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Old 22nd November 2006, 12:41 PM   #1
sonja
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Unhappy Feel like a fool duped by Sylvia Browne

I have been searching the web for others that have experienced what I did. This site popped as an anti-Sylvia Browne site. Two days ago I had a reading with Sylvia's son, Chris Dufresne. I feel pretty devastated about the whole thing. First, I have been a follower of Sylvia for a number of years and really believed what she did was legitatmate. I read Chris Dufresne's book about how he does his readings and he states that its better to let him give the "readings" first before asking any questions, so I was immediately taken back when one of the very first things out of his mouth was if I had any questions. I told him I read his book and thought it was a good idea to let him go first. What he told me was very very short, very very vague and it was very very obvious that he needed me to provide the information. First, he completed missed anything to do with my debilitating illness and then when I explained it to him all he did was repeat back what I told him. At the end of the reading I just very calmly (and very sadly) told him I was disappointed in the reading. All he could offer me was defensiveness and irritation stating that all I was trying to get was a free reading. He rudely told me I would get a refund and hung up on me. His "Office Manager" called me five minutes later and outright tried to bully me. When that didn't work she did state that I would get a credit to my credit card in the next billing cycle and that I would never be allowed to have another reading - like why would I? At no time did I ask for the refund. It was as if they were trying to punish me to not being grateful for the reading. They must be running the biggest con in America. How are they continuing to get away with this? I'll believe the refund when I get it. It would be helpful to me to talk to others who have experienced this same thing with Sylvia or her son. Has anyone here gone through this or do know of another website that specifically addresses this. I feel stupid, but worse I feel devastated by the whole experience.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 12:53 PM   #2
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Sonja - I moved your post here from the the "Welcome New Members" thread; that thread isn't for serious discussions and your post will get more attention here.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 12:56 PM   #3
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I'm very sorry you were duped by Sylvia's son. They are con-artists, plain and simple.

And welcome to the forum, BTW.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 01:05 PM   #4
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I just PM'ed RSLancaster to have him read your thread. He is starting up a "Stop Sylvia Browne" web site.

Unfortunately, I told him to look in the "Welcome New Members" thread over in Community.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 01:05 PM   #5
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Hi Sonja,

First off, don't beat yourself up too much over this. Society has conspired against you, priming you to believe in nonsense. It starts at an early age when we are made to believe things that aren't true.

You've made a great step by coming here. Have a look around the rest of the forum, and read up on some of the discussions about psychics, so-called alternative medicines, and everything else we discuss.

One of our members, RSLancaster, is making a website called Stop Sylvia Browne. I'm sure he'll be interested in your story.

Welcome to the forum!
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Old 22nd November 2006, 01:06 PM   #6
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sonja - What Lisa said. As to how they (and others) get away with it... People want to believe. And they will believe despite any evidence to the contrary. I'm glad that you've "seen the light".

And welcome to the forum!!
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Old 22nd November 2006, 01:16 PM   #7
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Sonja, you may feel a bit the fool now (I know I would too)... But remember that you feel like it because you are now less foolish than you used to. You're growing smarter and wiser so fast you can almost feel it. That, I hope you will agree, is a very good thing.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 01:29 PM   #8
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And to say what hasn't been said yet: You are not the only one here to have been duped.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 01:32 PM   #9
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Sonja, I am the Robert Lancaster mentioned by Mr. Skinny earlier in this thread.

I am indeed putting together a Stop Sylvia Browne web site at www.stopsylvia.com.

First, I'm sorry that you went through that. But this is what these people do. They make money off of people who are in vulnerable situations: the grieving. The ill. The lonely.

It is sickening, and it needs to stop. I am doing whatever I can to make that happen.

I am very interested in putting your story up on the StopSylviaBrowne web site. Would that be okay with you? Please email me at webmaster@StopSylviaBrowne.com and let me know what you think.
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Who is "Kaz?" Read about her at www.StopKaz.com.

