Saturday, October 07, 2006

Under the Microscope #2: Sylvia Browne 9/27/2006

Well, I'm making another post about one of Sylvia Browne's appearances on Montel. Haven't started the recording yet, and as before, I'll be going somewhat stream of consciousness.


Well, after the lead-in, Montel makes a standard defeatist woo statement: "There are powers in the universe that are just too vast for us to understand." Of course, all us skeptics know the forces that are most likely going to be involved on this episode: Cold reading, self-deception, shoehorning, etcetera. Book plug.

Sylvia comes on, Montel says something about unspecified natural disasters and holiday travel. Sylvia says people shouldn't be too worried, but she does have concerns about trucks.*

She claims that everything has two levels in some kind of duality in the "seven upper levels" likening them to stages of growth. Talks some gibberish about religious versus spiritual and some kind of acceleration that woos are always promising.

Comments that some people don't ask if they're "on track," and sets a date on when mankind'll be wiped out: "95 years or so." It's a fairly safe bet: With all the nukes floating out there, there's some chance of it, though we can debate over the likelyhood. And if she's wrong, no one'll care by that time.

First guest and home movies: Murdered friend named Adrian. Didn't show up after a game, some team members went to their house, and Adrian's entire family was murdered: Strangulations, shooting, and all that horror for Sylvia to exploit. Over a year, no suspects.

Sylvia describes some unspecified person as a "ticking bomb" involving jealousy, turning the thing allegedly personal. Describes a heavy-set man, of course, since if it was one person, he'd probably have to be strong to subdue an entire family. Claims he lives nearby, but the guest shouldn't be concerned for herself. Of course. It's been a whole year.

Upcoming preview: Something about a haunted restaurant.

Sweet commercials.

My DVR has lost sound. Rewind and play brings it back. We're back, though.

Restaurant is described as one of the oldest buildings in Texas. Woman and little girl ghosts, supposedly. Tale of a bucket of water falling off a ladder. No mention of witnesses for that, yet, so my initial suspicion: Someone bumped into the ladder and snuck off, not wanting to take credit for the spill. Second thing mentioned: A closet that was clean, and then showed up with a dusty footprint. My guess: The footprint was there, just unnoticed the first time.

Witness stories: Kids singing ring around the rosy, moved lamp, depression in a bed like someone slept there.

Sylvia says it's one spirit named "Priscilla," supposedly a mistress. (How are they going to verify that?) Describes it as some kind of "energy imprint," unknowingly encouraging me to hurry up with a Doggerel entry for that word. She's describing it essentially as they described an "empathic echo" in an episode of Star Trek: Next Gen. Even sounds Star Trekky, so it must be science! Apologies to any sarcasmometers overloaded as a result of that last sentence. She also comments that she said "mistress" because she was sure the original owner was married, as if that was unusual. I think she said it because it'd be harder to verify, since people typically want to keep mistresses covered up. Says she was half-black/half-white. Extra incentive to cover it up, knowing those days.

Next woman wants to know about her marriage status: Sylvia claims she'll get married in a year.

Next guest: Wanted to know if her daughters were important in a past life. Sylvia plays the odds and says "no."

Next guest: Asks if she was an American Indian in a past life. Sylvia says yes. (How do we verify?)

Lovely commercials.

Next guest: Old lady wants to know where some silver bracelets are. Sylvia says they were given away. Don't think we'll be hearing about verification.

Next guest: Talking about her dead father-in-law. Sees her kid looking at unseen things, supposedly getting tickled. Sylvia's selling the psychic children thing, saying that he's seeing his grandfather. Reality: Sometimes kids act weird. Claims they'll have a daughter.

Commercial lead-in: Woman wanting to know more about Ouija Boards. Click here for everything you need to know.

I like commercials.

Next guest: Young blonde wants to know if her sick mother'll get better. Sylvia says something about people "programming themselves" into a life expectancy. Sylvia says she's "concerned about" her thyroid and adrenal glands. Will we hear anything about verification? Doubtful.

Next guest: Young woman wanting to know if there was foul play involved in her boyfriend's death. Sylvia makes general statements about stress in life convoluting things, as if stress wasn't a normal thing in a lot of people's lives.

Next guest: Woman with a supposed haunting. Doors close, lightbulbs break, voices. Says the ghost follows her daughter around. Ghost is supposedly a woman who committed suicide there, as suggested by the guest. Doors closing aren't unusual: I've had a few that were set not-level and tended to open themselves. Lightbulbs breaking: Call the electrician before you invoke magical entities like ghosts. Ghost sightings: Pareidolia. Shows a supposed ghost photo with a ghost's face appearing in one of those painted boards with the holes in it. Says she set the timer and tried to run behind with her daughter. My guess: There was a guy there, but she didn't notice him in her haste. Mentions of supposed ghost stranglings. Sylvia responds by saying that ghosts don't do that, and supposedly Warner Brothers wanted her to play something in the Amytiville Horror, but she refused. Quick Google search doesn't show any rumors that she was going to be involved. Says the suicidal girl needs to move on.

