A celebrity psychic has come under fire for telling Amanda Berry's late mother nearly 10 years ago that her daughter was dead. Amanda Berry went missing in 2003 and was found alive in Ohio on Monday.
Sylvia Browne, a self-described spiritual teacher and psychic, has made a career out of prophetic readings and lectures. Back in 2004, Louwana Miller turned to Browne for help on an episode of "The Montel Williams Show." She wanted to know what happened to her daughter, Amanda Berry, who disappeared at 16 years old on April 21, 2003. The psychic told the mother Berry was dead.
“She’s not alive, honey,” Browne said at the time, according to NBC affiliate WKYC's report on the segment. “Your daughter’s not the kind who wouldn’t call.”
Miller then asked Browne if she was ever wrong.
“Only God is right all the time but of course I’m wrong,” Browne responded. “But after 50 years of doing this work, I’d better be more right than wrong. I always say I hope I’m wrong. When it comes to this, I hope I’m wrong.”
Berry was allegedly kidnapped and held captive for 10 years. She was discovered trying to break free from a house in residential Cleveland on May 6 and was rescued along with a young child and two women, both of whom went missing around the time Berry disappeared. Suspect Ariel Castro and his two brothers, Pedro and Onil, have been arrested.
But the psychic had been able to convince Miller her daughter was dead. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Miller said she believed the prediction "98 percent" and began cleaning out some of her daughter's things, even though the FBI still considered her alive at the time.
“Please don’t misunderstand me," Miller reasoned to the Plain Dealer in 2004. “I still don’t want to believe it. I want to have hope but, after a year and a half, what else is there? It seems like the God-honest truth. My daughter would always call home.”
Berry's mother died in 2006 at the age of 43 after being hospitalized for pancreatitis.
When Berry was found alive this week, it became clear that Browne was very wrong. Critics began lambasting the psychic for her false and potentially damaging prediction, ABC News notes.
Various reports claim angry comments flooded Browne's Facebook page following Berry's discovery. That page has since been removed. Links to specific Facebook user comments appear broken as well.
In a statement to The Huffington Post, Browne responded to the criticism:
For more than 50 years as a spiritual psychic and guide, when called upon to either help authorities with missing person cases or to help families with questions about their loved ones, I have been more right than wrong. If ever there was a time to be grateful and relieved for being mistaken, this is that time. Only God is right all the time. My heart goes out to Amanda Berry, her family, the other victims and their families. I wish you a peaceful recovery.
Sherry Cole, Amanda Berry's cousin, reached out to Browne Wednesday morning to offer her love and support, according to Browne's public relations rep. Cole reportedly wanted to let Browne know that Browne had been accurate in her description of the perpetrators at the time.
“Our family in no way blames Sylvia. This doesn’t change anything. We still love her and believe in her," said Cole in a statement forwarded to HuffPost by Brown's rep.
(Hat tip, Raw Story)
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