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Thu Nov 21, 2013, 04:48 AM

Sylvia Browne

is dead.

This certainly belongs in the religion group, as she professed herself as religious, Christian, and had believers in her woo, even as it was repeatedly proven wrong, as all woo eventually is, unless it's the popular unprovable woo, ie, the main claims.

Who will take her place on the national stage? And can we hope for someone who combines Sylvia's woo with running mascara a' la Tammy Faye? Or will Joel Osteen start crying blood?

I can't wait to find out.

56 replies, 7262 views

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Arrow 56 replies Author Time Post
Reply Sylvia Browne (Original post)
xfundy Nov 2013 OP
ForgoTheConsequence Nov 2013 #1
Dorian Gray Nov 2013 #8
Warpy Nov 2013 #2
edhopper Nov 2013 #9
Warpy Nov 2013 #11
edhopper Nov 2013 #13
Lordquinton Nov 2013 #15
Th1onein Nov 2013 #27
Lordquinton Nov 2013 #39
Th1onein Nov 2013 #49
Lordquinton Nov 2013 #51
longship Nov 2013 #3
intaglio Nov 2013 #4
AtheistCrusader Nov 2013 #10
backscatter712 Nov 2013 #56
rug Nov 2013 #5
trotsky Nov 2013 #6
Th1onein Nov 2013 #54
Dorian Gray Nov 2013 #7
hrmjustin Nov 2013 #12
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #14
Act_of_Reparation Nov 2013 #16
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #18
Act_of_Reparation Nov 2013 #19
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #20
trotsky Nov 2013 #21
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #23
Act_of_Reparation Nov 2013 #25
cbayer Nov 2013 #26
Act_of_Reparation Nov 2013 #28
cbayer Nov 2013 #30
trotsky Nov 2013 #47
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #38
Act_of_Reparation Nov 2013 #40
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #41
trotsky Nov 2013 #42
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #44
trotsky Nov 2013 #46
trotsky Nov 2013 #48
cleanhippie Nov 2013 #55
trotsky Nov 2013 #17
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #22
trotsky Nov 2013 #43
okasha Nov 2013 #24
edhopper Nov 2013 #29
cleanhippie Nov 2013 #31
rug Nov 2013 #32
edhopper Nov 2013 #33
rug Nov 2013 #34
edhopper Nov 2013 #35
rug Nov 2013 #36
edhopper Nov 2013 #37
EvilAL Nov 2013 #45
SylviaLives Nov 2013 #50
trotsky Nov 2013 #52
struggle4progress Nov 2013 #53

Response to xfundy (Original post)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 04:59 AM

1. "Who will take her place on the national stage?"

That Long Island Medium scam artists. My mom loves her, she has never been able to fully deal with the death of her father (my grandpa) it's despicable how these people prey on the grieving.

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Response to ForgoTheConsequence (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 10:16 AM

8. My mother in law

also was the victim of a local medium after the death of her daughter (my sister in law). I feel very strongly about this type of scam and the victimization of grieving people.

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Response to xfundy (Original post)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 05:17 AM

2. The Long Island Medium is in there slugging away, trying to fill the void.

Browne was a fake, but her history is a bit mixed in that she did give a lot of comfort to people who wanted to believe she was contacting people who were known to be dead.

But don't worry, there will be another one to take her place soon enough.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 10:23 AM

9. Mixed?

Bullshitting people about their dead relatives while taking their money is not mixed, it is a scam pure and simple.
She was a charlatan and a fraud who bilked people. No redeeming value.
And telling people their missing children are dead (with no real knowledge of the situation ) is beyond reprehensible. (especially when they turned out to be alive)
Good riddance.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #9)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 04:04 PM

11. Of course she was a charlatan

and of course she took money to make people feel better by telling them comfy lies about their dead family members. She was probably cheaper than prolonged therapy.

That's what I mean by mixed.

Most of her money came from her books, not fleecing the grieving.

She was no worse than a lot of men with backward collars.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 06:47 PM

13. That's clearer

thanks.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 09:17 PM

15. Books bought by grieving pople

And there was one instance where telling someone their child was dead led to that person's death, so no, not harmless.

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Response to Lordquinton (Reply #15)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 07:17 PM

27. What case was that?

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Response to Th1onein (Reply #27)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 11:47 PM

39. It's explained downthread,

And you can find pleanty on her through Google. Found this tidbit on her wiki page:

In 1992, Browne and her then-husband Kenzil Dalzell Brown were indicted on several charges of investment fraud and grand theft. The Superior Court of Santa Clara County, California, found Browne and her husband had sold securities in a gold-mining venture under false pretenses.[44] In at least one instance, they told a couple that their $20,000 investment was to be used for immediate operating costs.[45] Instead, the money was transferred to an account for their Nirvana Foundation for Psychic Research.[44] Browne pleaded no contest to securities fraud and was indicted on grand larceny in Santa Clara County, California on May 26, 1992.[46] The couple each received one year probation. In addition, Browne was sentenced to 200 hours of community service.[44]

So, an actual convicted fraud.

