ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags missing persons , noreen renier , psychic detectives , psychics

Reply
Old 1st April 2011, 01:18 AM   #1
Sherlock
Muse
 
Sherlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 616
Critic’s “Top 15” claims by psychic detective Noreen Renier

I’ve been asked to post the “top 15” claims made by “psychic detective” Noreen Renier since many JREF forum members aren’t quite up-to-date on her three decades of claims. So among the literally hundreds --- perhaps thousands --- of paranormal and intuitive claims by TV psychic detective Noreen Renier over more than 30 years:

CLAIM #1: She is a host provider for at least two entities within her that allow mystic medium communications. Under oath and in court she called these by the names Sing and Robert.

ONE ANSWER: To keep things short let’s consider “Sing” whom she described as “an Oriental”. Now it could be a coincidence but the old Bonanza western TV series had ended a 14-year run and was being re-played at the time of her testimony. And interestingly actor Victor Sen Yung played the Cartwright’s family cook, Hop Sing. So perhaps in attempting to enunciate while eating a TV dinner entrée she became entangled during the entertainment and simply mistook an enteric blockage and any resulting sound as spiritual communication. Could be!

CLAIM #2: She has an ability to block billiard balls in a game of pool using her psychic powers.

ONE ANSWER: While this claim by Renier was reported by a Virginia newspaper it was offered without actually showcasing the claim. Perhaps this “pool game” actually took place in a swimming pool. She wasn’t specific. Thus when the balls “sank” in the pockets this might have been deemed mystical to anyone with very dark sunglasses and under the impression the game was still being played on a conventional pool table. Hey --- it’s a thought!

CLAIM #3: From a newspaper interview Noreen Renier reportedly claimed to be capable of changing physical matter and room temperatures with her mind.

ONE ANSWER: Hhhhmmmmm. Maybe she just meant she could hold chilled Jell-O against her head until it warms and the reporter --- ya the reporter --- got it wrong.

CLAIM #4: By watching pendulums swing over maps Renier stated she can interpret the location of missing persons according to a published story.

ONE ANSWER: Her pendulums might be camouflaged GPS receivers picking up transmission beacons tagged to missing persons by Grizzly Bears originally trained in Hollywood but now working for the National Park Service. Not even close huh. Well what’s the better explanation?

CLAIM #5: Noreen Renier apparently using paranormal powers believes she can see through human clothing as she seemed to reference on the Joan Rivers TV Show.

LIKELY ANSWER: Now let’s be fair. Renier didn’t say all clothing or all humans. So perhaps there’s an inability to actually demonstrate this because the claim is limited to apparel worn by Homo sapiens of the Paleolithic era. Or it’s possible she’s a distant cousin to Superman.

CLAIM #6: Ms. Renier has stated an awareness of being burned alive and stabbed in the head but suffering no physical scars.

ONE ANSWER: While this has been repeatedly claimed by Renier as "frightening and real" it might just be a daydream. Okay, okay. I my answer here sounds ridiculous and is awfully weak.

CLAIM #7: Describing the air crash death scene of four people accurately and the “crash site was exactly the way I had described.”

Gee on this one there are so many witnesses who say otherwise. Hhhhmmm. Let’s move on.

CLAIM #8: Subjecting herself to five years of laboratory testing and scoring “quite high in everything” during the extensive paranormal testing.

Hhhhmmmm. Renier actually testified under oath that she couldn't remember where this testing occurred, or the names of the research testing personnel. Neither could she later recall the names of any laboratory personnel who conducted her 5 year test program. She couldn’t even recall when any of this testing had ever taken place. And under further court questioning Renier even admitted that any results of tests that found her as “highly psychic” was actually just "one of the exaggerations" her publicist wrote up about her. That bad publicist. And then she said the five years were closer to just a couple days. But all that said --- none of it disputes her claim of scoring “quite high in everything.”

CLAIM #9: Providing an accurate Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing in 2007. And providing an accurate revised Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing that same year.

Hhhhmmmm. In 2008 she did need to restate her income levels on a second revised bankruptcy filing significantly upward. By more than $100,000. And of course for the immediate year before her bankruptcy her income amount needed to be revised more than 10 times higher. But what are a couple extra digits here and there?

CLAIM #10: Levitating her own children.

ONE ANSWER: Maybe she was standing in that same swimming pool again.


CLAIM #11: Being an adjunct faculty member with teaching appointments at major universities and colleges.

ONE ANSWER: The Office of Human Resources at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Florida has confirmed that Renier has never been an "adjunct faculty member" as she lists herself on her web site. And for years she has also claimed to be an "adjunct faculty member" with "teaching appointments" from major colleges and universities including the University of Florida, the University of Delaware, and the University of Virginia.

