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This is why I am highly skeptical of "so called' psychics. (Sylvia Browne article)

Discussion in 'General Afterlife Discussions' started by Matty Mo, May 8, 2013.

  1. It saddens me that phonies like Sylvia Browne continue to make money as psychics. I've never had much of a belief in psychics although I don't discredit some of them could be authentic. However, when I read articles like this which state that Ms. Browne told the mother of the recently found kidnapped lady, Amanda Berry, that her daughter was dead on a Montel talk show several years ago, which led the poor woman to be reduced to tears. I can completely understand why so many people hold little to no belief in psychics, myself included.

    Now, I'm certain there are some on this board that believe some people do have psychic abilities, and I would never say it's not possible. However, one would have to agree that if the phenomenon is real that people like Sylvia make a mockery of it. I'm not knocking you if you believe in psychics as I'm certain some people have had some genuinely profound, and on target, readings. Perhaps Ms. Browne is just a poor example of a con artist posing as a psychic?

    I am not personally sold on someone claiming to have psychic abilities, what say you, AL Forums? Is this phenomenon real or are these people just very good con artists? For the record, I'm sure this has been discussed in past posts but this article stoked me to check in again regarding it. Off my soap box now.

  2. Celera

    Celera Active Member

    If I was looking for a genuine psychic -- or a genuine anything else -- I think I would not start with the Montel Williams show.

    This particular psychic has been discredited before. Under the circumstances, it was a pretty safe guess that Amanda was deceased. Ms. Brown should get out of the business of guessing about such high stakes matters.
  3. Fudge

    Fudge Member

    I once went to see a psychic on stage at our local village hall. He was fairly well known and went on to become very famous. The first time I saw him I was genuinely impressed. He came down into the audience and spent the whole time giving good quality, long and detailed messages.
    When I went some years later you'd be forgiven for thinking it wasn't the same man. He was wearing sparkly clothing, the second half of the time was spent amusing the audience with silly trickery from a hypnotist and the messages given were hard to believe or obvious to anyone.
    I think somewhere between how he used to be and how he became he lost a lot of his abilities and possibly due to his ego, began to invent or stretch what he was picking up. By picking up I don't necessarily mean psychically. I think he was reading the clothes, body language and reactions.
    I would never go back to see him again. So sad to see his decline.
  4. Firstly I don’t believe in psychic and all, but my friend and I went to a psychic and whatever she said to me that happened to me actually. So, I can’t say that all the psychics are there to make money.
  5. We had a thread like this last year, and it led to the banning of one of the members as she kept on bashing Sylvia Browne. Well, that was one of the reasons why she got the boot.

    I had to agree with her in principle though, that Sylvia Browne is a fraud. I used to watch her many times on the Montel show, and she seemed to "miss" on most of her predictions.

    Another one that I think is full of shit (although Roberta is high on her) is Char Margolis.

    I don't much care for John Edward either.

    Gordon Brown caught my eye. He might be the real deal. I don't know.
  6. My opinion is that when they start charging obscene fees they have "crossed over" to entertainment.
  7. mac

    mac senior member Staff Member

    Gordon Smith? (Scottish)

    Gordon Brown was our (UK) former chancellor and short-time prime minister....
  8. I believe that anyone's best psychic is themselves. Listening to your gut, your instinct, your higher self, whatever you may call it, is the best way to make decisions in life, in my opinion. The best decision may or may not be the one that makes you happiest but I believe your soul knows that its growth is what is most important. I've had a few "psychic" moments. One time I had a dream that me and my husband were in the car and someone walked right in front of us in the road and he stopped just in time. It was dark outside. A couple of days later, that happened. Other times I've predicted if the phone will ring or what someone will wear, things like that. I think it is outrageous what Sylvia charges for readings-I think it is around $700. I agree with some things Sylvia says- but to me those are just guesses on her part (I'm referring to her spiritual beliefs-her predictions speak for themselves). What is discouraging about this particular case is no psychic seemed to step forward and know what happened to those girls. Or if they did-I don't know about it.
    Last edited: May 9, 2013
  9. There's a book called "the trickster and the paranormal" that goes into this in depth. Basically, some people have psychic abilities that are real, but this ability is not consistent. So they often resort to trickery when their abilities fail, especially once they get a taste of success and try to do anything they can to hold on to it. They are not frauds, just human. This is why so many Hindu teachers tell their students to ignore any psychic abilities they may attain through their practices, as it's a hindrance to true spiritual growth.

