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Psychic Sylvia Browne issues statement on Amanda Berry

Psychic Sylvia Browne issues statement on Amanda Berry

When news that Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight had escaped their decade-long capture by Ariel Castro, who had kidnapped, abused and raped them, social media attention quickly turned to psychic Sylvia Browne.

Appearing on the then-running Montel Williams show, Browne told Amanda Berry's mother around nine years ago, "She's not alive, honey."   Jouwana Miller, the mother, died in March 2006.

"Literally for decades now, I have been directing attention to the fact that Browne has been a continual, proven, failure. This is only the most recent example," wrote skeptic James Randi, who offers a $1 million challenge for psychics who can prove that they are accurate.  Browne had agreed to Randi's million dollar challenge on the Larry King show in September 2001 but according to Randi's website, has not taken the challenge."  Pointing out that there is no evidence to support the notion that Browne has successfully helped law enforcement with 115 cases, Randi continues, "Folks, I seriously suggest that each reader of this news write to or call your local newspaper editors, radio and TV stations, to express your concern at the dismay, sorrow, and grief that Browne creates. That way, we just might attract enough attention to this taloned fraud. Please consider spending a few moments on this, will you? News persons will react to their consumers' comments, believe me. Encourage them to publicize this latest Browne farce…You’ll be striking a blow for rationality and reason by doing this."

As of this date, Browne's website offers 30-minute "personal readings" by Sylvia Browne and her son, Chris Dufresne, who the site characterizes as the "best psychic readers in the world."  Browne charges $850 for a half hour session and Dufrensne gets $500 for a half hour.

The Browne psychic business

As CNN points out (see video embedded below), outrage over Ms. Browne's reading on Amanda Berry has spread beyond just the James Randi Educational Foundation.  CNN also says that Browne had a little bit of her prediction right, seeming to accurately describe Ariel Castro, who kidnapped Amanda.

Sylvia Browne has issued a statement that appears on her website (the statement is not dated):

For nearly six decades, Sylvia Browne has dedicated her life to helping others as a spiritual psychic and guide. She has been called upon to assist individuals, families, and law enforcement agencies across the U.S. and Canada on hundreds of high profile criminal investigations. She has received numerous commendations for the positive impact her contributions have provided, resulting in important information and leads that have ultimately led to the closure of major investigations.

"For more than 50 years as a spiritual psychic and guide, when called upon to either help authorities with missing person cases or to help families with questions about their loved ones, I have been more right than wrong. If ever there was a time to be grateful and relieved for being mistaken, this is that time. Only God is right all the time. My heart goes out to Amanda Berry, her family, the other victims and their families. I wish you a peaceful recovery." – Sylvia Browne

Sherry Cole, Amanda Berry's cousin reached out to Sylvia this morning to let her know that she supports her, loves her, knows Sylvia never claims to be 100% right, but wanted to let her know that she was accurate in her description of the perpetrators at the time.

"Our family in no way blames Sylvia. This doesn't change anything. We still love her and believe in her." ­ Sherry Cole

About D.

  • another issue

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  • must be true then

  • must be true then

  • It's interesting on how the psychic goes on stats rather than psychic phenomenon. It seems to me that she was wrong only because statistics say that most of the time, if people are missing for X amount of time, they are generally dead and their remains generally found. This was not a psychic reading, but an educated guess that fortunately turned out to be wrong. I'm not surprised James Randi spoke out and said she is a fraud who causes misery, and didn't take the challenge, because the answers to such cases generally come from investigation or the person finds a way to escape, defying the statistics. One prime example, which I had to study for an abnormal psychology course in college, while working on my degree, concerned this sick man who lured young college men to his home, drugged them, and slowly took out parts of their brains, until they died. One man managed to escape, even though he had some brain damage, causing the case to be broken open and solved. The case was so disgusting that I can't remember the dude's name or where he put the dead bodies. That case and this one are quite horrifying and greatly disturbing. I've tried for a couple days to write something concerning what Castro posted on his Facebook, including "God is good" and all get is angry about what he did to these girls, which, despite what psychologists said in another report, will stay with them for a lifetime. Psychologists say, with treatment, they can make a full recovery, according to the report, but most victims of sexual abuse know that's not quite true and that the effects/trauma of the abuse stay with a person for life. It gets better, but it doesn't go away and if they use new techniques to erase the girls' memory of the trauma, they will lose 10 years of their life, forgetting how the horror started, which could doom them to repeat it. Erasing their memory isn't the answer, but therapy is a good start towards recovery and lessening any flashbacks they may have, but let's face it, Castro is the one who's mentally ill and no amount of psychological treatment will help him and his socio-pathic behaviours. Brown, on the other hand, could lead a more productive life is she just stopped cheating people out of their money.

