I don’t write about psychics that often. Most commonly, when I do, it’s about psychics making claims that could be construed as medical claims, such as when America’s Quack, Dr. Mehmet Oz brought psychic scammers like John Edward and the “Long Island Medium” Theresa Caputo, even going so far as to imply that psychics can actually talk to the dead and that their act can even be therapeutic for grief.
This time around, I’m learning of what is arguably the most despicable use of a psychic yet. It’s so bad that Susan Gerbic labeled this particular self-proclaimed psychic a “grief vampire,” and so he is. The psychic is, quite literally, the new kid on the block as far a psychics go; his name is Tyler Henry, and apparently the basic cable channel E! is really pushing a TV series featuring him, Hollywood Medium With Tyler Henry. His website describes him thusly:
Tyler Henry (born January 13, 1996) is a teen clairvoyant medium oringally from central California. Born with a unique gift, Tyler has helped countless people acquire closure, comfort, and proof that consciousness transcends physical death. Working as an evidential-based medium, his ability to provide specific, detail-oriented specifics has allowed him to share what he sees with medical professionals and missing person cases.
As Tyler’s grandmother was terminally ill with cancer in April of 2006, he began having strong intuitive hunches that would later turn into a series of profound visions that proved to be true. After a series of life changing events (including a near death experience), Tyler’s passion, calling, and life purpose has been to bring clarity, closure, and evidence to those he is privileged to read.
Marvelous. The next generation of psychic scammers is here, led by a handsome, boyish-looking 20 year old who is being advertised as three, three, three psychic scammers in one. First, he claims to be a medium, claiming that he can communicate with the dead. Second, he claims to be a clairvoyant, implying that he can predict the future. Third, and finally, he claims to be a “medical intuitive,” defined as having the “innate ability to describe the cause of a physical or emotional condition through the perception or feeling of another’s energy.” E!’s website claims that while performing a reading, “Tyler can often physically sense the prior medical conditions of the spirits he is attempting to communicate with.”
OK, I know what you’re thinking. So what? This guy is just another in a long line of psychic scammers. He’s young. He’s charismatic. He’s telegenic. In other words, he’s like a young John Edward and perfect for television. What’s the harm? It’s just entertainment, right? Well, it is entertainment, but it’s far from harmless, as Susan Gerbic points out:
Reading more, I stop and hold my breath. Here it is. The part that makes it clear whether he is a psychic entertainer who is up-front about his act or just another grief vampire. Henry tells the interviewer his goal for the future. It is to work with parents who have lost their children to suicide. I can feel my blood pressure increasing and the hackles on the back of my neck starting to rise. He isn’t just a grief vampire; he is aspiring to be one of the most despicable types of grief vampires, tying for first place with those who work as psychic detectives. These are the people who prey on families when they are the most desperate and vulnerable. I’m appalled that he thinks this is something to aspire to. Something to be proud of!
Indeed. This is the sort of thing that makes my skin crawl. It is at this point that I can’t help but point out that psychics aren’t the only kind of grief vampires. Cancer quacks are a particularly despicable form of the monster. They prey on the grief and desperation of cancer patients; psychics prey on the grief of those who’ve lost loved ones. Sylvia Browne used to be among the most despicable of these, but there are many others who haven’t achieved national or international prominence who function similarly. Worse, there exists an entertainment industry that promotes them. Henry will be on Dr. Phil’s show today, and you might remember that Dr. Phil has fallen for a psychics before.
Gerbic makes an observation about Henry that I thought of as soon as I learned of him: Where did this guy come from? I had never heard of him before. He seems to have appeared out of nowhere! He already has a show. The hollywood hype machine is promoting his show. He’s all over Twitter and Facebook. There are articles in the entertainment press about him and, of course, ads for his new television series. Clearly, a fair amount of marketing muscle is being placed in the service of his show, complete with bits showing him doing readings on various celebrities. There are interviews like this:
We have chills! You have to see @CharissaT's reading with @tyhenrymedium! @HMTylerHenry https://t.co/EwUsdwENO8
— ExtraTV (@extratv) January 21, 2016
It looks as though there’s some editing there, but I don’t see anything that doesn’t look like a combination of your basic run-of-the-mill cold reading with an awkwardly scripted conversation. But, hey, Tyler’s a skeptic, ma-an:
Lots of people feel either that [my gift needs] to be proven or that, on a personal level, they need the validation that their loved one is ok. Some people come to readings with a ‘prove-it-to-me’ mentality and others come with an openness.
I do inherently understand both sides. I think it’s important to have a healthy degree of skepticism. I myself am a very skeptical person. In readings, my goal is to bring up information that there really is no way I could know. I don’t like saying general things. I don’t like saying information that everybody knows. I focus on information that can’t be researched or googled, and that usually includes inside jokes or sentimental pieces of information that only families really know.
As Gerbic mentions, this sounds like something that should be fairly easy to test. If Henry really is a skeptic, surely he’s be up for a carefully designed and controlled test of his “powers.” Somehow, I doubt that’s going to happen any time soon. More likely, at some point, if his show takes off (which is, of course, by no means a given) he’ll get someone like Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil to “test” him, and you know how worthless that will be.
Both Steve Novella and Susan Gerbic ask the question: Does Henry believe in his ability? Is he nothing more than a scammer or is he just a misguided young man who, by whatever means, has come to believe that he possesses special “gifts”? I tend to agree with Novella on this one: Practically, it doesn’t really matter. Moreover, it’s likely that there is a spectrum along which psychics exist from pure scammer to pure believer, with most of them falling somewhere between. It doesn’t really matter that much where on that spectrum Henry falls. What matters is what he does.
It might well be that, as long as Henry restricts himself to doing readings on celebrities for his show, all he’s doing is harmless entertainment. The problem is that we already know he isn’t restricting himself to that. He already advertises private bookings on his own website. (We don’t know how much he charges because that isn’t listed.) He has stated that he wants to “help” parents whose children have committed suicide, and no doubt before too long he will do that. Likely the producer of his show is looking for such grieving parents right now, fodder for the grief vampire, to be shown for the morbid entertainment of the masses.