Next guest: First man: Looking for a medal or something (hard to make out what he's saying, despite three rewinds). Sylvia says he's lost it, and won't be able to find it. Suspect that's somewhat self-fulfilling.

Wonderful commercials.

Back. Next guest: Not speaking terribly loud, but Sylvia says that someone (apparently dead) wants to tell her, around Christmas time, that he's still around, and will make sure someone sends her a flower. Suspect that that wouldn't be an unusual event at all.

Next guest: Her dad and aunt died on New Year's. She says her dad called her 25 times that day. Really wanted to make sure she was going to show up. Got robbed, apparently after his death. Sylvia said that he had a suspicion that he wouldn't be there. No hints as to what he died from, so he might have known he wasn't doing well.

Next guest: This one about the Ouija board, showing the pointer absolutely flying across the board with their hands. Claimed that it was moving that fast on its own. Spelled out "choking" and apparently scared herself into experiencing that feeling. Sylvia says they're evil. Something made by Parker Brothers is very evil. Says it hooks up with deranged people. I wouldn't go as far as saying deranged, but it involves some people involved in magical thinking: The ones holding the pointer.

Truly great commercials.

Back. Next guest: Guy asking about a daughter who was stillborn. Sylvia says they don't "come in" because there's "no point".

Next guest: Asking about inheritance problems. Sylvia says she'll "prevail" after dealing with three people who'll "give her Hell." Think we'll get any verification?, Bronze Dog asked rhetorically.

Next guest: Asking about her father who died 14 years ago. Dreaming about him after a big move in her life. Asking for approval. Sylvia says he approves.

Next guest: Asking about her soulmate. Sylvia plays some word games on the term before applying the "true love" definition. Says it's a guy named Jack.

Rockin' commercials!

Next guest: Woman thinking her (presumably dead) mother is trying to contact her. Sylvia says she's just visiting, using flower scents.

Next guest: Woman asking about guardian angels. Sylvia says they don't talk, only guides talk. (Where do these rules come from?)

Next guest: Woman asking about a sibling of hers adopted at birth, if he/she is still alive, and if they'll meet. Sylvia says she's a female, and they'll meet in Cleveland, Ohio. Now we're getting specific, at least. I am, however, worried that this woman's going to end up paying for an unproductive trip.

Next guest: Woman asking about a house they're trying to sell. Sylvia tells them to get a hard-working real estate guy. As if that was paranormal advice.

Next guest: Guy asking about the 2008 elections. Sylvia takes the world's safest bet, and says that whoever it is will be better.

Funderful commercials.

Back. Next guest: Woman asking about facilitated communication. Claims it works. Sylvia says it taps into the spirit guides of the mentally/physically handicapped.

Book plug by Montel, followed by Sylvia mentioning her upcoming publications. It's over, and I certainly don't feel any more enlightened about the world. Maybe if Sylvia would put her powers to the test...

*Sylvia's concerns about trucks are likely moot nowadays: Large trucks (especially the ones that carry hazardous stuff) now often have GPS locators and remote control of their engines: If a truck goes off course, the driver would be notified, suspicions would arise, and that would lead to an engine cut-off.


The Big Sylvia Browne Thread


Don said...

Dog, man, you have got to stop doing this to yourself. You'll destroy your brain watching much more Sylvia on Montel. The combined stupidity on any one of these episodes posessed the power to reach through television sets and leech your intelligence. Like in Batman Forever, but far, far worse. It's not worth it, man, it's just not worth it.

Nes said...

I forgot about this when you last did a Sylvia post. I found what appears to be a blunder on my own about 2 months ago.

It's too bad that Montel never does follow ups on his Sylvia guests. (Gee, I wonder why?) I imagine the results would be, to say the least, very illuminating.

If I could get a decent reception, I'd start watching her too, just to point out flaws, errors, and total BS. She's at least more tolerable than some of the absolutely crazy Christian sites I've seen.

Anonymous said...

Quick heads-up: You've got an asterisk in the fourth paragraph after the word "trucks", but no footnote explaining what you felt the need to mark it for.

Bronze Dog said...

Thanks for the reminder, Xanthir. Hard to remember an aside when you're facing a loooooong period of time sifting through Sylvia's tedium.