The Real Cost Of Psychic Tipsters

In a news item that made it into the papers pretty much across the board, a police force has admitted following-up leads provided by psychic mediums in their investigations into a man’s death. The revelation, which has led to wide scale derision and outcry, came from constabulary in the Dyfed-Powys Police force, regarding the investigation into the death of 32 year old Welshman Carlos Assaf. Whe he was found hangd in his home in March, the immediate assumption was suicide – but when the police were presented by the claims of self-proclaimed psychics, a wider investigation was launched.

As the Times reported:

“Psychics told detectives that they had been contacted from beyond the grave. Far from having killed himself, Mr Assaf, a baker from Lampeter, west Wales, informed the mediums that he had been strangled by gangsters who forced him to drink petrol and bleach. In their visions the psychics, who were friends of the dead man’s family, saw a lion, a horse and the name Tony Fox.”

Of course, when presented with these so-called leads the police had little choice but to exhaust every avenue of investigation open to them – including visiting pubs named Red Lion or Black Horse, and tracking down a known felon by the name of Tony Fox – who they then ruled out of their investigations.

In the wake of criticism of the investigation – which cost in  excess of £20k – Sergeant Mark Webb defended his force’s actions:

“We interviewed the mediums and, having carried out an investigation, we found the information far from conclusive. We wanted to be absolutely satisfied there was no third party involved”

Going further, a spokesman for the Dyfed Powys Police told the Telegraph:

“Police have a responsibility to the deceased, their family and the public to investigate all deaths thoroughly.”

For me, the outcry and ridicule here is misdirected – instead of criticising police for their investigation we should be all over the time-wasting ‘mediums’ who felt the need to involve themselves in an investigation into a man’s death and muddy the waters with their false leads.

Imagine, for example, that the police dismissed these ‘psychics’ as frauds, attention-seekers, vultures and deluded individuals – what happens then in the one case where the ‘psychic’ us directly involved in the crime – either as the murderer or as a real (non-mystic) witness? The police force who let a killer run free when presented with a genuine lead – albeit one dressed-up in fantasist trappings – would be even more in the firing line.

It’s not the police that are to blame here – they’re only really doing their job, to the fullness of the law. Instead, it’s the individuals who provided false leads – either knowingly or when deluded into believing them to be true – who deserve the scorn and derision. In fact, any psychic or medium who wished to be involved in a police investigation should be charged with wasting police time and punished with a significant fine or jail sentence when their leads are proven to be entirely fictitious – then we’d see how many ‘mediums’ wish to be involved in serious police investigations. I wonder then how many psychics would be cashing in on disappearances like Madelaine McCann’s when false leads would be punishable by the law.

Every false lead provided by these fantasists or frauds (and if their leads prove false, they’re either one or the other) is a waste of time police could be out catching real killers, following real leads and stopping other crimes. In short, ‘psychic tipsters’ should be held accountable for their actions, and the harm they cause with their interfering with police business.


  1. #1 by Damian on November 20, 2009 - 12:45

    The problem is that you’d never be able to get them bang to rights, as they’d keep wriggling out of it and moving the goalposts – or at least make sure their “leads” are vague enough in order to do so….

  2. #2 by LZ on November 20, 2009 - 12:51

    I’m not sure you can argue that the police aren’t partially to blame here. “Just doing their job” is a tenuous defence, at the very best. After all, if I went to them and said “The ghost of my dead hamster told me last night that Madeleine McCann was abducted by someone called Tony Fox” I wouldn’t expect them to waste a second of their time looking into it – it’s palpably ludicrous. The same should apply to any claim of information received by supernatural means.

    I’m in 100% agreement, however, that these people who knowingly provide false information should be held accountable for their actions.

  3. #3 by Gavin on November 20, 2009 - 14:44

    What about people who provide false information with 100% certainty they have psychic powers?