108 replies on “The rise of a new grief vampire”
I can´t say I lke the term “grief vampire”, vampires are seen much too positive in today´s cultural context. “Ghoul” would be a much more appropriate term for such people
I find this class of thing especially infuriating: in my professional life I worked extensively with those who had made an attempt at suicide and also with complex grief reactions. These are complicated and messy areas requiring some very careful handling, not this sort of exploitative bovine manure.
As an aside, anyone who has experience of and skills at interviewing people for a living can get a large amount of information out of people without them quite realising how you did it, even when they might have decided they would not talk about that area: I did this regularly…And I was merely an experienced MH nurse, no super powers…
“Some people come to readings with a ‘prove-it-to-me’ mentality and others come with an openness”
‘Prove it to me’ IS an openness.
For some reason, I’m stuck thinking of a episode of the BPRD comic book (an Hellboy spin-off), the one where Johann Kraus, the resident spirit medium, explains how he once abused a customer’s trust by encouraging him to keep coming for more séances so he (the medium) could keep meeting in the astral plane the ghost/soul of the customer’s dead wife.
It lasted until the customer, wracked with fresh grief at every seance, could not take it anymore and angrily walked out.
There is not much relevance with Tyler Henry and his likes, aside from the fact, already pointed by Murmur, that grief could be a powerfully debilitating emotion and should be handled carefully, not used to manipulate others.
I’m actually more afraid by the fact it’s going to be a TV show. A private séance – one can hope the medium doesn’t want to end up with customers on suicide watch. A TV show, on the other hand… The more emotions, the more frictions, the more drama, the better.
Yet another fledging conman given a platform by TV and let loose on the world.
Reminds me of the novelty song “Teenage Brain Surgeon” beloved by Dr. Demento, and sung by some freakishly low contra-bass —
He actually looks like he “sparkles.”
Yet another fledging conman given a platform by TV and let loose on the world.
Yes, I used to think that the most easily conned people were salesmen (or other conmen) but TV personalities seem to be taking the lead.
I wonder if this implies a similar personality type across the groups?
^ Oops, that was a bit ambiguous. I meant con men conning con men not that salesmen were con men.
re Ms Caputo
She’s a fake.
How do I know this?
If she really were in communication with the spirits of the dead, she would be harangued into madness by shades of deceased fashion designers and icons who would shriek unceasingly after encountering her ‘look’.
And if she had more interpersonal savvy, she would be able to figure out what living fashionistas were thinking when they viewed her choices and thus, clean up her act.
Tyler rocks the boy band look in order to interest/ entice teenaged girls, millennials and their mothers.
Where did he come from? A PR firm, Hollywood agent, stage mom?
[email protected]: You remind me of the joke told by comedian in the 1980s (I forget which one). He calls the Psychic Friends hotline, and the first thing they do is ask for his credit card number. That’s how he knows they’re fake: if they were real psychics, they would either know it already, or be able to read his mind as he holds the card in front of him.
As for whence young Mr. Tyler came: Follow the money. Somebody thinks there is a profit to be made.
With all his claimed abilities, this vulture should be able to prevent teen suicides instead of merely exploit them for fame and profit.
Scum. Pure scum. Either because he’s lying about what he can do, or because he could actually do some good but won’t. Odds of the former: 100%.
Which boy band did he escape from?
It’s all fun and games until you realize that Tyler predicted this article from Orac.
“As Tyler’s grandmother was terminally ill with cancer in April of 2006, he began having strong intuitive hunches that would later turn into a series of profound visions that proved to be true. After a series of life changing events (including a near death experience), Tyler’s passion, calling, and life purpose has been to bring clarity, closure, and evidence to those he is privileged to read.”
How psychic can you be if you can’t predict the future well enough to AVOID your own “near death experience”? Didn’t he see this coming??
@ Denice Walter
I suspect that, if dead people were able to speak with us, the conversation’s tone would indeed be rather less peaceful and less polite than the usual “spirit medium speaking in a toneless voice” cliché.
I have a few hypotheses. The one involving a bite by a radioactive badger seems far-fetched, tough. I’m not sure that badgers are carrion eaters.
Hardly as ghoulish as religious-right preachers who had parents believing that their gay sons and daughters who died of AIDS or suicide were burning in hell and deserved it.
What this kid is doing is making claims of supernatural knowledge to people who have suffered a suicide in the family, which is no different than what clergy members do in religious services and in counseling family members after loved ones die.
Where I would draw a hard line is if the kid is offering medical advice to people with dangerous illnesses. At that point he would deserve to be prosecuted along with all the other quacks and frauds in the zoo.
I would also draw a hard line if he was setting himself up as a charismatic leader in a cult that used brainwashing tactics, such as the Moonies, though that’s far more difficult to prosecute unless “members” are being sexually or otherwise physically abused, or held against their will.
But supernatural blah-blah as emotional palliative? Meh. The shadiest aspect of that is that he’s on TV, and it doesn’t take ESP to predict that his show will probably go nowhere.
But even that’s hardly as goulish as those horrid daytime shows such as “Maury” where minor children are routinely traumatized on stage before the cameras and live audiences, as their parents fight over adulterous affairs. I once caught a glimpse of that on a TV in a medical office, and wanted to reach through the tube and (redacted, redacted!).
I think he’d be far more useful in suicide prevention: I know I would find punching that face all day incredibly therapeutic.
I had an experience where a ( possibly disturbed) person was trying very hard to convince me- I have no idea why- that she knew my parents well and that I was too young at the time to remember her.
I knew that she was lying because everything she discussed was knowable at the present time or apparent by other means. For example, she discussed a building where they used to live as it appeared in the recent past- not decades ago. I asked her questions like ( she claimed remembering a large tree) , “What was next to the tree?” ( She didn’t know that actually a large summer house was there until 30 years ago) I asked her what my father looked like- which led to much hedging not a description- when really I look very related to him- most people say I look like him or his mother – that is, most people who KNEW them.
