3/30/06 (PMP) Sylvia and Friends, Part I
Thousands upon thousands are taken in by her deceptions. They buy her books, and they pay her for readings. They even pay $250 to join her "Christian church", which is an abomination to real Christianity, claiming that God is a woman who created God the man, reincarnation is real, there is no such thing as sin or hell, and Jesus ran off to France with Mary Magdelene, having never died on the cross.
I believe it was during the 1st year that Jason was missing that we received a large envelope in the mail which contained numerous photocopied papers. The copies were the poorest quality I'd ever seen. Each one contained sales information about various items for purchase, such as books, tapes, and readings. I had no idea why we received this packet until I found the letter that was enclosed.
An older woman who used to go to our church had written a letter to SB, asking for her help in our son's case. The letter was in the package, but there was no letter from SB or any of her minions, not even a form letter. There was no expression of sympathy for our plight, only a request to purchase products.
I'd be rich if I had a dollar for everytime someone said to me: "Why not ask SB for help? She can help you." I say: "The only person she is helping is herself. The only thing she is capable of finding is your money in her bank account."
To date, SB has never solved a single missing person's case. That should tell you something.
Today's guest writer is Dana Ames, co-founder of United Response Search and Rescue Team. Dana, along with her sister, Sheila Holland, assist families of the missing with searches and support through their organization. Sheila and Dana support us in our efforts to educate the public and the families we serve.
To learn more about United Response, please see:
"Fruit Loops, Loony Tunes, Nut Cases, Emotionally Disturbed.
These are just a few words that we have used to describe the unwanted, unwelcome psychics that interject themselves into the lives of victims and their families.
As the Director of United Response Search And Rescue Team I can tell you first hand the absolute destruction, and devastation these individuals cause. URSAR has had well over 60 missing person cases, of which psychics have interjected themselves into.
They always start out the same. They either contact the families themselves, or have someone call the families, and do their bidding for them. They never, or seldom want money. If they normally charge for their services, then they will typically wave their fees, and we are glad for that. After all the families should not have to pay to be revictimized by these sometimes well intending fruit loops. They do this to legitimize their unsolicited involvement in the cases. They always claim that they just want to help, and that the victim is pressuring them into contacting the families.
These individuals don't understand the damage, and devastation they cause, nor do they care. The families of missing loved ones are desperate for answers as to what happened to their loved one, and the psychics count on that. Their claims of seeing the perpetrator, the location of the events, and even talking to the dead themselves, make it more devastating on the families. These families, desperate for any answers they can find to locate their loved one makes them extremely vulnerable to these quacks. The families are afraid not to believe these people; because what if they are right, and they don't listen, they may loose their opportunity to find their loved one. When the impression, or dream, or what ever they want to call it does not pan out, the families are then left feeling hopeless, and devastated. I can tell you that not one of our cases has ever been solved by a psychic. Nor has any psychics ever been even remotely close as to any of the facts relating to any of our solved cases.
Over the course of the past five years I can tell you that our clients have been contacted by Psychics all over the country, including the well known Sylvia Browne. Not ever has any one of them been correct. In speaking with our clients we have been able to determine the estimated number of psychics that have contacted them to be in the upper 200's, and this is a conservative number. Opal Jennings family alone was contacted by at least 60 different psychics, and I will get into some specifics a little later about that, and how wrong the details were that these individuals gave.
Psychic involvement in the cases is not only hard on the families, but it is also a very difficult situation for Law Enforcement, and Search And Rescue Teams to deal with as well. These families are very fragile, and it is very difficult to explain why the involvement of a psychic is not going to help in locating their loved one. At first it gives the family another direction they want to explore, and gives them hope. The problem with this is, they want to try and locate the landmarks, vehicles, suspects, or locations that the psychics have told them about. This would not be a problem if any of what they were ever told was correct or true, but that has just not ever been the case in our experience. While we are chasing these dreams, and visions we are not working on the facts of the case, and it takes us away from the true investigation, and slows down the process. It waste valuable time, and it hinders the search for legitimate answers that we are looking for. If you have been working on a real lead, and you are taken away from the facts that are legitimate to the case, and you choose to chase these visions, you can actually jeopardize your case, and the valuable resources that are needed to get the job done. You can loose focus on the real perpetrator, or have the water so muddy that it could take months to get back on the right track, and that kind of valuable time could truly cost the life of the victim, or forensic evidence to be lost forever. It is just not worth it no matter how you slice it.
