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Sylvia Browne Meltdown


I never thought I'd see a psychic meltdown as bad a last year's Fr. Wingate "The Pope will live" prediction, but Tuesday night on Coast to Coast AM, Sylvia Browne made C2C history for having her claims proven false within an hour.

To set the stage, when C2C went on the air on Tuesday night (early Wednesday morning) it was in the midst of the first tricklings of the joyous story that rescuers had saved 12 of 13 trapped miners in West Virginia. This was a major media story the entire beginning of the week, so it was only natural for Sylvia to weigh in on the topic at approximately 2:30 AM (Eastern Time).

George Noory : "Of course, this is after the fact. with these 12 of 13 coal miners that they found successfully."

Sylvia Browne "I know."

Noory : "Had you been on the program today, and had they not been found - would you have felt as if because they had heard no sounds, that this was a very gloomy moment and that they might have all died? "

Browne : "No, I knew they were gonna be found. You know, I hate people who say something after the fact. It's just like I knew when the pope was dead, and I said it on ... thank god I was on montel show, according to the time it was 9 something, whatever Rome time was, I said 'he's gone', and he was."

By 3:00 AM, the story had been completely reversed and it turned out that early reports were wrong and that, in fact, 12 of the 13 miners were dead. Noory specifically mentioned that only one miner had been recovered alive. Sylvia, still on the show, and now looking considerably foolish, did an about face.

Browne : "I don't really think there's anybody alive, if there is I think maybe only one, I just don't believe that there's... I haven't heard anything cause I've been with you. but I just don't think they are alive."

Noory : "That's frustrating."

Browne : "It's terrible, especially when everybody was... yeah, false hope... exactly..."

Noory quickly went to questions for Sylvia from the callers via Open Lines and nothing was mentioned of this psychic faux pas again until the story came up during the mid-hour break (approx. 3:30 AM) when Noory updated the listeners. At that point, he tried to leave an opening for Syvlia to save face, but it didn't happen.

Noory : "Sylvia, with the accuracy rate that you have, and it is very high, of the few that you get wrong, do they sometimes become right, maybe later on?"

Browne : "Yeah, but see i never... i didn't believe that they were alive"

Noory : "What's that? the miners?"

Browne : "Uh, huh"

Noory : "Oh, okay"

Browne : "No, I think that they're - and see I've been on the show with you, so I don't know but I don't think that there's any that are gonna make it"

Noory : "Well, that's not a good situation..."

Browne : "No..."

Noory : "Thirteen were in there - they said one had died, 12 were alive"

Browne : "Well, there's 12 gone..."

Noory : "I think the misunderstanding for you was that I was telling you, after the fact, that they were alive - had that story not broken while we were on the air... what do you think would have happened ? And that's where i think we threw a curve ball at you..."

Browne : "Yeah, no, i just believed that they were gone..."

Uncomfortable pause

Noory : "Well, i think unfortunately you may be right..."

Noory then quickly went to Open Lines again and immediately to a caller who gushed about Sylvia on Montel.

At the top of the 4rd hour (4 AM), Syvlia was off the show and Noory was reading the news about the mining/media mishap. Unable to ignore the psychic meltdown from earlier in the show, Noory had this to say :

Noory : "So confusing was the effort [figuring out the rescued miner story] that I had earlier asked our psychic guest, Sylvia Browne, about this situation and specifically I said, 'Had this not occured' and we're talking about had they been found saved at that time, 'before you were on the air, Sylvia, and if I had asked you about it, what would you have said ? Would you have said they were alive ?' And she responded by saying 'I hate people who respond after the fact. I know that they will be found.' She didn't say 'found alive' so I'm now confused about that. Because after the break, she came back and was extremely upset, as I was and I'm sure so many other people were when we found out that 12 of the 13 were now dead, not alive. But I tried ... I listened to this tape again and I want to get a portion of it later to play for you, if not today, tomorrow, because she is a psychic and we like to judge their accuracy, but she did not say 'that they were found alive', she simply said 'they would be found'. So I can't take her to task on that. But I did want to listen to the tape before I jumped all over that."