    "The only thing success teaches is arrogance."
    -- danged if i remember who said this
  10. Celera

    Celera Active Member

    Good quote regardless of the source.

    It makes sense to me that one might have some psychic gifts, but it's a gift. Perhaps it gets better with practice, but some days you just don't "have it."

    But when you monetize that and have to perform routinely on command, the pressure to "supplement" your actual gifts with guesses and cold reading skills would be very high, especially if you are at a point where you are in front of a large audience or on TV, and you can't really say, "I guess it wasn't my night."

    I've seen a similar phenomenon with Christian ministers who become very successful, with enormous congregations and/or being on TV or radio. They start out sincerely enough, but when people tune in every day expecting to see spiritual drama and your wife's mascara running, you end up "performing" instead of ministering. Along with the money and fame there is the temptation of the power itself. Also, if I believe God (or Spirit, or whatever) speaks to me, I may end up not knowing the difference between the voice of God and my own dumb ideas.

    Perhaps when Paul wrote "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" this is part of what he meant. He was the televangelist of his day, in a sense, so the temptations of influence over others would not have been unknown to him. And there is that passage from Proverbs: "Pride goeth before a fall, and sparkly clothes are a sign you are making an ass of yourself."
  11. One Sylvia Browne does not make real psychic capabilities disappear. Nor does one Leslie Flint determine all mediums are genuine. It is boggling that pseudoskeptics fail to comprehend this. :confused:

    Real psychism/mediumship is not difficult to extract. When you sit with one, say as little as possible. Is the information meaningful or evidential that is coming to you? If not, then you are not experiencing a true psychic/mediumistis sitting. If it is, then you are.

    Understanding that real psychism/mediumship is never, ever 100% accurate. You must try, then try, again.

    As to Ms. Browne, she has become- rightfully so - the static target for pseudoskeptical firing lines internationally. Because she is attractive to pseudoskeptics and gullible believers, she commands a large audience for the media. :rolleyes:

    P.S. There was a time before she became a public nuisance when her ego was in check and her wallet much less fat that she showed excellent psychic abilities. As time has passed, my sense is that she has lost most if not all of her gift.
  12. I'm okay with being counted in the camp of "highly skeptical" people when it comes to mediums, psychics, and the lot. Again, I'm not saying it couldn't be a legitimate phenomenon but you have to admit that something like this is ripe for many con artists out to make a buck. As open to things as I am, this is one area that just kind of rubs me wrong. Trust me, I listened to a ton of the Leslie Flint recordings, as unique as they seemed, I just have a hard time accepting something like that could be legit.

    Perhaps I've just subjected myself to too many pseudoskeptics regarding mediums, at one time I gave more credence to the possibility, even as recently as a year ago. I have no problem standing up to skeptics regarding my belief in an afterlife, yet I feel somewhat gullible if I would try to defend mediumship since their are fallible humans involved, and incidents like the recent Sylvia Browne story definitely reinforce this.

    As has been pointed out a few times in this thread, Sylvia is probably a poor example when looking to validate mediumship possibilities. I definitely agree with Celera and Mokandi's statements -
    Trust me, I want to believe it could be unique phenomenon and won't criticize those that believe as some, like jenniechan, have had some readings that validated it for them. I guess I wouldn't say it's not possible without first getting a few readings. If skeptics like myself, were provided info that a medium couldn't possibly know, this could help overcome our bias against mediums. Just seems to be too many phonies IMHO.
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  13. As long as you keep a tight lid on your worldview, you will hardly fit in those things in life that are, to you, seemingly strange and unreal.

    If you swapped places with your etheric self, what do you think you would say about mediumship? What would you have to say about Flint, the endless number of researchers who failed to once find fraud? The veridical evidences of spirit communicators given in volumes to sitters?

    The Browne story only reinforces the fact that you haven't done your due diligence on mediumship.

    You don't believe in policemen, or $100 bills, or Catholicism? All of those are chock full of phonies. Bet you believe that honest policemen, genuine Ben Franklins and devout Catholics exist.

    Why not mediums? Because you haven't done the required homework and/or personal experience to eradicate your fear of being humiliated in defending genuine mediumship and fleeced by the frauds. That's your fault not the fault of genuine mediumship.
  14. Wow, someone's a little touchy about mediumship. You've obviously come to the conclusion that there are genuine mediums and that's fine. Perhaps I think too logically at times and see mediums sharing extremely general things when they are doing readings. Now mind you, aside from Leslie Flint, most of what I've seen from mediums are related to the entertainment industry like Jonathan Edwards, Chip Coffey, etc. so it's fair that you mention my lack of due diligence in researching mediums. I'm not James Randi here so at least give me some credit that I am open to it, if it is a legitimate phenomenon it's very unfortunate that so many give it a bad name.