Yet calls made to these major academic centers reveal she was never an accredited faculty member, faculty associate or even faculty assistant. Among the official adjunct faculty member listings throughout all of the accredited departments across these universities there are no listings for Noreen Renier.
And Noreen Renier herself also has no four year degree --- much less any college teaching degree --- from any accredited college or university.

But! She never said which planet.

CLAIM #12: She has a paranormal ability which can cause lights to flash on and off using only her mind according to a news story.

ONE ANSWER: She could have been watching TV re-runs of Medium and the batteries in her 3D TV glasses were running low. And then got all confused. And because watching Medium drained the batteries it was partly due to a paranormal event. And maybe some of that melted Jello-O dripped down. Ya, that’s the ticket.

CLAIM #13: Claiming in 1989 that “I know I can find the young lady" to a reporter. The young lady is missing Gainesville Florida student Tiffany Sessions. The story is captioned alongside a photo of Renier with “Top crime-solving psychic tells grief-stricken dad . . . I’ll find your missing daughter!”

ONE ANSWER: Sadly Tiffany Sessions remains missing in 2011. However Renier’s posted fees on her present website for missing person work with police are now up from near $75 in 1989 to her now current $1000 for a psychic telephone reading with the police detective assigned to a case which may last 60-90 minutes, with a follow-up phone consultation lasting from 45 minutes to an hour. That’s close to $9 a minute. Perhaps the raising of her rates reflects a huge drop-off in client volume since her success rate with parents who have been reunited with their daughters and sons through Renier’s paranormal ability is . . . non-existent?

CLAIM #14: Claiming that her psychic foresight allowed her to see even prior to his arrest that the rapist who drove a cement truck would be "driving a truck with something on it that goes round and round."

Well unfortunately she actually only scribbled a bunch of circles on scratch paper that she claimed later ---after the arrest of the suspect and a radio announcer found that the suspect drove a cement truck on his job--- were very significant circles as they too were also “round and round” and therefore reflective of a premonition of the cement truck going “round and round.” I discovered that the man ate Oreo cookies too. And his eye pupils were round. Even --- get this --- the door handle on his house was round. And later it was discovered all ten tires on the cement mixer were round. All ten --- not a single square one. Isn’t that amazing!

CLAIM #15: Renier writes in her biography of conversations with a mighty oak tree including at one point when "suddenly I was told by the ancient oak, 'We have one fear and that is fire. Would you mind not smoking while touching me?'"

Renier even writes that "archaeologists had their tape recorders whirring and were taking fast and furious notes" as she described the tree providing historical information about the area. According to Renier the tree even recalled where a river once flowed and where fighting (Cowboys and Indians?) had taken place.

Renier seems to claim that her super intuitive communication with trees helped archaeologists reveal past historical data. Apparently her abilities in this area allow trees to be qualified as credible witnesses. A bit odd this last one. Coming after a federal judge on March 21, 2011 stated in his court order that Renier “misled the court” and was not “a credible witness.” Perhaps instead of testifying herself she should have asked her tree to speak on her behalf. Of course it’s possible the tree became a billiard table and pool cues. Or Kleenex tissues. So it’s hard to say if it would still be willing to testify.

Last edited by Sherlock; 1st April 2011 at 01:23 AM.
Sherlock is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st April 2011, 01:08 PM   #2
George 152
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 5,012
Originally Posted by Sherlock View Post

CLAIM #15: Renier writes in her biography of conversations with a mighty oak tree including at one point when "suddenly I was told by the ancient oak, 'We have one fear and that is fire. Would you mind not smoking while touching me?'"
She touches trees?
That has to be kinky
George 152 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st April 2011, 03:54 PM   #3
shandyjan
Master Poster
 
shandyjan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: N/W England
Posts: 2,122
As long as these old shams can charge fees like that you get rid of one and another 2 grow up in its place!
__________________
Belief is the wound that knowledge heals. Ursula K. LeGuin's
A dog is for life, not just for xmas!
shandyjan is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 12:47 AM   #4
MrBooglemaumau
Critical Thinker
 
MrBooglemaumau's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 364
"...I talk to the trees...but they don't listen to me..."sang Clint Eastwood..
MrBooglemaumau is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 02:32 AM   #5
Reno
Inquisitor
 
Reno's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Scotland
Posts: 1,483
Originally Posted by MrBooglemaumau View Post
"...I talk to the trees...but they don't listen to me..."sang Clint Eastwood..
"....I talk to the trees....that's why they put me away..." sang Spike Milligan...
__________________
"You're entitled to your opinion; you're just not entitled to have it taken seriously when you can offer no evidence to support it." - Garrison

"I am the danger." - Heisenberg
Reno is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 04:13 AM   #6
Wauthan
Thinker
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 167
I sort of like the over-the-top psychics like this one. At least it makes it easier for me to explain to people why they might not be the best source of information on anything, except perhaps on how to make money from wierdness.

