Psychic VisionsI’ve blogged a couple times about the late fraudulent “psychic” Sylvia Browne. Five years ago Skeptical Inquirer surveyed many of her predictions and pronouncements; of those for which the results were known, not a single fucking one of them proved true. A couple years ago she was proven dead wrong about an additional one.

It’s that last story I’m blogging about now.

It involves the Cleveland abductions, which were revealed 2 years ago this month (WebCite cached article). Back in 2004, about a year and a half after her abduction, Amanda Berry (in captivity) watched her mother appear on The Montel Williams Show with Ms Browne (cached). The liar told Louwana Miller — with certainty she couldn’t have had, especially since it wasn’t true — that her missing daughter was dead. A couple years after that, the broken-hearted mother — convinced that Browne was correct — died in despair, essentially mourning a daughter who — it turned out — wasn’t dead (cached).

Now that Berry released a memoir, we know the heartarche Browne’s lie also caused her (cached).

Even people who are smart enough to know “psychics” are full of shit, often dismiss them by saying, “What’s the harm?” So what if people want to think Sylvia Browne’s bullshit was truthful? They want to think so … so let them, this reasoning goes. But here, I’m afraid, is one example of precisely where the “harm” is visible: In lives ruined by “psychics'” lies. A truly cold-hearted person might say, “If people choose to be gullible then let them live with the consequences.” In that case, Louwana Miller would be responsible for her own broken spirit and, perhaps, death. But Browne’s bullshit, and Miller’s death, caused Ms Berry anguish she never actually signed up for. Browne’s bullshit compounded her already-horrific ordeal … and it did so unnecessarily.

I note that Montel Williams apologized, but he did so on Facebook (cached) with a classic non-apology apology: He’s sorry his show caused pain. That’s all. He’s not sorry he repeatedly put a fraud on television; he’s not sorry he’s the reason Browne was able to break Berry’s mother’s heart with her lies; he’s not sorry he gave credibility to a liar.

In case it wasn’t already evident, the time has come for the mass media to break free from psychics’ bullshit and lies. Stop being complicit in their schemes. Stop airing them. Stop giving them credence. Stop reporting on them. Stop showing them as though they actually have magical powers — because they don’t, and they never will. Show them only in exposés that reveal them as the frauds they are.

“Psychics'” bullshit quite simply needs to stop. A mass media moratorium on “psychics,” mediums, “seers,” etc. is needed — now. Immediately, if not sooner. We can’t wait any longer.

Oh, and if viewers/listeners/readers don’t like it? Well, fuck them. Give them no choice but to go cold turkey.

Photo credit: MTSOfan, via Flickr.

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

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