This is why we dislike so-called “psychics”. When Larry King has these cold readers on his show, and believers complain about skeptics, bleating that the psychics are doing no harm and that we should leave them alone, this is the reason they are wrong. From Jim Downey today I learned of how a mother of an autistic child was investigated under the Child and Family Services Act because some lame-ass “educational assistant” who worked with the child visited a “psychic” who guessed the letter “V” (the first letter of the child’s name), and (following validation by the mark) suggested the child was being sexually abused. And the dumb as a rock school officials felt this was enough to report the family:
Colleen Leduc already had a lot going against her. The Barrie woman was holding down a job while struggling to raise her autistic 11-year-old daughter. She couldn't afford to give the child the intensive therapy she needed, and was forced to send her to a public school in the area.
So she was completely unprepared for what happened to her and the youngster, an almost unbelievable tale of red tape involving a strange claim from a teaching assistant, a bizarre decision by a school board, a visit from the Children's Aid Society (CAS) and most improbably of all, the incorrect pronouncements of a psychic.
"The teacher looked and me and said: 'We have to tell you something. The educational assistant who works with Victoria went to see a psychic last night, and the psychic asked the educational assistant at that particular time if she works with a little girl by the name of "V." And she said 'yes, I do.' And she said, 'well, you need to know that that child is being sexually abused by a man between the ages of 23 and 26.'"
The family were able to avoid prosecution and the family being split up, probably only because the mother had fitted the child with a GPS unit that provided audio records of everything that was going on around her. Yes – she was able to prove herself and her family innocent. Lucky. How many other families would have been able to do the same?
And consider the quote above, “the psychic asked the educational assistant … if she works with a little girl by the name of "V." As those of us who watch these cold reading frauds know, it is highly unlikely that that is what transpired. What most likely happened is that the “psychic” offered numerous guesses, and the “V” was the one that stuck. And the psychic probably didn’t even say the “V” was “a little girl…” – the dumb mark most likely provided that for her too.
The psychic isn’t even the worst villain in this case. The real idiots are in the school board who didn’t just dismiss this piece of idiocy out of hand, but who took it upon themselves to take this piece of nonsense seriously. These events took place Monday, but by yesterday the school board are still refusing to even consider they did anything wrong:
The board has admitted the issue could have been handled better, but notes under the law they had to file a report regardless of the source.
Then the law is an ass.
This reportedly cash-strapped mother is extremely fortunate that she had the proof that the allegations were wrong. Most others would not. Remember this case the next time Larry King, and other credulous media types, mindlessly promote psychics are real in an effort to increase ratings. Shame on you people for validating this crap.