Psychics

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Psychic Detective Seeks Money for Nothing


There are still signs posted on telegraph poles throughout the Bay Area, seeking information about missing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu who disappeared from outside her home in Tracy, CA, on March, 27. Tragically, we now know that the little girl was murdered.

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.

Bay Area "Psychic" Exposed

San Francisco resident Lisa Marie Miller bilked a Santa Clara woman out of $108,000 and a sports car by giving her "spiritual cleanings", according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle (available here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/12/09/BA8H14KOHF.D... ).

The Sacramento Scene

By: 
Terence J. Sandbek
Originally published in BASIS
Volume: 
1
Number: 
4
September 1982

Gullibility knows no boundaries: It infects young and old, rich and poor, male and female, educated and uneducated. What happens in Sacramento happens in San Francisco and Chico. People who fall for psychic foolishness here are no different from people all over the world. As we report happenings in our area, remember that we in metropolitan Sacramento are neither more nor less gullible than people elsewhere.

A Challenge to All Psychics

Originally published in BASIS
Volume: 
1
Number: 
4
September 1982

We are the Bay Area Skeptics (BAS), a group of people who support the testing of paranormal claims, but are unconvinced by any of the supposed proofs of psychic powers that have been presented so far. We are committed only to finding out the truth about so-called psychic powers, whatever that truth may be. Nothing would be more exciting than to discover the existence of a genuine psychic power, if such a thing exists.

More Tracking

By: 
Michael McCarthy
Originally published in BASIS
Volume: 
1
Number: 
3
August 1982

[Ed. Note: Both Ken Bomben and Mike McCarthy did excellent analyses of Jeanne Borger's predictions. Although J.B. is not strictly Bay Area, she is widely known enough that an analysis seems instructive. Since we published Ken on the specifics, let's see the fine job Mike did on the methods.]

Tracking a "Psychic"

By: 
Dr. Kenneth D. Bomben
Originally published in BASIS
Volume: 
1
Number: 
3
August 1982

On Dec. 31, 1981, Channel 7 (KGO) had psychic Jeanne Borger on "AM San Francisco" to make predictions of events for 1982. Among other predictions (which cannot be evaluated until the end of 1982), she made two predictions for times early in 1982: (1) there would be a Reagan assassination attempt in April, and (2) the stock market would hit 700 in April.

Oscar, the Hospice Cat ??? Or Kitty Kevorkian?

By: 
John R. Cole, BAS Board, CSI fellow
Originally published in BASIS
July-September

July 2007 news included the case of a cat named Oscar who allegedly predicted which patients in a hospice would soon die. As SF Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll noted (30 Jul 2007), this seems a bit of a stretch.

"... Oscar's 'uncanny knack of knowing when people are going to die' [looks fishy]. Apparently he walks aloofly around the halls of the Providence, R.I., nursing home where he lives, and then settles down with a person who, only a few hours later, dies. Oscar somehow intuits the imminence of death and provides succor in these last hours - or so the story goes.

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