Who Needs Proof? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Well, apparently a reader named “Adriana” did, but she didn’t look around much to find any before she paid up. Her letter:

I am writing to add some more proof to your claim that Sylvia Browne and her possy are con artists. I only want to describe my story so you will see that Chris [Dufresne] is not able to see the future and I am trying to open as many eyes as I can.

Well, apparently a reader named “Adriana” did, but she didn’t look around much to find any before she paid up. Her letter:

I am writing to add some more proof to your claim that Sylvia Browne and her possy are con artists. I only want to describe my story so you will see that Chris [Dufresne] is not able to see the future and I am trying to open as many eyes as I can.

I was going through some challenges with plenty uncertainties about my future and figured one more opinion would be wise especially of someone who could foresee the future. I chose to believe in these people.

On February 14, 2008 I had a phone reading with Chris Dufresne (Sylvia Browne’s son) for which I paid $450. In this reading, I asked about my family’s health, more specifically my grandfather and father. Chris told me every family member was fine, my grandfather had a parasite that would be treated with a lot of medication but that I shouldn’t worry. He said I worry too much and asked me not to worry so much. I felt relieved, even happy, until my grandfather was diagnosed with skin cancer in the Spring. He got it removed and is in recovery. I can understand how cancer can be confused with a parasite. BUT my father passed away of a heart attack August 20, 2008. If Chris had a gift and was able to use it how could he have missed this, the event with the most impact in my life that was to happen six months after that reading

God was making me worry for a reason and I should have trusted my gut and not Chris. This experience shows that Chris and Sylvia are not who they say they are but instead are running a very successful money conning scam. I wish I had researched this issue before putting so much money and trust on these frauds.

Thank you for your work in this arena. I really appreciate what you are doing.

A few questions present themselves here. The writer says she “chose to believe in these people.” Why? Did she see Sylvia on the Montel Williams TV show? Certainly, that could convince her, since Williams promotes such beliefs, though he has admitted that he himself doesn’t believe in “psychics” – particularly in Sylvia Browne – but he features her because she brings him sponsors. Did the writer go to Google and click on “Sylvia Browne”? Right at the beginning of the 678,000+ items to be found there, Robert Lancaster’s page, www.stopsylviabrowne.com is found, and that could have given her the facts. No, she just fired off the $450 for the cheaper Browne (Sylvia charges $850) and accepted – and believed – what she got!

Now, was she expecting that Chris Dusfresne would rattle off all the coming events of her life? Did she expect to hear that her father would die, as an event Chris should have known? Apparently, yes! How much and with what accuracy, did she expect to receive for her money?  The loss of her father was of course a traumatic and significant event for her, and she – erroneously – assigned it a priority when Dufresne didn’t guess it as a coming event, but if he’d thought of suggesting it, he’d have relished the effect it could have on her.  Remember, Sylvia and her son…

Does Adriana have medical expertise? Well, I don’t, so I could not say that a cancerous condition could be “confused with a parasite.” No, of course Adriana didn’t deserve to be swindled this way – no one does – but a modicum of research could have revealed to her that these people are not what they – or Montel Williams – says they are.

Caveat emptor...