That’s what these ‘psychics’ are doing in order to gain power over people or get their money.
I couldn’t hold it in, I had to go to his Facebook page and ask if he’ll be putting his magic powers to the test with James Randi’s million dollar challenge. After all, he do so much good for the world with that million.
I wonder if this is a variant of Mythomaniac aka Pathological lying?
There is another possibly more deadly component to the danger of his talking to youth who have committed suicide as a way of consoling parents. In Jennifer Michael Hecht’s book “Stay”, a major component is her argument that suicide is often a future murder, as a large number of people who attempt suicide have known friend(s) and or relatives who have committed suicide and this makes it easier to take such action. (I am over-simplifying Hecht’s premise)
My fear is that, with such a charismatic persona, Henry is going to inspire already troubled young people to kill themselves.
I give you these thoughts from my compendium of great advice:
I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. – Joseph “Yellow Kid” Weil
A grifter will also exploit his victim’s virtues. – Rich Marotta
The Yellow Kid was so good at what he did that the detective who finally was able to make the arrest and get the conviction was driving him to prison and Weill sold him $30,000 in bogus stock.
00 of bogus stuck from him.
PSYCHIC’S ARE FOR REAL. Sad that so many people can only see this world as 3 dimensional. Open up your mind and go to one. It will change your life. PS. My beautiful, 19 year old daughter committed suicide and I’m okay with it because I know that she is still with me just not in the physical sense. <3
Sorry about the orphan line on my previous post. My browser visited a few too many vineyard sites today.
Saw this today in passing.
The kid should have a show called “Medium Gay”, but I don’t know if he’s out. Not that there’s anything wrong with him being gay, I just think that’d be a fun title for a horrible exploitative show.
He’s out. You obviously didn’t click all the links. 🙂
I intentionally didn’t mention that Tyler Henry is gay because I didn’t consider it relevant to what I was writing about. It doesn’t matter to me.
Yeah, I don’t care if he’s gay. That’s not a problem. I was just thinking they could use it in his branding.
How about “Queer Eye For The Dead Guy” ?
Psychics make me angry. My sister came back from one in a state of near-hysteria once. She had asked the nasty fraud if my mother’s next trip abroad would be good, and the “psycho” responded that my mom wouldn’t come back, which we interpreted as she would die during the trip. Insanely, this “psycho” provided tape recordings of her “readings”. My sister kept repeating “Why would anyone say something like that?”
I have two theories – my sister was deliberately not volunteering information for the psycho (to test her “abilities”), and the psycho wanted to punish her for that.
Secondly – the psycho suggested that my sister visit her again and they might be able to forestall this death – a con – milk someone for more money. We probably should have gone to the police.
It was disgusting. That was about 20 years ago and my mom is approaching her 81st birthday. So much for psycho psychics.
Doesn’t really matter what he thinks of his own ability but after watching his “reading” of Jamie Pressly, I’d be hard pressed to believe that this isn’t a deliberate con down to the notebook prop.
Nor do I think he is all that good at this; what a balatant fishing expedition. Along with self justification at the end that he is helping people.
Terri Kavanaugh – I once saw a video of a woman dispersing “chemtrails” with a spray bottle of vinegar. It made me sad and uncomfortable. Your comment makes me feel much the same way.
It wouldn’t surprise me a great deal if he is quite sincere. He’s young. The young are uniformly idiots. Except for the those who aren’t.
Take a kid who has limited experience (i.e. is young), perhaps isn’t especially sharp, add some older adults, especially those from the petty amusement trades who smell profit and will encourage the kid and stroke his ego, and you get someone like Tyler Henry. I see a Macaulay Culkin, just pointed in a different direction.
If he tells a few parents of kids who have committed suicide that they did it because the parents were horrible people who made everyone around them miserable, I’ll be even more convinced of his sincerity.
Terri appears to be a fan of rank scammer Susan Deren. L-rd only knows what led her here.
Yet another scammer, and the worst kind of scammer at that, one who preys on the families of suicides. This makes me angry enough that I’d like to smack him around.
I can’t figure out how he can get around not knowing it is fake when someone would need to gather and then tell him the information. In the video I linked to for example, that Jamie was born in the South where there are many houses with white pillars and that there is a dry cleaner with that name in her town. Not sure how the other info was obtained but it certainly is easier to find things out about celebrities than the rest of us.
Then there was the midget psychic who escaped from jail….
Police are looking for a small medium at large.
Re.Mephistopheles O’Brien @ 32:
Yeah, those videos make me squirm too. Silly fools spraying vinegar in the air to erase chemtrails. I use Windex.
Like the commercial says, “Windex cleans up even the most stubborn chemtrails without leaving streaks or soapy film on the sky! On sale now!”
Not a Troll,
“Jamie was born in the South where there are many houses with white pillars”
He may have noticed a bit of an accent. The “white pillars” is just antebellum architecture (or faux-antebellum), a romanticized feature of the South. It probably wouldn’t matter if there were only one such building in her home town, it would fit with her mental concept of the south.
#30 Jane Ostentatious
But Jane, did your mother come back? I knew one woman from the UK who went to Hawaii and never went back. Well, she might have dropped in to visit her son when passing through Heathrow.
I went afollowin’ some links. I discovered there is an American Board for Scientific Medical Intuition.
Someone close to me took her life too. If this dude came up to me and told me he could communicate with her, I predict he would be bent over clutching his junk about one second later.
@Gray Squirrel – I’ve seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding. You don’t have to sell me on the miracle substance that is Windex.
Gahh. Skeptics. In the spirit of the new X-files premier tomorrow, “you ought to want to believe” or totally square.
An anecdotal: After one particular individual in my life lost his best chess partner to a sort of ‘suicide by accidental death’, him and the widow, in memoriam during a home gathering after ‘visitation’ (aka pity party), struck up a game of the ol’e 8×8.
