This year, it is estimated that Americans will spend a whopping $204 billion shopping online. With a quick click of a mouse, savvy internet shoppers purchase everything from opera tickets, gourmet coffees, and luxury cruises. And that is not all. Personal advice is available online. Medical advice is available online. Financial advice is available online. And for life’s thorniest problems, gifted psychics are online and ready to help. If you have a problem and a credit card,
“I have all the answers you need.”
“I will reveal your past, present and future…”
“My readings are extensive and thorough. I can answer your questions on love and romance, health, finance, career, family and future.”
“I provide answers to your life’s most important questions.”
“Get the truth now.”
These are impressive claims, indeed, but do the psychics’ boastings measure up to their abilities to perform? This is what I wanted to know.
Thirty-four year old Eric Blair, a material handler living in Lexington, Kentucky, was haunted by a feeling that he may have fathered a child he had never met. Was it possible he had a teenage son living in California? This recurring question would not go away. An attempt at locating his former girlfriend had proven futile, so at his wife’s suggestion, he consulted an online psychic. Garrs was nearly overwhelmed by the huge number of online psychics, but after making a selection, he submitted the following letter along with his credit card payment:
“After returning from a tour of duty in Germany, I was stationed at Wright Carswell AFB in Tempe, Arizona. By the way, I am originally from Tuscan, Arizona, but I don't suppose that really matters. Anyway, while stationed in Tempe, I met a little red-haired girl named Rebekka. Rebekka was a civilian employee at the base commissary and, believe me, I thought she was the love of my life!
“I honestly believed God had made us for each other—we had everything in common! We enjoyed the same music, the same foods, the same movies, the same everything! And maybe this was the problem—we were too much alike! We fought. We made up. We fought again. We made up again. And on and on and on it went.
“After a big fight over the weekend (a lot of drinking was involved), Rebekka left me that Monday afternoon. I came home from work only to discover she had packed her bags and moved out. She had left a note saying she couldn't live like this anymore.
“In a way, I missed Rebekka, but I also knew we were no good for each other. I was heart-broken and relieved at the same time. Does that make sense?
“About three months after our breakup, I received a letter from her. She had moved back to her hometown of Bakersfield, California. In her letter, Rebekka said she was pregnant. I didn't know what to say. When I wrote back, I sent her two hundred dollars and told her to get an abortion. I realize this was a cold-blooded thing to do, but at the time I had a lot of anger and resentment in my heart. Rebekka sent the two hundred dollars back and swore I would never hear from her again.
“This is where it gets kind of spooky. A couple of years ago, I began having dreams about a tall, red-headed boy. In one dream, he was sitting alone inside a bus terminal. In another dream, he is standing in line waiting to buy a bus ticket. And in another dream, he is traveling alone on a bus. In every dream, the boy is wearing a baseball cap and jersey. Many years ago, I played minor league baseball. I was a pitcher. And like I said, Rebekka had red hair.
“Here is what I think. I believe the boy is my son. I do not believe Rebekka had an abortion. I am convinced I have a son whom I have never met.
“I tried doing an online search for Rebekka, but my efforts haven't been successful. Maybe she married and goes by a different name. And for all I know, she may have left Bakersfield.
“But what really drives me nuts is wondering if I have a son.
“By the way, it was my wife who suggested I ask a psychic. And if I happen to have a son, she's okay with that. I'm okay with it, too!”
A touching letter, indeed, but please understand there is not so much as an ounce of truth in the above correspondence. For starters, Eric Blair is a pseudonym; I wrote the letter. Furthermore, from greeting to salutation, this letter is one long, perjurous strand of lies, deceptions, falsehoods, and fabrications. With the reader’s indulgence, I will list each false statement.
1. I have never served in the military.
2. I have never traveled to Germany.
3. There is no Wright Carswell Air Force Base in Tempe, Arizona.
4. I have never lived in Tempe, Arizona.
5. I was born in Louisville; I have never lived in Tuscan.
6. The red-haired girl named Rebekka who worked at the base commissary is a fictitious character.
7. There was no drunken brawl.
8. There was no “Dear John” letter.
9. I am adamantly opposed to abortion.
10. I have never had recurring dreams about red-haired youths garbed in jerseys and baseball caps.
11. As much as I love baseball, I have never pitched in any league—including Little League.
12. Submitting this letter, phony as it is, to a psychic was not at my wife’s suggestion. This was my idea.
13. I will give half my kingdom to anyone who can prove I have a biological son. Phooey—let’s go for broke! If anyone can prove I have a son, I will throw in the other half of my kingdom, too!
