Are Police Psychics Really Able to Solve Crimes?

Digital Journal/May 13, 2009

Not long ago a psychic claimed he knew exactly how Caylee Anthony was killed. Marlon Michaels-Richter declared that he had a vision of how the child had been murdered and gave the gory details. Is he right?

"Don't be fooled by her cold-hearted lies and calculated deceptions ... in a chilling vision, I watched tot mom Casey Anthony murder baby Caylee with bug killer and homemade chloroform."

Some believe the fellow is right on; others believe he took scraps of evidence that he had heard and put them together in order to make assumptions about the crime. Even Nancy Grace, according to reports, has made similar predictions.

In fact there is a rift with the police about her involvement in the case. The psychic believes she is entitled to reward money because she claims she sent tips to the police that allowed them to find where Sandra's body would be found. According to reports she has education in psychology and criminology before she went to New York to work on the radio. Her biography says this about her : "My life as a clairvoyant began at birth. It always was. It was never a choice, it was part of my identity. My listening to The Spirit within me, led to resistance from my parents. My persistence was greeted with hostility and denial in the beginning, then things were altered by defining moments in my life."

In an essay entitled "Police Psychics: Do They Really Solve Crime?" Joe Nickell takes a look at this issue. He mentions at the outset that the topic is controversial and has been going on for centuries, ever since authorities consulted the oracle in order to get divine guidance on finding direction to solve problems. But what have police detectives said who have used psychics?

Nickell explores the experience of detectives using psychics. He wrote about one detective who said this about a well-known psychic Dorothy Addison: "Her predictions "were difficult to verify when initially given," he said. "The accuracy usually could not be verified until the investigation had come to a conclusion." Indeed, this after-the-fact matching--known as "retrofitting"--is the secret behind most alleged psychic successes. For example, the statement, "I see water and the number seven," would be a safe offering in almost any case. After all the facts are in, it will be unusual if there is not some stream, body of water, or other source that cannot somehow be associated with the case."

These divine guidance approaches or psychic observations reveals that many psychics, according to experts, deal with vague generalities. This is where they randomly search for names saying they are searching for a name like Joe, or John or Josephine or that they see a "J" associated with the case. Then when the case is solved, or more facts are found, suddenly these "facts" become real. So psychics help may be sought, and there is publicity surrounding them, but whether or not they are truly helpful in solving crimes is very much in question, at least as observed by those who have reviewed the literature and examined information from detectives who have used the services of psychics.

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