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Response to Lordquinton (Reply #39)

Mon Nov 25, 2013, 09:00 PM

49. But what you were saying about her saying that a child was dead, and then ended up dead......not

explained downthread.

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Response to Th1onein (Reply #49)

Tue Nov 26, 2013, 05:39 PM

51. Post # 6

has a link to the episode. The family maintains that because of Browne's words the girl's mom gave up on life, which led to her rapid decline in health. Read the link, it's pretty sad.

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Response to xfundy (Original post)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 05:28 AM

3. And James Randi is still alive.

Sylvia finally managed to dodge the JREF million dollar challenge, which she said she would do way back on 3 Sept 2001 on the Larry King Program.

Of course she saw that was going to happen because she knew she was a fraud (just like all proclaimed psychics are) but Sylvia was a particularly insidious and despicable one.

She's dead? Best thing that ever happened to her.

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Response to xfundy (Original post)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 06:47 AM

4. Let us not forget she predicted when she would die

She was just 11 years out.

And especially let us not forget all the families she harmed by her false prophecies ...

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Response to intaglio (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 12:24 PM

10. "Missed it by that much"

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #10)

Fri Nov 29, 2013, 05:40 PM

56. Looks like she didn't see that coming!

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Response to xfundy (Original post)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 09:13 AM

5. To be precise, she identified as a New Age Gnostic, a far cry from those you mentioned.

 

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Response to xfundy (Original post)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 09:39 AM

6. "Only God is right all the time"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2324733/Cleveland-kidnappings-Psychic-Sylvia-Browne-explains-wrongly-telling-Amanda-Berrys-mother-missing-daughter-dead.html

Browne exploited and abused emotionally susceptible people, and the privilege that religious beliefs enjoy helped contribute to her success.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 12:44 PM

54. I see....I thought it was the kidnapped person who died because of Browne's revelation.

I could not stand Sylvia Browne. For some reason, she always seemed to be a collosal fake, to me. But she did say that Amanda's mother would only see her daughter again on the other side. I guess that much was true.

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Response to xfundy (Original post)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 10:14 AM

7. I think all mediums

are charlatans. I don't celebrate her death, but I'm not sorry that she won't be able to hurt families with her false information anymore.

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Response to xfundy (Original post)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 04:08 PM

12. May she rest in peace.

 

May those hurt by her find peace.

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Response to xfundy (Original post)

Thu Nov 21, 2013, 07:27 PM

14. I suppose those, who want to regard religion simply as a species of "woo," will find it natural

to think that Sylvia Browne was practicing a form of religion, or that people interested in various religions would perhaps be interested in Sylvia Browne

I myself had never heard of Browne, and so far as I can tell from a quick websearch, Browne wasn't following any standard religion -- but then I'm not much inclined to pay any attention to people who make their livings through "psychic ability," being strongly prejudiced against such claims as probable nonsense. And most religions, that I've ever thought about seriously, don't actually seem much interested in anyone's alleged "psychic ability." Certainly there is a very long Christian tradition (which I expect follows an even older Jewish tradition) that frowns heavily on activities such as consulting soothsayers or astrologers

We all die, of course. Browne never having crossed my field of vision, and being now dead, I don't feel competent to express more opinions about her particular case

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #14)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 09:56 AM

16. Yeah, what does this have to do with religion?

I mean, she only founded her own church.

Novus Spiritus

Google is your friend.

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #16)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 02:42 PM

18. The mailing address for the "church" is interesting:

[link:http://www.novus.org/home/index.cfm|NEW ADDRESS FOR THE OFFICES:
Sylvia Browne Corporation
Sylvia Browne Enterprises
Society of Novus Spiritus
125 E Sunnyoaks Ave Ste 214
Campbell CA 95008]

So you contact the "church" by contacting her corporation

... She .. ran a .. successful company the Sylvia Browne Corporation, and Sylvia Browne Enterprises earning over $3 million a year from the company ventures. In 1974 the psychic began giving public readings talking with thousands fans during one-on-one chats charging about an $850 for a 20 to 30-minute telephone session ...

