08 June, 2011

Psychic wastes police time, as usual

It turns out there was no mass grave in Texas. Of course, the police had no choice. They have to follow up a 'lead' when it involves the possible murder of children, because if they don't and it turns out to be true, then there will be a massive public outcry. But I wonder, has a psychic ever actually been shown to have provided a significant case-solving piece of information?

No, according to this article:

What appears to be most annoying to police officers is that when crimes happen—especially high-profile crimes—psychics call in offering information—sometimes hundreds of them. Regardless of whether the information is even acknowledged, the psychic claims that the police consulted him or her on that case. This appears to have been the MO of more than a few famous psychics, whose cases numbered into the hundreds and thousands. How many they actually worked on, let alone were invited into, is anyone's guess.

Often on any given case, no two psychics agree, so which one is to be believed? Even if one is singled out, the information that psychics give is typically too vague and impressionistic to narrow down the field of search, and it looks impressive only in retrospect.

Joe Nickell asks psychics to step forward and solve the great mysteries, such as where is Jimmy Hoffa? Or who killed JonBenet Ramsey? So far, psychics have tried but none has succeeded.

Says debunker Gary Posner, who criticizes the lack of controlled studies of paranormal phenomena, "There has not been a single iron-clad case, bulletproof case that has been convincing."

In addition, no psychic has ever stepped forward to try for the million-dollar reward that James Randi's educational foundation offers (nor any other financial award from other agencies) for proving their psychic powers in controlled conditions. This certainly baffles the average person.

Thus far, a psychic's reliability for law enforcement has not been established. Anecdotal information is sometimes impressive and even surprising, but nothing can be concluded about using psychics as resources in solving a crime.

6 comments:

PersonalFailure said...

Please tell me they are going to charge the psychic with filing a false report? Because if I claimed to have been robbed and then it came out that I wasn't, I would be charged with filing a false report and be responsible for paying back the police department for the money they wasted investigating my false claim.

rhiggs said...

PF,

Hopfully.

According to the news article:

"Mr McNair and Capt Rex Evans, spokesman for the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, said the woman who twice called in the tip would be investigated for making a false report."

rhiggs said...

*Hopefully*

PaulJ said...

Regarding the Million Dollar Prize, I once saw a YouTube clip of James Van Praagh being interviewed. He was asked why he hadn't accepted James Randi's challenge and his reply was something like, "Why would I accept the challenge of someone whose middle name is 'Amazing'?"

Amazingly, the interviewer (obviously a woo-believer) didn't follow this up with, "Because he's offering you a million dollars?"

rhiggs said...

PaulJ,

Re: Million dollar prize

If you have the time, there is plenty of good reading here on past attmepts to win the prize.

rhiggs said...

*attempts*

My speelling is getting wosre!