During the endgame, and with a seeming crushing defeat for the non-widow opponent, the daughter of the deceased (three years of age) reached down, grabbed the queen, and placed it on a valid square. This lead to a forced mate in three for the widow.
^^ I think that is particulary striking for a little girl that considered any move of any piece valid — including to place it across the room somewhere.
Cut the kid some slack; Perhaps he is a grifter or perhaps he really believes in his ‘ability’ and is being exploited — I’d feel bad if scorchingly bad reviews of his ‘performance’ hastened him to go and meet those of which he supposedly speaks.
That said, I do think I’d like to see him doing a ‘reading’ of Justin Beiber — Is that bad?
I predict he would be bent over clutching his junk about one second later.
You would be striking a happy medium. No court would convict you.
My sister came back from one in a state of near-hysteria
I can’t say I like the term ‘Grief Vampire’ either.
May I suggest ‘Grief Leech’? It’s what I usually call them.
He won’t be happy after that blow, however, odds are that he’ll remain gay.
“Windex cleans up even the most stubborn chemtrails without leaving streaks or soapy film on the sky! On sale now!”
If you drink enough, everything becomes invisible.
If you wear size 10 shoes, I can lend you my work boots for that occasion 😉
Gaahh! You’d think that the Fox sisters coming clean would have ended this crap forever, or the debunking done by Arthur Conan Doyle and Houdini working together.
(Sir Arthur was looking for an “honest” medium. Houdini broke with Doyle when he kept insisting that Houdini had “mediumistic powers” that were responsible for his abilities. It’s hard to blame Doyle. Even though he was a believer years before, the appalling loss of relatives and friends in World War 1 – his son, brother, and nephew, the brother of his brother-in-law, all five sons of his wife’s best friend, and more – pushed him irretrievably into spiritualism as a religion.)
Thanks for the offer, but I’ve got size 9 Doc Martens. What’s good enough for Pete Townshend vs Abbie Hoffman is good enough for me.
I have schizophrenia, in particualar constant auditory hallucinations. As tempting as stuff like this is I try to stay away from it, I have to. It kind of reaffirms my notion that society is pretty schizophrenic these day. Much like my voices the internet and TV spew out all this stuff. Some is good some isn’t and the clarity of thought is needed to discern the right way through. For whatever that is worth.
This kid is full of it, he ought to get a real job somewhere, is all I have to say about him.
Who likes Chicago?
# 41 doug
Looks legit to me, here’s a respectable looking practitioner
I obviously lead a sheltered life. Murderers (well not that many anymore), crooks cooks academics. but nothing like this.
Another anti-psychic story – my SO received a telephone call. He was supposed to give a tour to a group of psychics at a historic site but had completely forgot. He was upset – he’d never forgotten about a tour before. He wasn’t amused by my response – I was rolling around laughing that “If they were psychics, shouldn’t they have seen that coming?”
…where the ABSMI is simply a company set up by Myss and Shealy to sell Grifter Certificates.
I knew jrkrideau was going to say that.
Ah, you noticed she is certified [sic] by Caroline Myss PhD but did you see that she has studied Medical Intuition Science with Carolyn Myss Ph.D.
He was part of the reason why my 2015 Dead Pool portfolio tanked, as it happens.
I like some of their early albums, and I’ve enjoyed their concerts over the years.
I just watched him on Dr. Phil. He read a girl who had lost a friend in a car accident. It was easily explained cold reading and rather upsetting to watch actually. Dr. Phil called himself a ” healthy skeptic”. Heh.
Yoru [email protected]
Hi JP (or Yoru Teruhiko now). I live and work here (well I live in the suburbs and work in the city). Do I like it? We have the best pizza, the best hockey team and a beautiful skyline. We also do well in the categories of potholes, corruption and murder so… I like it enough that I wouldn’t want to work in the suburbs but not living in the city is worth the commute.
I just watched the first part of this dude’s new show. He and his “Mommy” are driving to a “reading”. They both insist over and over that they have NO idea who they are going to see until that someone opens the door. BULLSHIT! This show and this guy is so fake! They’ve roped in all of these celebrities for him to do these FAKE readings with and you can tell they are faking it right along with him.
I think the long term goal here is to start doing bookings with all of the idiots at home who will watch the show. They’ll BELIEVE that if he can help a celebrity, he can surely help them! The MONEY will roll in. People are so gullible. It’s really sad….
I can’t imagine a better target clientele for a medium than celebrities, given the amount of trivial information readily available about their lives online. Even the passing of a celebrity’s pet badger in a tragic croquet accident likely made it into an interview at some point.
Maybe this kid can offer a serious challenge to John Edward’s Biggest Douche in the Universe crown.
capnkrunch, I’ve had pizza in Chicago, and the truth is that the quality of pizza is in inverse proportion to the distance of the pizzeria from Phil’s Pizza on Kings Highway in Brooklyn.
Except for all those Original Ray’s Pizza, Famous Ray’s Pizza, Original Famous, Famous Original, Those Other Guys Are Liars We’re The Real Ray’s Pizza, Aboriginal Rays’ Pizza, and all the others in Manhattan of that subset. Their pizza is just about as good as I imagine the pizza in Ulan Bataar is.
Devil’s Advocate department:
It occurs to me that many of these “successful psychics” may in fact have a higher than average degree of empathy, enabling them to pick up on others’ feelings easily.
If that’s true, then it’s possible that they could be encouraged to go the whole academic route to practice clinical psych or at least marital & family counseling. Along the way it’s more probable than not, that finding a viable channel for using their empathic abilities will get them off the “psychic” track and into a legitimate track.
By analogy, someone with a talent for picking locks can be encouraged to become a licensed locksmith rather than a burglar. Some of them might still end up as burglars, but some will switch tracks to lawful employment, and it’s worth making the effort to encourage them to do so.
