You don't have to work too hard to convince us that psychics are a scummy bunch. When famous psychic Sylvia Browne died last month, hardly anyone had anything nice to say about her -- which almost never happens when someone dies. So it takes a special kind of awful to get called out as a particularly terrible psychic. Incredibly, these four people hit that mark.
(Even psychics don't know how bicycles work. And neither do scientists. Our De-Textbook has more.)
#4. Evil Spirit Scammers Target Elderly Chinese Ladies
Imagine you're walking through New York City's Chinatown and a stranger approaches you, claiming your child will be dead in two days. After a quick glance to find the cameras and a 2003 version of Ashton Kutcher, you might actually get freaked out. Especially after another person joins the conversation and talks you and your new friend into visiting a spiritual healer to get rid of evil spirits that are about to haunt the fuck out of your loved ones. But first you just need to go home and grab some valuables. Don't ask questions -- just do it.
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"Well it's valuable to me."
By this point most of us would have treated the spiritual healers with the same seriousness we'd treat the guys handing out strip-club fliers, but these scammers know their audience ... and their audience believes in this kind of thing. Which is why a bunch of Chinese senior citizens have handed over bags full of jewelry and cash to strangers in the hopes of getting blessings, only to find their bags have been blessed with empty water bottles and cough drops and the money and jewelry are gone.
Don't laugh. An estimated $1.8 million has been stolen from these women, and the scammers have been such a pain in the ass that the NYPD felt compelled to create a whole warning campaign:
Evil spirits are also known for inflicting severe migraines.
#3. Psychic Makes Young Women Strip to Talk to Their Dead Relatives
In 2012, a young woman told a court that a psychic named Karl Lang convinced her that he could help her communicate with her dead grandfather, but the only way it would work was if she stripped naked during the seance and performed "like a porn star," because apparently it would increase her powers to contact the spirit world.
"And make me a sandwich while you're at it. Mustard's the preferred condiment of the afterlife."
The young woman performed the acts the psychic had ordered her to do, without once questioning why her deceased grandfather had become such an incestuous pervert in the afterlife. Her sessions with him continued for three years, at which point he caught another gullible young woman into his net of ghost porn. Lang even convinced them that they would "level up" in the spirit world if they could do the most sexually explicit acts they could think of, because apparently the supernatural realm operates like World of Warcraft.
#2. Psychic Convinces Widow to Give Her $86,000 so She Can Spiritually Cleanse It
When 75-year-old widow Joann Niskey was approached in a store by a stranger, she probably thought she was making a new friend. Maybe one who would watch The Price Is Right with her or help her keep up with her two dead husbands' gravestones. Instead, she got a psychic who claimed Niskey had the "Kennedy curse" and needed to get her money cleansed.
"I can also help with 'Nixon omens' and 'Taft prophecies.'"
Now, we don't know Niskey or the state of her mental health, but we're going to assume she wasn't in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's when her "spiritual advisor" asked her to bring all her money -- ALL OF IT -- for a multi-session cleansing ritual that would end the curse she didn't know she had. And $86,000 later Niskey realized, "Hey, I need to pay some bills and get my medicine," so she politely asked for the cleansing rituals to end so she could get her money back. You know where this is going, don't you?
#1. Psychic Compels 'Cursed' Woman to Buy Gold Bars to Act as Her Shield
Psychic Lisa Debbie Adams of West Hollywood was accused of convincing a woman that she had been cursed, and the only way she could ward off the evil is if she bought $30,000 worth of gold bars to create a spiritual "shield." She also managed to sway her victim into believing that she would have to open all of her credit cards to buy luxury items that would ward off evil, because Satan and his spawn have no time for such glittery things.
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"Why do you think they're called S-Class?"
But that's not all -- Adams had first met her victim on the streets of West Hollywood, with the psychic wearing a sign advertising that she was a psychic (which should've been clear indication that she's not a goddamn psychic). The psychic's first scam involved convincing her victim that her womb was cursed and she would have to pay $96,000 to have it cleansed, reaffirming our confusion as to how people who believe such things have so much disposable cash.
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