Imagine that a grieving mother stands before a world-famous psychic on national television. The mother has lost her son and wants even the smallest hint as to where he could be. The psychic informs her that her son was killed by a very tall Hispanic man with dreadlocks, the boy’s body thrown into the woods near two large identifiable boulders.

Over the next few months, the boy’s family searches the surrounding woods but finds no sign of either the boulders or the body. Years pass.

Suddenly, the boy is found — alive. He is believed to have been kidnapped by a tall white man with short, combed over brown hair. The parents rejoice and call it a miracle, and the world forgets about the world-famous psychic’s utter failure. The psychic will take advantage of this selective memory and continue to tour the country and appear on television, telling lies to other parents with other lost children in the hope that the kids are never found.

Well, some may forget about the psychic’s failure, but we sure as hell won’t. The “psychic” is Sylvia Browne. The television host is Montel Williams. The accused kidnapper is Michael Devlin. All had a hand in making a victim of Shawn Hornbeck and his family, but sadly only one is going to have a day in court.

Find out more at Robert Lancaster’s excellent site, Stop Sylvia.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor.

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  1. I didn't know that the hag came up in that whole incident. I would love to see that heartless old bag finally have some justice dealt to her, but I fear that she might get off over it being for "entertainment purposes" or something.

    Of course, the meta-context of this incident also nicely jams another nail in her bullshit coffin – A real psychic might have figured out that such a reading would land her in hot water :)

  2. She's utterly ridiculous. There are few more disgusting, parasitic, phony people in the world. The sad part is that this won't damage her reputation with Montel or with his audience at all. Confirmation bias will take care of that. All I know is that if my MA coursework was as inaccurate and poorly reasoned as her predictions, I'd be kicked out of school. Shame she'll never face similar.

  3. I wonder… do you think we could get our own psychic (like project alpha) to work as an agent for us to slowly drop readings that implicate Sylvia Brown as a murderer?

  4. I now this amounts to close to blasphemy coming from an atheist, but people of her ilk almost make me wish there was a god complete with a judgement day to serve them with a one way ticket to the worse kind of hell imaginable. For in my opinion she truly is the embodiment of evil, hovering over the bereaved for an opportunity to exploit them.

  5. I notice you restricted my thoughts again rebbecca,

    it must be very nice to hold such a dominating leash

    on "my"opinion

    Devils advocate..

    If you think you have been deemed the right to choke people

    Rebecca,IS IT FAIR IF someone might believe they have the right

    to choke you back?

    Enjoy your trip M.Dmon

  6. hey guys just wondering,how does it feel to be able to

    post freely and unchecked?

    I would lov to empathize on that sentiment,however Mods don't

    allow even my simplest of post reach this precious board,so I can't

    help but wonder,how does it feel?

    Someone onces said,"it's not what Mikal says that we should give credit

    for,it's what he does not say,we should give credit for.."

    How true..

    Take care,Devils' Advocate;M.Dmon..

  7. Mikal, I have tentatively approved your comments for now, in the absence of Becca. She can, of course, overrule me.

    HOWEVER…Please try to contribute to the discussion, and not just name call. This is her blog, and the fact that she tolerates you at all says a great deal.


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