sylvia’s books on her and depression. 🙂

  • Maria Laing

    Like you, Patrick, I have read several books written by Sylvia Brown, and have probably only seen her once on TV…at most, twice. I have had no personal experience with her. The “misses” she has had are lamentable, though, I think……and as a mother whose son went missing and who’s body was never found, I have some perspective on this that is unique in this discussion. When my son went missing, I thought it likely that he had not survived, given the circumstances surrounding hiss disappearance. However, I don’t think it would have been helpful to have been told that by a psychic or medium right off the bat. However, I have no reference point as to what the time frame was when Sylvia gave the readings that have been noted, but, in the case of the missing persons she was reading for, I wish she had refrained from declaring Amanda dead. It is from the heart of a mother I speak. I believe in life after death and paranormal phenomena. I eventually have had a reading from a reputable medium who told me my son had crossed over and he gave me several evidential pieces of information he received from my son that only he and I knew. Furthermore, my son has manifested to me in full bodily form and he spoke to me telepathically, reassuring me of his well being. So, you see, I am not a debunker. Having said that, I will tell you that I have joined some grief support groups on Face Book where some questionable trends have been happening. On two groups for sure, and their may be more, the persons moderating the groups, suddenly became psychic, as did one of their admins. All three of them were grieving mothers themselves. One of them, in particular, says on her FB that she is a private investigator with the focus on re-uniting adoptees with birth parents. She undoubtedly has instruments of discovery of a whole lot of data…birth records, etc. When she suddenly became a medium…it was overnight, she said…..she began selling readings to grieving mothers. Many of them said the information she gave them was not more than what she could have gotten from their FB pages and the memorial pages many mother have on FB. Gradually, mothers fell away from her, but, she “recruits” new members to her groups..yes she has several…from The Compassionate Friends, which is where she found me, and invited me to join her group. When she suddenly became a medium she said her deceased son was coming through to her…..and I couldn’t help but think she might have been mimicking another person who is honest and reputable in endeavors with the assistance of her son who is channeled by a reputable medium. I also have no problem with mediums being paid, as their time is just as valuable as anyone’s. How they set their prices is up to them, for considerations only they know. The “sudden medium” sells her readings, amped up by her personal crises…such as her home being in foreclosure…”here’s a sale on readings, line up and get your reading so I can pay the bank $2000.”…..”I’m having a sale on readings so I can make payments on a new car”….and on and on…It boggles the mind that she is always on the brink of losing her home, or some personal financial crisis…needing an attorney, for instance…her children needing clothing, shoes, etc. and based on these personal needs she appeals to the grieving mothers to buy readings….for non-grieving mothers her rates are up to $150 right now. Many grieving mothers feel that they have been the victims of her lies and that she is a fraud. I have never bought a “reading” from her, and based on her mode of operating, I never will. I think she gives mediums a bad name. Even IF she has any small degree of ability, it is overshadowed by unprofessional practices. After watching her I have become much more skeptical…and that skepticism is fed by the other two on a different group, who give questionable “intuitive readings” to grieving mothers in their groups. I didn’t find the “advice” to even be psychologically sound…let alone spiritually valid. Needless to say, I am not in those groups any longer. But I will say there seems to be a lot of mediums showing up on FB and in these grief groups….perhaps they are ambitious persons who are coming from ego, promoting themselves, and filling their wallets at the same time….all the while exploiting sorrowful, vulnerable, grieving mothers who will pay for a chance to get a message from their children who have passed on. Perhaps thry are real mediums. If they are not, it is shameful. I know this has been a loooonnnngggg comment….and you are welcome to delete it. The whole discussion of the past few days has unsettled me…because there ARE charlatans out there….ruthless, greedy persons who prey on the vulnerable and exploit them. I guess there is no way to tell who they are, sadly…..especially if a medium has a “bad day”…..or not….and is just making things up…they get paid nonetheless. Also, how do we know they actually DO give pro bono readings? There is NO way to know that for sure. It is all a puzzlement to me, to be sure. Anyone can say anything. Words are cheap. Thanks for hearing me out. Bless you and the work you do.

    • Patrick

      For the second time this evening my comment has disappeared in front of my eyes. I sure hope you guys aren’t having the same problems. That would have been frustrating for your last comment since it was so long, Maria! Can you imagine that?! 🙂 I have been thinking of you in this last week and wondered if you would comment and hoped you weren’t bothered by it all. I’m very sorry to hear about the facebook group drama. You’ve hinted about it before and I’d wondered what it was all about. It sounds like you’ve kind of put it all to rest though. It’s good that you get it out there though if people are being taken advantage of. I have so much respect for you and your thoughts and as I’ve told you before, I think the world could learn a lot from your words. Thank you so much for your friendship and always adding to my posts.

  • Patrick

    To those who have commented, I updated this post with an even better passage that I wish I would have seen before I started it. I wouldn’t have even needed the other passages. 🙂

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