Whether or not psychic detectives are actually able to aid in small to large scale investigations is a debate that may never end; but among those that may have a gift, there are those that exploit the nature of the situation at hand. These ten cases showcase “psychic” detectives who have jumped at the chance for fame or a quick buck only to severely slip up.
Opal Jo Jennings
Six-year-old Opal Jo Jennings was the victim of a terrible crime in 1999 when she was abducted outside of her grandparent’s home in Saginaw, Texas. For four years, Opal Jo’s remains were left unfound, but well-known psychic Sylvia Brown remained optimistic, especially during a reading she performed for Jennings grandmother shortly after the abduction. She is not dead, Browne told Jennings grandmother on an episode of Montel, claiming that the young girl had been placed into slavery.
Whatever consolation Browne’s reading gave Jennings’ family dissipated when, just months after the disappearance, child molester Richard Lee Franks was charged with the kidnapping. Opal Jo’s remains were found in 2003, with medical examiners stating she had died within hours of Franks abducting her.
On February 21st, 1977, the charred corpse of Teresita Basa was discovered in her apartment, a knife jutting out of her chest. Several months of investigations led to nothing, so when Detective Joe Stachula was told to contact one Dr. Jose Chua regarding a lead on the case, he jumped on the chance. Things took an odd turn when Chua claimed that his wife, Remedios, was possessed by the spirit of Teresita and, in a trance-like state, accurately called out Allan Showery as the killer.
One may initially see a miraculous supernatural event breaking open Teresita’s case, but amidst her “possession”, the Remedios failed to mention that she worked with Teresita and her killer at Edgewater Hospital and had claimed being frightened of Showery.
What you decide to do with a “psychic tip” could mean the difference of spending or saving£20,000. In 2009, detectives of Dyfed-Powys police department reopened the case of Carlos Assaf after a group of psychics allegedly spoke with a spirit that put a darker spin on the original belief that he had hanged himself. The psychics claimed to see a lion, a horse, the name Tony Fox and were told by the spirit that Assaf was strangled and forced to drink bleach and gasoline.
After another extensive investigation that spanned pubs with “lion” and “horse” in the name, a look at known criminal Tony Fox, and a follow-up examination to look for signs of bleach or petrol, detectives determined no viability to the psychic “visions”.
Depending on which side of the media you pay attention to, you may get two different versions of a psychic detective’s involvement in a case. For the case of missing Sylvester Tonet, it seems that if you listen to psychic Nancy Meyer, she played a big role in finding the elderly man.
Detectives associated with the case, Will Greenaway and William McClelland; give a different viewpoint, claiming that Nancy’s points were very general, providing overly generalized details when it came to the geography of the area. Nancy’s visions of “railroad tracks” and a “body of water” describe a good portion of the region, making it likely that she would hit.
This story has a slightly hopeful ending, as kidnapping-victim, Shannon Matthews, was eventually found and released from her prison. Aiding in the case was psychic Joe Power, who had been working with Shannon’s mother, Karen, to locate the missing girl. Power warned Karen that Shannon likely was kidnapped from school, taken in a car with a baby seat. In a round-about way that essentially questioned if Shannon knew a “Mick” or “Mike”, Power determined that such an individual took the girl.
What Power was missing was the essential detail that the kidnapper was right in front of him. Karen had staged Shannon’s kidnapping, holding her bound and drugged to eventually make out on the £50,000 (pound) reward.
Sometimes being a little too accurate in one’s predictions and readings may lead to a curious eye being turned towards you. Etta Louise Smith claimed to have had a vision of the location of missing nurse, Melanie Uribe. Smith brought her knowledge to the police and proceeded to drive to the location with her children, finding the body just as she had envisioned. Being so precise, Los Angeles police arrested Smith on suspicion of being connected to the crime.
Though released and awarded over $26,000 from a lawsuit she filed, many speculated inconsistencies in Smith’s vision and contemplated the notion that Smith may have overheard Uribe’s killers boasting about the crime, especially considering that is exactly how the killers were eventually caught.
Sylvia Browne’s track record is often tainted in the worst of ways, such as with the case of Holly Krewson. In the sprint of 1995, LaMesa, California resident Holly Krewson vanished without a trace. Understandably, her family sought answers, and in 2002, Holly’s mother, Gwendolyn Krewson, met with Sylvia Brown. Browne told Gwendolyn that Holly was in Los Angeles, posing as a stripper. Acting on Browne’s reading, the family often frequented Los Angeles in search of their missing beloved.
What they didn’t know was that, in 1996, Holly’s murdered body had already been found, though they remained unidentified for ten years. Gwendolyn passed away in 2003, assuming until the day she died that her daughter was alive and well.
After the disappearance of Arthur Herbert, his sister, Jessica, was hell-bent on finding the truth behind the missing plane he was believed to be aboard. To get her answers, Jessica turned to a well-known psychic, Noreen Renier. Among falsifying claims that she had been involved in the finding of the crashed plane, a feat credited to Carl and Cheryl Wilber, Renier was also adamant that Herbert had actually survived the crash, moved the decapitated body of another passenger to a tree, and limped away until he eventually succumbed to his wounds.
Medical examiners had another theory one solidified by science and how the bodies were found Arthur, like the other passengers on the plane, had died upon impact.
At 18-years-old, Eyerly vanished, and while her body remains still missing today, her killer, William Scott Smith, is in jail. In fact, while police were searching for Eyerly’s killer, Smith was already in prison for two other attacks. John Catchings, however, had his eyes on Darrell J.Wilson, a man that had allegedly known Sherry. A visit from Catchings and a detective pushed Wilson to commit suicide, further strengthening Catchings’ belief that he was the killer.
When Smith eventually confessed to the murder, he made no mention of Darrell, and it was later believed that Wilson’s suicide was due to a fragile mental state set off by the unexpected visit.
Inside Edition Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero may not have been missing at any point in her life, but Portland, Oregon psychic detective, Lauri McQuary, was determined to take the reins of a fake child disappearance. Sure, this may be cheating, but there’s a squirmy unease that comes with watching McQuary spew forth blatant lies about the very-alive girl in the photograph she is given. I believe that it was a violent passing, McQuary states coldly and without pause.
For a modest sum of $400, McQuary confidently doles out false information, only to have the smugness sucked from her the moment the truth revolving around the “case” is revealed.