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October 4th, 2006

Psychics

Kremens.jpg Two areas I’m researching crossed the other morning. I read an article about how police in Durham, NC consulted a psychic in a cold case [the link to the article is now broken]. I happen to be working on a book about the former Duke Parapsychology Laboratory, (Duke is in Durham, NC). Occasionally families of murder victims ask the police to use psychics, and from what I can tell, people in law enforcement will grant this request, but mostly as a kindness, and because they are reluctant to remove any avenue that gives the family hope. Psychics, they say, tend to give them the same vague information, which is not helpful, ie, “I see a body of water.” (Water is always involved, a river, lake or pond.)

The picture here is of a boy who went missing in California in the 1960’s. Mistaking the Duke scientists for psychics, the families of missing children would sometimes write them asking for help, or to ask their opinion about a specific psychic. The people at the lab tended to be skeptical about psychics. The ones they found who were at least sincere, could not control their abilities to the extent that they could assist law enforcement. They could not dictate when information came to them. So, as gently as possible, the people at the Duke Lab would discourage families like this boy’s, from using, and especially paying, psychics.

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