Sylvia Browne, the “psychic” whose appearances on talk shows like “Montel” and “Larry King Live” made her a well-known celebrity despite her not-even-close-to-the-truth predictions, died earlier today at the age of 77.
It was 10 years ago when Browne told Larry King she knew when she would die:
King: OK. Do you know when you’re going to die?
Browne: Yes. When I’m 88.
It was one of many wrong predictions.
Browne had gone on television in 2003 to tell one of the victim’s mothers that her daughter had died:
Louwana Miller: Can you tell me if they’ll ever find her? Is she out there?
Sylvia Browne: She’s — see, I hate this when they’re in water. I just hate this. She’s not alive, honey. And I’ll tell you why, here we go again. Your daughter was not the type that would not have called you.
Miller: So you don’t think I’ll ever get to see her again?
Browne: Yeah, in heaven, on the other side.
It was an awful thing to say to the mother, it was entirely made up, and, thankfully, it turned out to be completely wrong.
In 2001, Browne appeared on “Larry King Live” agreed to take the James Randi Educational Foundation’s $1,000,000 Challenge to prove that she really did have psychic powers. It turned out to be a promise she never kept:
I don’t delight in her death. I do, however, object to the decisions she made during her life. She took a lot of money from a lot of desperate people. She had no qualms about giving people false hope and (as we saw) false despair. I don’t know whether she really believed she had psychic powers or whether this was just a really long con. Either way, she was obviously very good at convincing people she had magical powers — to the tune of at least $3,000,000 a year in profit for her businesses at her peak fame.
I’m sure there will be a lot of stories about her in the coming days. It would be nice if the writers would point out that there never has been — and, I believe, never will be — any proof that people can see into the future or “cross over” to the “other side.” It’s neither disrespectful nor impolite to point out that Browne’s “psychic powers” were never substantiated by any shred of evidence.