Psychic Predators in Caring Clothing

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Via Miranda's Twitter account  @mirandachale

The June 6 edition of the “Broward/Palm Beach NewTimes” contains an excellent long-read piece, “How Modern Fortunetellers Pull Off Their Scams”. Reporter Kyle Swenson recounts detailed and horrifying stories of four devastated victims of fortuneteller scam artists.


 

The article provides an excellent overview of sorts to the subject of psychic con artistry, including not only the stories of the four victims, but also looking at the law enforcement aspect of these moral and legal offenses, particularly as practiced by the criminal subculture elements of the American Romani, i.e., Gypsy, culture that specialize in a long tradition of such psychic fraud, and some current prosecutions taking place in South Florida (one of two “hotbeds” of such activity, the other being New York City).

The victims, all women, include a 27-year-old woman of Indian descent who grew up in England; a 42-year-old Indian woman with a husband and two children; a divorcee in her early 60s; and a young 19-year old woman. All were experiencing struggles in their lives and were emotionally vulnerable when they exposed themselves to heartless predators ready to take advantage of such wounded prey. This is one of the most important lessons for skeptics: rather than offer a haughty sneer at the poor decisions these victims made, rather try to find both empathy and insight as to who and why and how otherwise rational people become entrapped by professional con artists who possess an arsenal of finely honed skills of psychological manipulation, with which to ruthlessly take down anyone who, at a weak moment in their lives, makes the mistake of opening the door to a dangerous wolf in sheep’s clothing.

In the case of the 27-year old woman, “In swift succession, she lost her job, and her four-year marriage snapped.” In the course of three years after meeting the psychic, “She remortgaged her house, took out loans, borrowed from family.” And ended up handing over $140,000 before running out of resources.

 

Written By: Jamy Ian Swiss
continue to source article at randi.org

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  1. How are those TV psychics viewed under the law? They seem to be able to strut their deception on many popular talk shows without much obstruction. I realize the entertainment factor but, should each program be forced to publish a disclaimer of their immoral deception? They do not seem to share the same public skepticism as popular magic shows.

    • In reply to #1 by AlGarnier:

      How are those TV psychics viewed under the law?

      They should be treated the same as religious solicitors. To treat psychics as less respectable implies a state sanction of traditional woo. This is not a problem remedied with authority, as irrational deference is the problem. Independent thinking is the vaccination against this rot.

      • In reply to #2 by This Is Not A Meme:

        In reply to #1 by AlGarnier:

        How are those TV psychics viewed under the law?

        They should be treated the same as religious solicitors.

        I agree, both religious solicitors and psychics should be viewed as con artists.

    • In reply to #1 by AlGarnier:

      How are those TV psychics viewed under the law? They seem to be able to strut their deception on many popular talk shows without much obstruction.

      A bit like politicians, religious leaders and air-head celebrities!

  2. This doesn’t seem very far from what the evangelical pastors do when they hype up their congregations and get them to tythe or donate money…the evidence of how much they extract from their victims is there for all to see in the lifestyles they lead. It is strange that society tolerates this large scale fraud but outlaws pyramid and other “get rich quick” schemes. Likewise it is not by chance that the catholic church for example has such massive wealth at its disposal …that it can pay billions in compensation for the abuse claims by priests.

  3. I had a friend who was a professional psychic. I think he believed his own spiel. He was manic depressive. I could not handle him when he became extremely paranoid. The one thing that surprised me was most of his money came from businessmen who would fly it to get help making business decisions. I think astrologers believe their own stuff. What they predict is so fluffy it can apply to anyone.

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