` Apparently, Philadelphia's 'psychics' have been shut down for fraud - not that they saw it coming. To my amusement, in 1995 they also didn't realize they were being duped by a Newscenter 10 undercover unit, led by Herb Denenberg:
Denenberg’s team enlisted a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl named Kate. Although she was safely at home (for example playing softball in her front yard), the psychics were told that she had been missing since January.` That is not surprising, since whenever a lot of different 'psychics' call a police station with 'information' about a tricky case, their input is no better than a bunch of people making up their own answers, which turn out to be quite different from one another. (Whether they themselves feel that way or not, this is indeed the effect.) In fact, despite what they may say, police typically find their 'tips' to be too vague (and later on, inaccurate) to be helpful.
Some psychics “saw” her experiencing physical harm; one collected a fee of $50 for reporting her “confined against her will”; and another charged $180 to divine that the girl had run away and was “probably pregnant.” While one psychic envisioned her just two miles from home, another saw her far away in Florida.
Not one among the several seers ever divined the truth, that the teenager was not missing and that Channel 10 was conducting a sting operation.
` In addition, Nickell noted that when he did not reveal his identity to famous 'psychic' Phil Jordan, he completely believed that Nickell was someone besides who he was! (Happens all the time, actually.) And, if you, dear subject, don't feel like reading this short article, at least have a look at the last paragraph (though if you do, then don't let this spoil it!):
Many times in my several decades of paranormal investigation, I have visited palmists, card readers, astrologers, mediums, and clairvoyants. Not one ever mentioned the profound fact that I had a daughter and two grandsons I was unaware of (until, wonderfully, she discovered me in 2003) (Nickell 2004; 2005).` Yes, and their customers didn't. That's why the police sometimes have to get involved in these things.
At least one of the Philadelphia storefront psychics whose business had been closed tacitly conceded at the time that he and his fellow seers were pretenders, “What we do is entertainment,” he sniffed. We knew that.