And by that, I mean predictable in a paranormal fashion, if you take Sylvia Browne’s psychic claims as gospel, or at least as a money making machine (which is how over 7 million copies of her books are in print as of this writing.) So the WSJ’s Jeff Trachtenberg tried to find out the secret of Browne’s success, and it turns out to be more about human connections.
Jules Herbert of Barnes & Noble says that some people are simply intrigued by psychic phenomena. “They’re fascinated by life’s mysteries and feel that organized religion doesn’t offer all the answers,” he says. But Ray Hyman, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Oregon who has researched psychics, labels Ms. Browne “a fraud.” The secret to being a good psychic, he says, is to tell people what they want to hear. “She charges so much that they are going to make her right no matter what,” says Professor Hyman. “They want her to look like a guru. Otherwise they’re fools.”
Of course, Browne doesn’t care what her critics say, and when she can charge $700 a reading (one phone call only — don’t bother to come back) she doesn’t really have to. And as long as the books, like this year’s IF YOU COULD SEE WHAT I SEE, continue to sell, it doesn’t really matter now, does it?