Freaky Friday: Watching the Psychic detectives (pt1)

By Ash Pryce

Many psychics have claimed to assist in police investigations.  Or at least to provide evidence later corroborated by the police.  Joe Power has made those claims.  Sylvia Brown ahs made those claims.  It seems in order to be a successful psychic you have to have used your abilities to solve crimes.  Sadly there is no good evidence that a crime has been solved based solely on the reading provided by a psychic.  Add to this the fact Police Forces are usually pretty quick to distance themselves from psychics gives some idea of the credibility of the claim.

A particular psychic by the name of Stephanie Almaguer, an Officer for a school district living in theDallasarea, has recently been making headlines in relation to a missing baby.  My position on psychics being involved in or assisting in cases at best provides false hope and at worst can impede an investigation, so until psychic ability is proven beyond reasonable doubt I find their involvement in any capacity that includes the use of the “ability” to be dangerous.

In October 2011 1 year old Lisa Irwin went missing, but aside from the media hype surrounding the missing child, the press have also latched onto the blog and claims of psychic Stephanie.  This isn’t the first time Stephanie has allegedly been involved in providing evidence for missing persons cases.

In 2009 20 year old student Morgan Harrington disappeared after a Metallica concert.  Three months later her body was found.  This article suggests Stephanie used her “ability” in the “Morgan Harrington case, (sadly) hitting the location to her remains, right on the nose.”

 Before we crack on with the truly sad case of the missing baby in part 2, lets dig through the earlier crime.  Morgan Harrington had been to a concert, left and attempted to hitch hike home.  That was the last anyone saw of her until her body turned up there months later.  After she left the concert anything could have happened to her.  Did she get further than the parking lot?  Her bag was found there which suggest an abduction at the parking lot.    Here is a link to Stephanie’s article on the subject.  Now lets compare what she says to what is currently known.

1. The car she left in

What Stephanie says:

“Soon after she arrived at the Bridge, a sports car drove up (I want to say a mustang) But it was at least a sporty type looking car.”

What the actual reports says:

Nothing appears to be out there.  Her own car was left in the parking lot.  Some sources suggest she was trying to hitchhike to a local bridge, but no one can add anything more to that claim.  Also drinking does not automatically mean drunk or seriously impaired.

Is there a hit?

It is impossible to say at this stage as the killer is still at large.

2. The abductor.

What Stephanie says:

“A male in his 20’s, non-threatening in appearance, rather bold and cocky”

What the actual reports says:

a black male, 25 to 35 years old, approximately 6 feet tall with a medium build, with black hair, a beard and a mustache.”

Is there a hit?

No.  Not even close.  That the killer was a male?  Seems likely.  That the killer was young?  Again seems likely.  An abductor of a 20 year old would need to be physically strong.  A 60 year old woman hardly fits the criteria.

 3.  Did she know him?

What Stephanie says:

“… not sure if he’s a student on her campus or maybe some kind of worker?? He may have a girlfriend though that IS or WAS on Campus. … She did not “know” him, but get the feeling she has seen him around.”

What the actual reports says:

Nothing.

Is there a hit?

This is pure speculation.  However it would not seem unlikely that she in some way knew or recognised her abductor.  Most kidnap victims (and indeed murder victims) are in some way known to their abductor/ killer. The USdepartment of Justice states: “About 27 percent of juvenile kidnappings nationwide are perpetrated by an acquaintance, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice. Forty-nine percent are committed by a family member, and only 24 percent by a stranger.“

4. Where was the body taken

What Stephanie says:

“Never the less, they ended up at a place that is very wooded and there is also creeks / water / rivers? around……About 10 mins. from the bridge location she was last seen at.”

“I see her in a wooded type location. I do not see her in water, but that doesn’t mean that she wasn’t in the water and is now on the bank or that it’s a dried water area?”

What the actual reports says:  Well nothing initially but the body was discovered by a farmer on land 10 miles south of where she was last seen.

Is there a hit?

Classic description of a crime scene where a body might be dumped.  I love the statement that effectively says “there may or may not have been water”.  Great way to cover all the bases. However Charlotteville, where Morgan went missing is a tiny town SURROUNDED by fields, woodlands and creeks.  It would be more of a shock if she WASN’T found in that area.

The rest of the information given in the blog is speculation at best.  Until the killer is found it will be impossible to know any more on the subject.  It would be a stretch to say Stephanie got the location correct as any one making an educated guess could have got it correct.  To be fair to Stephanie she isn’t saying she has helped with the case, but others in her name – see some of the comments as well as the earlier link I posted-  are certainly championing her as if she had a genuine insight.  She didn’t.  A baby with a dart and a map of the area could have made just as a correct a guess.

I also went to the effort of contacting the Virginia Police Department to find out more about psychic information.   Here is the email I sent first, followed by the reply:

 “I wonder if you could confirm any of the following?

1.  Do you actively use psychics during criminal investigations or missing person cases?
2.  Did “psychic” Stephanie Almaguer provide the location of the body of missing Morgan harrington as is claimed in this article http://www.psychic-junkie.com/stephanie-almaguer-medium-finds-the-missing.html
3.  If she did assist or provide evidence in relaiton to the case, was her information actually “spot on” or did she vaguly say “the body is near trees/ woods” or similar?

Response:

 “The Virginia State Police does not use psychics for assistance in criminal cases or missing persons cases. In regards to the Morgan Harrington investigation, we did receive numerous tips from individuals who identified themselves as psychics. However, no psychic led us to the body. Ms. Harrington’s remains were found by the landowner.”

It’s Official. Virginia Police do not use psychics.  No psychic information helped police in their enquiries.

So we have a psychic who made some general statements, some of which kind of hit slightly, others were way off and more still are yet to be confirmed- if ever they will be.   Stephanie seems to believe she has a gift, even if she isn’t going directly to the police herself, it is being implied that her information is spot on and therefore trustworthy as evidence.  Her information in this case has been no more spot on than an educated guess and to hold it up as evidence of the supernatural is laughable.

If Stephanie truly possesses a gift she should go in for the Randi Million Dollar test.  Prove she is psychic.  Otherwise I find it potentially dangerous and damaging for her to be making her “psychic” visions so public.

Next week we’ll investigate her involvement with the case of missing baby Lisa Irwin.

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