'Psychic' incorrectly predicted the death of Amanda Berry in 2004 – not the first time she's been wrong about a missing person
One of the world's most recognizable self-proclaimed psychics was wrong yet again about the fate of a missing child, and her followers on social media are taking her to task.
Browne's prediction about Amanda Berry's fate was not the first child whose fate she attempted to explain, but her fans on social media are waiting for acknowledgment from the self-proclaimed spiritual leader.
On Facebook and Twitter, Browne sends inspirational messages to hundreds of thousands of fans, often advertising her latest appearances or one of 45 books she's published over the years (most recently Afterlives of the Rich and Famous). She reached a high level of visibility after years appearing as a regular guest on Montel Williams' television show, a long-running daytime talk program that subsisted on paternity test results, cheating spouses and half-baked psychic predictions before it finally stopped production in 2008.
"I remember you on Montel Williams telling the family of Amanda Berry she was dead," wrote one commenter on Browne's Facebook page. "What do you have to say for yourself? What a horrible horrible thing to say to a family holding on to nothing but hope and faith."
"Can you admit that you're a hack now?" asked another.
"I hope todays events seal it for you and everyone else who take advantage of those in mourning," wrote another.
Browne announced the death of Amanda Berry in 2004, when she appeared on Williams' show to tell Berry's mother, Louwana Miller, that her daughter was "in heaven and on the other side" and that her last words were "goodbye, mom, I love you". Miller would die a year later of heart failure.
In fact, Berry escaped Monday from a Cleveland home where she had been held captive with two other women for more than a decade. A child who is hers was also removed from the home, according to police.
As Jon Ronson wrote in his 2007 profile on predatory psychics, Browne has spoken face-to-face with many distraught parents and wrongly forecasted life or death. Shawn Hornbeck was a missing child whose parents were told by Browne that their son was buried between two boulders. When he was found alive after four years in 2007, Browne's publicist told CNN in a written statement: "She cannot possibly be 100% correct in each and every one of her predictions. She has, during a career of over 50 years, helped literally tens of thousands of people."
For her part, Browne told Montgomery Media in Pennsylvania in April that she's exceptional at spotting imposters:
"You can always see when they start doing guessing games."
On Facebook, some of Browne's fans are defending her predictions. "everyone makes mistakes. Even doctors, lawyers … Psychics," wrote one.
"Sylvia you were right on for me, you have my support," added another.
The Guardian has asked Browne for comment.