  4. #4 by Michael on November 20, 2009 - 15:55

    There should be a minimum ‘event’ equivalent to ‘contempt of court’ charges given to mediums who provide false information. i.e. The Police should follow up the claim and take the Liar with them. When they find no evidence or body or hamster to corroborate the Liar’s testimony, then the cost of that part of the investigation should be leveled on the Liar. The Liar will then be taken to Crown Court and be made to repeat their original witness statement in front of a crown appointee (a judge, say). After listening to the Liar, the Liar should then be ‘held in contempt of court’ and sentenced to a minimum of 5 years hard labour. Of course, this will never happen as the Liars can predict the future and will be aware of the consequences of their lies. The Police Defectives who take the Liar’s word should be demoted to assistant tea-maker with equivalent loss of salary (for a minimum of say, 5 years). If we were to bring in a law that only true psychics will help the Police with their inquiries and Liars will be fined the equivalent of GBP20,000 or more and face a minimum of 5 years in the chokey, for wasting police time and committing perjury. What to you think the result of this would be?

    Well you would be wrong in thinking that!

    There would be Liars petitioning the Government to repeal the law as it only sets out to persecute Liars and will cost the lives of kidnapped people and millions of bodies will be laying in unconsecrated ground with grieving widows/ers, parents, children – unable to finish their grieving process.

    Gavin’s statement notwithstanding though, the deluded psychics may think twice before bothering the constabulary.

    Hold on I have concisely described the two types of psychic. 1) noun- deluded individual who thinks the dead talk them.
    2) noun -Fucking Liar


  5. #5 by Gittins on November 20, 2009 - 16:57

    Could the real Tony Fox press charges against the psychics? Falsely accusing someone of a crime is itself a crime I think. Or at least it should be.

  6. #6 by Stu on November 20, 2009 - 23:48

    My last post on psychics was removed – for good reason probably – so I will try to be a bit more reserved here(!) The fact that these people were taken seriously by the police is inexcusable! Had they presented REAL evidence then the police should be obliged to investigate their claims. To spend £20k on the word of someone grieving but deluded is ludicrous in the extreme. Their responsibility to the deceased is to make sure the tax they paid whilst alive is not wasted! Falsely accusing someone of a crime is, unfortunatly, not an offence. And that’s all I have to say about that.

  7. #7 by Andy Wilson on November 21, 2009 - 11:56

    When this was discussed on the podcast, Skeptics with a K, by Mike, he made the point that they have to follow up at least to some extent. The example he gave I think was “what if the psychic has some knowledge for nefarious reasons?” or something like that. So the deluded Woo Whisperer can be a suspect. So it’s understandable they have to follow that part up.

    If, by chance, they come up with something that has resonance elsewhere in the investigation, the police would be duty bound to follow it up. And I think this is right. But the Woo Whisperer should be held to account because they are claiming some kind of certainty, or truth, in their information. That is surely a waste of police time?


  8. #8 by LZ on November 21, 2009 - 13:59

    My mistake, the word ‘knowingly’ had no place in that last comment of mine.

  9. #9 by BB Max on December 14, 2009 - 12:42

    I was just wondering what your opinion was of a “psychic” who A) doesnt call themself a psychic because they don’t knwo themselves to have any special abilities but B) who KNOWS that information is coming into their life by unconventional means and who feels 100% certain that what they see and hear relates to a missing child case but who now feels so terrorised by the prospect of being arrested or sued by the Police that even if they felt that they had exceptoinally good information, they wouldnt dare hand it over.
    I met someone 2.5yrs ago who matches the McCann EFit. I then noticed that this person was 100% categorically blood related to someone who was imprisoned in the1960s with NO evidence whatsoever produced against her, yet she spent her entire life in prison. Hm. Sounds fair. Next I noticed that a whole set of people whose images appear in tyhat 1960s group, surprise surprise they appear again in this current missing child case. That’s strange. Next I noticed that MY image is represented in the McCann case, except exactly as Judith Aron claimed, she too hadnt been out of the country she lives in for 10yrs. Me neither. In the city I met a man who looked facially EXACTLY like one of my formerly close friends. The person carrying Madeleine is “me”. Co-incidentally, I had a dream of this exact event about 6mths before the new photo appeared, but it was my Grandmother I found, lifted up and *carried to a place of safety*.

