Tag Archives: Shawn Hornbeck Foundation

Sylvia Browne’s Biggest Blunder

By Ben Radford via The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry – CSI

From June 2007

The tragic consequences of listening to psychic advice were brought into sharp focus in January 2007, when yet another psychic vision from Sylvia Browne was revealed to be wrong.

Why don't you remember this headline?

Why don’t you remember this headline?

Several years ago during one of her many appearances on the Montel Williams show, Browne told the parents of missing child Shawn Hornbeck that their son was dead. His body, she said, would be found in a wooded area near two large boulders. Furthermore, according to Browne, Hornbeck was kidnapped by a very tall, “dark-skinned man, he wasn’t Black, more like Hispanic,” who wore dreadlocks.

According to a spokesman for the Hornbeck family, following the Montel broadcast Browne tried to get money from the family: “She called Pam and Craig about one month after the show and pretty much offered her services to continue their discussion for a fee. Pam was that desperate that if she had had $700 in her bank account she would have put it on the table. We are talking about a mother who would have sold her soul to have her boy back.”

In fact, Hornbeck and another boy were found very much alive January 16, 2007, in the home of Michael Devlin, a Missouri man accused of kidnapping them. Hornbeck had been missing for four years, but his parents had not given up hope of finding him despite Browne’s misinformation. Devlin, a Caucasian, is not Black, dark-skinned, nor Hispanic and almost certainly did not have dreadlocks at the time he allegedly abducted Hornbeck.

Within days of Hornbeck’s recovery, critics such as James “The Amazing” Randi spoke out against Browne. CNN’s Anderson Cooper featured Randi and gave refreshingly skeptical (and harsh) coverage of the case, calling attention to Browne’s highest-profile failure to date. Browne, in a statement posted on her Web site, responded to the criticism, stating that “I have never nor ever will charge anyone who seeks my help regarding a missing person or homicide. In these cases I choose to work strictly with law enforcement agencies involved to aid and not impede their work and only when asked. To be accused of otherwise by James Randi and others like him is a boldface [sic] lie. . . . If the brilliant scientists throughout history had a James Randi negating every aspect of their work, I doubt we would have progressed very far in medicine or in any technology. . . . I cannot possibly be 100 percent correct in each and every one of my predictions.”

Yet her documented track record is one of nearly 100 percent failure rate instead of 100 percent success. Browne’s confidence in her body of work is baffling, and her claim that her flawed visions were “one human error” is an amazing understatement.

Also see:

Dead Wrong, . . . Again

by Mark Edward via Skepticblog

H/T Thomas J. Proffit

Amanda Berry

Amanda Berry

Grief Vampire Sylvia Browne has once again proven herself to be the worst possible psychic medium in known history. Skeptics should be happy she is back in the news this time for her ”incorrectly predicting”(?) the outcome of the Amanda Berry disappearance. Chalk up another totally reprehensible miss to her worthless career.

Words cannot be used here at Skepticblog that could express my utter contempt for this bottom-feeding woman and her supporters. This time out she not only caused untold grief to family and community members, but also may have contributed to Amanda’s mother Louwana’s untimely death:

From:  http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/05/amanda_berrys_mother_louwana_m.html

“The case was featured on “American’s Most Wanted.” Louwana Miller appeared on Montel Williams’ nationally-syndicated talk show in November 2004. On the show, a psychic (read as Sylvia Browne)  told Miller that Amanda was probably dead.

“I still don’t want to believe it,” Louwana Miller said in an interview after the show. “I want to have hope but . . . what else is there?”

Louwana Miller: Amanda’s Mother: Dead of a Broken Heart?

Louwana Miller: Amanda’s Mother: Dead of a Broken Heart?

Activist Art McKoy befriended Louwana Miller during her ordeal. He said he could tell that the stress and heartache were wearing her down. The visit with the psychic was the breaking point, he said.“From that point, Ms. Miller was never the same,” McKoy said. “I think she had given up.”

For those who say psychics like Browne, Edward et. al. somehow help or comfort those in need and repeat the phrase “What’s the harm?” there should be a real answer in what has taken place here. How much more can we stand without getting The Law involved in these sorts of horrible mind games? This is not comforting or entertainment – this is blatant criminality of the worst kind. Sylvia and her ilk make a very good living doing this day in and day out. How many other people have had their lives, hopes and dreams shattered by these predatory harpies?

Browne to Miller: “ She’s not alive, honey.”

The Hornbeck Family

The Hornbeck Family

In a related development: French television news program “Enquete exclusive – Voyants, mediums, mentalistes revelations sur leurs mysterieux pouvoirs’” which featured myself and CFI/IIG’s Jim Underdown, showcased through amazing interview footage the entire Shawn Hornbeck drama. If you are not already familiar with Browne’s mis-deeds in this matter – it’s too much to go into here. Let’s just say once again, Sylvia told Shawn’s parents on nationwide television he was dead when he was later found quite well and alive.

French program here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34Iji3aMAa0

Not only do the Hornbeck parents come forward and speak out about the emotional damage that ravenous bad-tempered shrew Browne inflicted on their lives, they also give a very negative shout out to that other slimeball James VanPraagh for doing the same sort of “comforting.”

Maureen Hancock

Maureen Hancock

In the “Enquete” program, “The Medium Next Door,” everybody’s darling Maureen Hancock also gets her fair share of explicit exposing when Jim and I reveal the latest trend in mediumship: using “hot reads” taken from credit card information to later reveal dramatic “hits” in a live audience performance. This isn’t a magic or mentalism show folks, this is a con pure and simple.

Later in another segment of the program, Hancock is also shown in her opulent home psychically picking out suspects and leading police (and another mother of a missing woman) on wild goose chases that lead everybody off the track. It is obvious Maureen is bluffing her way through the whole segment. Hancock has absolutely no track record anywhere for her claims as a successful “psychic detective” – other than her known background an “associate member” of the Licensed Private Detective Association of Massachusetts. What might that tell us about her ability to suss out information on people? So why isn’t this mis-use of private information a crime? Isn’t this tantamount to filing a false police report? Having the French television crew capturing her deceptions on camera in the presence of their own law enforcement officers should be extra embarrassing for the police involved. How do you feel about being seen internationally as dupes for this woman?

MORE . . .

Also see: Sylvia Browne’s Biggest Blunder (iLLumiNuTTi.com)

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