Photo: Police search the thick brush on the side of the road near Oak Beach, N.Y. for clues to a serial killer's murders.
While police continue their search for a serial killer stalking Long Island, a psychic is claiming to have accurately predicted where the body of one of the first victims would be found.
From New York Post titled, "Psychic Nailed It:"
A psychic eerily predicted where the victim of a suspected serial killer could be found - nine months before cops dug up the corpse and that of three other young women on a Long Island beach, police sources said. In April, the clairvoyant, hired by the desperate family of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, of Buffalo, chillingly saw "her body buried in a shallow grave overlooking a body of water," the police source said. The psychic also said "there was a ‘G' in a sign nearby." Last month, cops unearthed the skeletons of the victims, missing call girls, each wrapped in burlap bags on Long Island's Gilgo Beach.
It seems pretty amazing: A psychic apparently accurately predicted and described almost the exact spot where police would find Barthelemy's body nine months after her disappearance.
INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY: Ongoing Coverage of the Long Island Serial Killer Case
But, like most psychic claims, these get less impressive the closer you look. Let's parse this out: "body buried in a shallow grave overlooking a body of water" and "a ‘G' in a sign nearby."
Well, the psychic got the first claim wrong. According to news reports, neither Barthelemy nor the other bodies recovered so far were buried - in any grave, shallow or deep. Instead, they were found above ground along a heavily wooded several-mile stretch of the Long Island shore.
The killer (or killers) did not need to bury the bodies because the thickets of trees, thorns, bayberries, branches, and brambles prevented anyone from seeing the bodies left exposed above the ground. So that was wrong; what about the other parts?
Any body left anywhere on Long Island is by definition going to be near a body of water since Long Island is, well, a long island completely surrounded by water. In fact, since the psychic did not specify what kind or size of body of water (fresh water or salt water, lake, pond, river, stream, ocean, ditch, etc.), the victim's body probably could have been located nearly anywhere within a few hundred miles of where she was actually found, and it would have been "correct." This prediction is so broad and vague that it really can't be wrong.
What about the third detail - the sign with a "G" somewhere on it? Actually there is no evidence that Barthelemy's body was indeed found near a sign containing the letter "G." Just because the body was found near a beach with a "G" in its name does not mean that any signs containing the letter "G" were near the corpse. (Besides, if the psychic really wanted to be helpful, she could have specified that the location''s name had two "Gs," which would have greatly narrowed the possibilities.)
Furthermore, there are thousands of signs on Long Island that contain the letter "G" somewhere on them, from billboards to storefronts to place names like Regent Drive, Long Island, and Cherry Grove. And given all the common road signs that include the letter (Highway, Wrong Way, No Stopping, Parking, No Parking, Rough Road, Next Right, Emergency Stopping Only, etc.) it's almost certain that at least one sign with a "G" in it would be somewhere near the body by random chance.
So of the psychic's three pieces of information, one was wrong; another was self-evident; and there's no evidence that the third was true - but even if it is, it's hardly remarkable.
The fact that this psychic completely failed should not surprise anyone. There is not a single documented case of a missing person being found or recovered due to psychic information. (In fact, several years ago I investigated the "best case" for psychic detectives for my book Scientific Paranormal Investigation, and found that it fell apart under close analysis.)
There are thousands of self-proclaimed psychics in the world who claim to be able to find missing persons and help police solve crimes. The real question is why they can't help police catch serial killers before they strike again - and why they exploit the emotions (and sometimes money) of bereaved families.
More surprising than the psychic's failure is the fact that this information was described as an amazing success on over 70,000 websites without anyone realizing that she was completely wrong.