Sylvia Browne and the Living Dead Girl

Sylvia Browne.  In four syllables with this woman’s name you can sum up what I think is wrong with the greater psychic community.  I remember when I first found Sylvia Browne when I was in my late teens; I was fascinated with this woman and her ability to do what she did.  Like a lot of people I watched her episodes of the Montel Williams show to see if she might be able to crack some big missing person’s case or help someone find peace after the death of a loved one.  It was never really quite like that.  It always felt more like watching someone on a very high and kind of rocky pedestal talking down to the peasants below.  “Don’t let the queen know you thinks she’s wrong!  Just nod your head and say ‘yes’.”  And that’s what most people did.

That’s what Louwanna Miller did in 2004.   Louwanna was on the Montel show in hopes of getting some insights about her missing daughter, Amanda Berry.  Amanda was found alive this week after managing to escape from the home she and two other woman and a child {Amanda’s 6 year old daughter…we can only assume how that happened} were being held captive in.  “Psychic” Sylvia told Louwanna that her daughter was dead.  The poor mother, who was looking for any piece of hope she could find, had every bit she’d gather taken away from her in a matter of seconds.  She broke down and, from what the media has reported, was never the same since.  Louwanna died two years later from what family have said was a broken heart {medically she died from heart failure along with pancreatitis and a number of other issues}.

It’s not uncommon for someone in a situation like Louwanna’s to give up hope and suddenly have their body weaken and shut down.  In a bit of a twisted way it’s kind of like a defense mechanism against the emotional and spiritual pain.  The thing that’s really horrible in this instance is that Sylvia Browne was wrong.  Dead wrong {pardon the pun}.  As we know now Amanda was alive and being held captive in a home in Cleveland.  But Louwanna never got a chance to be reunited with her daughter.

Yes, one could argue that she would have gotten sick and passed either way, but changes are pretty good that having lost hope that her daughter would ever be found alive because Sylvia Browne told her on a national television show that she was dead probably contributed to her decline.

While I watched people on Facebook and Twitter and in some places on the blogosphere talk about how shitty it was and how this is why Sylvia Browne needs to be stopped, it got me thinking of something else.

What about Amanda?  She’s free and comes out looking to reunite with her family but her mother is gone.  I can only imagine that she wouldn’t have known about her mother’s massing 7 years ago…so what must that be like for her?  After enduring 10 years of captivity now she gets to come home to find her mother has died and to hear about some of what surrounded the time leading up to her death?

It’s sad…it’s ironic…and it’s fucking wrong!

I am always avoiding the “psychic” label because of stuff like this – because of people like this.  Predictive reading without the caveat of “but I could be wrong” is so dangerous.  It doesn’t matter how psychic or intuitive you think you are, nobody is ever 100% right 100% of the time.  I tell all my students that and I tell all my clients that.  It’s so important to keep in mind but, for all kinds of reasons, people forget that.  When you want to believe nothing will stop you from believing.

Not only do I think that as people in the spiritual arts working as intuitives, readers, and mediums that we need to have strict ethical codes that we follow, I think that those who come to us for readings and sessions need to carry a little responsibility too.  That’s why I’m always telling my clients that, while I can give you the information and the messages that I’m getting, you have to make the choices and take the actions.  I can’t tell you what to do and I can’t do it for you.

However, Sylvia Browne isn’t just any old psychic. She’s a woman who has built a virtual empire on writing books, teaching workshops, and doing readings {at present, according to her website, 20-30 mins on the phone with her will run you $850}.  She’s got a weird cult-like following of people who hang on to the hope that one day they can speak to her in person.  Why that continues to this day after all the wrong predictions, especially with regard to missing people, just baffles me.

At least this latest HUGE wrong prediction has people seeking out more information.  Today the StopSylvia.com website crashed because of all the traffic.

This afternoon this was posted on Sylvia Browne’s Facebook page:

sylvia1

 

With this following a handful of hours later:

browne

 

Sylvia Browne consistently says that people are “in water” when she’s predicting that they are dead.   There is one instance, again on Montel, when she was telling a woman that her boyfriend who had been missing and presumed dead was in water and this was why the body was never found.  The problem?  The woman’s boyfriend was a first responder at the World Trade Center on 9/11 when he went missing.  He wasn’t in any water.  “Psychic” Sylvia then back peddled and tried to say that he may have drowned while they were trying to put the fires out.   You can watch a bunch of her failed predictions here.