I was unable to persuade some of my relatives to ignore a local scammer because "she's is such a nice intelligent person, and she's perfectly normal. And she's a professor so that proves she can't be lying about her ability to sense dead people".

Cripes... At least I managed to convince them that there's something suspicious about a person who apparently can't say "Sorry, I can't sense anything that would be useful for you to know. Here's your money back". It's always useless obvious details with a heavyhanded suggestion that you should go for the more expensive readings in the future.
Wauthan is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 04:50 AM   #7
dafydd
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 35,398
Originally Posted by Reno View Post
"....I talk to the trees....that's why they put me away..." sang Spike Milligan...
As Eccles.
dafydd is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 05:40 AM   #8
Rodney
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,942
Originally Posted by Sherlock View Post
I’ve been asked to post the “top 15” claims made by “psychic detective” Noreen Renier since many JREF forum members aren’t quite up-to-date on her three decades of claims. So among the literally hundreds --- perhaps thousands --- of paranormal and intuitive claims by TV psychic detective Noreen Renier over more than 30 years:
While you don't list the Norman Lewis Williston Case in your "top 15", I would be interested in your analysis of it. An article states: "Skeptics have had a field day trying to find holes in the case, yet despite all their protestations, they cannot argue with the fact that wasn't until the family requested the involvement of a psychic, that the mystery surrounding Norman Lewis was solved. It is embarrassing for a highly trained police team to admit they have run out of clues on a case - and even more embarrassing to admit that a woman who calls herself psychic actually helped them locate a body they hadn't been able to find for 2 years, despite modern policing methods." See http://noreenrenier.com/media/articl...onalwisdom.htm

Last edited by Rodney; 4th April 2011 at 05:42 AM.
Rodney is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 06:52 AM   #9
Squeegee Beckenheim
Penultimate Amazing
 
Squeegee Beckenheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 23,518
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
An article states: "Skeptics have had a field day trying to find holes in the case, yet despite all their protestations, they cannot argue with the fact that wasn't until the family requested the involvement of a psychic, that the mystery surrounding Norman Lewis was solved. It is embarrassing for a highly trained police team to admit they have run out of clues on a case - and even more embarrassing to admit that a woman who calls herself psychic actually helped them locate a body they hadn't been able to find for 2 years, despite modern policing methods."[/url]
http://www.gpposner.com/Williston.html
__________________
I don't trust atoms. They make up everything.
Squeegee Beckenheim is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 01:13 PM   #10
What Slayde Says
Student
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 29
I have one answer for all 15 claims. She made it up.

Your welcome
What Slayde Says is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 05:13 PM   #11
Rodney
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,942
Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
This pretty much says it all: "In my chapter on Renier for the book Psychic Sleuths (edited by Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, 1994), I showed at the time how Renier (like the rest of the psychics profiled in the book) had yet to convincingly demonstrate genuine 'psychic' power under proper observing conditions. Has Renier now become the first psychic to successfully do so? Or might her 'success' in the Williston case be explainable in more mundane terms, perhaps as the result of a combination of factors such as advance research, common sense/intuition, feeding back information gleaned from the police themselves, and 'retrofitting' -- interpreting ambiguous clues, after the fact, as having been remarkably accurate and valuable 'hits'?"

So, Posner all but concedes that Renier played a significant role in solving a cold case, but attributes her success to non-paranormal factors. Perhaps he's right, but has any skeptic ever helped the police solve a cold case?

Last edited by Rodney; 4th April 2011 at 05:15 PM.
Rodney is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 05:27 PM   #12
Arisia
Graduate Poster
 
Arisia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: 26.2 from Boston
Posts: 1,046
Originally Posted by MrBooglemaumau View Post
"...I talk to the trees...but they don't listen to me..."sang Clint Eastwood..
Originally Posted by Reno View Post
"....I talk to the trees....that's why they put me away..." sang Spike Milligan...
"I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees."
Arisia is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 06:02 PM   #13
Gord_in_Toronto
Penultimate Amazing
 
Gord_in_Toronto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 18,647
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
This pretty much says it all: "In my chapter on Renier for the book Psychic Sleuths (edited by Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, 1994), I showed at the time how Renier (like the rest of the psychics profiled in the book) had yet to convincingly demonstrate genuine 'psychic' power under proper observing conditions. Has Renier now become the first psychic to successfully do so? Or might her 'success' in the Williston case be explainable in more mundane terms, perhaps as the result of a combination of factors such as advance research, common sense/intuition, feeding back information gleaned from the police themselves, and 'retrofitting' -- interpreting ambiguous clues, after the fact, as having been remarkably accurate and valuable 'hits'?"

