Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Psychics and crime-scene evidence

Two weeks ago, a young Tennessee woman named Holly Bobo was abducted by a man wearing camouflage.  The case has garnered a great deal of publicity, and as always in these situations, the members of the public have begun to provide information to the police.

As always, these include people who think they're psychic.

Here are three examples of actual "information" about the Bobo case, provided to Tennessee police by psychics:

"The man who abducted Bobo is white with dark brown or salt and pepper hair, a full and shaggy mustache, and dark brown eyes. He is in his early 30's and around 5 ft 11 in weighing 210. He has nasty rash on his elbow. He is older than Bobo, a Scorpio, and the relative of Bobo's boyfriend, or the father of an ex-boyfriend. Bobo was abducted in a red truck with bales of hay in the back, and is being held and raped at his victimizer's home about 20 miles outside of Nashville, in a log cabin about 26-30 miles north of where she was abducted. Bobo's abductor makes lots of mistakes and will be captured within 5 days."

Pretty specific, eh?  The police should just drive right up and apprehend the guy.  Except for the information from psychic #2:

"I first got a B name, like Bob. I feel West, and 7th, or just 7. A green truck. He may have had a weapon, a gun probably ... I also got the feeling that she may have casually met him somewhere but didn't really know him. Her abductor is scrawny, or medium build, blondish hair, little social skills, a country boy. He might have a bite mark on his hand. I feel that she may be alive and very scared, in a house. Something that sounds like Mango, then Mandarin. I have no idea what that means. ... Then I heard Robert/Bob but that still might be a name or sounding name. She may be held about 20 minutes away from where she was abducted, on the west side of Tennessee."

Oh.  Well, then.  Police should head out to west Tennessee.  But wait... let's hear from psychic #3 first:

"Places or people with name initials B or J might be useful... There may be a building over the other side of the water? It seems to me that there is a lack of faith or energy in finding Holly... as though some people are actually not wanting to help find her, like there is no real effort here. The 10 of Wands [presumably the Tarot card] suggests that she could be found under 10 weeks ... 10 of wands is South but reversed it could be North. I see her inside or just outside the town near some buildings.The five of cups is upright so it shows a union with someone possibly either at a place with an M or W or name of person initials or something of that nature..."

So, let's do a police-style composite sketch, okay?  We have: "a scrawny 210-pounder, with both blond and dark brown hair, who abducted her in a green-and-red-striped truck.  He has a rash on his arm and a bite mark on his hand.  He speaks fluent Mandarin.  His name is Bob J. Mango, and he is holding her in the northwestern part of southeast Tennessee, somewhere near water.  Be careful, he has a gun."

I have heard that there are occasions when police actively solicit the help of psychics in solving crime.  In those cases, the police deserve to be misled, although one has to feel sorry for the crime victims they are trying to help.  However, in cases where the psychics are freely giving their "information" to police, my opinion is that they should be arrested and charged with obstruction of justice, just as anyone else would be who had provided false information.  The police are obliged to follow up every lead they're given; so what these charlatans are doing is wasting the time of the investigators, which should itself be considered a criminal act, especially in cases like the abduction of Holly Bobo where the victim may well still be alive and every minute counts.  These psychics are also wasting the taxpayer dollars that go to paying police for the wasted hours reading, processing, and following up on the "information" they're providing.

It's one thing when psychics bilk the public out of their money for card reading, chiromancy, crystal ball divination, and other such nonsense.  The victims of these scams walked into the psychics' waiting rooms of their own accord, and share in the guilt for being foolish enough to fall for the psychics' claims in the first place.  But when psychics start to use their dubious skills to "aid police investigations," they have crossed the line into outright fraud, and ought to be prosecuted accordingly.

1 comment:

  1. Dear friends of this great magazine and news site: The psychologic state of many people in this country and in the whole world is worthy of compassion and pitty. Most of the economic, political, criminal sociological problems of societies need to be solved with the most scientific smartest solution, by people uniting together to find the most rational solution.

    But you know there is just too much emotional thinking in America, people who rely on their hearts instead on their brains to solve most of our problems.

    There is also an excess of individualism, ultra-individualism which is an impediment for any strong change. Because it's impossible to solve human problems alone.

    Well anyways talking about this case of Holly Bobo, from my own cold un-emotional point of view, what I think is that Holly Bobo and even other girls of Tennessee have been victims of very well planned organized sex-slavery mafia cartel linked with very powerful people of The Republican Party, that have an abduction mafia cartel of abducting women and children, to brainwash them, erase their identity, and with state of art psycho-drugs to turn them into sex-slaves, prostitution slaves to be sold to super rich corporate elites of USA, Europe and other parts of this criminal world

    And i am very very sorry with the family of Holly Bobo, who are so naive, and who are so far from this ugly reality of organized sex slavery abduction rings inside our country