Harsha Maddula, a Northwestern University pre-medical student from Long Island, N.Y., went missing Sept. 22, last seen leaving an off-campus party in Illinois. Police and volunteer searchers were unable to find him, but Maddula’s family said reassuring words from psychics had raised their spirits.
Apparently, psychics contacted by the Maddula family’s relatives in India said Harsha was okay and would be found: “He’s still alive. Don’t worry.’”
The next day, however, Maddula’s body was found in Wilmette Harbor near his dormitory. He’d been dead for nearly a week, hidden from searchers in the water between two boats. There was no sign of struggle, robbery, or assault; though toxicology tests are still underway, police believe he was likely the victim of an accidental drowning.
This is only the latest of many cases where grieving families of missing persons have been given false hope by psychics. Despite the failure of psychic detectives to locate missing people, desperate families often turn to psychic and soothsayers.
It happens regularly: grieving families hoping psychics will recover their missing loved ones are always disappointed. Still, even if they don’t believe in psychics, they conclude that nothing else has worked, so there’s no harm in trying.
Indeed, as a news article on Michigan Live.com noted, the mother of a missing woman will be seeking advice from a nationally-known psychic next week: “The mother of Venus Stewart, who has been missing since April 2010 and is presumed to have been killed by her estranged husband, has been invited to appear on the syndicated talk show ‘Dr. Phil,’” according to Live.com. The news article went on to say the mother Therese McComb of Colon, Mich., would fly to Los Angeles next week to tape the show, which will air in November. On the show, famed psychic John Edward will try to contact Stewart’s spirit to possibly get information about the whereabouts of her body.
“I’m desperate’ to find Stewart’s body and have closure,” McComb said. ‘This is about a desperate mother. That’s what it is,” she added.
If Edward can lead police and the McComb family to where Venus Stewart is, dead or alive, it would be the first time it’s happened.
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Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and author of six books including Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries. His Web site is www.BenjaminRadford.com.
Also see: Top 10 Unexplained Phenomena
- The Problem With Psychics Meddling With Missing Person Investigations (businessinsider.com)
- ESP & Psychic Powers: Claims Inconclusive (illuminutti.com)
- Shoehorning (illuminutti.com)