    • Deborah_B

      I'm guessing that a lot of people will continue to fork out vasts amounts of money for these readings.

      I never heard of that case with the brains — that is very creepy. It's hard for me to imagine what motivates people to be so inhumane. Would like to learn more about this.

      • You may have heard of it, just not the details or privy to read everything in detail. It is one the mind really wishes block out forever, but when studying the case in a psychology classes, your mind only wishes they could forget it.

        I looked it up in my Abnormal Psychology Case book- Jeffrey Dahmer. He made zombies out of them after drugging them and having sex with them, so they'd forget their identities. He'd drill holes in their brains, poured acid in the holes, hoping they would stay alive so he could continue to have sex with them. When they died, he dismembered them and place them in the floorboards of his home until he could find something else to do with them. It gets grosser after they died.


        Ring any bells? What's not mentioned there, but in the text book is that after death, he'd cut a hole in their abdomens and get his sick jollies that way or eat their dismembered body parts "so they would become part of him".

        This is the stuff I had to study and somehow I bet Castro will be a case study for future Psychology students.

        • Actually Jeffrey Dahmer kept the body parts in an old fridge and a barrel, not under his floorboards. He lived in an apartment. John Wayne Gacy killed and buried men/boys under his house in the crawlspace.

  • Teresa

    Of course the media has a right and a responsibility to point out mistakes. But let’s gain a little perspective, which the CNN report seems to lack. Amanda Berry’s mother asked the psychic for information; the latter did not volunteer it. The psychic was also able to describe Ariel Castro with remarkable accuracy. As to her prediction that Amanda had died she was wrong, but psychics work with mental pictures and symbols and possibly Berry’s horrible and dire situation could easily have been interpreted “as if” she had died, “as if” her life had been taken from her which it effectively was for a decade. This does not make Browne a fake, it makes her human and fallible. Let's not condemn when we do not understand.

    • Re: "Amanda Berry’s mother asked the psychic for information; the latter did not volunteer it."

      You can't let Browne off the hook that easily. She might have been asked about Amanda Berry, but had she nothing useful to report, she could have chosen to say, "I don't know anything about her, sorry." No one put a gun to Browne's head and forced her to say something she didn't want to say. Rest assured, she blathered about something she had no idea about, all on her own.

      Re: "The psychic was also able to describe Ariel Castro with remarkable accuracy."

      Curiously, this information turned out to have been unhelpful to Amanda Berry's family, some of whom lived in that neighborhood and would have seen him. Could it be because a lot of folks in that area looked similar? Meaning Browne's description was too generic, and therefore not "accurate" in any way?

      Re: "As to her prediction that Amanda had died she was wrong, but psychics work with mental pictures and symbols and possibly Berry’s horrible and dire situation could easily have been interpreted 'as if' she had died, 'as if' her life had been taken from her which it effectively was for a decade."

      Really?! You sure you want to go with this? According to this logic, anything any psychic ever says about anything could be dead wrong. Which leads one to wonder what good it could ever possibly do, to consult one?

      Re: "This does not make Browne a fake, it makes her human and fallible."

      And your rationale makes psychic powers useless and worth no one's time even to think about. Ever.

      Re: "Let's not condemn when we do not understand."

      Maybe you don't "understand" it, but I for one quite understand Browne and her game. There's little about it I don't "understand." It's obvious, in fact. As transparent as a pane of glass.

  • Expain too Me How You and All of Your fellow Psychic Liars missed ,September 11,2001? Go ahead I can wait! You Missed the Biggest Event in the history of Our Current Day…

  • Did Amanda's mom die because she believed Sylvia and gave up on her daughter?

    • psychic survivor


      I am 60 years old, grew up in the "Christian Spiritualist Church," and at age 9 was told, by the Medium/Pastor, through a "message from the Spirit World," that I would not live to be 40 years old.

      Believe me, at age 39, even though I knew INTELLECTUALLY it was an unlikely prediction, I had been carrying that message with me for 30 years. In the months leading up to my 40th birthday, I was nearly hospitalized with a mental disorder because I was so afraid! And you would think that my 40th birthday would have been a happy relief, but instead the thoughts turned to "maybe the prediction was off by only a few months," etc.

      I absolutely believe this fraud's prediction caused the death of Amanda Berry!!! She took away all hope!!!!

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