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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

police psychics (first see psychometry) There are some psychometrists who claim they can handle items connected with crimes, particularly violent crimes, and can obtain, by their powers, impressions that help the police in the solutions of these crimes. These people are sometimes called in by the police, but more often it turns out that they themselves have contacted the police, have said that they know something about a crime, and are thus invited to make a statement. The police, by the very nature of their duties, must choose to record any volunteered information.
      In one case in the United States within recent years, police listened with more than usual interest to a psychic who told them about a serious industrial fire that he not only had predicted with great accuracy, but about which he had supplied important details after the event, details which it appeared he could only know as a result of his special powers. His account was so accurate that he was immediately arrested and an investigation soon revealed that he'd had no need of paranormal powers to produce his visions. His information was essentially firsthand: He himself was the arsonist.
      If there is any ability on the part of a psychic to supply law enforcement officials with relevant data which might assist in obtaining the solution to a crime, that ability should be cultivated and used. To find out if psychics could assist the police, American psychologist Dr. Martin Reiser conducted two extensive investigations into the use of psychics by the Los Angeles Police Department for that purpose. After several years of research, his conclusion was that psychics could contribute nothing useful to police work. “Psychics come out of the woodwork during cases which the media become heavily involved in,” he says.
      Part of Dr. Reiser's experimentation involved weapons used in homicide cases. These were mixed in with “virgin” items as controls, and it was found that the psychics were unable to differentiate among them.
      Inspector Edward Ellison of the U.K.'s Scotland Yard, in response to statements by psychics that they regularly worked with them, reported that:  

      1. Scotland Yard never approach psychics for information.  
      2. There are no official “police psychics” in England.  
      3. The Yard does not endorse psychics in any way.  
      4. There is no recorded instance in England of any psychic solving a criminal case or providing evidence or information that led directly to its solution.

      Inspector Ellison had canvassed his department to find out if any police officers had consulted psychics or were able to benefit from the use of psychics. In all of the eight districts of London that the Yard covers, he made inquiries, and he found that rather than the officers seeking out the psychics, it was the other way around. Said Ellison, “They've [the police] been approached, is the answer.
      “I've had a psychologist and a statistician standing by since last August, and so far, nothing reported,” said the inspector. The inquiry ended in August 1991. The results were negative.
      The famous Yorkshire Ripper case in the U.K. was a bonanza for the psychics, and for the sensational newspapers as well. The Sunday People newspaper asked Britain's then-leading psychic/medium who provided what she said were psychic drawings of the Ripper's friends, relatives, and even his car mechanic. All this information was not only useless, but was quite wrong.
      Mr. Bob Baxter, chief press officer for the West Yorkshire police, made a statement about the hundreds of persons who offered clues in the Yorkshire Ripper case:  

      Many people contacted us during the Ripper inquiry. Many of them were mediums or people professing to have psychic powers. However, nothing that any of these people told us has any bearing on the outcome of the case. We certainly did not discuss our investigations with them.

      This is in sharp contrast with the numerous claims made by psychics who said they helped solve the matter.
      In 1980/81, a series of murders of young black men in Atlanta, Georgia, attracted the attention of psychics, who sent in more than nineteen thousand letters and over two thousand drawings that attempted to identify the killer. Most of those described or drawn were white men, but the murderer turned out to be a young Afro-American. None of the drawings or letters properly described the murderer or gave his correct name, though many names were tried.

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