Convicted “psychics” admit it was all a scam

Several psychics that are in jail admit that they were scamming people. In other news, water is wet. But, there are several more interesting threads to this story that I encourage everyone to read in its entirety.

Source: The Secret to the Psychic Trade? It’s in the Parole Board Transcripts – The New York Times

Celia Mitchell, 38, was pointedly asked that exact question last year: “What is the psychic business? Is it real, or a bunch of baloney?”

She answered, “It’s a scam, sir.”

“The whole thing is a scam?”


It’s not unusual these days for convicted psychics to sit for interviews before the parole board and request an early release. They promise never to do fortunetelling again or look for “marks” again. Isn’t that the typical sentiment for convicted criminals?

Two woman both named Sylvia Mitchell, Celia Mitchell, Priscilla Kelly Delmaro, and Betty Vlado are highlighted in the story that is informed from the transcripts of their hearings. The board examiners appear annoying and silly, asking if the psychics can predict if they will be let go. That’s uncalled for.

What is briefly mentioned is the fact that many of these women, including the queen of jailed psychics, Rose Marks, have come from the Roma culture, known as “gypsies”. They were not allowed to receive a normal course of education and were taught to do psychic readings to support their families. While Marks used this as an excuse, it didn’t wash, obviously. But it does show that there are many facets to the problem of the psychic trade including what the women feel forced into doing. Also sad are the people who pay them that are looking for life coaches and personal help because they can’t find it in their own personal circles. It’s a complicated problem that does not excuse the crime. But to fix it completely will be difficult, more difficult than just throwing those who get caught in jail for a while.

There are many different flavors of psychics — some run storefronts, reading tarot cards and palms. Others target very wealthy people and become their confidant. Then there are those who most certainly believe they have powers even though they do not. They even fool themselves.

People who truly believe in psychic powers claim that these women in jail, these scammers, are not representative of the rest of those calling themselves psychic. Well, we have yet to find that such divination techniques or claims to talk to the dead are actually true. So, odds are your favorite psychic is not a TRUE psychic, but just another scammer or personally delusional. Be skeptical or be taken.

Tip: David Wood

  8 comments for “Convicted “psychics” admit it was all a scam

  1. Jack
    August 28, 2015 at 6:44 PM

    I am going to make a prediction. … hold on …… it’s coming to me…. I predict true believers will say they were coerced into making those confessions and they are real psychics! And and and then the psychics will secretly agree and continue doing it! Whew seeing the future is easy!

  2. reprobate
    August 28, 2015 at 7:07 PM

    It’s amazing this type of chicanery still occurs in this day and age. Seemingly intelligent people who are well grounded in all other aspects of life, get lured into financial havoc, because of a quick trick or fast tongue or both. This has been going on for eons and yet, people remain gullible despite knowledge of the real world. I’m guessing some people’s hopes and wishes are stronger than their common sense and logic.
    Kind of reminds me of a collection plate passed at some tent revival thing. If you pay enough, your dreams can happen.

  3. BobM
    August 29, 2015 at 12:47 AM

    I was once teaching some students, and I said that people in Elizabethan England were more superstitious than they are today. Then I thought about it – and said “forget that, no they weren’t.” 🙂

  4. MisterNeutron
    August 29, 2015 at 7:16 AM

    People who truly believe in psychic powers claim that these women in jail, these scammers, are not representative of the rest of those calling themselves psychic.

    This crops up in an amazing variety of contexts. It’s known as the No True Scotsman fallacy. A good one to look up, and remember!

  5. Wang-Lo
    August 29, 2015 at 3:01 PM

    I would not place any faith in any statement made by anyone before a parole board.

    In order to obtain an early release, a convict must appear before the board, admit guilt, and exhibit remorse. The board has no way to detect actual guilt or sincere remorse, but it is responsible to the courts and to society at large for deciding whether the convict will offend again. Of course it can only guess, but it must pretend to know.

    The only thing you can depend on during a parole board hearing is that everyone in the room is scamming someone. Under those circumstances, I would hardly expect a convict to consult his moral compass or expect the truth to save him.

  6. Anomalous
    August 30, 2015 at 5:54 AM

    One therefore wonders: is there a No True Skeptic fallacy?

  7. One Eyed Jack
    August 30, 2015 at 7:57 AM

    (self deleted) – Sharon already covered what I was going to say.

  8. Bill T.
    September 1, 2015 at 4:45 AM

    I’ve seen speculations that, hence, the high number of jailhouse religious conversations, because of the traditional weight given by the boards to profession of faith by people seeking parole.

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