It appears that any con-artist can whip out a page, and get it past the editors. Lots of people post stubs, thinking they will get back to it soon. Well sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. Whether this is well-meaning or just laziness can be argued all night.
Guerrilla Skepticism isn't just leaving well-cited references that have a skeptical slant, but checking sources for paranormal claims. I keep finding this kind of crap, " working with clients and also with law enforcement. She has worked alongside district attorneys, law enforcement, and America's Most Wanted to help solve case files across the United States." as I found on Barrett's page. The citations that were left to prove this were from her own blog and website. WHAT!
Here I am preaching over and over that you must cite carefully and only noteworthy citations and people are getting away with this thing. Okay, need to calm down and get to my point.
It isn't just the psychic grief vampires, I'm sure this is happening in the alt med world as well as all the pseudoscience areas. I just happen to troll the psychic pages so I'm more likely to notice it. John Farquher and I are working (slowly) on the psychic detective page and I've started looking at existing citations a little closer.
Noticed this on psychic detectives...
"The Australian Sensing Murder television series features self-described psychics assisting with unsolved murder cases. Although the psychics have been able to anticipate some facts known only to the police, none of the cases have been solved, over four seasons."No citation, so this will be removed. But it made me curious what is this Sensing Murder show?
Found this in the lead paragraph.
The psychics have not managed to solve any of the cases, although they have uncovered facts that only police knew about.[dubious ] They have in some cases provided actual names of persons related to the area the crime was committed to police, names of persons confirmed by serving or ex-serving police officers to have existed and resided in close proximity to locations of crimes around the time they were committed.
One thing that is really frustrating me is that some editor on Wikipedia is flagging these things, then not going back to check up it. Doesn't the editor make some kind of note, mental or otherwise to check up? The Jackie Barrett page was flagged in 2007.
Reading over the citations it appears that all are from TV.com which lists all the episodes.
Then there are a few that have dead links.
- ^ "Sensing Murder an Export Success"
- ^ "COMMISSIONS - SENSING MURDER OPTIONED FOR US MARKET."
- ^ "Sensing Murder Responds to $2 million Paranormal Challenge'"
So what to do? Does this page deserve to remain on Wikipedia? I'm going to go through
it again and remove anything not cited, or has a broken link and see what is left.
Back on the psychic detective page I notice this reference to the police calling in
psychic Debbie Malone. The citation did not include a URL, but I managed to search
and find it anyway. The article is vague with little skepticism. I expanded on the blurb
which was originally only this "The NSW Police Forces' Missing Unit has referred
families of missing persons to psychic Debbie Malone."
The NSW Police Forces' Missing Persons Unit has referred families of missing persons to psychic Debbie Malone, one Former Detective Senior-Constable Jeffrey Little felt her description of what happened was "exceptional". While other NSW officers felt she had not helped solve any cases. Sergeant Gae Crea and Detective Sergeant Damian Loone, state that she did not give us anything the police and the public didn't already know. Crea recounts "I've dealt with a lot of psychics, but no one has ever said, 'I can see where the body is buried and I'll take you there'"
I'm of half a mind to remove the entire blurb. It has been 3 years since this happened. If this woman had
any special ability and was assisting the police then surly she should have some media attention? At least
her own Wiki page? But no.
So removed the uncited nonsense from the beginning paragraph on Sensing Murder's page. A blue hyperlink caught my eye for one of the psychics that appeared on the show. Haven't looked at it yet... what do you think we will find?
Well it is quite critical of her.
On 13 August 2004 Australian Channel 7 broadcast a show called "Caught on Hidden Camera", in which they asked Deb Webber to give readings to three people. The three asked to contact deceased relatives that did not exist. Deb Webber claimed she was able to 'contact' these people.
But following the citations which really there is only one you find this edit that leads to a skeptical site that is now defunk. To be fair this reference to her being busted on TV cannot remain if there is no citation for it. This is just going to have to wait for me or SOMEONE reading this to take care of.
I think I will have to sleep on these edits, just too late right now to make good editing decisions. I am not the only person out there in the skeptical community capable of making these edits. If you are interested in taking this on, then simply do so. If you want help or advise please comment and I will make sure you get the help you need.
We must be vigilant, we need your help. Please please please make it a point to help edit. If you lack these skills and do not want to learn them, then spend a few minutes stumbling through Wikipedia clicking on links. If you find something suspicious please just post here. Someone will take a serious look at it. Shame on us for allowing this to continue.