Here’s the thing though…

Should we be mad at her?  Should we be annoyed with her making crap tons of money off her books, workshops, lectures, readings, and website when she’s proven time and time again that she’s wrong?  Should we be upset that being a “famous psychic” who’s failures are constantly in the spotlight puts a bit of a stain on the psychic and spiritual profession and community as a whole?  Should we just brush her off as a con-artist crackpot and adopt a “live and learn” attitude for those that still put their faith and hope in her?  Should those of us that do similar work just keep on keepin’ on and act like these things don’t happen and don’t need to be addressed in some way?

I don’t know.
I’m still figuring these things out myself.
letstalk

[fontpress type=”webfonts” name=”Cabin” size=”18px” lh=”18px” color=”#000000″] What do you think about psychics like this that are very bold and brazen in their predictions about life and death?
What are you thoughts on predictions and predictive psychic reading?
What do you think if Sylvia Browne?  Do you think she’s a charlatan like many people have labeled her?[/fontpress]

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  • Alan J Sheridan
    May 9, 2013 at 3:59 am

    I can't stop thinking about how Ms. Berry's poor mother felt for the years before she died, thinking her daughter was dead. There should be a well-documented, published, ethical guideline for professional psychics. First on the list, don't tell someone their child is dead on national television!

  • Alan J Sheridan
    May 9, 2013 at 3:59 am

    I can't stop thinking about how Ms. Berry's poor mother felt for the years before she died, thinking her daughter was dead. There should be a well-documented, published, ethical guideline for professional psychics. First on the list, don't tell someone their child is dead on national television!

  • Selene De la Rosa
    May 9, 2013 at 4:01 am

    WOW people like that infuriate me.

    No, I don't believe we should take the "live & learn" attitude with these type of situations. its ridiculous. as long as people keep quiet about what's really going on there won't be any change.

    This woman is making money off of people who are holding on to her psychic visions as if they were real. its not only unethical, its just plain wrong!!

    why hasn't karma given this crook what she deserves?

    its ridiculous!!$$850 for a 30 min reading??? It's beyond

  • Selene De la Rosa
    May 9, 2013 at 4:01 am

    WOW people like that infuriate me.

    No, I don't believe we should take the "live & learn" attitude with these type of situations. its ridiculous. as long as people keep quiet about what's really going on there won't be any change.

    This woman is making money off of people who are holding on to her psychic visions as if they were real. its not only unethical, its just plain wrong!!

    why hasn't karma given this crook what she deserves?

    its ridiculous!!$$850 for a 30 min reading??? It's beyond

  • Tonja Vernazza
    May 9, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Did you see the article on The Wild Hunt on this very topic?

  • Tonja Vernazza
    May 9, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Did you see the article on The Wild Hunt on this very topic?

  • Alan J Sheridan
    May 9, 2013 at 4:38 am

    I didn't, I'm afraid to read more. The whole thing angries up my blood.

  • Alan J Sheridan
    May 9, 2013 at 4:38 am

    I didn't, I'm afraid to read more. The whole thing angries up my blood.

  • Jack Collins
    May 9, 2013 at 5:26 am

    Yes we should be mad that there are people that PREY on grieving families. To me its a form of terrorism.

  • Jack Collins
    May 9, 2013 at 5:26 am

    Yes we should be mad that there are people that PREY on grieving families. To me its a form of terrorism.

  • Stella Seaspirit
    May 9, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    I think that when interpreting flash insights that come through during a reading you need to remember you are peering through a pinhole in time. You are seeing the possible potential of a situation. He may well have planned to kill her and then changed his mind, for example. It is better in my opinion for those inclined to make predictions to refrain from making a bold statement such as "your loved one is dead" whether in private or public because as you implied Jess, this robs the querent of a valid reason to go on. The emotional trauma something like that incurs could very well lead to severe decline in well-being. Sylvia admits she isn't right all the time and I think she could be more conscious of the effect of her actions, particularly because her followers have placed her on a pedestal and give so much weight to her interpretations.

  • Stella Seaspirit
    May 9, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    I think that when interpreting flash insights that come through during a reading you need to remember you are peering through a pinhole in time. You are seeing the possible potential of a situation. He may well have planned to kill her and then changed his mind, for example. It is better in my opinion for those inclined to make predictions to refrain from making a bold statement such as "your loved one is dead" whether in private or public because as you implied Jess, this robs the querent of a valid reason to go on. The emotional trauma something like that incurs could very well lead to severe decline in well-being. Sylvia admits she isn't right all the time and I think she could be more conscious of the effect of her actions, particularly because her followers have placed her on a pedestal and give so much weight to her interpretations.

