Sylvia Browne claims to be a psychic, but she has been convicted of fraud in the past and has failed all scientific tests of her ability. In addition, she is very often wrong about her predictions. For background on Sylvia Browne, please read the the article Psychic Defective: Sylvia Browne’s History of Failure at the website for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
Recently, a shocking story has been revealed in Ohio. As reported by Reuters, Ariel Castro, a school bus driver, had kidnapped three women and held them a prisoners for around a decade. He subjected them to physical abuse and rape. One of these women is Amanda Berry who went missing in 2003 (she was around 17 years old).
What is the connection between Sylvia Browne and this brutal kidnapping? She apparently used her “psychic powers”, got a “vision” and told the parents of Amanda Berry that she was dead (ABC news story). How does Browne attempt to get out of this morally abhorrent mess? She writes a Facebook status update (original link):
Does she treat this as a “miss”, acknowledging that she is not a psychic and that she has abused her media standing? Far from it. Instead, she makes a credulous, pathetic and morally vile post-hoc rationalization. Apparently, her vision was of Amanda being held under water, but she interpreted it as death when she should have interpreted it as Amanda being held down. It was, in her view, a “hit” all along, she just had “interpreted it to have a different meaning”. Her second excuse is that she hoped she was wrong.
Can you believe that almost 150 000 people has liked this on Facebook? Some of the comments to the post (right now close to 3000) is also mind-bogglingly irrational (I have blacked out the names and the profile pictures):
Sylvia Browne is “a divine loving being of light”!? People still believe in her completely!? If psychics did not do any mistakes, there would be no crime!? It is irrelevant whether or not she is right, as long as she tries to do the right thing!?
There are hundreds of comments like this. It just goes on and on and on.