Did a New Official UK Report Really Say That Police Should Consult Psychics?

[Excerpts from my post at The Friendly Atheist]

By Bo Gardiner

It would certainly seem so, judging by newspaper coverage of the UK College of Policing draft report proposing new standards for police.

FBI consultant and former TV psychic Patrick Jane suspects a psychic tipster is really the murderer on The Mentalist series finale

The Independent in the UK ran the initial story with the headline “Detectives investigating missing persons cases ‘should consider the advice of psychics’, says College of Policing.” The opening sentence read “Detectives investigating missing persons cases should consider tips from people claiming to have supernatural abilities, according to new proposals from the College of Policing.”

That certainly sounds like the College wants detectives thinking, Hmm, forget Sherlock, I’d better send for psychics to get the expert help I need on this tough case! The paper goes so far as to report that experts want psychics taken seriously

So, the message is that the College is totally into psychic vibes, right?
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A Telephone Psychic Confesses

[Excerpts from my guest post at The Friendly Atheist.]

Erin Auerbach was a failed actress who came to Las Vegas for an exciting job opportunity that fed what she admitted was a strong ego: She was going to become a professional psychic. “The thing is, I’m not sure that I’m psychic,” she admitted to the interviewer.

“That’s OK,” he replied. “We’ll give you everything you need for the job.”

It seemed easy at first.

I attended one short training session… He stressed that we didn’t necessarily have to be psychic to do the job


[Read the rest of my post A Telephone Psychic Confesses at The Friendly Atheist].

Galactic Wisdom for Sale, Only $200 (Alien Implants Removed, No Extra Charge)

Ted Mahr

Vendor of Galactic Wisdom, Ted Mahr

Craig Sailor of the Bellingham (Wash.) Herald has published a most enlightening interview with the host of “Out of This World Radio” on KKNW, Ted Mahr.  Ted runs the upcoming Galactic Wisdom Conference, which is “dedicated to the awakening of all human beings.”  Tickets sound steep at $97-247, but if you think about it, that’s dirt cheap when you look at what he promises you’ll be able to do there:

  • Speak to benevolent extraterrestrials (ETs).
  • Obtain ET protection.
  • Learn amazing and profound insights from people in contact with ETs.
  • Find and remove any alien implants you may have.
  • Contact your angels.
  • Talk to the dead.
  • Communicate with water.
  • Have an appointment with a medical psychic.

Mahr, a disbarred attorney, assures Sailer this is not about conning gullible people, because he’s “getting better at identifying the charlatans.”  Glad that’s straightened out.  Sailer asks Mahr what got him into this: Continue reading

Grieving Sister and Friend of Missing Dublin Woman Say They Were Targeted, Exploited by Psychics

[As seen at Doubtful News].

by Bo Gardiner

Psychics have left Berna Uyrun angry no closer to finding her missing sister

Londoner Berna Uyrun is angry that psychics targeted her when she was grieving, desperate and vulnerable.  Psychics claiming to have paranormal knowledge of the location and fate of her missing sister Esra, who disappeared in 2011 from her Dublin home, managed only to contradict one another and create more confusion and anxiety. Continue reading

Psychic who was no help in solving murder now claims she helped police

A version of this post was published at Doubtful News.

by Bo Gardiner

Psychic Lisa Lanno (left) interviewed on PBS

Psychic Lisa Lanno (left) interviewed on PBS

Connecticut media needs remedial critical thinking training.  Earlier this month, Connecticut Public Radio aired a bizarre and unquestioning interview with “psychic detectives” who made outrageously false claims about their supposed help to authorities in finding missing people. Now more news of Connecticut broadcasters’ obsession with psychics emerges.  “Spiritual medium”

Lisa Lanno is best known for appearing weekly on a Hartford, CT, Fox TV morning “news” show called “Medium Monday.”   In December 2012, Lanno was rather disappointingly invited on PBS station WGBY’s nightly public affairs  program “Connecting Point” to discuss communication with the dead.   She was joined by the mother of murdered 20-year-old Amanda Plasse, about a year after the August 2011 crime.  The killer’s identity was still unknown, and the reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction had recently been upped to $10,000.  Carrie Saldo was the show’s host:

CS:  The 2011 murder of Chicopee resident Amanda Plasse remains unsolved… Recently [Amanda’s mother Michelle] Mathieson teamed up with medium Lisa Lanno to see if that would result in any new information…

MM:  Nothing right now.  No… no leads.

CS:  No new information since…

MM:  No.

Psychic Lanno is incoherent in her attempt to  explain her failure:

LL:  [Amanda] will give me some validations that are very specific, and I’ll bring them to her mother… I’ll ask Michelle, “Does that make sense to you?  Does that make sense to you?”  And even if I don’t know exactly what’s going on, she will tell me “Yes, that makes sense.”  Because in order to do this type of work, I have to validate with her that these things make sense.  Because otherwise—people should be skeptical, it’s good, you should be.  So it’s my job to prove it and say “Does this make sense to you?”  And when she says, “Yes, that makes sense…”

CS:  [Interrupting] So, Lisa, in terms of information that Amanda has communicated to you, do you feel that you’ve received any information that might help lead to the person who murdered Amanda?

