Sylvia Browne

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Sylvia Browne (born Sylvia Celeste Shoemaker, October 19, 1936; died November 20, 2013) was a self-proclaimed "psychic" and author of many books on the subject of spirituality. Browne was a celebrity psychic, medium, and occultist, having appeared regularly on the Montel Williams television show and others. She led her own church, the Society of Novus Spiritus. Browne advertised services through her website, employed other "mediums" and generated income through lectures, "Spiritual Salons" and telephone readings.[1] Many questioned her credibility in light of unfulfilled claims she made, such as telling the parents of a kidnapped boy, Shawn Hornbeck, that their son was deceased. Shawn was later found alive with another kidnapped child. In 2004 Browne also incorrectly informed the mother of kidnapped Amanda Berry that her daughter was dead; Amanda was found alive in May 2013.[2] In fact, Browne was proven wrong many times over, not only telling parents that their children were dead when they were alive, but also the opposite, that they were alive, when they were actually no longer living.[3] This unethical activity on the part of Browne caused heartache and grief for parents, as well as wasted time for law enforcement officials who attempted to follow up on her "leads". In 2006, Robert S. Lancaster created a website called "Stop Sylvia Browne", which details her incorrect predictions. The site description reads: "Examining and debunking the claims of purported psychic Sylvia Browne".[4] There are currently few rules or restrictions pertaining to those claiming to be psychics, mediums, fortune-tellers, tarot readers, occultists, etc.; they are largely unregulated and need no license to practice.[5]



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