The opportunities linked on the "church" website are also interesting:

A psychic reading with Sylvia is very much like meeting a long lost friend ... Sylvia Spiritual Salons are small groups of people (35 - 45 people) who will enjoy intimate conversations with Sylvia on many topics ... ... Salon Fee $1000 per person ...

... Now Sylvia Browne's Master Hypnotists will train YOU to use her time proven hypnosis techniques ... Registration Fee: $2,000 ...

... For a One on One Hypnosis/Past Life Regression session please download the required forms, fill in the required information and sign where indicated ... In office Behavioral Modification Hypnosis - $250. In office Past Life Regression - $250. Out of Office Hypnosis or Regression varies city to city depending on travel expenses. The estimated cost for most cities is $350 ...

You can shop for Sylvia Browne's books, audios, videos and her newsletter on her web site. To shop for all things Sylvia click here! ...

Novus Spiritus is offering personal development classes ... For more details of each class follow (click on) a link below ... CLASS CANCELLATION POLICY. Please consider this carefully before signing up ... You may cancel with 35 days or more notice with no penalty and your 50% deposit will be refunded. After 35 days and within 15 days, you will be liable for the 50% deposit ... 14 days prior to the class, your card will be charged for the balance of the class tuition, and there will be no refunds for anyone who cancels or does not attend the class ...

The "church" sure looks like a conduit to her products and "services"



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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #18)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 02:50 PM

19. So her church is not a church because it is a money-making venture?

The "church" sure looks like a conduit to her products and "services"




You're killin me, smalls.

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #19)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 03:09 PM

20. You evidently didn't bother to follow and read the links. The church website contains

links to many of Brown's profit-making ventures: the Spiritual Salon with Sylvia Brown is linked from the "church" website, and a "church" webpage instructs:

... To use your Credit Card (Visa, MC,Amex or Discover) call (408) 379-7070 or send a Money Order or cashiers check, payable to "Sylvia Browne" (no cash or personal checks) to: Salon - Sylvia Browne 6000 Hellyer Ave ...

That's an example of the "church" used as a conduit to her products and "services" and I provided others upthread

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #20)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 03:26 PM

21. Is it your claim that any church website that has links to profit-making ventures...

makes it an invalid or non-standard "church"? (With quotes?)

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Response to trotsky (Reply #21)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 04:13 PM

23. I've expressed my view and have provided supporting links

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #23)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 05:34 PM

25. Does this mean we aren't allowed to talk about Scientology either?

Just askin.

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #25)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 05:58 PM

26. I think there is a pretty high level of concordance between both believers

and non-believers who frequent this group about what groups are either not really religions and are better described as cults or scams. Not unanimous by any means, but I've never seen a scientologist post in this group or anyone support scientology as a religion. I also haven't seen any fans of Sylvia Browne or anyone who thinks she really represents a religion.

That doesn't mean we don't talk about those things, but most people seem to be in agreement about what they really are.

Attempts to conflate these kinds of groups/people with what most people consider standard religions is telling, imo.

Of course, there are grey areas, like Mormonism, but this person doesn't appear to be in a grey area at all.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #26)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 07:22 PM

28. That isn't what is being argued here

I think there is a pretty high level of concordance between both believers and non-believers who frequent this group about what groups are either not really religions and are better described as cults or scams. Not unanimous by any means, but I've never seen a scientologist post in this group or anyone support scientology as a religion. I also haven't seen any fans of Sylvia Browne or anyone who thinks she really represents a religion.


I'm failing to see the relevance of this. It was claimed this topic was inappropriate for the religion forum. As Sylvia Browne's schtick was steeped in religious jargon, it is my position the topic is relevant. No one is arguing whether her religion is more or less valid than "standard" religions (which, might I add, is probably one of the most ridiculously egocentric and hypocritical things I've read here thus far), or that her religion wasn't a cult or a scam. It certainly was, but unless you mean to tell me religious cults or religious scams aren't appropriate topics for debate here, I don't see what it is you're trying to get at.

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #28)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 07:29 PM

30. Actually, I don't see anyone arguing that it shouldn't be here.

What I see is a discussion on whether this woman's "church" is really a religious organization. I agree with s4p that it is not, even if she calls it one.

It's a relevant discussion for this group, imo.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #30)

Sun Nov 24, 2013, 02:54 PM

47. There you go again.

You viciously protest whenever someone else tries to label you or your beliefs, yet you show no hesitation whatsoever in labeling others and/or their beliefs.

Pathetic.

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #25)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 09:44 PM

38. Maybe you responded in the wrong place -- or could benefit from a reading comprehension course

In #23, I wrote I've expressed my view and have provided supporting links to which you responded Does this mean we aren't allowed to talk about Scientology either?