Curious about Sylvia Browne? Read about her at www.StopSylvia.com.

Ever wonder "What's the Harm?" with psychics, alternative medicine, etc?
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Old 22nd November 2006, 01:34 PM   #10
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Darat, have you contacted Sonja to let her know the thread has moved? I would hate for her to look for it where she ortiginally posted it, and think that it had gotten lost or deleted.
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Who is "Kaz?" Read about her at www.StopKaz.com.

Curious about Sylvia Browne? Read about her at www.StopSylvia.com.

Ever wonder "What's the Harm?" with psychics, alternative medicine, etc?
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Old 22nd November 2006, 01:36 PM   #11
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Old 22nd November 2006, 01:36 PM   #12
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RS: Every time a post or thread you make is moved, there's a automatically generated PM sent to the posters affected.



ETA:
And I blame Lisa for my slow typing.

That, and that I just made some wicked coolness on Guitar Hero. That tires out the fingers, you know.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 01:49 PM   #13
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Hi, Sonja, welcome from me, too. I am very sorry for how you were duped. I have been following SB for years, but so far had only been duped in that I bought her books and am still getting her newsletter. But the newsletter is not bad, it amuses me now. But I am certainly glad that I never bought a reading from her or her son. I had once considered it, but then was lucky enough to find a story on the web similar to yours. And I'm SO glad that I didn't fly out to one of their conventions. That would have been a big fat disappointment, too.
I'm eagerly awaiting RLancaster's web site. Maybe your experience will help someone else. I hope that will comfort you a little.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 01:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Minarvia View Post
I have been following SB for years, but so far had only been duped in that I bought her books and am still getting her newsletter.
Minarvia, if you are looking for some place to unload those books (and the newsletter), read this thread!

Quote:
I'm eagerly awaiting RLancaster's web site.
The format is now set, and I am working on getting the initial content together. I will be spending a fair chunk of the four-day weekend on it, and hope to have it up by the end of Sunday. But these things usually take more time than I expect. Cross your fingers.
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Who is "Kaz?" Read about her at www.StopKaz.com.

Curious about Sylvia Browne? Read about her at www.StopSylvia.com.

Ever wonder "What's the Harm?" with psychics, alternative medicine, etc?
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Old 22nd November 2006, 02:04 PM   #15
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Welcome sonja!

Don't feel bad. A few of us here, are former believers in psychics. At least, you caught on fast. Some don't. And go broke, before they catch on.

You might be interested in reading Kelly's blog series on psychics

http://voice4themissing.blogspot.com...chics-and.html
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Old 22nd November 2006, 02:27 PM   #16
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Sonja - you're smarter than most: you realized after one reading that it's a scam. Congratulations and welcome to the forum.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 03:11 PM   #17
sonja
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Thanks for all of the support. I have emailed Robert Lancaster about my story. I hope that I can help prevent this from happening to others.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 03:21 PM   #18
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Believer to skeptic in one reading -- proof that Sylvia Brown and her son are indeed very powerful...

hehehe
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Old 22nd November 2006, 03:34 PM   #19
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Welcome, Sonja.

I thank you for coming here and for sharing your story. Even though you might have felt somewhat embarrassed believing as you did, the important thing is that your willingness to talk about it could help countless others. There is no shame in that.

Kelly
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Old 22nd November 2006, 03:39 PM   #20
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Welcome, Sonja.

The best thing here is to realize, as someone else said, that you are much smarter than you give yourself credit for. A True Believer(tm) would have done everything in her power to try and force the reading to match the facts. You actually saw it for what it was, and are responding properly-by telling other people what happened so Sylvia and her ilk* can be stopped.

*I love that word.

Marc
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Old 22nd November 2006, 03:53 PM   #21
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Don't forget to check back with your credit card company if the refund doesn't show up in next month's statement. They promised you a refund, and you're entitled to it; if it's not there, sic the people at the other end of the 800 number on them.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 03:57 PM   #22
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Sonja, welcome to the forum.