    Regarding having a tight lid on my world view, you really have no idea who you're speaking to, which I'll forgive you for since we've only been introduced on a message board. I have a major belief in things like ghosts, parallel dimensions, and an afterlife but frown heavily on mediumship. However, there are things that led me to believe in these other things, some through personal experience. Whereas, my road blocks with mediumship has everything to do with humans being directly involved and seeing so many hucksters trying to screw people over for a buck.

    One final note, regarding Mr. Flint, I REALLY wanted to believe his recordings were legit. To your point that he was never debunked, initially I thought that was an impressive fact. However, upon some mild mannered chat on a skeptic's board a very interesting point was made. If Mr. Flint was legit, why was every one of his readings done in complete darkness? Sure, the answer given by believers is that light affects the ectoplasmic voice box he used. However, if one thinks skeptically why isn't that a valid question to be answered?
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  15. Sorry MM, I am not the least bit interested in conversation with someone who refuses to put out the appropriate effort to understand the subject (Independent Direct Voice) they wish to argue.

    Good luck!

  16. I used to think mediumship was fake too and that the skeptics made some good arguments against it, at least until I read some of the SPR research with Leonora Piper and Gladys Osborne, then I realized the skeptic arguments are misleading and weak. Some of the accounts on Zerdini's website are also impossible to explain by anything but hallucination from all the sitters for hours or days, sometimes years or that it's all just made up, both very weak arguments.

    Leslie Flint held some seances in red light I believe, a doctor even examined the ectoplasmic voice box and declared it authentic. It does not matter though whether the seance is held in dark or light when the voices give evidential information that the medium has no way of knowing.

    It's truly a shame that mediumship today is given a bad name by fraudulent or simply bad mediums, but that does not in any way diminish the history of the good mediums.
  17. Ghosts, parallel dimensions and similar subjects have never been bottled, studied and endlessly researched. Then you toss in the afterlife of which the primary source for proof is in...wait for it...evidential mediumship. Huh?

    Instead of wasting your time reading the JREF and ATS cretins (or any forum that promotes pseudoskeptical stupidity for the entertainment of the forum rabble) attempting to make sense of their mindless, ill understood, dribble about mediumship, why not call, visit, Skype or email a medium? Now there's an idea, yes, since you are big on personal experiences? At least then when you return to tell us that your Aunt Ellie came through although she still is alive, you have at least passed the sniff test of potential credibility.

    The extremely few true skeptics who have spent time - and I don't mean a couple of hours, a day or even a week - studying mediumship would be the first to point out to you that the premise of your thread, that Browne somehow in some distant way is worthy of being a poster chick for geniune mediumship, is absurd. No one, no one who has followed and comprehends geniune mediumship will entertain using her for any summation on mediumship anymore than if I claimed to be the next Siegfried or Roy because I saw Cats on Broadway.

    To make matters worse, you wander off into physical mediumship attempting to correlate pseudoskeptical Browne nonsense with the likes of Leslie Flint. This is akin to sitting in the stands of a Little League game, lapping up the babble, and trumpeting the understanding of the nuances of professional baseball. One is passing time, the other is an academic pursuit requiring that you have spent countless months in between the lines. The only commonality is that both LL and MLB occur on the same planet.

    From whom are you getting your ghost stories and parallel dimensionality information? Animals and aliens? You're getting them from forum humans and paranormalists. Auerbach, Eno, Moulton et al, nice folks making nice livings making up nice concepts.

    You can't seem to let go this idea that fraudulence isn't only the distinct territory of mental mediumship as if there are no liars and storytellers in the world of spooks and interdimensionality. Mediumship is fully discoverable, how many ghosts and IDBs have been interviewed, gagged, strapped to a chair and exposed to the most ruthless interventions imaginable?

    Yet you insist in denying yourself the avalanche of undeniably solid evidence regarding mediumship but ready, willing and able to accept guesswork, theory, speculation and innuendo about ghosts and IDBs neither, by their very nature, can be examined objectively and practically?

    [As an aside, who do you think ghosts are? High, high chance they are earthbound discarnate spirits at least that is what the upper realm discarnates repeatedly tell us - the spirits are talking to you, MM, listen in].

