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largestill in atheism

When Sylvia Browne Comes to Town

I thought some of you here might enjoy this.

This is something we pulled off a month or so ago.
A group I frequent decided to troll Super Psychic Sylvia Browne when she came into town.
For a good reason I might add, as she is a fraud, with much evidence against her.

Here is an excerpt of the report we wrote up of the incident that was posted to the James Randi Educational Foundation's Blog.

"Sylvia Browne is well-known to readers of Swift. Like all professional mediums, she makes a living on the grief, pain and desperation of people who are usually blissfully ignorant of cold reading, Barnum statements and the tendency of the human mind to see what it wants to see. The best way to combat ignorance is through education and when Sylvia announced that she would be coming to Halifax, Nova Scotia as part of her latest tour – a farewell tour, apparently (let's hope she's not like Cher) – the Skeptics and Secularists of Atlantic Canada decided to give her audience some information that could save them future heartache and empty wallets."

The rest of the story here:
www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/531-when-sylvia-comes-to-town
It's a great read.

I am working on a "How To" style video at the moment describing what we did and how others can do it as well.



Edit:
Stuff I made for the event:
(click on images for large pictures)



Comments

That was a good read, despite the disheartening realization at how many people allow themselves to be deluded. I'm curious to see how the video turns out.
Yeah, it was pretty sad.
We were literally shocked at how many people showed up.
We made only 200 kits thinking that we'd have a few left over.
Boy were we wrong.
The 200 were gone in like 10-15 mins.

I felt kinda bad only once when a woman came up to me and took a flyer in her hand and shook it in excitement, saying, "I've been waiting forever to see her. This is going to be great."

I'll definitely be posting the video here.
Sadly there isn't actual video of us passing stuff out, because one of our guy was late.
I highly doubt it.
I can't imagine anyone really wanting to talk to people who just ruined a $150 a ticket show for them. ;D
*HIGH-FIVE RECEIVED*
I added images of the flyers we used for the event.
She's so creepy.
iknorite!?
*shudders*
I added images of the flyers we used for the event.
nice. very nice.
pst. the link on the second purple flyer goes to the large of the first purple flyer.
fixing now thanks.

check back in 2 seconds.
woot.
I read the rundown on stopsylvia.com of the show at the exaclibur, where she calls Lancaster's site "nasty." He missed an opportunity to plug it -- "Oh, stopsylvia.com? You should all check it out."
My mom is into this scam artist. I keep trying to tell her how she 'works'; I'll be sure to slip some of these into her books.
That would be awesome! :D
If you do take a picture and post it here.
I'd love to see it.
You might be interested in this article from the Guardian about her. It's fantastic:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/oct/27/usa.jonronson

Been there, read that.

Read that already, a while back. (did you post it?) it was quite enlightening.

Re: Been there, read that.

I definitely posted it somewhere. Most likely that includes here. I think it was just in the comments though (if I remember correctly) so I wasn't sure how many people bothered to click the link. If it was me who showed it to originally, I'm glad to know it made enough of an impact that you still remember it. ;)
Great job with the fliers!
Thanks! ^_^
I was quite proud of how they looked when we were finished making them.
Thanks. ^_^
Randi's sarcasm is always relevant to my interests.

But yeah, I had a friend who used to sit in bookstores and read her stuff constantly. Was obsessed with her, but never bought anything. It was the best kind of fan ever, because she wasn't profiting. My Catholic grandmother, on the other hand... not so much. But my grandmother has literally crashed her car because she was enamoured by her guardian angel appearing on the side of the road, so... yeah.
@_@
This was about four years ago, but yeah, she's fine and she's not driving anymore. She busted up the fender of her car at the time, but surprisingly, it wasn't major. Still, Sylvia started all that mess. Her stupid angel had a name, distinct personality, and she said that he talked to her in dreams. Sort of facepalm-y material, really.
Yeah, on the scale of hatred, I think I actually hate her more than Scientologists. A religious group scamming people is pretty much the norm these days, but one single person building her wealth off the suffering of others is pretty much instarage.
A tiny little nit that amuses me to pick:

I smiled when he said that women were almost twice as likely to believe in psychics, when the figures behind him showed that they were MORE than twice as likely.
Great work on the flyers!
Thanks!
I just read that article over at the JREF. Excellent work!

I really like how your checklist is expanded into a how-to. Most people who just had the checklist probably wouldn't understand what was meant by those things, but the cold-reading instructions make it perfectly clear what she does. After I read some info from Randi and StopSylvia, I watched a video of her reading an audience, and it becomes so obvious!

I do pity the poor guy who went into the show, though. Sylvia is so repugnant. :6 Way to take one for the team!
Yeah, I still can't believe people paid up to $150 a ticket for her bullshit.
I love the long claws on your "Stop Sylvia" banner--ROFL! You would think the spirits would give her better fashion advice.
lol ^___^
I am curious, what's this got to do with Atheism?

Really?

Sylvia Browne: Claims to talk to dead people's ghosts.

The theists we usually post about: Claim to talk to God/Jesus/Allah.

Re: Really?

Plenty of atheists believe in ghosts, ufo, all kinds of crap. Just not gods.

Re: Really?

Most atheists don't believe that people spirits hang around and talk to people once they are dead.
Being an atheist for most people includes not being able to speak to the dead.
On of the revolving points around atheism is that once you die, you are gone, for keeps.

Re: Really?

Most atheists don't believe that people spirits hang around and talk to people once they are dead.

So there are atheists who do believe that spirits hang around?

Being an atheist for most people includes not being able to speak to the dead.

So, you're saying most atheists are not psychic? But some are?

</i>One of the revolving points around atheism is that once you die, you are gone, for keeps.</i>

What about the atheists who you say believe about spirits that hang around? Or those folk that say you just become at one with the mystical energy of the universe?



Re: Really?

"So there are atheists who do believe that spirits hang around?"

According to what you said in your reply before mine.
I was being accommodating toward your position without outright saying you were wrong.

"So, you're saying most atheists are not psychic? But some are?"

You got me on semantics there. Fine NO real Atheists talk to ghosts.

"What about the atheists who you say believe about spirits that hang around? Or those folk that say you just become at one with the mystical energy of the universe?"

Atheists can't be right all the time.

Re: Really?

According to what you said in your reply before mine.

Well, actually, according to you.

I was being accommodating toward your position without outright saying you were wrong.

Oh, I see, thanks, I can tell you're a nice guy.

You got me on semantics there. Fine NO real Atheists talk to ghosts.

Maybe what you mean is no atheists talk to REAL ghosts?

But back to the issue, the only belief necessarily common between atheists is in the non-existence of god(s). If you don't want to argue with me about that, argue with the Oxford English Dictionary. Or if you are a Cambridge man, try the Cambridge dictionary. Or if you're a wikipedia guy, try the wiki entry on atheism.

Nothing about ghosts, ufo's, Psychic powers etc. It's a pretty trivial truth really.

Re: Really?

To believe in ghosts, one has to believe in a soul, and an afterlife. If a person believes in souls and an afterlife, they're not an atheist.

Re: Really?

^^Exactly! This!^^

Re: Really?

No, not that at all.

Re: Really?

To believe in ghosts, one has to believe in a soul, and an afterlife. If a person believes in souls and an afterlife, they're not an atheist.

No and No.

1. There are many crackpot theories about what ghosts are, including many that don't entail souls or the afterlife. Residual Energy Imprints, for example, which is a non-supernatural theory of hauntings.

2. You've misunderstood atheism. If a person believes in God(s) they are not an atheist. Everything else is up for grabs. You can even be a socialist OR a capitalist.