What, and leave show business?
i have just finished watching an episode of tyler henry’s reading. I have a very open mind about stuff like this and believe that it is true. I my self and other members of my family have had small encounters with the other side. For those that call people like him quacks or vampire or whatever for whatever reason need to think about this…just because you don’t believe in it doesn’t make it fake. just because he’s on t.v to share other peoples experiences with his readings dosen’t mean that hes some kind of shark. As with making money off of the show he has to have some kind of income to be able to make it to all of the places he goes. Gas and living is not free. It does not mean that he is taking advantage of anyone. I myself would love to meet with him and have a reading from him just to see what he can tell me. I know I have a lot of questions for him that he may or may not be able to answer. What he reads is not entirely up to him, it is how the spiritual ones convey to him and it is up to him to translate what they send him. it might not be what anyone wants to hear but it is what the spiritual ones want to say to the ones that they are reaching out to. And I believe that he may be able to do great things when helping families with loved ones that have passed away due to suicide. when people die from suicide a lot of the times the loved ones don’t know why they did it. with tyler helping families of suicide victims it just might give them closer. I my self had a best friend that committed suicide and no one knows why. her family and myself have no closure as to what led her to do it.
Rebecca, you are entitled to your own beliefs, but not to your own facts. When you come back with actual scientific fact that the young man is actually speaking to the dead and his other claims then we will be convinced.
Until then, he is taking advantage of the desperate and that is unforgivable.
@ Gray Squirrrel:
Sure. In order to scam people you need a reasonable degree of person perception, social cognition, interpersonal skills, ability to ‘read’ motivation, non-verbal communication skills- whatever you’d like to call it. Psychics aren’t the only ones in this category -btw-.
And I truly believe that at least SOME ‘psychics’ think that their ‘powers’ are real and do want to help others.
The problem is that scammers won’t spend the time – years!- and money to become a counsellor/ psychologist – they want easy money probably instantly
and the true believers have no reason to study because they believe that they have a gift and are helping people already.
They may even believe that their gift is pure and from g-d or the universe. Not from universities and books.
“This kid is full of it, he ought to get a real job somewhere, is all I have to say about him.”
He could hire out as a feces donor.
And I believe that he may be able to do great things when helping families with loved ones that have passed away due to suicide. when people die from suicide a lot of the times the loved ones don’t know why they did it. with tyler helping families of suicide victims it just might give them closer. I my self had a best friend that committed suicide and no one knows why. her family and myself have no closure as to what led her to do it.
If she didn’t explicitly tell anyone while she was alive, what makes you think she will now that she’s dead? Even if you could reach her, why would you? If you believe you can reach her, then don’t you think she can reach you? And if she could, and wanted to tell you, wouldn’t she?
Do you people EVER take your heads out of your own navels??
What, and leave show business?
M O’B is a very bad person.
Some would beg to differ –
(May not be safe for work, but bad words are bleeped)
You know The Mentalist was fiction, right?
If that’s true, then it’s possible that they could be encouraged to go the whole academic route to practice clinical psych or at least marital & family counseling.
Maybe but mental health services is not known to pay very well…unless you get a gig like Dr. Phil has.
Even though I am a firm believer in this:
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in our philosophy.”
and in addition, could tell you a couple of personal experiences that would curl your hair, I think what this man is engaging in is exploration at best, and at worst, inherently dangerous. He has no idea how he can mess with people’s minds doing this regardless of how much help he may provide by sheer luck.
Depressed people don’t need a reason to commit suicide. Depression is the reason they commit suicide.
What is it with TV psychiatrists (this guy and Ablow) and gleaming scalps? Do they polish their pates or something?
Oh, Harry Houdini, we have learned nothing from you. (Houdini spent a good portion of his career unmasking bogus psychics.)
I used to think I had telepathic abilities. When I was 9, for about a week. Then I got bored and moved on to cooking for dragons.
In all the urban fantasy I’ve read, where people really do have magic or psychic abilities, none of them are “pay per view” mediums, and most look down on those people as, you guessed it, fakes and grifters.
On my 40th birthday, I awoke to find my dead Granddad standing in the doorway of our bedroom. He said, “I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday, my darling.” In his own posh London accent. He was there — I saw him and heard him and he was wearing the same mustard cardigan he wore Christmas ’76. And then he went away and I never saw him again.
If I told you this story, just like that… omitting that I was nursing a newborn, suffering from mastitis, with a fever of 103F and incredibly sleep deprived….
Grey Squirrel @66
“It occurs to me that many of these “successful psychics” may in fact have a higher than average degree of empathy, enabling them to pick up on others’ feelings easily.”
I would completely disagree: these fraudulent “psychics” are displaying a complete lack of empathy in their deliberate exploitation of other people’s grief and loss. Their actions are (I hesitate to use the term as it is one I dislike from professional experience) more akin to psychopathy in their disregard for others cloaked in a veneer of caring.
Toxic confusional states are very weird: I still remember lying in a hospital bed, post-surgery, running an even higher temperature and watching all manner of monsters running around the ward…
#81 – I completely agree. I popped my skeptical cherry looking into, and being appaled by, the callous actions of one Sylvia Browne – which lead me to (The Amazing) James Randi and the rest is as they say history.
That woman hasn’t got a single empathic bone in her body. The very definition of a grief vampire as outlayed by Orac in this blog entry.
Why, thank you, herr doktor!
Re. MOB @ 67, Denise @ 70, Johnny @74, Not a Troll @ 75, Murmur @ 81:
All of you are so psychic yourselves, that you’ve mind-read everyone who claims to have various paranormal abilities, and determined that they’re sociopaths who are out to deliberately scam others for money?
That’s a shameful failure of objectivity and display of bias, frankly not much different to what we see from political extremists on both ends of the spectrum. Obama’s a secret Mooslim! Obama’s a shill for the military-industrial complex! Gimme’ a break.
