Add the phrase “I see the body will be discovered, in heavy undergrowth, near a main road” to standard “cold-reading” techniques and you to can assist the police with their investigations. Claiming successful involvement in solving a crime is a major publicity boost for a psychic. But how much of their involvement is actually retro fitted? The body may well have been discovered in heavy undergrowth as they said, but at the time they may not have mentioned that it was near a main road. But it’s quite easy to add details later to make it appear more accurate, just as it’s easy to overlook the other predictions that they may have made that were incorrect.
If a psychic made 20 predictions as to “where the body would be found” or how the person died and only one was right, that doesn’t prove any psychic ability. Think how many common methods of death and how many geographical locations there really are. The victim, could have been shot, stabbed, or strangled, those 3 methods alone probably account for 90 % of all murders. They were found in a river, in undergrowth, they were buried in a shallow grave, they were found by a main road, it was in a city or it was in the country, those six variables cover about 90% of murder locations. In a murder investigation you could also deduce that if someone is missing and feared murdered, if they haven’t been discovered within a few days, then there is a high probability that the body has been hidden fairly well, so that would already eliminate some of the more exposed locations.
Many psychic detectives claim to have worked with the police on their cases, but working with, and actually being of any assistance what-so-ever are two completely different things. And what exactly does “working with the police on a case” entail; it could actually have meant calling a 800 number and offering them a anonymous tip along with a few hundred other people. Or it could have meant passing on a number of predictions to them that were all completely wrong. The most important thing to realize is that just because they are police officers, like most of the general public they may not be aware exactly what the technique or cold reading is. And just like most of the general public they could be mislead into believing that the psychic has some sort of genuine ability. But providing they are not examined to closely a psychic detectives claims that they have worked with police on a criminal investigation can seem to verify their abilities because of a tenuous association with Law enforcement, and give them a legitimacy that they don’t actually deserve.
Investigative Files – Joe Nickell – Center For Inquiry
Psychic Detectives Fail To Perform – Live Science