I'd like to add that if we do indeed learn from our mistakes, then I should have a PhD.

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Old 22nd November 2006, 04:02 PM   #23
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Welcome, Sonja. Allow me to add my condolences to the chorus, along with my happiness that you recognized the scam for what it was so quickly and found your way here. I haven't personally been through a similar experience with a psychic, but I did go through a period of belief in some things that now make me cringe. Many people here could say the same thing. So rest assured, no one here will think the slightest bit ill of you for what you went through. Quite the contrary, it really is gratifying (and rare!) to find someone with the courage to admit they were fooled, and adjust their life accordingly. Enjoy the forum!
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Old 22nd November 2006, 04:11 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by sonja View Post
Thanks for all of the support. I have emailed Robert Lancaster about my story. I hope that I can help prevent this from happening to others.
Read and replied, Sonja.

Thank you so much for coming forward so that others can learn from your experience. It was a very selfless thing to do.

I'll be contacting you again with a copy of the resulting article for your approval.
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Who is "Kaz?" Read about her at www.StopKaz.com.

Curious about Sylvia Browne? Read about her at www.StopSylvia.com.

Ever wonder "What's the Harm?" with psychics, alternative medicine, etc?
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Old 22nd November 2006, 04:12 PM   #25
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Hey Sonja

I hope you realise that even if you don't get a refund what you got from the experience has more value than what they give most of their clients. You saw it for what it was and quite quickly at that. You are probably much smarter than you give yourself credit for.

Welcome.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 04:14 PM   #26
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If you are anything like me, you believed it beforehand simply because of all the articles, books, people on TV, and so on talking all the time about it like it's an established fact, with the poorly executed experiments and so on. Hard for the average person who's only been exposed to that media blitz to reach any other conclusion. You never actually had a reading before that moment though (at least it sounds to be that way from your post) so when you finally got the chance to get one and it fell so far short of all those stories you may have seen and heard, it's disillusioning. At least, that's the way it was for me. Mind you, I never sat down for a psychic reading, but I did sit down for family members to attempt various voodoo upon me, and always left just saying "that wasn't anything spectacular".

Great that you've seen through this sooner rather than later.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 04:20 PM   #27
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Sonja, welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing your story.

No need to feel bad about it - there are so many of us here who used to believe in one thing or another, it's how many of us came to this forum in the first place. I think you are awesome for recognising the scam for what it is and coming here to talk about it.

I hope you stick around, this forum is a great place to be.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 05:10 PM   #28
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Welcome to the forum.

I, too, have spent time suffering from a debilitating illness and from grief. During those times it is difficult to separate the wheat from the chafe. Sylvia Brown and her ilk are definitely chafe.

I hope you find comfort from another avenue: relatives, support groups, or friends both old and new.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 05:14 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by sonja View Post
I have been searching the web for others that have experienced what I did. This site popped as an anti-Sylvia Browne site.
Pat on the back to Randi, and congratulations to you, Sonja, for not falling for what a lot of people do.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 05:23 PM   #30
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Sonja,

This may seem wrong, but I am very excited for you.

Welcome to the real world. I think you'll like it here.

We're very happy to have you.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 05:36 PM   #31
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Again, thanks to everyone for your support. It was the first reading I've ever had from a pychic and I had always believed that most of them were fake, but I did believe in Sylvia Browne and her son. I feel a lot of my beliefs have been shattered and its pretty disheartening for me right now.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 06:10 PM   #32
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Sonja, the only way you should feel like a fool is if you continued to believe in their nonsense after this experience, which you clearly don't. You have done nothing to feel ashamed about. You just grew up a little bit, like we all did. For me, it was a gradual process, not one huge jarring bolt like it was for you. The end result is the same: at the end of the day, you're a better person for having thrown off the blinders.

And welcome aboard!

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Old 22nd November 2006, 07:36 PM   #33
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Throwing in my welcome as well. As has been said many times before, it takes a lot of strength to admit you've been fooled. It takes even more to let it be shown to others as a warning.

