With the formation of the Stop Robbie Thomas site, I was hopeful that I could move on from the topic of psychics. I was a bit too hopeful, it seems. I just received an email from Sherwood Skeptic (one of the many forces behind the movement to stop Robbie Thomas) regarding another "spirtualist" who claims the same crap that Robbie Thomas claims.
You can read the article at http://www.theobserver.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2549471. Basically, we have another case of an "internationally known" "psychic" that turns up only 3 or 4 real results when searched in Google. Lorraine Scott (this will probably make it her 4th or 5th mention on the internet) also claims to have "worked with police to solve crimes". Standard fare for a pseudo-psychic.
Lorraine Scott will be in Sarnia on May 16, 2010 with "proceeds" from the event to benefit "Lisa's Angels". I do admire what "Lisa's Angels" are doing in memory of Lisa Brewer but I do take issue that the very "anchor" to their fundraiser is willing to, for money, destroy the memory of loved ones. If the Prost or Brewer family (or Traci or Gail) wants to contact me, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm not (we're not) heartless people - it is Lorraine Scott who is committing shameful acts and should be stopped. Fundraising should never be a matter of asking others to throw all caution to the wind.
What is wrong with the likes of Lorraine Scott and Robbie Thomas?
Using Charities for Validity
In this particular case (and this is not uncommon), Lorraine is being publicized and accepted, without question because of the inclusion of a charity (Canadian Cancer Society).
Using Charities to Sell Tickets
As with Robbie Thomas, the suggestion that money will go to support a charity was used as a means to get people to buy tickets to the event. How much money is going to the charity (as the charity, in this case, is not likely aware and probably has not endorsed the event) is not disclosed. In the case of Robbie Thomas, none of the event proceeds were given to the specified charity (Note: The charity that Robbie Thomas was claiming to support formally requested that Robbie Thomas remove their name from their site as they do not support nor recommend psychics.)
Using Charities for Free Publicity
Lorraine Scott's appearance was granted free publicity in our local newspaper simply because of the seeming benefit for charity. Oddly, it appears that some key elements of her event have yet to be determined (location??) yet the paper has no issues with printing a completely complementary (and complimentary) article on it.
Replacing Real Memories with False Ones
For those who are not familiar with the Showtime television show "Bullshit" featuring Penn & Teller, the very first episode of their first season (they've just finished taping season 8), Penn makes it clear why he thinks that psychics are (in his words) "motherf**kers" - they replace real memories of loved ones with ones that the psychics completely make up. It is bad enough to lose a loved one but it is despicable and disgusting that someone is willing to destroy the memories of real experiences and to charge the victim (the person who is being told bullshit about their deceased loved one) for it is beyond comprehension.
Offering False Hope
As we have only begun our investigation into Lorraine Scott (Hi, Lorraine! I can't wait to get to know more about you. And I say that with the greatest amount of sincerity I can have for someone who I think is lying and cheating fellow humans out of their hard earned money and out of their true experiences. On this site, it claims that Lorraine does a bunch of woo-woo - mediumship, Reiki, ghosthunting, past-life regression, etc.), I can't, yet, speak about specific claims that she has made. Robbie Thomas, however, had told the Tori Stafford family (and anyone who'd listen as he pimped himself on radio shows and podcasts) that Tori was still alive more than a week after we now know she was murdered. The subsequent information provided by Robbie Thomas would have resulted in an abuse and misuse of valuable public services (in this case, the Police).
Misusing Public Services
When a psychic (and Lorraine claims to work with police to solve crimes though the FBI claims that no psychic has ever been credited with the resolution of a murder/missing person's case using their claimed psychic abilities) provides "tips" to police in criminal cases, they are, without question, supplying leads that could result in "wild goose chases". Hundreds (if not thousands) of tips were provided in the Tori Stafford case by psychics - many of which were contradictory, could not possibly be true and were ultimately false. Police, in their desire to solve cases, would be wasting valuable time (and OUR money) tracking down these false leads.
Taking Focus Away from the Crimes
With psychics having claimed involvement in numerous unsolved murder cases and countless cases of people still missing, the public are often left with the false impression that a murder/missing persons case has been solved (or resolved). If you're new to my blog, you may not be familiar with a local case that Robbie Thomas was claiming involvement in - the kidnap and murder of Karen Caughlin. Robbie Thomas' claims of involvement left even his manager with the feeling that Robbie had been involved in solving the case. The case, to this day, remains unsolved. At least one person is aware of what happened to Karen and if just one person with that knowledge is given the impression that the case is solved and they need not come forward, Robbie Thomas' actions become that much more disgusting.
It is my feeling that simply destroying and replacing real memories with made-up ones by pseudo-psychics is a scam and a re-victimizing of families. The issue, however, can become far worse. For example, Robbie Thomas, despite demands from the families of murder victims, has continued to claim involvement in many cases. Receiving reminders of such horrible tragedies as a result of someone promoting themselves for the purpose of selling tickets or attracting additional victims (I do believe that most psychics are committing acts that should be punished by our legal system) is wrong no matter what you believe.
Causing Undue Mistrust in Authorities
Most criminal cases are solved as a result of the work of police, science and the general public. Never has a case been solved as the result of alleged psychic abilities. Many "psychic investigators" simply apply tricks of their trade or skills of another - cold reading or criminal profiling - to produce what appear to be valid "evidence" for a case. (Note: Criminal profiling does not get used in a court of law - real evidence is necessary to produce a case beyond a reasonable doubt.) Psychics undermine real police work by making suggestions, after the fact via retro-fitting, that they provided information that could have solved cases sooner (and in some cases, supposedly saved the lives of other people - Robbie Thomas, you scumbag). In other instances (Robbie Thomas has committed all of these atrocious things), pseudo-psychics make claims that are contrary to determinations of authorities. For example, Robbie Thomas, as he was about to attend a paranormal conference in Kentucky, did a "reading" for a family that had lost 10 family members in a housefire. Authorities had determined that the fire was not intentional and was a result of an ember from a cigarette that was left smoldering for hours in a sofa or chair cushion. Robbie, with his willingness to make stuff up, told the family that not only was the fire not an accident - that it was intentionally set - but that it was also a hate crime.
(Note: I, as my blog suggests, am the last person to offer up the idea that authorities should not be questioned. Everyone is fallible (that includes the child-molestation-covering-up pope) and subject to biases. The answer, however, is never to just make stuff up. Think critically and act with concern for everyone you share this planet with.)
I have blogged about this fairly recently - you can read more at: http://sarniaskeptic.blogspot.com/2010/01/from-entertainers-to-predators-when.html
For more information on the initiative to Stop Robbie Thomas, visit http://www.stoprobbie.com/ .