LL:  Good question.  She’s given me a lot of information, but there’s not necessarily anything I can do personally with that information.  It’s a big puzzle.  What I see may make sense to Michelle, it may make sense to the police, but I don’t have the authority to go in and arrest somebody…

CS:  Well, of course.

LL:   And if you think about it, it’s all a big puzzle.  If any medium were able to get every little speck of information… our lives would be in danger, and then there’d be no need for police…

Lanno did go on to say that Amanda had revealed her  interest in sunflowers, tattoos and Pink Floyd. Another year later, an arrest was finally made in November 2013.  Amanda had filed a police report of a burglary before her death, which led police to obtain DNA evidence on the man she suspected of being the burglar:

A state police report made public in March stated that DNA evidence led investigators to Rosa-Roman, whom Plasse suspected of breaking into her apartment several weeks before she was killed.

A third year passes.  And as usual, the psychic’s story has evolved into something unrecognizable and bigger than life.  Lanno claimed yesterday in a TV interview that she did help the police find Plasse’s killer:  The interview, billed as one in which “Lanno discusses how she assists investigators in such cases,” was by Theresa Dufour on WTNH, a Connecticut CBS affiliate.  Dufour introduces the segment with a highly questionable claim of her own: Continue reading

NPR Station Gushes Over ‘Psychic Detectives’ and ‘Forensic Astrologer’

WNPR News - Connecticut’s Public Media Source for News and Ideas 2015-02-08 11-00-51

Your Radio Has Let You Down

You turn on your radio, and are surprised to hear a talkshow host gushing “Oh wow!” over “psychic detectives” and “forensic astrologers.”  Did you accidentally tune in to the home of the fringe, “Coast to Coast?”  You check the dial.  Nope, it’s right there on your usual NPR station… in this case, WNPR News, Connecticut Public Radio.

Has your faith been misplaced?  No, seriously, what is Faith Middleton doing, this award-winning long-time contributor to NPR news programs All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition?   You’re listening to the latest  episode of the 50-minute Faith Middleton Show, Retired Law Enforcement Working With Psychics to Find Missing Persons, Solve Murders.  You think, Oh, I get it, she’s looking into their claims, good.  You expect what any good journalist would bring: challenging questions, rational skepticism, and at least some basic factchecking.

You’d be wrong.   The show was a tribute by a fan.  Continue reading

I Correctly Predicted That Sportswriters Would Out-Guess Psychics in the Super Bowl

magic 8 ball[As seen at Doubtful News.]

Okay, I admit I didn’t go on record with that prediction.  But trust me.

Twenty-five psychics were asked by HuffPo to predict yesterday’s Super Bowl, in which the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28 to 24.  Bookies had given generally even odds between the two closely matched teams, with sportswriters leaning toward New England. Continue reading

Psychic kicks off plan to “teach” telepathy and psychokinesis in 500 public schools

By Bo Gardiner, as seen at Doubtful News:

 Students at the Bronx Center for Science and Math held up question marks at Senehi's kickoff performance. South Bronx high school students participate in psychic’s Dec 19 performance

The Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics recently hired a psychic to deliver his first in a program series for high school students designed to help them “reflect on their beliefs, values, and purpose:”

Mentalist and mind reader Gerard Senehi recently partnered with the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics to offer classes meant to help students develop life skills like self-confidence and answer tough questions about themselves, such as “Do you have the courage to pursue what you really care about?” and “How much do you have a sense of direction and purpose in life?”

The program, called The QUESTion Project, kicked off with a Dec. 19 performance at the school where Senehi dazzled students with tricks like bending wine glasses, spinning spoons in other people’s hands and making accurate predictions about the future.

Edward Tom, the school’s founding principal, was also impressed by how well Senehi managed to keep the students’ attention.  “The whole purpose wasn’t to give kids a magic show,” he said. “It was to let them know the power of belief, that there are so many things that are possible… “

Out-Uri-ing Geller: Gerard Senehi must be for real — he can bend TWO spoons!

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ABC Nightline’s 2011 Test of Professional Psychics

Psychic stockbroker shocked that he can't connect to dead people when tested.

A “psychic stockbroker” and medium is shocked that he can’t connect to dead people when tested.  The magician Banachek conducts the test.

ABC’s news program Nightline worked with magician-skeptics James Randi and Banachek as part of its series “Beyond Belief,” in a fascinating episode called “Psychic Powers” on August 16, 2011. It focused on the James Randi Educational Foundation’s (JREF) Million Dollar Challenge, which would award a million dollars to anyone who could prove their paranormal claim.

The segment did not receive nearly the coverage and discussion it deserved, in my opinion, considering how rare such broadcast tests are due to the extreme difficulty of putting them together.  I’ve combed through blogs and podcasts to assemble a more detailed description than has been published so far.  Check out the video, then continue reading for an even more interesting look behind the scenes.

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