It breaks our hearts to look into the tearful eyes of those families, and have to tell them that the new information that they have received from a psychic is not most likely going to turn out to be anything, and we will try to keep an eye out for what ever they have been told. It dashes their hope, and sometimes that is all they have. When we have actually dropped everything that we were doing, and pursued the visions, it has always been extremely devastating when they don't come to fruition. The families can't understand why someone would have told them that this information was the answer to finding their loved one, to only have it be absolute crap. It enrages me to see people that we have grown to love be victimized by these horrible people. We have had many tell us that the psychics are well intending, and they may be, but I could care less about their well intending feelings. I think they should be charged with interfering in the investigation of a missing person. I wish something could be done to stop them from revictimizing these families.
Little Opal Jo Jennings was abducted by a repeat sex offender in March of 1999 from her Grandmother's front yard in Saginaw Texas. The family, desperate for answers, went on the Montel Williams show in April of 1999, and had a reading done by the infamous Sylvia Brown. Ms. Brown told the grandmother on national TV that Opal was alive, and that she had been taken, and sold into a sex slave ring in Japan, and very horrible things had been done to her. Montel Williams pledged the support of his finest private investigators, and promised that he would immediately start to work on locating Opal. This was the last time family ever heard from Montel, or Ms. Sylvia Brown. Opal's Tiny remains were finally found in a wooded area approximately 13 miles from where she was abducted in December of 2003. It was determined that Opal was killed by trauma to the head with several hours of her abduction. Montel left the viewing audience believing that they had solved the case, and would go and find Opal in 1999, none of which he did, nor did he correct the facts before his viewers…Pretty Sad. This is the very reason why so many people believe in Psychics today. It is because of shows like the Montel Williams Show, and the only thing that these people care about are ratings, and fat bank accounts. All of that being said, this poor family had at least another 60 psychics contact them.
These so called Psychics come in many forms, and some of the even claim they are not psychics. They claim to have all kinds of abilities, and the truth is they are all emotional, and led by their emotions, or worse they are just liars. Some want money, but most do not. They all want to be involved, and they are all trying to build a name for themselves. None of these people care about the damage they cause.
In June of 2004 we were conducting a search for Marcus Savage, a four-year-old little boy who was reported missing by his father. The father had stated that the child had gone to play with friends a few doors down, and had never returned. While conducting our search for Marcus a psychic named Nola Brown contacted us, and was insistent that we stop looking in the area that we were in, and go to the local Mc Donald's. The psychic stated that two strangers abducted Marcus. One was a white male in his forties, and the other was a very unattractive, over weight white female in her thirties. (Marcus and his father are both black.) She then went on to describe how the abduction took place, and that the license plates on the vehicle were from another state. The psychic then insisted that the Mc Donald's security camera should be checked, because they had taken him to Mc Donald's. The psychic called at least 10 times on the first day we were conducting our search for this child, and each time there was more urgency in her voice. This psychic was incorrect on everything that she had stated. The child's father was arrested days later, and charged with his little boy's murder. Marcus's body was found in the trunk of a car, wrapped in a blanket that had been taken from his bed. Had we listened to what this quack was telling us, she would have sent us in the wrong direction. N ot only that, but Marcus may not have been found if we had checked out the psychic's story. How scary!
In closing I would like to add, that we do not blame the victims or their families in any way for entertaining psychics. We truly understand the desperate position these families are in. Our hope is that by reading this memo, it will arm the victims with information about this very important topic. We believe information is power, and our desire is to empower those who are most vulnerable…the victims, and their families."
We understand that many people believe that psychics are effective in solving crimes and finding missing people. Please keep in mind that the goal of this series is to help families understand techniques used by persons making these claims and make better decisions about the use of psychics.
Project Jason and its volunteers cannot act as a clearinghouse for persons claiming success in using paranormal means to locate missing persons. We will be unable to respond to emails or other correspondence sent to us from persons making these claims or persons offering information about or referrals to psychics.
We instead invite those persons to present their evidence to the members of the James Randi Education Foundation. They have a forum available for you to discuss your claims. http://forums.randi.org/forumdisplay.php?f=7
The Missing People Podcast, which features a dramatized audio production of Psychics and Missing People. http://www.lumospub.com/programs.html
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