I have certainly been known to misunderstand other people's posts, but here there seems to me an obvious disconnect

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #38)

Sat Nov 23, 2013, 04:11 AM

40. Oh-ho... not very friendly.

So much for turning the other cheek.

Yes, you stated your opinion. If I understand it correctly (you indicate in your previous post you think I do not, so please feel free to clarify anytime you so choose), was that Sylvia Browne was not practicing religion--or at least not some ill-defined "standard" religion, as you claim--a conclusion based on the premise Browne manufactured the church to make a profit.

Dually noted.

But why bring this up? Going on previous interactions with you--which is the only reference by which to frame your character--I can only assume you intended to refute the culpability of religion in Browne's myriad scams, to claim, as you always do, that this is just one bad apple in the bunch (not a particularly popular one at that, like the crabapple of religions...), and, of course, to imply the OP is a bigot for bringing it up in the first place.

Now, onto this gem:

I wrote I've expressed my view and have provided supporting links


Your argument is as such:

1. Religions seemingly established purely to profit their founders are not real religions.

2. Sylvia Browne's church seems to have been established to profit Sylvia Browne.

Ergo:

3. Sylvia Browne's church is not a real church with a real religion.



Your "supporting links" support premise 2, and only premise 2.

We're disputing premise 1 and your conclusion.

And I'm the one who needs a course in reading comprehension? Heh, stay classy.

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #40)

Sat Nov 23, 2013, 04:30 AM

41. You are, of course, entirely free to use the word "religion" however you like:

not being always a platonist, I do not regard abstract terms like "religion" as automatically designating some definite and well-defined objects, and so IMO it can be entirely pointless to debate what does or does not constitute a religion

I can, however, say that I myself do not use the word religion to describe a venture extracting profits for the organization's founder -- I'm rather more inclined to call such a venture a business

If you use the word differently, then we are unlikely to resolve questions about the correctness or incorrectness of certain sentences, though it is still possible that each of us might understand what the other says, by taking the time to understand how each chooses to use certain words

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #23)

Sat Nov 23, 2013, 03:36 PM

42. So you agree I've stated your claim accurately, then? n/t

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Response to trotsky (Reply #42)

Sat Nov 23, 2013, 10:44 PM

44. We can probably agree you're unlikely ever to do more than caricature my views

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #44)

Sun Nov 24, 2013, 02:21 PM

46. Then please correct me instead of being rude.

Despite your history of indicating you want anything but, I am attempting once again to have a discussion with you.

Please state clearly what it is you are attempting to say.

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #44)

Mon Nov 25, 2013, 12:53 PM

48. Still waiting for your clarification.

I'm making an honest effort to engage in dialog - will you join me?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #48)

Thu Nov 28, 2013, 01:38 PM

55. Maybe he is still searching his Google results for an appropriate link?

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #14)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 10:21 AM

17. Browne was pretty famous, despite your personal claim to have never heard of her.

As far as her not following a "standard" religion (whatever the heck you think that means - I'm sure someone would call YOUR religion non-standard, too), here's some info from her religion's webpage, the link to which was given above:

In April 1986, Sylvia Browne embarked upon the most important chapter of her life. She founded a spiritual organization called Society of Novus Spiritus. This decision was a natural extension of her love for God and for all of humanity. Novus is Sylvia's monument to God, a forum to express the joy and love that is God - with no fear, no guilt, no sin, no hell, and no Satan. Through Novus, Sylvia gives the world a means to understand God, Life, and the reason for being.

Sylvia's life has always revolved around God, being raised and educated in the Catholic faith, then going on to teach in the parochial school system for seventeen years. In addition, she has an unparalleled psychic ability. Since her late teens, Sylvia has been using her gift to help thousands of people. This prophetic ability has been tested many times, and each test turns into another testimonial of paranormal cognition.


Christ lived and died upon this world; he is our Lord and the "Son of God" (as are we all). Novus believes that he brought God's word to mankind, and was martyred for it. We follow the principal teachings of Christ, namely:

Love God with your whole heart. mind. and soul.
Love thy neighbor as thyself.

These above two thoughts form the basis for Christianity, and through them the entirety of heaven is open to you. We agree with Christ when he said (John 14:6):
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me."

Since Christ equates himself to "the way, the truth, and the life," a logically equivalent statement is:
"No one comes to the Father but through the way, and the truth, and the life."


