I have railed many times on this blog against Sylvia Browne, an evil woman who claims to have psychic powers and preys on people who come to her at their most vulnerable emotional times for help. This week's news from Cleveland of the rescue of Amanda Berry, Gina De Jesus, and Michelle Knight (each of whom had been missing for at least a decade), renewed my disgust in Browne.
In 2004, during one of Browne's many appearances on the Montel Williams show, she talked with Louwana Miller, the distraught mother of Amanda Berry, who at the time had been missing for a year. She sold Miller, "She's not alive honey. Your daughter's not the kind who wouldn't call." Those words devastated Miller, who broke down in tears on the show. She believed Browne's bullshit, and the sadness that enveloped Miller led to her death a year later.
It reminded me of another infamous Browne error. In 2003, on another Montel Williams show (he can never be forgiven for allowing her to spew her garbage on his daytime show for years), Browne told Pam and Craig Akers that their son, Shawn Hornbeck, who had disappeared at age 11, was dead and his body could be found in a large wooded area. With no knowledge of the case and no humanity in her body, she told the couple -- who were desperately hoping that their son was still alive -- that they should give up hope.
She was completely wrong about every aspect of the case. Four years later, Shawn was found alive in the apartment of the man who had kidnapped him, who looked nothing like what Browne said he would (and there were no woods nearby).
James Randi has spoken and written about Browne's callous fakery for decades. Here's a piece of what he wrote on his blog last night about her track record:
Early in 2010, an article in Skeptical Inquirer provided an extensive study of Sylvia Browne's predictions about missing persons and murder cases, along with her messages and visions “from beyond the grave.” It examined every episode of the Montel Williams TV show after 2002, when she began to be featured there regularly, and explored older cases in newspapers, finding 115 examples of these appearances and articles, and comparing them with the actual facts and Browne’s oft-repeated claim that her accuracy rate, to quote her exactly: "...is somewhere between 87 and 90 percent, if I'm recalling correctly."
It's obvious that Browne doesn't care who she hurts with her "readings" as long as she makes money. She will never give an interview because she'll be asked about the horrendous scams she has perpetrated for years, for which she has no defense. But news outlets should hound her nonetheless, until live venues and TV shows stop booking her to perform her ripoff act, and all her opportunities to take advantage of heartbroken people dry up completely.
Sylvia’s recollection –- strangely –- is very, very, poor. It was shown that in not one of those 115 records -– some of which had to be recovered from data that had been deleted from video records and/or published documents -- was she correct!
Just like her soul.