Skeptical researcher and writer, Dr. Karen Stollznow, received a death threat in a card that referenced a blog post about the Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo.
She announced this via Facebook post.
The post critical of Caputo and her show on TLC network appeared on the Swift Blog of the James Randi Educational Foundation.
Caputo is celebrated for confronting and converting the skeptics. During a live interview for Long Island radio station KJOY, a line of eight “skeptics” are pitted against her. Visibly stressed at first she asks the group, “Who lost a sister?” A woman acknowledges this question, and the medium quickly finds her stride, achieving perceived “hits” with her staple “validations” about clothing and personal letters. Caputo had emotionally disarmed the woman who was taken in by what a real skeptic would readily recognize as a classic cold reading. Skilful editing seems to have ironed out any misses and genuine skeptics.
The piece in question is mild compared to critiques of Caputo available all over the web and accuses her of nothing but what psychics and TV personalities do: act the part. The post has received about 90,000 views according to the site counter.
There is no suggestion that Caputo is at all involved in this threat. The card was not mailed to Dr. Stollznow’s home address but via an “in care of” address related to Bay Area Skeptics.
Death threats through the mail are a federal offense and Dr. Stollznow stated she is reporting this to authorities. Critical writers are no stranger to threats of all sorts – they sort of come with the territory. Threats of Libel, bodily and financial harm, defamation suits, contacting employers in attempts to terminate lawsuits, the desperate believers will go far to attempt to stop the discrediting of their devotion.
It takes courage to question and doubt the popular and powerful. But it’s absolutely necessary.