May 10, 1013 — Several days ago Amanda Berry escaped from a house of horrors where she’d been held as a kidnapped sex slave since 2003, along with two other women and her daughter, who was born of one of the rapes she suffered. The details of this shocking crime disgust all decent people and the monster responsible should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
But a bit of that disgust should be saved for a tormentor of Amanda’s mother, Louwana Miller. I mean the self-styled “psychic” Silvia Browne.
The year after her daughter went missing, this desperate mom appeared on the Montel Williams TV sho w, where the psychic Browne told her, concerning Amanda, “She’s not alive, honey.” Louwana reluctantly accepted the psychic’s word. She gave up hope. Her health suffered and she died a year later, never knowing her daughter was alive.
Psychics, at best, are self-deluded, addled-brained individuals who, in their unfocused minds, believe they have special powers, but who don’t have the mental or moral power to question their own delusions. At worst, they’re vile exploiters who bilk money from the fears and suffering of the emotionally vulnerable.
Browne is a particularly disgusting example of such a creature. As a media hog she has been able to abuse far more victims than your average hole-in-the-wall tarot card or palm reader. In 2001 she was challenged on a TV show to take the James Randi Educational Foundation test, which offers a $1 million prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult powers. She agreed to do it but has dodged the challenge for a decade. Is this because she doesn’t need the money, having amassed a fortune from the gullible? No, it’s because she’s a fraud!
And if she were anything but a moral midget she would acknowledge that her life has been one of harming others, and she would spend the rest of it exposing and debunking others like herself. But she is unapologetic about her “Amanda’s dead” declaration, arguing “I have been more right than wrong.”
In a rational culture, psychics would be as rare at flat-Earth advocates. Sadly, psychics and their kind are still around; indeed, some of the more foolish police actually use psychics in hunts for missing persons.
You my readers here probably don’t need to be told not to visit psychics. But you might do a little consciousness-raising. Next time you’re in the company of others and walk past a psychic business or see a psychic ad on TV, remind them of Amanda’s mother and Silvia Browne. Remind them that lies kill hope and spread misery.
Hudgins is director of advocacy and a senior scholar at The Atlas Society.
For further reading:
*Edward Hudgins, “ Is Miss Cleo a Criminal? She’s Certainly a Fraud! ” March 2002.
*Edward Hudgins, “ Scientology, Seizures, and Science. ” January 13, 2009.
*Edward Hudgins, “ After The Apocalypse, Try Reason! ” May 27, 2011.