Sunday, March 20, 2011

Psychic Crime Detectives

Psychics tend to do a good job convincing people they can predict the future, contact the dead, or even help find a killer. There are numerous accounts of mysterious murders that lead the police to call in psychics. Each case turns out the same; the psychic’s broad claims do not help find the killer, and most of the time they just waste police resources. One instance in particular is the case of John List; a man who shot his wife, mother, and three children. He left them out to be found in his mansion, with a letter confessing what he had done to his minister. He expected to be caught almost immediately, but ended up starting a new life with a new identity. The case in his home town did not die, and one detective took a lot of interest in the case. He had heard about a psychic living near by and decided to bring her crime scene photos and get her input on the matter. Although she had little leads, she did provide him with some interesting information. The psychic, Elizabeth Lerner, claimed that List had met a new woman, which he had, traveled by plane to the southwest, he lived in Colorado, and she claimed there was significance with Florida or Virginia, and List ended up in Virginia where he was eventually arrested. She had also told the detective that she was convinced he would visit the gravesite of his old family on his birthday. Since the detective’s other information was accurate, the detective got permission to watch the graveyard the day before and the day of List’s birthday. He never arrived. A few years later List was finally caught because a neighbor had recognized a picture of List on America’s Most Wanted.

In this case, people who believe in psychics can claim that Lerner was right since some of her details were accurate. The detective did not only ask for Lerner’s help; a psychologist had also assisted him in trying to figure out clues to lead to List. The psychologist had also come up with the idea that List had moved away from his home town and that he had met a new woman. Lerner went the extra step and predicted his visit to the graves. List never planned on visiting the graves, but the detective wanted to believe Lerner’s claims so bad that he had wasted two days staking out the gravesite. It can be assumed that anyone who knows the ways criminals behave could have made such assumptions because sometimes killers will return to visit past lives; List was just not one of those people.

This is just one example of how psychic crime detectives are used, and there are more that produce the same unfruitful results. Their confidence and their strong ability to convince people is their real power.


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