Josh's blog

Oakland North reports on area psychics

At Oakland North, a project of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, reporter Alyssa Fetini asks the pressing question: "Psychics are ubiquitous in Oakland, but are they for real?."

San Mateo psychic pleads 'no contest' in fraud case

R.I.P. Senator Pell: Champion of college education and ESP

Senator Claiborne Pell passed away on New Year's day. The 90 year-old former Senator from Rhode Island is fondly remembered by the tens of millions of students who have been able to go to college thanks to the financial aid grants named in his honor.

Skeptics have their own reason to mourn the six-term Senator. He earned the nickname "Senator Oddball" from Time magazine for his obsession with ESP. The Washington Post's obituary explains that he earned the moniker because of:

a 1987 incident when, fearing an extrasensory perception gap with the Soviets, he invited carnival-level spoon bender Uri Geller to Washington to demonstrate his skills. Sen. Pell also attended a symposium on UFO abductions.

San Mateo psychic charged with theft

Janet Adams' booking photoJanet Adams, a self-described psychic, was arrested for bilking an 85-year-old woman out of $80,330. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Adams told the victim "that her husband would die of a heart attack if she didn't immediately pay $13,000 for 'special prayers,' the prosecutor said."

On subsequent visits, the purported psychic extracted more and more money from the elderly victim, until her (still-healthy) husband noticed the odd transactions.

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