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Meditation 708
Imaginary Psychic Visions Have Real Effects

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Some may wonder why I, on occasion, take the time to criticize psychics. After all, no-one really believes them do they? And if some people do, well it is their problem if they they are that credulous. It's only the foolish believers that get hurt, and they deserve it.

But, no! Third parties can get injured too.

There was an article[1] in yesterday's newspaper. A teaching assistant in a class for autistic children had gone to see a psychic. The psychic asked, "Is there a girl with a name beginning with V[2] in your class?" On agreement there was such a child, the psychic continued "I've had a vision she's being sexually abused."

Next thing, the principal has the mother into the school for a formal meeting with the teacher, vice-principal, and the principal (and apparently not the teaching assistant who had passed the psychic's claim up the line.) The mother was told that the case has been turned over to the Children's Aid Society. On what evidence? The psychic's tip and nothing more.

Fortunately, the Children's Aid case-worker, unlike the school staff, was intelligent. After a quick interview, the case was closed.

But still, we have a fraudulent or delusional psychic influencing at least four educators (people we entrust our children to) to submit a false report of child abuse. And the result is a poor mother put in suspense and fear for several days until Children's Aid could review the case, and an autistic eleven year-old child pulled out of a special needs class because clearly the teachers cannot be trusted to be rational.

It does not take much. One fool to believe a psychic. Three more fools to act on a second-hand gossip, even though they knew it originated from a psychic, and two innocent people hurt. It should be a crime.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., wrote in a well known US Supreme Court decision "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic." It seems to me that this psychic's vision is very much akin to that false shout of "Fire!"[3]

Footnotes:

  1. Psychic's vision sets off sex-abuse probe, National Post, Thursday June 19
  2. Classic psychic fishing expedition - if "V" had not worked, she would have tried another letter until she got a hit. The same deceitful practice is followed by John Edward (South Park's Biggest Douche in the Universe award winner) of the TV show Crossing Over.
  3. Another case of a false shout of "Fire!" by a psychic - Meditation 1012.