Plausible etiology for some of these cases: a teenager with high empathy gets positive social feedback for it, but comes from a relatively uneducated family, who attributes the kid’s ability to having a direct line to God or what-have-you. The kid has an honest intention to help others. S/he becomes a minor local celebrity and accrues more positive feedback from his social milieu, which becomes self-reinforcing. The kid ends up becoming a faith healer or psychic or whatever.
No intention to defraud, any more than there is with a kid under similar circumstances who ends up becoming a preacher. There are atheists who would assert that preachers are also frauds, but atheists vs. preachers is a digression.
The answer to this stuff isn’t to attempt to mind-read fraud as motivation.
The answer is to reinforce and strengthen our educational system.
Whereby, our hypothetical high school kid takes a psych course in high school, and then gets encouraged to take another at the local community college for extra credit. This sparks an interest in clinical psych, leading to an undergraduate major and graduate degree, and legitimate position doing family counseling or going for the Ph.D. and full-on clinical psychology practice.
Or if the kid comes from a military family and plans on joining the service, perhaps s/he applies for an MOS that can make use of those skills: interrogator/translator, civil affairs, human intelligence. Or goes into the business world and puts those skills to work in some role where negotiating is a major part of the job description.
Put yourself in the position of a high school guidance counselor, where one day a kid pops in to see you, and says “I seem to be able to read minds, got any suggestions?”
What do you tell that kid? “Oh, you’re going to become a psychic fraudster, get thee away from me, scoundrel!” Or, “If you’re unusually sensitive to others’ feelings, perhaps you’d be interested in becoming a psychologist”…?
Really: sit & think for a while, chuck the bias, think objectively, and look for solutions.
Art Kleps, Millbrook, Chapter 3.
Remember the old saying, “By their actions shall ye know them”?
That’s part of what I’m going on…That and there being no credible evidence for any psychic phenomena…And going on TV as a first line of practice…
I cannot defend the indefensible, which is what this kid is doing.
one day a kid pops in to see you, and says “I seem to be able to read minds, got any suggestions?”
“Why yes, but I hope you don’t expect me to verbalise them.”
Please re-read my comment and tell me where I said “sociopath” or “scam”. Thanks.
In the absence of evidence of actual psychic powers, all current successful psychics are, in fact, show people. Their motives may vary, but all are putting on a show. Heck, Tyler Henry (the young man who is the subject of Orac’s post) is on television. How can that not be show business? Would a person who is drawn to the bright lights and adoration of the TV series also be likely to take training and become a non-psychic psychotherapist, working with individuals or small groups without the fame, audience, and applause? Possibly, though most likely after the show business career has faded.
Gray Squirrel, read carefully, did I say that ‘scammers’ and those who ‘truly believe they are psychics and want to help people’ ( true believers) are the SAME individuals?
Not at all.
Interesting. Lots of self-defense, but not much to say about diverting vulnerable kids away from the psychic side-show and into legitimate career paths.
We can do better than that, but it takes work, and increased taxes to pay for better science ed and school guidance counselors (Denise: in the USA, that’s someone who helps kids figure out their educational and career paths) and make college affordable rather than a new form of indenture.
Here we have one kid who’s what?, 18, 21, somewhere in that range?, and he’s gotten dazzled (Mesmerized, if you will;-) by the glare of TV lights. Simple behaviorism tells you that positive reinforcement elicits more of the same behavior.
What I see in that, is a kid who is being manipulated and abused by grownups. Manipulated by some who are innocent True Believers, and by others who are morally culpable. Abused by those who are milking the pathos for all it’s worth and making the even-bigger-bucks as middlemen. That’s where the moral culpability comes to roost, not on the kid who is being manipulated.
Here’s where my own subjectivity comes into play:
Gay teenagers have 300% the suicide risk of straight teenagers. This kid is gay, out of the closet, and a minor celebrity. That makes him a role model for other gay kids, gay kids in high school. All the more so because his subject matter is suicide, the leading killer of gay teens.
On one hand, great!, a successful gay kid speaking to the topic of suicide.
On the other hand, arrrrgh!, he’s promoting himself as God’s own switchboard operator to the dead.
Reminds me of stories about people in poverty who win the lottery and then go out and waste it all on stupid bling rather than putting themselves and their families in a better position for the long run.
We NEED, desperately need, successful role models for gay teenagers. We also need them to be well-grounded in reality, and offering a path forward that is realistic, reality-based, and really achievable by others.
IMHO, that’s what’s so f***ing tragic about this case.
In the words of the Great Poet Minchin –
Look , Storm, I don’t mean to bore you
But there’s no such thing as an aura!
Reading Auras is like reading minds
Or tea-leaves or star-signs or meridian lines
These people aren’t plying a skill,
They are either lying or mentally ill.
Same goes for people who claim to hear Gods demands
Or Spiritual healers who think they’ve got magic hands.
By the way,
Why is it OK
For people to pretend they can talk to the dead?
Isn’t that totally fucked in the head
Lying to some crying woman whose child has died
And telling her you’re in touch with the other side?
I think that’s fundamentally sick
Do we need to clarify that there’s no such thing as a psychic?
What, are we fu****g 2?
Do we actually think that Horton Heard a Who?
Do we still think that Santa brings us gifts?
That Michael Jackson didn’t have face lifts?
Are we still so stunned by circus tricks
That we think that the dead would
Wanna talk to pricks
Like John Edward?
Or we could encourage children to read more fantasy and sci-fi. If the only place kids see characters with ‘psychic’ abilities is alongside dragons or faster-than-light travel, that’s a great way to draw a good hard line between reality and fiction.
And like I said earlier, most authors of urban fantasy (fantasy set in our current world) who have characters who are mediums also decry “TV psychics” as frauds.
As for this ‘kid’ being mislead by people who should know better, yeah, he’s young. That doesn’t explain other ‘mediums’ with TV shows like, say, the Long Island Medium. She’s hardly a ‘misled child’.
The word “medium” is kind of weird to me. I was reading an article lately about “trance states,” which musicians (esp. drummers) and artists know a lot about. Basically it’s about getting into a “flow” state, and there are deeper and lighter states.