You fell into a hole, but unlike most of the people there, you pulled yourself out of it. Kudos.

I can't wait to see the article.

Doing a little promotion at my blog.

Welcome again to the world of skepticism. We've got magic acts, card tricks, and maybe the ghost of Houdini. He's quiet now, but boy did he know how to put on a show!
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Old 22nd November 2006, 07:46 PM   #34
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Also we've got those actual wonders. I know you may be disheartened to find out they aren't psychics, but there's plenty of great stuff without being able to read minds. Besides that, we can read minds to an extent. That's basically what language and art and such are for, right? Via that we can tell what someone else is thinking. If you need medical solutions about your health, there's doctors. Those who study the world around them instead of just deciding they "know" how to fix things will do the best humans know how to help you. Want some meaning? Be free to decide that for yourself. That can be the hardest part, but there's nothing wrong in deciding what's important to you for yourself. Want some actual psychic powers? Well, at the very least I suppose if one can ever attach the right doohikies to a fully decoded brain, we could make all humanity into one global harmonious internet, that will seek perfection and mow down all in it's interconnected path! Um, never you mind that last part.

Suffice it to say, we've all been there, but what impresses me more than anything else is that you were actually able to face it for what it was when you so totally thought it was so. That takes a certain something. I, like others have mentioned, had a much more gradual process. It wasn't painful at all when I finally got rid of religion because of it, because by the time I finally was able to say "I guess I don't believe", I had already found enough meaning in my life to do without. For you though, it has to be much harder, as I can imagine. I can only say I can't relate too well but in a sense I'm jeleous that I couldn't do the same as you did.

And again, welcome!
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Old 22nd November 2006, 07:54 PM   #35
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I was one of the people who came to skepticism gently.

It seems that all too often, however, a lot of people have a head-on collision with a failure and can't deal with it. I suspect there are a lot of woos out there who just hang on by performing the psychological equivalent of the sunk cost fallacy.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 08:25 PM   #36
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Welcome to the forum!

As someone who was always borderline (one of those kids with the bible in his face but still went the other way - consistently!) on skepticism and certainly hooked by a few strange ideas becoming my own worldview, I can assure you even though many of these claimed phenomena dont exist and it makes life seem dull, the real and natural phenomena that does more then suffices and feels overwhelmingly humbling to ponder upon.

Cheers
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Old 22nd November 2006, 08:45 PM   #37
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You are an inspiration to us, Sonja. Though many of us here are skeptics, we do know how difficult it is to look critically at the things you have believed for so long and say, "that's not right". Would that more people had your strength.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 09:08 PM   #38
LordoftheLeftHand
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Originally Posted by Tricky View Post
You are an inspiration to us, Sonja. Though many of us here are skeptics, we do know how difficult it is to look critically at the things you have believed for so long and say, "that's not right". Would that more people had your strength.
I agree! Sonja you showed incredible strength! Anyone can be fooled (we have all be fooled). It took great strength to even tell him you were not happy with the reading. It takes even more to confront yourself. Good job Sonja!

LLH
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Old 22nd November 2006, 09:42 PM   #39
Minarvia
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Smile

Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
Minarvia, if you are looking for some place to unload those books (and the newsletter), read this thread!

The format is now set, and I am working on getting the initial content together. I will be spending a fair chunk of the four-day weekend on it, and hope to have it up by the end of Sunday. But these things usually take more time than I expect. Cross your fingers.
I'll be doing some cleaning up and organizing over the next couple of weeks. Let me dig them out and see what I've got!
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Old 22nd November 2006, 09:47 PM   #40
RemieV
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Sonja,

Don't worry, there are people out there who are just as interesting (if not more so because they have real talent) as psychics.

Check this out:

http://www.banachek.org/

And I just love this guy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG24OLLQF_Q

It's not such a bad world without psychics

Glad to meet you!

-- Remie
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