Psychics and Cops
Friends or Foes?
(c) Atham-Z 2005
It is quite understandable that our law enforcement professionals
would be highly skeptical of "psychically" acquired information,
considering the number of psychic frauds they expose every year!
On the other hand, popular fiction by best selling authors currently
offers a spate of tales about psychics helping police solve
crimes. Obviously the general public desires that whatever extrasensory
ability exists, be put to good use to help people in general.
John Douglas, a retired FBI Criminal Profiler is quoted as saying,
"Psychics can, on occasion, be helpful to a criminal investigation.
I've seen it work. Some of them have the ability to focus
subconsciously on particular subtle details at a scene and draw
logical conclusions from them, just as I try to do and train my
people to do. But I always advise investigators that a psychic should
be a last resort as an investigative tool, and if you're going to use one,
don't expose him or her to officers or detectives who know the
details of the case. Because good psychics are proficient at picking
up small, non-verbal clues, and the psychic could amaze you and
establish credibility by giving back to you facts of the case you
already know without necessarily having any particular insight into
what you don't know but want to find out."
Psychics familiar with crime investigation state that the police are
too embarrassed to admit they do sometimes use psychics while
some forces dismiss them outright because they do not understand
them. On the other hand, it is obviously an outright nuisance and
hindrance for investigators to process or follow up every "wannabe"
psychic's notions. If psychic information was openly solicited,
particularly in cases of national interest, there would be many
thousands of suggestions that could obscure legitimate information
from an actual witness tipster.
Scotland Yard confirms they have consulted a psychic in the past
to help them with an investigation and the National Crime and
Operations Faculty confirms their database has certain individuals
registered as available psychics.
In Boston in 1981, a Harvard student disappeared. One psychic
envisioned her body in a Connecticut pond. Nine years after the
disappearance the student's skeleton was discovered, by a woman
walking her dog, five miles from that particular pond. From my
perspective, that type of fuzzy, somewhat imprecise, information
is typical of psychic insight but police are reluctant to rely on
psychics, probably in part because the information is not specific
or exact enough.
The use of psychics is controversial among law enforcement
professionals. Yet such use is viewed favourably, because of
television shows, the Internet and telephone psychics. While a few
agencies across the country, most notably the Fresno (Calif.)
Police Department, often have used psychics, many police
investigators say they often lead an investigation down the wrong
path or give false hope to grieving family members.
"I've never heard of or received information (from a psychic) that
has even helped solve a case," said Sgt. Gary Plank, a criminal
profiler with the Nebraska State Patrol. Representatives of three
Nebraska agencies - the State Patrol, the Douglas County Sheriff's
Office and the Adams County Sheriff's Office - said they would not
employ a psychic in a criminal investigation, although they wouldn't
completely ignore their tips.
With the imprecise nature of psychic insight, interpreting the tip
can be almost impossible. One family whose daughter went
missing in 1997 said tips from psychics were helpful. The
information forwarded by two psychics - one from Denver who
was contacted by a cousin, and one from the east coast who
volunteered information - was similar.
Both, psychics told searchers to look at irregularly shaped,
abandoned buildings, maybe a log cabin, near water, near fish and
"These were two different people from two different places, so
we asked ourselves, 'Is it going to hurt to take them up on their
The psychics' information, plus a tip that a county worker had
seen a car speeding towards a northern lake, inspired family
members to continue searching on their own. They found the
girl's body at an L-shaped, abandoned farmhouse a couple of
hundred yards from that lake.
In another case about a different missing girl, when the family
contacted a psychic they were told that the child was dead and that
they could find her body near "something that smelled really bad."
A jawbone, later identified as belonging to the girl, was found by a
canoeist on the riverbank of a nearby city. The mother said the site
was not too far down river from an industrial plant commonly
known to emit bad odours. Authorities did not utilize the psychic information.
Tim McFadden, a retired Fresno police detective said more police
don't use psychics "because of one word: ego."