Maybe “mediums” get a little too far into the medium, I dunno.
The Siberian shamans knew a lot about this stuff, but they’re hard to find. I’m sure there are some of them still kicking up there with the Samoyeds or something, though.
If you’d bothered to read what I wrote, you’d see that IMHO there’s minimal chance of convincing someone who has started a successful career as an entertainer (or possibly con man – not that this is necessarily the case here) that he/she/it should chuck it all in favor of hard study and a life outside the footlights.
I mean, if someone is willing to say for money that they can talk to the dead then they most likely either a) are badly misinformed; b) have convinced themselves that they are in some way helping people; or c) don’t care as long as the money rolls in.
Besides, with the ability to read people well and push their buttons they might become politicians. I’d rather they were psychics.
Believe it or not, usually school counsellors have a very limited time in which to interact with students – that’s not really enough to induce attitude change and impart the fine points of critical thinking.
As someone who assists adults with finding appropriate education in order to change careers ( and similar) I find that
they often have strong ideas about what they want to pursue – and no, no psychics yet- I just help them in getting the skills to get it. Counselling people is very different if it is required ( because of school attendance or court/ medical order) or if it is chosen by the participant.
someone is willing to say for money that they can talk to the dead
I am happy to
call spirits from the vasty deeptalk to the dead, as long as no-one is expecting a reply.
school counsellors have a very limited time in which to interact with students
My experience of school vocational counsellors is that they have found an appropriate job for exactly one person, i.e. themselves, and their powers go no further than that.
Not that I disagree, but could you please stop it with the “it” stuff? It’s dehumanizing as all get out, and it “triggers” some of us. (For real.)
I mean, unless somebody has specifically been asked to be called “it,” which by all accounts is a very rare thing, at least in the English-speaking world.
I don’t think this guy particularly enjoyed being called “it,” for example.
Thanks for your feedback. I will endeavor to keep your wishes in mind in future.
I’m getting lola lala oh its Lulu! Cracked me up seeing that. But watching this snake oil merchant he scribbles on a notebook his prop. But when he does his readings he doesnt give anything away he just asks or interviews his victims. If he was a clarvoyant then he should know who his next client is. But if you have someone famous sitting infront of you you are going to know some information about that person from press or the internet. He even says in episode 1 whats a tv. He said he didnt know carnnie wilson when he entered the house. But when he did his post reading he said it was great to know that this was CW. I will only believe a medium or reader if they pick up on grandad what was his favourite word or saying. So far none have said it. If he is speaking through the medium then he will speak as i know him. Also my partner went for a reading and managed to get the sex of the partner incorrect. I heard the tape and lolled. The reader just could not get out of that trap.
Wonder how people from the most developed country in the world fall for such nonsense.
Either this kid is so smart that he knows most celebrities have fame and money other than brains, or those celebrities know that this kid is a fraud, but they just need another show to show their sensitive side to their foolish fans.
I had lunch with him and his mother a couple of month ago. they both were charming but very calculating.
I wouldn´t like to be his friend at all !!
I WOULD like to be his friend. Everyone is a big ole fraud and phony except for him, me, and Theresa Caputo. His abilities aren’t as powerful as mine and Theresa’s though. There are rare freaks out there who have these abilities, just the same as there are freaks who have like elephant-man lumps all over their faces. It’s just that there’s like less than 5 people ever in existence to be “blessed” with these rare anomalies, hence why they have been given their own shows on TLC. There was like a documentary special called like “Tumor-Face Boy” that starred a young man inflicted with elephant-man disease. And the original elephant-man had a movie made after him and everything. They became well-known because of their freaky, unnatural, inhuman, and inexplicable deformities. It is the same thing with Theresa (and me, when I join her as an intern later next season). But, like, dude, y’all should all like seriously calm down a little bit. Like why do you get SO angry about…..of all the zillions and millions of things to be angry about…..something as pointless, irrelevant, and inane as this? If people want to believe in things that are idiotic; such as bigfoot, alien abduction, or crop circles, just let them be a freaking idiot. Like who cares? There are SOOOOOOO many idiots on this planet like why even try to fight against them. Remember, they, being, of course, the idiots that they are, will not be able to comprehend the explanations, rationalizations, opinions, or arguments of non-idiots. It’s like 2 different languages. Even in the off chance that they do understand the gist of what the non-idiot is saying, they will refuse to change their stance, no matter how illogical or implausible it might be, on the grounds that they will never come to terms with and admit the fact that they are, indeed, an idiot. The close-minded, immature, stubborn idiot is incapable of realizing his own idiocy due to the existence of said idiocy. It’s like a vicious cycle of idiocy. Like why are you so concerned about the lives of idiots anyway, especially when it comes to this like random, weird topic. Like, it’s so weird, for real. There are way worse things going on in the world than this. Anyone who is not a certified medium with the Forever Family Foundation is not to be trusted. Omg, like Sylvia Browne?? I remember like literally rolling around on the floor laughing at what a ridiculous joke she was when I saw her on a talk show or something. Like, truly, anyone who believed her is a raging idiot who might as well believe in Bigfoot and Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny. Oh and when I watched the youtube video of that dude tricking James Van Pragh or whatever his name is…..I was ROTFL just as hard. I mean anyone who believes these clowns is clearly a complete idiot who believes in the Tooth Fairy……but like, that’s their prerogative. If they’re happy believing in the Tooth Fairy, and are unlikely to be convinced otherwise ever due to the well-known fact that idiots have little to no common sense, and being unable to get out of that cycle of idiocy, lest they spontaneously and magically transform into a non-idiot (not too likely…), are prone to the inevitable continuance of their idiotic belief in the Tooth Fairy. I mean, I’m a huge b*tch and love to make sport of arguing and complaining about an endless variety and multitude of topics, but like why are you guys so dedicated to this one nitpicky, obscure, pointless topic??? Seriously like I don’t get it! It’s like hilariously odd!! What a waste