    MM, this is an afterlife forum. The subjects regarding the afterlife are the most important that Man faces. Nothing else is even close. I've been where you are and got my ass and my hat handed to me in much less kind ways. It stung big-time but looking back, I fully understand why I got ball-cocked. For someday, perhaps now, a lurker or member will stumble on to this thread and come away with the understanding that when it comes to the continuity of life and the survival of our souls, proven by evidential mediumship, those are stone cold serious business.
  18. Celera

    Celera Active Member

    Perhaps we should start a thread specifically for ridiculing, patronizing and shaming people into a proper understanding of how the universe works. Making the title clear would ensure that people knew what they were getting when they went there.

    I'm sure this would be much more effective than all that insipid nonsense about love and kindness that Roberta and Mikey keep spouting.
  19. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    I love you, Celera! Right to the point!!
  20. Since I last posted I have attended 4 spiritualist church services at two different venues. At each service there were 2 guest mediums, that is 8 individual mediums in all , whose roles were to provide evidence of survival. Although I did not expect any personal confirmation due to my late wifes difficulty in expressing herself in the English language, I did attend in a hopeful and positive frame of mind that I would observe other members of the congregations receiving messages from their departed loved ones.
    Well, to say that I am one terribly disappointed, disillusioned unit would be a gross understatement. No one at any of the services could place any of the spirits that the mediums supposedly were bringing through, without a lot of fishing on the part of the mediums, and even then, the links that were established were extremely tenuous at best, and IMO more a product of those who desperately wanted to have contact, unwittingly feeding the mediums with snippets of information that was in turn cleverly used by the medium to convince the sitter that contact was genuine. The one medium who claimed to pick up someone for me, provided nothing that was applicable to either myself or any of my deceased loved ones, but could apply to around 70% of the the other members of the congregation.
    The thing is, that after each service, whilst mingling during afternoon tea, I gained the impression that all attendees including mediums were nice decent folk who genuinly believed in the validity of what had transpired during the service.
    I haven't quite given up yet and will likely attend another service this evening,and keep the appointment for a personal reading later this month, but I wish I could get hold of some of the stuff the 100 or so devotees I have met to date are on.
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  21. Celera

    Celera Active Member

    Others will know more about spiritualism and the chances of encountering genuine mediums in such a context -- but I'm sorry that this didn't turn out to be a positive experience for you, William. I know you have been through a lot and I wish this would have turned out to be comforting or inspiring or at least interesting.

    Glad to see you still around, though!
  22. Do you mean spiritualist or Spritualist? mac will want to know. :)

    Sorry for that.

    Genuine mediumship in my experience, and the historical experience of millions, is an effort, a continuing effort, not a dunk in the psychic pool and out. if you are unwilling to put in the considerable effort that connection with the spirit world justifiably requires, as they must to contact you, then why would you expect results?

    Try, try again. Add sincere study of the parameters known to the communication between spirit and incarnates.

    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  23. You would have a place all to yourself! ;)

    That was uncalled for. :mad:
  24. JesusIsLord

    JesusIsLord Banned

    Why seek if in finding there lies no truth?
  25. JesusIsLord

    JesusIsLord Banned

    Do you love her? Truly? Do you use this word too freely? What can you show as proof of this love for her for if there is no proof, there is no love.
  26. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    Heh. True I guess, although that proof doesn't have to be obvious to you, or to anyone.
  27. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    Heh again - Our much-beloved Celera was being ironic, darling TIS!
  28. Celera

    Celera Active Member

    Yes, for any other casual passers-by, I was using sarcasm to object to TIS's premise that "ball-cocking" an inquirer into understanding of the truth is an optimal approach. I suppose it must work sometimes, though, since TIS has been so improved by it.

    Carol, I think Mikey is wonderful, as are you. And Roberta, who demonstrates her loving nature every time she appears on this forum and asks us all to be kind and respectful to one another and models those traits herself on a regular basis. In English the word love is used for too many things, indeed, but Roberta has used it well here, in my opinion.
  29. A friend sent me a link, indicating that nine years ago, the psychic medium Jeffrey Wands, on the Maury show, advised the mother of one of the kidnapped girls in Cleveland that her daughter was very much alive, knew and had conversed with her kidnapper, and was trapped in his home. Even though Wands did not get the kidnapper's age or race correct (indicating that he was Black rather than Hispanic), he provided enough information for a sketch that looked to me to match his appearance. Here is a link to the segment on the Maury show.

  30. JesusIsLord

    JesusIsLord Banned

    Refrain from using God's language of love without it so being the case of true love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

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