He then promised Open Lines for the next 2 hours and went to break.

Coming back from break, he was still talking about Sylvian's blunder.

Noory : "I do have a portion of that first statement with Sylvia Browne, cause I want to replay that. I want you to hear it. I want to hear again. I just listened to it again, through my headphones, I'm in 'the cave' in St. Louis, about what she said. You know, it's important. I mean, you talk to a psychic and you want them to be accurate and if they're not, they're not. They're human. But you want to know that too. So let's listen to this, uh, because it is a little vague and confusing. So, this is the first portion when we had heard that they were alive and I started talking to her about how would she have reacted to that."

He then played the portion that is first quoted in this article.

Coming back from that, he said, "So she said, 'no, I knew they were going to be found' but she never said 'alive'. And then there was another portion a little bit later on when she reacted to it as well, saying that she's sorry that they're dead and everything else. So it's confusion. And, maybe that's the secret of psychics, sometimes ... you're a little vague." He then cleared his throat, as if to make a point.

In the middle of that 4th hour, approximately 4:30 AM, going into the commercial break, Noory again went back to the Sylvia story, saying, "I'm gonna play the portion of the tapes with Sylvia Browne and another portion we found. I just think it's important that we all hear it and make up our own minds. I do have to tell you that when I asked her the first question which you'll hear later on, it was my impression that she thought that they would be found alive."

Coming back from that break, Noory kept talking about the Sylvia story, "I want you to make up your own mind. I want you to listen to Sylvia Browne and we're gonna come back for a little bit then I want you to listen to another response of Sylvia. And you just make up your own mind. But I will tell you that when I was talking with her, it was my impression that she knew, based on my question, that they were going to be found alive and then it sounded like she changed a little bit when we came back from the break. However, she contends, 'no, that's not true'. She claims that she merely said, 'that they were going to be found'. And by that she meant, a lot of times in coal mine accidents, the bodies never are found. They're in there because of the explosion and the collapse of the mine, they can't really go in there and get them out. They're buried alive and they stay in there."

He then replayed the first portion that is quoted in this article again.

His response to the clip is as follows : "So, 'I knew they were gonna be found', but I thought when I asked her that and the fact that, at that point, we thought they were found alive, I thought that's what she was reacting to. And, she contends, 'No'."

He then plays her rebuttal to his assertion that her prediction was wrong.

He summed it up best with this last words on it after playing the clip of her rebuttal, "Eh, she came right back after the break and said that. So, you make up your own mind. I'm confused, that's the way it is, let's go to the phones."

Poor Noory is left holding the bag on this one, desperately trying to straddle the fence of not calling out the totally bogus psychic prediction of Sylvia Browne and trying to maintain good standing with what surely must be a ratings draw for the show. I'll give credit where credit is due in that at least Noory admitted that, much like the vast majority of the listening audience, he thought that Sylvia was predicting a successful return for the miners (i.e. alive and well) and that he thought she changed her stance when the news changed. His explanation of her spinning of the story was laughable and I can't believe that even he would believe such a foolish explanation for her prediction.

Okay, sure, no problem. Sylvia comes on the show, makes an awful prediction, and it is proven false in less than an hour. Who cares ? Who's going to notice other than the faithful C2C listeners who either enjoy or endure Sylvia's frequent appearances ?

Um, only Fox News, who today published a story on their website titled TV Psychic Misses Mark on Miners, which detailed the Sylvia Browne meltdown on Coast to Coast that everyone is talking, and laughing, about. They say all publicity is good publicity, but I wouldn't be so sure when it is a story like this. It certainly isn't the kind of publicity one would want a week prior to the premiere of their Pay-Per-View Predictions Special. I'm sure, somewhere, Noory and company are breathing a sigh of relief that the folks at Fox didn't know that he had "Predictions Special" debuting on PPV in a week. Had that come out in the story, it would have been a nightmare for the PPV special.

Congratulations, Sylvia Browne, your live bungling of the West Virginia mining story has earned you the early nod for 2006's Coaster Award.

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