Friday, February 02, 2007

Psychic Investigators 10

Certain professions have their own subculture of jokes. Doctors, for example: "Doctor, doctor, I've swallowed a spoon!", "Just sit down and don't stir". EoR is sure his readers know that old psychic joke: "Q: What's better than a psychic who can't find a body? A: Two psychics who can't find a body". It's that old chestnut that the ABC features in this week's dreary, "the police were baffled" psychodrama Psychic Investigators.

The father of a missing man hires a local psychic but when she fails to lead police to the body her [sic] hires another one who sees the same visions as the previous psychic.

This week's really truly in-touch-with-the-dead and never-heard-of-cold-reading wonder is "Dr" Sally Headding. She's obviously very proud of that "Dr" appellation, even including it in her website address, but her claims are incomplete and unverifiable:

Dr. Sally Headding has more than 30 years of experience as a forensic psychic. She also holds a combined doctorate in parapsychology and psychology, magna cum laude. Considering herself to be a conservative in the world of psychics, Dr. Headding has assisted law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and has recently assisted European authorities in solving crime cases. She has also worked with prosecutors such as the Florida State Attorney General's Office who contacted her through her work with the American Association of Professional Psychics, to enable prosecution of a fake television psychic.

What is a "forensic psychic"? Does she obtain fingerprints from ectoplasmic emanations? DNA-type ghosts? Are there any others in the world? Is there a "Forensic Psychics Registration Board"? Or, could it just be a pretend occupation? Which universities offer doctorates in "paraspychology and psychology"? EoR couldn't find any. Are they only on the psychic plane? Why isn't the relevant university named?

And why do all "real" psychics (ie the person making the claim to be a psychic) so love exposing "fake" psychics (ie every other psychic pretender on the planet)? It's like a parody of Life of Brian, with every psychic chorusing in unison "I'm the only real psychic". There's that other old psychic joke, of course, "it takes one to know one".

Before EoR is tempted to actually make fun of her claims though, he'd better be wary of her "two first degree black belts in karate with sensi [sic] status". Which is relevant to her psychic claims in some mysterious, beyond-the-grave way that EoR fails to fathom. Perhaps she wrestles the truth from her visiting spirits?

According to the fulsome (but patently false) effusions of the narrator, the two psychics involved ("Dr" Headding and Nita Lee) were so percipient that:

Every single clue was right on target!

EoR wonders if that also includes "Dr" Headding's rather strange prediction that her visit to Oklahoma wouldn't produce a body (it didn't! amazing! she's psychic because she didn't know where the body was!)?

Some of the accurate clues were, according to Ms Lee: he was dead, three men were involved in the murder (one of whom was smaller than the others - really!), the body was in a barn.

According to "Dr" Headding: he was dead, four men were involved in the murder, the body was in the open, the body would be found by two deerhunters, there was duct tape or rope around his neck (hedging her bets), he was placed in a boot or a trunk (hedging her bets again).

Clearly, they both can't be completely right. Certainly, things like guessing the man was dead were hits for both psychics, though of no value whatsoever. This was when even the detective assumed at the outset that he'd been murdered due to the circumstances of his disappearance. The body was found by two quail hunters (not deer hunters). EoR suspects (non-psychically) that hunters are fairly common in the area.

Were the psychics of any use? No. They did not locate a body, provide any useful information, or solve the crime. Again. The crime was solved by standard police methods. Again.

Were the psychics a hindrance? Quite possibly, yes. Not only did they waste police time indirectly, "Dr" Headding spent some time being driven around the area (when she'd said she wouldn't find the body) after a detective took her to a local crack house and explained that rumour had it the man had been murdered there (why was he telling her that? she's the psychic! she should have taken him there directly). After clearly psychically spotting exactly where the body was buried (or as exactly as a psychic ever gets, which is usually pretty vague), the detective organised a search of the area. All 450 acres of it. And found nothing.

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