Why didn’t the psychics find Jaycee Dugard?

The incredibly awesome Ben Radford just published an article for LiveScience

that addresses both the failure of self-proclaimed psychics to find Jaycc Dugard, the now famous kidnapping victim who was abducted 18 years ago when she was 11 years old by Phillip Garrido. Garrido, a very devout Christian, held her captive in his backyard for all that time and made her his sex slave, which led to the birth of two more children who were also prisoners for their entire lives.

But what’s truly baffling is that according to Radford, a “psychic” named Dayle Schear now is claiming Garrido’s capture validates her predictions. Schear a long, long time ago charged Dugard’s family large sums of money for her services and in exchange told them that their daughter was alive (well at least she’s already proven better than Sylvia Browne) and a bunch of cryptic, meaningless nonsense that did not in any way lead to Garrido’s capture or Jaycee being found:

Yet the psychics conveniently ignore the fact that their information was either wrong or so general and vague that it was useless. [snip] What police and searchers need is not general, vague “I told you so” information after the missing person has been recovered through police work, but accurate, useful information that leads police to the victim.

This is exactly what every self-proclaimed psychic does. There’s not a single proven  unambiguous case where the psychic has given very specific information that directly led to a capture or the finding of a missing person. Sure, occasionally you find police officers who credit the psychic after the case has been closed but on the rare occasions that detailed notes were taken by the officers of what the psychic said exactly, the notes always end up being a combination of claims far more generalized than the officers remember after the fact as well as a few specific hits among far more specific misses. And there’s almost always a prediction about the subject of the search being near water. Who isn’t?

The bottom line is that whenever a psychic is forced into the position of having to prove their abilities under properly controlled conditions, they fail 100 percent of the time. Case in point. And of course the obvious question is that if Schear’s information had any value at all, at least enough to deserve payment, why then did it take 18 years to find Jaycee, using more down to earth methods?

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