Psychics on Larry King live Last night...

Specifically, Sylvia Browne was on and claiming how James Randi was always “Running away” from her. Also, and here is the important question, she claims that on the Bill Bixby show (?) when she was limited to yes and no answers, she was set up, because the people on the show were all German, and didn’t understand english.

Oh, and one more claim she made, was that she successfully identified the name and location of a kidnapped child one time.
Does anybody know the hard facts of these claims?
By the way, if you missed the show, you got missed a good chance to see a couple of them strike out big time. he he he

James Randi running from this crank? Huh! says that Browne failed to locate a missing University of Wisconsin student, Amber Wilde, in 1998. Dunno 'bout any kidnapping, though …

Also, check out

Those were the two links I had previously found, but I was hoping that there was a transcript of the Bixby show or something out there that had more information.
Thanks for the answer.

Personally, I don’t believe that Randi would run from anyone, much less Sylvia Browne…

Don’t forget that she solved the World Trade Center bombing, too. :rolleyes:

I loved the complete lack of hits on callers, too, Stupendous Man, and their scrambling to make the ususal excuses. I especially love John Edward’s explanation of Van Praagh’s failure, that he wasn’t actually in contact with the brother-in-law’s spirit, but some other spirit. Van Praagh never suggested such a thing, but as soon as Edward brought it up he agreed that that could be happening.

I’ll keep an eye on the CSICOP mailing list and JREF, and if they mention it, I’ll post a link!

And I especially loved the part when Van-Praag blamed his failure on the possibility that the caller was mis-interpreting his information. You had to be quick to hear that.

Randi responds.

The Skeptic’s Dictionary has comentary on the program:

As always, the Skepdic article contains lots of links, including one to a recent article that critically examines some of Sylvia Browne’s crime-solving claims:

It was amazing that the psychics struck out on their readings except Mr. Edwards who instead of doing a reading he talked about Van Praugh’s reading.


Leon Jaroff, who wrote an article for Time about Edwards said that he did not believe in the soul. Now he did not say he was an atheist but I’ll guess he is one. He (and you) may claim this is a scientific belief but it is also a religious one. How many fundies are there that will not change their belief no matter what evidence is presented. The ability to talk to a spirit can not be accepted by one with Mr. Jaroff’s personal belief system. So he can not even entertain the idea. Also after Van Pruagh did a bad reading over the phone Jaroff got to do a rebuttal. He totally blew it. Instead of talking about what Van Praugh actually said and how the caller didn’t get a bit of it he went on a sort of pat answer about what they sometimes say.
James Randi as far as I know does have this challenge but if He sets up the test and He runs the test and He judges the test do you really think anyone has a fair chance of passing? If I were a psychic I would not take Randi’s challenge.

Finally Shmuley Boteach was there and his problem with them talking to the dead was that the message from the departed was too banal to be real. WHAT?!? Jesus how many banal guests have been on Larry King? Does that mean it’s not real?

What I don’t understand is why didn’t Van Praugh simply do a reading on Larry King or some staffer at CNN. How could CNN squander a real opportunity like this. Sylvia and Van Pruagh were there with Larry but everyone else was videoconferenced in. So this give the psychics an excuse when do a reading over the phone as distance may interfere. If they had done a live reading then the skeptics could have taken it apart piece by piece. But no we get to listen to small fragments and halfway through the discussion we bring even more guests. So we go a mile wide and an inch deep on the subject.

It seems to me that this was a blown opportunity on both sides. It was almost like watching politicians ‘discuss’ an issue but each side spits out rhetoric and by the end of the night there was nothing I hadn’t heard before.

I am a skeptic. I am skeptical of psychics and I am skeptical of the skeptics who criticize them.

Um, that isn’t how the Randi Challenge works. Plain and simple. The rules are outlined quite clearly at his website, and include the following:

  1. Applicants have to state specifically what they intend to do.
  2. Applicants have to agree in advance to what constitutes a positive and a negative result.
  3. There is no judging, due to the above. If the applicant and JREF clearly define and agree on what constitutes a successful result, it will be obvious to all in attendance. No judging necessary.
  4. Randi doesn’t run the test. Usually, the tests (and sometimes pre-tests) are run by local skeptical organizations or a representative from JREF.

Thanks everyone! I couldn’t have asked for more useful links.
I love 'em.