Sylvia Browne was a self-proclaimed psychic who said her connection to the other world helped solve murder cases and find peace for people’s loved ones. She died Nov. 20 at Good Samaritan Hospital, with no cause given.
Browne was often way, way off the mark, most recently being wrong about kidnapping victim Amanda Berry. She told Berry’s mother her daughter was dead, but Amanda was found alive in May. Browne’s defense was that no psychic is right 100 percent of the time. Skeptics counter that little details such as whether someone is alive or dead are bad things to be wrong about.
Despite her numerous incorrect predictions, Browne was a New York Times bestselling author on subjects such as psychic powers and reincarnation. She was also a staple on Larry King Live and The Montel Williams Show. Appearing on some of these same shows to debunk her claims was skeptic James Randi. While we may not have learned any truths of the universe through these debates, they made for compelling television.
Browne would tell us we can’t disprove people who claim to have extra senses, though her errors indicate we probably shouldn’t be asking them to help police. But she contributed to humanity’s debate about what is out there in the great beyond, and whether we can communicate with it. She provided some entertainment for millions, whether they were hanging on her every word or rolling their eyes in disbelief.