of time and energy….time and energy that could be spent b*tching about much more important, relevant, and worthy topics. Like if I just clear this up for you, my abilities come directly from God, He placed these special abilities in a chosen few before birth, it is not something that is able to occur naturally. It is completely impossible. God had to like specially code these abilities into the DNA of those chosen to have this gift, and has to use like specifically designed custom made ectoplasm or something in order for us to be able to communicate so clearly, easily, accurately, and “naturally”, with the higher vibrations or whatever. He had studied those with inborn and natural intuitive ability to communicate with higher frequencies, I suppose you could call these people “intuitives”, “empaths”, “spiritually sensitive”, or what have you, and that helped him to create the DNA code allowing for the powerful abilities to be entwined into the ectoplasm and DNA of his choice. It is impossible for those not specifically chosen by God and entwined with this DNA to ever come close to having the power and abilities of the entwined ones. So Theresa and I are among his first “test subjects” for this special ability. I guarantee you guys that there most definitely is life after death and that I, along with a few others, are endowed with the honor and privilege of having the unique powers and abilities to communicate with Spirit and be influenced very directly by their divine guidance. I mean you seriously just have to believe even if it seems completely ludicrous. Like have some faith. I mean not in like swamp monsters. But just that there is a possibility of things out there in the universe that you can’t possibly know about, and can never definitively and objectively prove either the existence or non-existence of things like the afterlife and Heaven. Like you believe we just die and then cease to exist after living this entire miserable life on this planet of idiots? Like what’s the point of anything in life, you know, if before you know it, you won’t know of your, or anyone’s life or existence, or the existence of anything, bc you’ll just die and it will be as if you never existed, just as it was before you were born and became aware of your existence. Nothing in your life will matter at all, even if you like cure cancer or something and make the world better for the future, who really cares bc after you die, you’ll never ever know of anything again bc you will no longer exist. Like it’s such a horrible and depressing thought to live with. You have to freaking have faith that there’s life after death. I mean even if you die thinking there’s an afterlife and you turn out to be wrong, hey, guess what: YOU’LL NEVER EVEN KNOW bc as soon as you die and think you’re going to the afterlife, you’ll cease exist and have no knowledge that you were ever wrong, or of your life on earth, or of your existence, or the existence of anything or anyone. So oh well. Like I don’t know why or how anyone ever, could honestly go through life believing that we just die and then only exist in the form of a nasty, rotten corpse with like disgusting maggots and other hideous, awful, gross bugs crawling on you and eating you and that is the outcome and value of your entire life. It is all for one day sustaining and supporting some of the most hideous, terrible, disgusting, worthless creatures on the planet- nasty bugs. Like how could you. I will NEVER support the life of a nasty bug, they are the ones who deserve to be dead and to not exist. I obviously want to be cremated. But it still seems pretty anticlimactic to have my entire life’s worth and self worth be reduced to a bunch of fishflakes. Like you guys have to believe there is something more and you HAVE to at the very least find something better to spend your time and energy arguing and sharing your opinions either in support for or disapproval of the cause/subject matter/topic than this. I mean seriously the poem?!? LOLOL!! Idk…just…….wtf?!?! So funny!! And the line about John Edwards is totally true. Lol they probably like wouldn’t communicate with him even if he did have any psychic ability, which clearly he does not. Like he’s such a douche. But anyway…like you wrote a freaking poem….like WHAT?!?! Lol. I mean you guys are really passionate!! lolol….it drew me directly into this beloved hobby/sport of mine…ranting, arguing, complaining, and being an all around b*tch. But it is my signature style drop my b*tchbomb and flee the scene, never to be returned to, I say everything I need to say in one bomb, release it onto the unfortunate, but usually deserving, victims, then permanently detach myself from the situation. There’s no need for me to argue back and forth with anyone, because I know I’m right and if you disagree that’s your problem. I tried, there’s nothing more I can do. I left a b*tchbomb that I felt needed to be dropped, it is up to the bombed to interpret, analyze, utilize, and learn from any and all of the parts and pieces of the rather large bomb in any way you like and any way you see fit. I obviously don’t care and will not be back to this site any time soon, if ever, so don’t bother like replying to me or anything I’ll probably never even see it. Well this has been fun and funny. Bye guys. I hope to never run into any of y’all ever cause y’all seem pretty violent and have made it obvious that you would take immense pleasure in committing hate crimes against anyone claiming to be psychic…..which obviously I do claim because it is a true fact about me just as much as other facts like that I am a female, I have blonde hair, and I am 5’3″. I can’t help any of these things, I didn’t choose any of these things, and if anyone finds out about any of these traits that commits hate crimes against anyone in possession of or thought to be in possession of any or all of these traits, will likely commence an attack on me. I am not scared for my safety, rather, I am concerned for anyone who dares to attempt to attack me, because I am a very ferocious b*tch. I am actually more concerned that I might get into legal trouble for my vicious assault on the attacker, even if in self defense, because it will probably be considered like “cruel and unusual defense” or something because I am so ferocious and mean. Beware. Ok bye guys. Don’t really beat anyone up. It’s mean. Calm down. You guys seem like really stressed out and wound up about something that’s kinda stupid to get so mad over, seriously. Try to relax. For real. Ok……….peace out. bye. …… .
Kristin Sasha: “Like if I just clear this up for you, my abilities come directly from God, He placed these special abilities in a chosen few before birth, it is not something that is able to occur naturally. It is completely impossible. God had to like specially code these abilities into the DNA of those chosen to have this gift, and has to use like specifically designed custom made ectoplasm or something in order for us to be able to communicate so clearly, easily, accurately, and “naturally”, with the higher vibrations or whatever. ”
Was the price for all these powers the complete inability to use paragraphs or write coherently? Can you at least tell me the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of those vibrations?
Come back to us after you have won the Sisyphus Prize.
Perhaps you should think harder about the boldfaced bit.