Psychic Sylvia Browne told Amanda Berry’s mother she was dead

Yesterday, kidnap victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight finally escaped from the house where they had all been held prisoner for years. In all the joy and happiness of the occasion, there was some heartbreak—Amanda’s mother, Louwana Millier, who had spent so many years looking for her, had died in 2006.

In 2004, however, she appeared on the Montel Williams show to get a reading from “psychic” Sylvia Browne regarding the whereabouts of her daughter.  Browne, despite the fact that she doesn’t have enough confidence in her abilities to submit them to a test by James Randi, felt confident enough in them to tell Louwana Miller that her daughter was dead.

From StopSylvia:

Miller: She was talking to my other daughter, and she said, `I have a ride, and I’ll call you in a minute,’ which we always keep in contact.

Browne: Now, the thing that gets me is this sort of Cuban-looking, short kind of stocky build, heavyset…

Miller: Can you tell me if they’ll ever find her? Is she out there?

Browne: She’s–see, I hate this when they’re in water. I just hate this. She’s not alive, honey. And I’ll tell you why, here we go again. Your daughter was not the type that would not have called you.

Browne: In other words, there’s a lot of runaways. You know what I’m saying…

Miller: Right.

Browne: …that I’ve had on this show, where I say, `Oh, forget it, they’re in Podunk, Idaho, or somewhere.’ Your daughter was not the type that wouldn’t have checked in with you if she was alive.

Miller: Right. Right.

Browne: But I’m sorry they didn’t find the jacket. I’m sorry they didn’t find, because that had DNA on it.

That woman makes my blood run cold. Later on in the interview, she also falsely claims to have been involved with the Ted Bundy case.

I try not to go around hurting people’s feelings with my skepticism. If they want to believe in ghosts, or horoscopes, or that water has a memory (homeopathy), or if they just want to get their fortune told by a street psychic, it’s none of my business. Whatever gets you through the day. Although please don’t tell me I’m calling you a “liar” when I say I still don’t believe in ghosts after you’ve told me you’ve seen one. That gets annoying.

However, I have a serious problem with psychics getting involved in missing persons cases. It’s a line that should not be crossed. Sure, tell people they’re going to meet a tall, dark and handsome stranger, tell them they have a pleasant aura– don’t mess with people’s heads when it comes to their missing children.

This woman was sick, and she stopped fighting for her life when Sylvia Browne told her that her daughter was dead. Her friends say she died of a broken heart.

I am not judging Louwana Miller for believing Sylvia Browne. If your child is missing, you’ll do anything to get answers. You’ll look to anyone to help you find them. She was in a vulnerable position and Sylvia Browne took advantage of that.

And it’s not the first time she did it either. In 2003, in another appearance on the Montel Williams show, Browne told the grieving parents of Shawn Hornbeck’s parents that he was dead. He turned up alive in 2007.

In 2002 she told Gwendolyn Krewson that her daughter Holly, missing for seven years, was working as a stripper in Hollywood. Four years later, the girls remains were found in San Diego.

The list goes on. Sylvia Browne isn’t just some good-times fortune teller. She’s a vulture. A con-artist who plays on the emotions of people in unimaginably desperate situations. There’s no way to say what she does is illegal, but one hopes that with enough bad publicity about things like this, people will be less likely to seek out advice on these matters from her or any other psychic frauds.