    I go through these bizarre “physical re-enactments”
    or something, as if Im feeling what someone else is doing at a point in time. Early last year, I was apparently “murdered”; Electrocuted as if by a taser gun, violently shaken, a needle was put into my left eye, and finally I heard a gunshot. 2 weeks ago I was sitting here at my laptiop when I suddenly went through the event of someone lifting a large bag (not a person) eg. out of a window or into a vehicle? Last wek I was in the city centre looking for these signs and symbols that had appeared and which I had linked from Brian’s and I found them and I found that they were related and interconnected by other information that came into my life by other routes. It’s HARD to explain how this info comes to us. It can be ANYONE who says something. Let me give you an example; Right after that event of being “murdered”, I was at a local Chinese Carry Out and this complet stranger turned to me and suddenly said “You must have a guardian angel”.


    I walked into a Social Night in Edinburgh and half the people there walked out. I didnt know any of them, never met a single one of them in my life. Do I have a twin? Could be! Ive got an Extract of my Birth Certificate but Im not on the UK BMD Register.

    On the same night in the town, I saw two identical vehicles of what I can only say was “relevant colour” travelling down adjacent parallel roads in the same direction at the same time. Not co-incidence. When you find yourself toalking to anyone who starts verbalising what is in your head at the time, and it’s not “God Im hungry” when eg. youve been out for a 2hr hike, no, something which you would never in a million years expect someone to know you were thinking, that is when your minds are linked in a “psychic or telepathic way” and that’s when you should pay attention to the shared info because invariably it is being given to you by that route for a reason. Both “living and dead” can contribute to a search; There is no such thing as dead really, only alive in “parallel planes”; close enough adjacent layers and you can communicate if you know how to look out for/spot the messages, hence “psychic” – so a person can walk past you and say something and you just know it’s not them talking. eg. My sister walked past me and said
    You feel the same inside. (wtf!)

    I understand your comments calling people delusional, it’s just a shame that it’s slanderous. Peole’s egos get in the way. I arrived home one night and as I was about to enter my flat I suddenly heard as loud as if someone had shouted into my ear CATFOOD!!!!!!! I got such a fright! Another time I saw two guys right beside this neighbours car as she scraped it off other peole’s cars while parking. She walked right back down the street to where I wasnt even in line of sight of the event to ask me what I’d seen rather than ask the two guys casually sauntering along the road right beside her… 2wks ago I was with my mother and sister. My sister’s eyes suddenly flashed like fire(?) and she shouted at me saying You are so pessimistic! You don’t believe anything happpens after death.

    WTF again.

    An argument ensued because I didnt like being shouetd at and especially not over something that I didnt have a clue what she was talking about. It escalated to a real fight and I left, very angry. A week later I tried to reconcile with my mother and tried to discuss why my sis had said the things she’d said. Mum said she didnt even hear her say any of those words. She was standing RIGHT BESIDE US. It has taken me some time to realise that what is happening is, people are acquiring the ability to listen to other people’s thoughts, to feel their emotions, and it is evident that some people can even feel what someone else’s body is doing or see out of their eyes (Remote Viewing). What’s even more funny is that the very people who get the most stick and abuse from disbelievers like yourself, are thos ewho if only they realised it, have the strongest abilities. Schizophrenics. Do you know the saying;
    When Man talks to God it’s called Prayer, when God talks back it’s called Schizophrenia ??

    They’re hearing OTHER PEOPLE’S THOUGHTS. That’s all it is. They’re also hearing people at distance from themselves. That’s why there is no rule of who “suffers from the condition” and no hard and fast rules about how best to treat it, it’s because the “condition” is the recognition of a composite set of developing abilities which any human being can and will eventually access as they evolve. They can’t use the ability though if they don’t stop taking poison and start trying to listen to and understand what is actually happening to them

    Re-interpret the condition and you obliterate it.

    I hope that you too will re-evaluate your overly cynical viewpoint of what “being psychic” is. Yes there are liars, but not by a LONG way are all psychics liars. I’m not a liar or a charlatan. I dont ask for a penny for telling anyone anything that Ive been told. I never would. I suspect your attitude mught be more ocnnected with resentment that you dont feel part of a group you’d really quite enjoy being involved in. The irony is, you are part of that group because it’s called the Human Race. It’s your heritage.

(will not be published)