Monday, 29 September 2008

What's the Harm?

Also from the NZ Skeptics release:


The What´s The Harm website tracks the damage caused by paranormal and pseudo-science claims, listing reported cases that tally 3,254 people killed, 235,558 injured and over $455,070,000 in economic damages.

In its section on psychics, the website cites 1,315 people who were harmed by someone not thinking critically with regard to psychic claims. This includes the following cases relating to psychics' claims regarding murders or missing people:

When nine-year-old Christine Jessop was abducted, psychics and dowsers flooded the police with tips to her location. Meanwhile a credible eyewitness report of a girl struggling in a car went uninvestigated for weeks. An inquiry concluded the investigation was botched. (Oct 1984)

Psychic Sylvia Browne told Audrey Sanderford that her granddaughter had been abducted into slavery in Japan. In reality, the girl had been murdered and her body was found buried near her home three years after her self-confessed murderer was jailed. (1999-2003)

A paranormal remote viewing company announced that missing girl Elizabeth Smart was dead and the location of her body was being sought psychically. Not only were they wrong about her being dead, they also caused a lot of wasted time for officials searching for the body in the location they had "viewed", and they incorrectly fingered an innocent man. (2002)

Psychics Sylvia Brown and James van Pragh told Pam and Craig Akers that their kidnapped 11-year-old son was dead, giving apparent details of the location of the body and his last moments. He was, in fact, found alive four years later. (2003-2007)

Australian Don Spiers, father of missing Sarah Spiers, said that psychics had been "a huge torment to myself and my family in giving cryptic clues as to where Sarah might be". (February 2004)

"These are the stories that Sensing Murder and the tabloids don´t tell you about because it hurts their own pocketbooks. If these psychics really are able to talk to dead people, it would be the biggest story of the millennium, not merely a basis for cheap nasty exploitainment shows," says Hyde.



In 1978 John Tate turned to psychics for help to find his missing 13-year-old daughter. Here´s his experience:

We clutched at them desperately in the early days ... But the promises of the psychics were all lies. They raised false hopes in us. At times we really believed we were onto something. The suggestions and ideas preyed on our minds ... But always, when it came to the crunch, the so-called leads and ideas led absolutely nowhere but into a pit of despair ...
We soon found that the psychics who came up our garden path were `foot-in-the-door´ types who, once they had wormed their way in, were very reluctant to leave again. They were strong characters who were not afraid to assert themselves. They rode rough-shod over our feelings - which were in a desperate state already. In one week, our emotions and normal grip on life had gone through a wrenching upheaval, and the influence of psychics started to have an unpleasant effect. Even when we didn´t want them they were there, on our doorstep, always expecting to be met with an open door ...
We discovered that the work of the psychics was not just ludicrous and laughable. It was sinister and evil. Once we got into that web of deceit - and that is what it was - we found it very hard to struggle free. None of it ever led anywhere except to despair and disappointment, misery and confusion. We had become enslaved to the
suggestions of the psychics.

From Investigating the Unexplained by Melvin Harris, 1986


1 comment:

Andy said...

Update on psychics annoying family and police in the Claremont serial killer case - here

I think we should all blog this one.