Here is a baker’s dozen of assorted lies with an obvious dead give-away; there is no Wright Carswell Air Force Base in Tempe, Arizona. A simple web search would tell anyone, psychic or otherwise, that such an airbase does not exist. No Air Force veteran would forget the name of the base or the locality where he or she served; additionally, a glaring error as this would likely send up a red flag warning a psychic that a “sting operation” is in progress.
Was I able to psyting the psychic? Here is the response I received from a practitioner named Gus:
“Hello Eric. I focused on this for quite some time. It is easy for me to sense that you are a good person, and that when it comes to relationships and family your heart is in the right place. To answer your question, I do sense that you have a son, and I sense that he and Rebekka are living in or around Bakersfield. I sense that she is not going by the last name that you knew her by, which is part of the reason why you can't get in touch with her. I do, however, believe that you can find her if you hire a professional that specializes in finding ‘lost’ persons (i.e. a private detective). It seems that she is married, which would explain the name change (her current last name may begin with ‘S,’ but it doesn't seem to be ‘Smith’).
“What really matters, however, is what you will do once you have found out where she is. Approaching her would need to be done in a very respectful manner. She likely has no interest in maintaining a relationship, although your son very likely would like to know who you are. Regarding the dream, I am not sure that it has any connection to this issue other than coincidence, but bear in mind that everyone is clairvoyant to a certain extent, so the dream is hard to really interpret.
“Try not to stress about this too much. I believe that things happen for a reason, and I don't sense any negative energy around you or your son.”
For someone who can “reveal your past, present, and future” and has the ability to “provide answers for your life’s most important questions,” this should have been a relatively easy test. After all, the psychic had a fifty percent chance of answering my inquiry correctly. Quite obviously, this online seer failed to make a believer out of me.
IN LEAGUE WITH SATAN?
Had the psychic answered correctly, would this have proven he possessed supernatural abilities? Not necessarily. Again, the test was far too easy; Gus had a fifty percent chance of providing me with a correct response and, besides, even a broken clock is correct twice a day.
Of course, there are many people who have come to trust psychics based upon favorable or accurate readings; admittedly, psychics are not always wrong. At times, their readings are accurate. So what are we to make of an accurate psychic reading? Ron Rhodes, president of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries, offers some explanations: Firstly, no one is wrong all of the time, so an occasional correct prediction is to be expected. Secondly, some predictions are likely to happen because of past occurrences. As an example, a vague prediction concerning an up or down movement in the stock market is hardly noteworthy considering the volatile nature of Wall Street. Thirdly, psychics may be inclined to make bold predictions if they have received “inside” information. Fourthly, malevolent demons imitating a spirit guides or deceased persons may be the psychics’ conveyers of hidden knowledge.
On the other hand, God’s true prophets were those whose vision was not limited to the here and now, for they could see well into the far reaches of the future. As examples, four hundred years before the first Christmas, the prophet Malachi predicted that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. Eight hundred years before Roman guards nailed spikes through Jesus’ hands and feet, the prophet Isaiah foretold of His crucifixion—and it is worth noting the Roman method of execution by crucifixion had yet to be devised. And a thousand years before the mob in Jerusalem demanded an end to His life, King David prophesied of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection—and with amazing, uncanny accuracy, too. In fact, there are over one hundred predictive prophecies concerning the birth, life, ministry, miracles, death, burial, and resurrection recorded in the Old Testament that were literally fulfilled.
How do we explain the Bible’s predictive accuracy? And how is it that no other so-called “holy book” can boast of the Bible’s prophetic prowess? As only God knows the complete unfolding of all future events, the Bible must be divinely inspired (II Timothy 3: 16). God put His words on the lips of His holy prophets. There can be no other explanation and the accuracy of Scripture is yet another proof that the Bible is indeed God’s Word.
God looks down upon psychics with utter contempt. Psychics often claim their abilities are God-given, but they are liars who deceive the witless, the clueless, and the gullible. Those who heed the words of false prophets are made to trust a lie. In ancient Israel, God pronounced a death sentence upon all psychic practitioners (Deuteronomy 13: 5). As we do not live in a theocracy, psychics are free to carry out their unholy trade, but God is not mocked. Like the sword of Damocles, His wrath hangs precariously over their heads.
SEEKING A SECOND OPINION
My alter ego Eric Blair thought it wise to give another psychic a chance at peering into his fictitious past. Perhaps a psychic of a more discerning spirit would see through my farce. The same letter was sent to a psychic named Sabra Jenny; here is her response:
“This was a challenging reading to do. I don’t normally do ‘missing person’ types of readings, and this one definitely fit into that category. I spent a lot of time asking for answers to this for you.
