Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Psychic Detectives

The world is rife with people who claim they hold psychic powers; especially those who claim that they can use their psychic abilities to solve crimes. These "psychic detectives" are often displayed in a positive light in the media, portraying them as having "amazing" psychic detection and leading to cases being solved wherever they go. It is because of the uncritical media that these psychic detectives gain their success. They tend to ignore the faults, failures and frauds and instead focus on the "successes." The truth, however, is quite different.

Psychic detective Sylvia Browne for example, who claims to have used her psychic abilities to solve numerous crimes and is often praised by the media, has been challenged on her credibility. After highlighting 35 cases in which she "helped solve," 21 turned out to have details that were too vague and without enough detail to be verified or helpful. For the other 14, police officers and family members stated that "Browne had played no useful role" in the solving of the crime.

The truth behind psychic detectives? They are masters of deception, not psychic ability. They often have "clairvoyant sights" involving very vague, non-detailed descriptions which could apply to many things and which would be easy for a believing person to connect to the situation. They also use the "50/50" guess to their advantage, because they are bound to get it right sometimes ("the subject is dead!"). Well the odds are that by the time a psychic detective gets involved in an investigation, the subject is already dead. These so called psychic detectives have many more tricks up their sleeves, including the exploiting of coincidences, the use of self-fulfilling prophecies, cold-reading, confirmation bias, and subjective validation.


No comments:

Post a Comment