Doesn't seem that her church's basic beliefs are all that different than what you probably consider within the realm of "standard" religion. Who are you to judge, anyway?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #17)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 04:11 PM

22. The website isn't entirely consistent in its claims:

... in 1974 .. Sylvia incorporated The Nirvana Foundation for Psychic Research, a nonprofit organization (now known as Society of Novus Spiritus) ... To further her goals, Sylvia formed another organization in 1986, Society of Novus Spiritus .. based upon a Christian Gnostic theology... She is training ministers to actively help spread her philosophy. Her goals are to prove that the soul survives death ... P.S. Sylvia does not endorse any "psychic hot lines" ... Any claim to the contrary is a fraudulent misuse of Sylvia's name

The final warning not to be fooled by frauds is a nice touch

Overall such texts seem to me evidence merely of marketing decisions. Despite the name, I doubt the Nirvana Foundation had much to do with Buddhist teachings, though babble incorporating some Buddhist language was popular in the 1970s. And babble referencing the Gnostics similarly was popular in the 1980s.

"Gnostic" is a vague catch-all term. It may describe: second century persons who followed traditional Judaic law and regarded Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah but denied his divinity; dualists who believed in two supreme divinities, one good and one evil, locked in eternal struggle, Jesus of Nazareth being the son of the good one; a movement that accepted various of Paul's epistles but only Luke's gospel; followers of Philumena's supposed revelations from some angel; a second century sect that held, apparently from a reference to Jesus of Nazareth as alpha and omega, that all truth could be inferred from the Greek alphabet; a group that erected an elaborate cosmology from a Deuteronomic reference to G-d as a devouring fire; and any of a number of other movements

So I'd guess the name change from Nirvana Foundation to the "Christian Gnostic" Novus Spiritus was driven by a desire to appeal to a wider demographic

I don't see any reason to change the view I expressed in #18 that the "church" is a conduit to her products and "services"



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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #22)

Sat Nov 23, 2013, 03:40 PM

43. So?

We could analyze every church website and easily find inconsistent claims.

You reject rational analysis when it comes to your religion, so why do you insist on applying it to someone else's?

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Response to xfundy (Original post)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 05:22 PM

24. She was no more and no less a woo-woo

than "S. Acharya" or Kenneth Whatsis that runs the jesusneverexisted site.

And they'll be happy to take your money, too.

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Response to okasha (Reply #24)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 07:26 PM

29. Just visited jesusneverexisted

outside a typical "donate" button and a couple of books I saw no overt money grab as with Browne.

Seems more like someone just putting forth his view point (one I am not advocating either way) than the pure unadulterated money grubbing scam artist that Browne was.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #29)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 07:48 PM

31. Of course. Facts have no meaning to that poster.

Never stopped them from posting falsehoods before, why would anything change?

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Response to rug (Reply #32)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 09:15 PM

33. I said there was a small

typical "donate' button that I see on many websites, including DU. But not the overt thievery Browne had.
There is more commerce on Catholic.org than jesusneverexisted.
I would not compare either to Browne's and questioned why the poster lumped them together when it seems they aren't similar at all.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #33)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 09:17 PM

34. That's probably because of the unique demographics that visit jesusneverexisted.com.

 

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Response to rug (Reply #34)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 09:18 PM

35. I don't know what that means?

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Response to edhopper (Reply #35)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 09:26 PM

36. Limited viewers, limited ads.

 

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Response to rug (Reply #36)

Fri Nov 22, 2013, 09:38 PM

37. that still doesn't counter

That the sites don't compare. Most sites have ads, but Browne's "church" site was just one more way for her to bilk her marks.
Whatever the merits of his arguments, jne seems to be a sincere site to espouse his POV. Not a money grab as the poster implied.

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Response to xfundy (Original post)

Sun Nov 24, 2013, 08:31 AM

45. I have respect for the dead, but I reserve it

for others who have/had respect for the dead. Sylvia had no respect for the dead or the living.
My guess is one of her fraud kids is gonna start saying Sylvia speaks through him now or some other bullshit..

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Response to xfundy (Original post)

Tue Nov 26, 2013, 08:24 AM

50. She is gone, but not too far

She has elected me to carry her message forward. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

She understands your skepticism and says that all will be clear.

Blessings.

[link:https://www.facebook.com/sylvia.lives.9|

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Response to SylviaLives (Reply #50)

Tue Nov 26, 2013, 05:56 PM

52. LMAO

Did she foresee her passing and declare you her successor prior to death? Or did she conveniently (for you) only declare this to you in a vision?

I wish you nothing but miserable failure in your attempt to take money from vulnerable people.

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Response to SylviaLives (Reply #50)

Tue Nov 26, 2013, 07:03 PM

53. How much will travel rates for her services increase, now that she must come from some great beyond?

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