Friend of Skepchick Ben Radford just published a fantastic article for LiveScience showing yet another major failure of dirtbag psychics. Jaycee Dugard is the woman who was recently found after being abducted at the age of 11 and spending 18 years confined in the backyard hell of her rapist and abuser, Phillip Garrido, and his wife.
Jaycee saved herself after her captor inexplicably took her to a meeting with his parole officer. Ben points out that a “psychic” named Dayle Schear has come forward to claim this as a victory, because she once informed Jaycee’s parents that they would one day see her alive. Schear took the parents’ money and in exchange gave them meaningless drivel that did nothing to end or abate the following 18 years of misery that Jaycee would experience. Some psychic. As Ben says,
Yet the psychics conveniently ignore the fact that their information was either wrong or so general and vague that it was useless. [snip] What police and searchers need is not general, vague “I told you so” information after the missing person has been recovered through police work, but accurate, useful information that leads police to the victim.
No psychic has ever been able to prove that his or her abilities are anything more than magic tricks, and most often a particular trick called cold reading. But Ben makes a very good point: even if we assume they have powers, what’s the point? Their powers are worthless. They don’t prevent murders, they don’t prevent abuse, and they don’t even find the bodies when it’s too late to help.
All this is reminiscent of Sylvia Browne’s most prominent screw-up: telling Shawn Hornbeck’s weeping and desperate parents that their child was murdered, and his body tossed near “a rock” somewhere miles from their home. He was, of course, discovered living with his abductor just down the street. At least Sylvia had the good sense to not come forward and declare this proof of her “powers,” unlike the heartless troll who preyed upon Dugard’s parents.
EDIT: Hat tip to Steve and Ooxman, the latter of whom sent the link with this note:
When I saw this, it was on the front page of Yahoo. I was shocked and delighted. The day before, Yahoo was advocating I alternate
breathing through my left and right nostril to balance out my yin and
yang energy forces. Srsly.