Psychic Parasites

Let’s say that Sacha Baron Cohen, the guy behind reality-bending characters as Ali G, Borat, and Bruno, has decided that for his next movie he is going to pretend to be a psychic. And let’s say he’s going to go to people who actually have had a loved one disappear and help them find their missing child or whatever, when he really is just going to lead them on a wild goose chase.

I’m hoping there would be some level of outrage. At the very least I think a lot of folks would find it tasteless, while many would demand boycotts, apologies, tarring and feathering, and so forth. Cohen could defend himself saying, “Hey, I’m just trying to entertain people!” and this would probably not mollify the critics. Or he could stay in character, claiming that his talents are a gift from God, and that would probably annoy people even more.

So my question is: if people would (hopefully) be outraged about him doing that, why are so few outraged at people who do it for real?

Jaycee Dugard Abduction Case Highlights Failure of Psychics

Jaycee Dugard, the woman who was abducted at the age of 11 in 1991, was recently discovered living in a virtual prison in the back yard of a couple’s come in Antioch, Calif., as has been widely reported. She had been there for 18 years, confined and horrifically abused, even giving birth to her rapist’s children. They were kept prisoner and isolated, never having attended school or seen a doctor.

Amazingly, a Reno psychic is now claiming the case proves the accuracy of her abilities.

Dayle Schear, who was paid by Jaycee’s parents to help locate their daughter, says she told Jaycee’s mother not to give up searching for her daughter: “I looked her in the eyes and I said… eventually she’ll walk through the door, you’re going to see her again.”

Schear also claims that she correctly described the general area where Jaycee was being held. The psychic’s “information” is typical of what happens when missing persons are eventually found, dead or alive. Psychics come forward years later after the person was found to make retroactive claims about how they “knew” certain pieces of information.

Yet the psychics conveniently ignore the fact that their information was either wrong or so general and vague that it was useless. If Shear’s psychic powers told her that this poor girl was being kept in the most horrific conditions – being subjected to continual sexual and physical abuse for nearly two decades – then it’s puzzling that Jaycee was not found 18 years ago.

As usual, a high-profile case attracts the bottom-feeders, and found one with Schear, a parasite who is advertising her “success” on her website. Her psychic success is so amazing that whatever details she claimed to have about the case years ago did absolutely no good, as it was solved only recently through actions of the kidnapper and the police, not through any psychic tips.

Sacha Baron Cohen would be castigated for exploiting grief for money and entertainment, yet so-called psychics (who have to defend themselves with “For Entertainment Purposes Only”) are allowed to bilk distraught people for money or fame.

It is infuriating that a pack of proven, professional con-artists are allowed to legally stay in the con-artist business and are given attention and credibility on various TV shows. And it’s not just victims that are preyed on by these people, they also irritate police departments with their “insights” that simply waste time, manpower, and money. All so that if it turns out the body is found “near water” they can chalk it up as a “hit” and charge more to the gullible.

If we wouldn’t accept this behavior from a guy looking to make bucks and give people laughs, why do we accept it from others doing the same thing?

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4 Responses to Psychic Parasites

  1. Shane Bailey says:


  2. I agree with you wholeheartedly on this. The same variable hit ratio psychics pretend has some reality to it is the same basic mechanic that keeps gamblers addicted. Yet we can’t make people believe what they do not want to.

    People will put up with being manipulated if they get some emotional need(s) met. Look at most religions (Christianity and Islam in particular) – acceptance of being manipulated by others at an emotional level over something that isn’t real, but that’s OK to them, as their emotional needs and what they want to believe outweigh common sense.

    The people who have a desperate need to contact lost loved ones are willing to accept preposterous things from the con-men (psychics), because a deep emotional need gets met in some form. Indeed I sympathise, but you can’t stop people from believing what they really, really want to.

  3. Dave says:

    You can’t stop people from believing foolish things, but you can make these things illegal. Con games are illegal and “psychics” should be right in there with them, not given TV shows and books to lure in more victims.

  4. Stewart says:

    Great post, Dave. I agree with you on the psychics, and I would personally extend the “parasite” label to many practitioners in the pseudo-medical fields as well.