Psychics or Psychotics?

March 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Psychics are causing an unforseen problem to gardai by disrupting investigations into unsolved murder cases.

Some have been urging detectives to mount searches for the bodies of missing people at specific locations, based on “information” they say has been relayed to them by spirits and ghosts. Other psychics claim to have had visions of people thought to have been abducted and murdered standing at specific locations which gardai are then asked to search.

Among the inquiries which have been affected by psychics is Operation Trace into the disappearance of six women in the Leinster area in the 1990s. The missing women include Annie McCarrick, a 26-year-old from New York, last seen in March 1993 with a man near Johnnie Fox’s pub in Glencullen in the Dublin mountains.

Information supplied by psychics has also prompted searches for Mary Boyle, a six-year-old who disappeared in 1977 in Co Donegal.

Gardai say they are put under pressure to mount searches when a psychic makes contact with a victim’s family to tell them that information they have provided to the force is being ignored. In other cases, distressed families will insist gardai meet with clairvoyants.

Diane Lazarus, a British psychic, “examined” the killing of Raonaid Murray, a 17-year-old schoolgirl who was stabbed to death in south Dublin in 1999. Lazarus’s involvement in the case, following a request by the victim’s family, has been described as “unhelpful and distracting” by senior gardai.

Alan Bailey, a detective who recently retired from the Garda’s cold-case unit, said Operation Trace, an acronym for tracing, reviewing and collecting evidence, was particularly affected. “Psychics approaching us was a regular occurrence. It became such a problem that we began to keep an index of people who were making contact,” he said.

“Missing-person cases tend to attract them. Some of them do seem to be genuinely concerned, but it’s always allied to a belief that they have some sort of psychic power. I have never seen one of them provide any information that was worthwhile. They usually claim the victim came to them in a dream and asked them to convey a message. They sometimes even name the killer but it’s based on nothing.

“Gardai were invited to receive information about one of the cases handled by Operation Trace. The detectives drove to a house in the midlands where they were invited to attend a seance where those in attendance named someone who they claimed killed Annie McCarrick. The psychics called the next day to say they had been contacted by other spirits who claimed the spirit who gave the information had been lying. They said the spirit was a bad one.”

Martin Donnellan, a retired assistant garda commissioner who spent 40 years as a detective, said no crime had ever been solved by a psychic. “I’m aware this has become a serious problem,” he said.

“These people are usually engaged by families, who will grasp at anything. It’s hard to tell a family that you won’t search a location. In truth, such searches are being organised to appease families. It’s an awful waste of garda resources. I can safely say I have no belief in this nonsense. They always say a body is buried near a tree, or in water, or sometimes a stretch of coast. When nothing is found, they’ll say the spirits are sending them the wrong signals, and come back with a new location. It can be a huge distraction [for] the investigation team.”

The families of some missing persons are opting to conduct their own searches, often involving divers, based on information provided by psychics. Recent searches for the body of Boyle, who vanished near her grandparents’ home in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, followed the receipt of information from a Dutch psychic.

Margo O’Donnell, a country singer from Co Donegal who has organised searches for the missing girl, said she believed in psychic abilities. “There was a search last year which was based on information supplied by a psychic some years ago. I do believe they have something. I couldn’t tell you what it is, but I’d like to check out what they say, although I’d accept that wee Mary Boyle has not been found,” she said.

O’Donnell declined to name the psychic involved, but believes that a body will be found soon. “Let me tell you that Mary will be found soon. That is fact,” she said.

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