Sylvia Browne Failures
This page lists some of Sylvia Browne's most notable and public failures.
IMPORTANT: Many of Browne's supporters claim it is unfair to focus on failures rather than success stories, but that was never the intention of this article. The simple truth is that while researching this article we were unable to find any success stories. If anyone can provide any evidence of a Sylvia Browne success story, please contact us with the relevant details.
In March 1999, Browne told the grandmother of missing girl Opal Jo Jennings that the abducted girl had been taken into slavery in Japan. In fact Opal Jo Jennings had already been murdered in Texas.
In March 2002, Browne told the daughters of missing woman Lynda McClelland that she was still alive, and had wandered off due to mental problems. In reality she had already been murdered — by a man who was in the same room at the time of the reading.
In February 2003, Browne told the parents of missing 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck that he was dead. He was later found alive.
In November 2003, Browne told the parents of a dead girl that she had been shot. She had actually died of a mystery illness in their house.
In December 2003, while speaking to a caller on Larry King Live, Browne said she was "positive" the caller's mother was dead. The caller's mother was apparently still alive — it was a case of a cold reading gone wrong (the caller had inadvertently referred to the mother in the past tense).
In February 2004, Browne gave the mother of missing teenager Ryan Katcher a great deal of information which turned out to be completely wrong when his body was eventually found.
In January 2005, after hearing a report that the miners trapped in the Sago Mine Disaster had been found alive, Browne claimed that she had always known they would be found alive. The report turned out to be false and the miners were, in fact, already dead.
In November 2006, a woman told Browne that her boyfriend's body had never been recovered. Browne said the body couldn't be found because it was located in water (a common and usually safe story). In reality, the boyfriend was killed in the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11.
In a debate with arch-rival James Randi, Browne confidently diagnosed Randi with a problem in the left ventricle of his heart. Subsequent medical investigation ruled this out.