If we've learnt one thing from the Woolwich tragedy it's that when the minority do something despicable, the majority are held accountable by some. Whether it be race, religion or crime, we search for something to blame so that we can come up with ways to try to stop it from happening again. It scares us that sometimes people do bad things just because they're bad people.
Almost 10 years ago psychic medium Sylvia Browne told a mother that her missing daughter was dead on national television. Louwanna Miller died before she could learn that her daughter Amanda Berry was alive and had been held captive in a basement for 10 years.
Following the news that Amanda Berry was alive, a campaign of hate against Sylvia Browne began and petitions to make it illegal for psychics to help with police inquiries have sprung up all over the place.
I do not condone what Sylvia Browne did. If she is a fake, what she did is unforgivable. If she is genuine she wouldn't have got anything from her daughter in the spirit world and was lying, which is unforgivable. If she was unsure if she was picking up a message for someone else in the room she should have checked and what she did was unforgiveable.
But considering this as evidence that mediums shouldn't be allowed to assist the police goes back to the dreary argument that she is an individual, not a representation of the whole spiritual community. If a doctor is struck off for malpractice we don't cry out for all doctors to cease practicing medicine, do we?
However, even if we assume all psychic mediums are genuine (gasp!) there are still many ethical considerations when they interfere with police investigations.
I would never get involved in a case unless I had been approached by the family. It is not the place of psychic to go around telling people they have messages from the spirit world from a loved one that hasn't been confirmed dead.
If a psychic is approached by the family of a missing person I would advise them to proceed with caution. Even when the information is accurate it isn't always helpful. I once had a lady who came to me about her missing dog. I got a really strong message that it was being kept by a woman in a cage.
A couple of weeks later the dog was found in a river. I felt awful that I'd told this woman her dog had been kidnapped when he'd drowned. It wasn't until I saw her next that she explained he hadn't been in the river very long and the police believe he was taken and then dumped. Even though the information I got was probably correct it wasn't useful to the investigation - in fact it could have been a hindrance.
If a medium is to help police at all it should be to provide a clue. Anything from a road name, a place, an image of a place - something specific and easy to check out. While some of what we get can be cryptic, most of it is amazingly detailed. Whatever happens between a psychic and the police should remain confidential and never be bragged about on social media or used to promote someone's career.
It should also be noted that much of what mediums get we don't even understand ourselves and only makes sense somewhere further down the line. I've had premonitions in dream form of awful things happening to me in surroundings I don't recognise and I end up petrified it's going to happen to me. It's only when I see the same thing happen on the news that I realise I was seeing it through someone else's eyes.
The truth is, even if I had known it was for someone else, I wouldn't have been able to help - they would have thought I was mad. The flip side is that when mediums are given specific details they keep them to themselves for fear of ridicule.
Like any police consultant I think checks should be made to see how credible the person is. There are many mediums who have a great relationship with the police and have proven themselves to be reliable and trustworthy throughout history. Of course, we often never hear about them and that's the way it should be.
Mediums get messages from the spirit world to bring comfort and proof that the spirit lives on after death. Anything that causes distress should be stopped - that includes telling a mother on national television that their child is dead, whether it's true or not.
What she felt she would achieve through doing that is anyone's guess, but again, it's the minority that can give a bad name to the majority through their actions and it's such a shame.
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