Psychic Detectives have been around for some time, it only seems like a new phenomenon. As callous as it sounds, as long as there have been people who are desperate to find answers there have been people to prey on them. To be fair not all of the alleged psychics are intentionally being deceptive, there are a large number of individuals who have managed to convince themselves that they can really perceive the “Extra Sensory”. However in this age the ease with which the supposed psychics can promote themselves and find willing participants in their particular brand of insanity is virtually unprecedented. And yet while the means to research and expose these charlatans is just as easy to access the vast majority do not do so, why?

There are many methods by which psychics may claim to obtain knowledge about a case, astrology, “spirit guides”, dowsing rods and pendulums, psychometry, clairvoyance, even “auras” and palmistry. However when viewed objectively the main ways appear to be cold reading and retrofitting after the fact.

Retrofitting allows psychics to get away with results that are vague to the point of uselessness and still claim a hit. So long as they can rely on sympathetic believer to fit what ever the psychic comes up with into the facts of a case once everything is known then they can trumpet a success, which then gives them a better reputation, which nets them more victims -ahem- clients, and they can go through the process all over again.

Consider the the following random statements: the number three, water close by, the letter B. Completely useless information before the case is solved, but once all the facts are known those who believe can fit these into the known framework. Perhaps there was a letter B in the license plate of the victim, or the police officers patrol car. Maybe there a three on a letter box close to the crime, or a bath, water tower, lake, river, well, stream, water balloon. the possibilities are endless if you are determined enough.

Even police officers who believe in psychic phenomena have admitted that predictions “were difficult to verify as initially given,” and “The accuracy usually could not be verified until the investigation had come to a conclusion.” I don’t know about you but I’d prefer a method of acquiring information about a case that was useful before it was all over.

Resources:
http://www.randi.org/jr/07-02-2000.html
http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/2/prweb202967.htm
http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/police-psychics.html