If you watch TV or pick up a paperback sooner or later you are bound to come across a psychic detective (a psychic detective is a person who investigates crimes by using their claimed paranormal psychic abilities). The first psychic detective appeared as early as 1897 in the form Flaxman Low who was invented by mother and son writing team Kate and Hesketh Hesketh-Prichard.
More recently TV viewers in Australia, Japan, America, Canada and the UK have been treated to the series Psychic Detectives or Psychic Investigators (the program name changed according to the country in which it was shown).
The programme follows situations in which real-life psychics try to help the police with their investigations. The series isn’t too popular with sceptics who claim the psychics involved have made exaggerated claims of events. Whilst this might make good TV the series raises some questions; can psychics really help solve crimes and do the police ever resort to using psychics to help their investigations?.
Psychic Sleuths, a study of the subject by Joe Nickell PhD indicates that psychic detectives were not particularly effective; many gave uselessly vague information that could be made to fit the case after it was solved but that would have been no use to the police investigating the matter whatsoever.
Some situations however were more intriguing than the others. In 1980 a nurse went missing in LA, at the time an ordinary woman who was not a specialized psychic claimed to have a vision of the nurse’s body. She was able to point the area on a map where the unfortunate nurse’s remains were and already arrived at the scene before the police. Nickell claims the woman could have found out about the murder site before the police as a local man had already boasted about killing the nurse. at all event the truth of the situation a number of people have claimed their psychic abilities have allowed them to assist police in solving situations.
Most police departments say that they do not keep records regarding such activity or seek out such help. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that despite their reticence the police aren’t negative to seeking a little additional-sensory help now and then. One former Detective Senior Constable of the Australian police; Jeffrey Little, has said police do use psychic detectives “already though they officially say they don’t”.
It seems the police in NSW have used psychic Debbie Malone on a number of situations. While no evidence she has supplied has solved murders or missing investigations on it’s own she has been asked to corroborate theories. Little, in reference to one case she assisted on, felt her description of what happened was “exceptional”, other officers also had been impressed by her assistance, while in addition other NSW officers felt she had not helped solve any situations. Sergeant Gae Crea and Detective Sergeant Damian Loone, state that she did not give them anything the police and the public didn’t already know.
Perhaps more interesting are the situations where the police did not listen and clearly should have. In 2001, the body of Thomas Braun was located by Perth based Aboriginal clairvoyant Leanna Adams in Western Australia. Police had initially been unable to find the body. Braun’s had been told to contact Adams, an Aboriginal psychic who lived in Perth. The Braun Family had requested police to conduct a search based on Adams’ directions but they had not assisted. Adams went to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, and took the family members directly to Braun’s remains, a identify high on a ridge west of the town, some 20 kilometres out. The remains were not closest identifiable but the police later confirmed the remains to be his using DNA testing.
In the UK the Police have also officially pooh-poohed the idea of using psychic help and in 2009 the Metropolitan Police categorically denied using psychics to assist them with their situations. Later, emails were published that suggested they had used psychic helpers on investigations. The shame faced Met issued a statement which read; “We do not clarify people we may or may not speak with in connection with inquiries. We are not prepared to discuss this further.”