  • Debra Ray Thody-Curry
    May 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Yep, what Alan J Sheridan just said

  • Debra Ray Thody-Curry
    May 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Yep, what Alan J Sheridan just said

  • Jess Carlson
    May 9, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I sort of take issue with telling anyone someone is dead in whatever forum it's in only because there is always that chance you could be wrong and the trauma that being wrong about something like that isn't worth any amount of fame or money.

  • Jess Carlson
    May 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I really don't understand how it is that she still has the following she has after all these years. Oh…wait…I do! Most of these people have never worked with her one-on-one and have only seeing her on TV or read her books. It's easy to have a sunshine and rainbows view of someone when you're at a distance and to stay in the "ignorance is bliss" zone.

  • Jess Carlson
    May 9, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I think you kind of hit the point home, Stella…"being more conscious in the effect of her actions". This is something that Sylvia Browne has been devoid of for many, many years. I've often wondered if she just let the fame and notoriety go to her head and her ethics went flying out the window.

  • Jess Carlson
    May 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    It is certainly preying on the person in many situations. In a situation like this though, where Miller wasn't paying for her reading and was just part of a TV show, it seems more about Browne's fame and involvement in something that was in the news at the time rather than really preying on the grieving mother. Either way it's still a major lapse in ethics, etiquette, and jugement as a psychic and spiritual worker {two terms I use VERY loosely with Sylvia Browne}.

  • The Four Queens
    May 11, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    A very interesting post. I've always steered clear of Browne – I saw the 9/11 prediction she back-peddled on and what struck me about it was the complete insensitivity she showed to the woman she was speaking to. 'It doesn't matter if they find him or not,' she said. That's clearly the mark of someone who's not doing what she's doing out of compassion for others.

    Like you, I often wonder if people should be angry with her.. Although I disapprove of the way she runs her shit, I also think it's dangerous for people not to ask their own questions and do their own research before believing in someone whole-heartedly. As a consumer, I believe you should arm yourself with knowledge and never lose sight of your critical thinking. People who believe someone hook, line and sinker need to take some of the responsibility.

  • The Four Queens
    May 11, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    A very interesting post. I've always steered clear of Browne – I saw the 9/11 prediction she back-peddled on and what struck me about it was the complete insensitivity she showed to the woman she was speaking to. 'It doesn't matter if they find him or not,' she said. That's clearly the mark of someone who's not doing what she's doing out of compassion for others.

    Like you, I often wonder if people should be angry with her.. Although I disapprove of the way she runs her shit, I also think it's dangerous for people not to ask their own questions and do their own research before believing in someone whole-heartedly. As a consumer, I believe you should arm yourself with knowledge and never lose sight of your critical thinking. People who believe someone hook, line and sinker need to take some of the responsibility.

  • Jodi Blackmore
    May 13, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Sylvia Browne's attitude is what gets me…like, you see her do these readings on Montel (only watched a few) but she seems very dismissive and completely taken with her own ideas…it doesn't seem to be about healing or helping…more like notoriety… Having said that, how true that no one can make decisions for us but us – no matter how much psychic insight someone may have, ultimately we make the choices, it's our life…and I think sometimes people need to have a healthy skepticism until proven otherwise…

  • Jodi Blackmore
    May 13, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Sylvia Browne's attitude is what gets me…like, you see her do these readings on Montel (only watched a few) but she seems very dismissive and completely taken with her own ideas…it doesn't seem to be about healing or helping…more like notoriety… Having said that, how true that no one can make decisions for us but us – no matter how much psychic insight someone may have, ultimately we make the choices, it's our life…and I think sometimes people need to have a healthy skepticism until proven otherwise…

  • Judy Vancil Jandora
    May 16, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Same here..My inner-tuition has always told me very clearly that she wasn't clear.

  • Judy Vancil Jandora
    May 16, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Same here..My inner-tuition has always told me very clearly that she wasn't clear.

  • Sugar Burlyq
    May 25, 2013 at 4:49 am

    I have read a couple of her books out of curiosity and I believe at one point she was the real deal. However she disrespected her gift and became corrupted and so has her gift. I have come to believe this has happened to many successful psychics and that is why they burn bright and then burn out.

  • Sugar Burlyq
    May 25, 2013 at 4:49 am

    I have read a couple of her books out of curiosity and I believe at one point she was the real deal. However she disrespected her gift and became corrupted and so has her gift. I have come to believe this has happened to many successful psychics and that is why they burn bright and then burn out.

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