“One answer came back very clearly: You do not have a child out there. I have the sense that Rebekka had a miscarriage, and there was no child as a result of her pregnancy. I also do not get any current father/child connection out there at all for you, in any way.
“I don’t see any connection between you and Rebekka at all in the present, other than your memories. Rebekka also does not want to be found on a psychic level, because I don’t get any energy signals from her at all, other than the fact that she is apparently still alive. She is cloaked in secrecy of her own making, and I cannot cross that barrier.
“The other answer that came back very clearly was that your dreams are actually a manifestation of unanswered questions you have about yourself. You are advised to start a dream journal, and keep track of the dreams that you’re having featuring this boy. Do this for a month, and see what the recurring themes are for the dreams.
“Once you see the pattern, it’s a fairly simple matter to research dream meanings on the internet now. There are also many, many people out there available through the internet to do dream interpretation.
“Your guides are suggesting that your search for your son is actually masking another truth you’ve been avoiding about your past, and that you need to return to your memories of yourself at that age, find THAT boy, and figure out what he’s trying to tell you. I sense that there is something you’ve hidden so deeply that you’ve even hidden it from yourself, and that truth is trying very hard to surface so you can finally deal with it in an adult way.
“This is the point at which I suggest my clients consult with an appropriate professional for further guidance and assistance. If you go digging into your own archives and find something hidden that is very uncomfortable for you to look at, I suggest you find yourself a reasonable counselor or therapist to explore that with, rather than trying to do it alone.
“Or you could leave it be, and it will be in there when you’re finally ready to deal with it, but you will continue to get these messages from your inner self to your conscious self.
“I’m sorry you didn’t get the answer you were hoping for. My job is to give you the truth that I read for you.”
Beside the fact that Sabra Jenny was unable to recognize my inquiry as being totally fraudulent, she came to a number of invalid conclusions—most notably is her claim that I “do not have a child out there,” and I have no “father/child connection.” I do have a child. I have a teenage daughter. I am a dad. I have the bills and expenses to prove it.
A PSYCHIC WHOOPS!
A psychic named Jeanne apologized by email for a delay in responding to an inquiry. She wrote, “My family has just arrived at my door unexpectedly to watch the opening of the Olympics with us. So now I will have to do your reading Monday evening (if not sooner).” I find it amusing that a psychic who claims to foresee the future was caught off guard by unannounced visitors. How did these unexpected relatives slip past her psychic radar? Perhaps Jeanne’s crystal ball was in the shop for a tune-up.
But even big name psychics are not immune to embarrassing revelations that expose them for who they truly are. CNN news commentator Anderson Cooper reported two other cases in which well-known psychic Sylvia Browne’s muddled predictions proved disastrous. When a teenage boy named Shawn Hornback turned up missing, his anxious parents went to Sylvia Browne for help. She confirmed their worst fears by saying the boy was dead. He had been killed by a kidnapper whom she described as having dark skin and dreadlocks. Thankfully, the boy was found alive and for the record, the man charged with abducting Shawn Hornback was fair skinned and sporting short hair. It is also worth noting that the false information given by Sylvia Browne had hampered the police’s investigation. In another missing persons case, a grieving Opal Jo Jennings consulted Sylvia Browne about the disappearance of her granddaughter. Ms Browne said the abducted child was alive but had been taken to Japan. Four years later, the little girl’s body was found in Texas.
God will not contradict Himself. His word is fixed and His truths do not change. As the Bible strictly condemns all forms of Spiritism, it is nonsense to believe psychics practice their trade with God’s blessings. Why would God bless that which He vehemently condemns?
No doubt, there are sincere-minded psychics who truly believe they provide a worthwhile service for their clients; they claim special intuitive powers allowing them to foresee future events or to communicate with the dead. But many others are in the business to line their pockets. By cashing in on the gullibility of their muddle-minded public, some of the better known charlatans command hefty fees amounting to several hundreds of dollars per hour.
Regardless of fee structure or motivation, Spiritism is a detestable practice that cannot be reconciled with the clear teachings of Scripture. Christians are not to engage the services of psychics.
With almost no effort at all, I was able to debunk two psychics, but on rare occasions, psychics have made amazingly accurate predictions. As no psychic is wrong all the time, we can expect a right answer now and then, but when a psychic draws upon supernatural powers, be assured that source of power reeks of smoke and brimstone.
About the author: Dr. Michael Blunk is the director of the Christian Paranormal Research Project, a ministry that offers biblical answers to questions surrounding ghosts, psychics, and related paranormal activity. You may contact this ministry by visiting their website at www.christianprp.com.