So, Posner all but concedes that Renier played a significant role in solving a cold case, but attributes her success to non-paranormal factors. Perhaps he's right, but has any skeptic ever helped the police solve a cold case?
How would a skeptic solve a cold case?

Why, by non-psychic means. Much like the episode of 20/20 I watched last night.

See: http://tv.msn.com/tv/episode.aspx?ep...1-50f074f3429b

Quote:
Description:
A private investigator tries to solve a baffling case involving a young woman who was beaten and left for dead.
__________________
"Reality is what's left when you cease to believe." Philip K. Dick
Gord_in_Toronto is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 06:06 PM   #14
Rodney
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,942
Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
How would a skeptic solve a cold case?

Why, by non-psychic means. Much like the episode of 20/20 I watched last night.

See: http://tv.msn.com/tv/episode.aspx?ep...1-50f074f3429b

But can you name a skeptic, such as Gary Posner or Joe Nickell, who has assisted the police in the manner that Noreen Renier did in the Williston Case?
Rodney is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 06:14 PM   #15
Squeegee Beckenheim
Penultimate Amazing
 
Squeegee Beckenheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 23,518
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
So, Posner all but concedes that Renier played a significant role in solving a cold case[...]
I think you read a different article to me. You certainly didn't post a quote which supports the assertion you've just made.

Quote:
Perhaps he's right, but has any skeptic ever helped the police solve a cold case?
The question you're really asking here is has a case ever been solved by police work, rather than by psychic help. And the answer is - all cases which have been solves have been solved by police work, rather than by psychic help.
__________________
I don't trust atoms. They make up everything.

Last edited by Squeegee Beckenheim; 4th April 2011 at 06:15 PM.
Squeegee Beckenheim is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 06:35 PM   #16
Rodney
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,942
Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
I think you read a different article to me. You certainly didn't post a quote which supports the assertion you've just made.
So, it was just a coincidence that the case was solved after Renier became involved?

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
The question you're really asking here is has a case ever been solved by police work, rather than by psychic help. And the answer is - all cases which have been solves have been solved by police work, rather than by psychic help.
Which contradicts what the Williston police say, but what do they know?
Rodney is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 07:15 PM   #17
Gord_in_Toronto
Penultimate Amazing
 
Gord_in_Toronto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 18,647
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
But can you name a skeptic, such as Gary Posner or Joe Nickell, who has assisted the police in the manner that Noreen Renier did in the Williston Case?

Sure, me, the Queen of Canada. I say so on my website.
__________________
"Reality is what's left when you cease to believe." Philip K. Dick
Gord_in_Toronto is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2011, 09:40 PM   #18
dropzone
Master Poster
 
dropzone's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 2,028
Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Gerald Posner? And you expect that we accept what HE says?

Oh, that's GARY Posner, who is different.
dropzone is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th April 2011, 01:05 AM   #19
Squeegee Beckenheim
Penultimate Amazing
 
Squeegee Beckenheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 23,518
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
So, it was just a coincidence that the case was solved after Renier became involved?


Which contradicts what the Williston police say, but what do they know?
Again, you don't really seem to have read the article.
__________________
I don't trust atoms. They make up everything.
Squeegee Beckenheim is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th April 2011, 07:29 AM   #20
Rodney
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,942
Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Again, you don't really seem to have read the article.
Sorry, but I really have. Let me quote you the most relevant portions, where Gary Posner implicitly concedes that the case was only solved with Renier's assistance:

"After spending more than a year following-up on 'hundreds' of leads and conducting numerous land and aerial searches, all to no avail, the Williston police, and the Lewises, decided to enlist the aid of a psychic . . . On July 17, 1995, three weeks after Hewitt's initial phone call to her, Renier performed her 'psychic' reading, at her home. Clutching one of Mr. Lewis' possessions, she tuned into his vibrations and provided a number of specific clues intended to help lead the police to his body. The Williston Pioneer (on April 4 and June 27, 1996) quoted Chief Slaughter as saying that Renier indicated Lewis had traveled 'east from his home to an area where there is . . . water in something like a pit.' . . . A subsequent look by the police into several bodies of water proved as fruitless as the earlier searches. But because of Renier's reading, the police called in a team of Navy divers from Jacksonville to search one particular limestone quarry among many scattered throughout the area. Although about eight months elapsed before the team could arrive, on April 3, 1996, with the assistance of a $70,000 detection device, the divers did indeed locate the missing truck containing Lewis' remains, submerged in twenty feet of murky water. When the Williston police announced that the case had been solved largely as a result of Renier's psychic clues, the story quite naturally captured the attention of the media."

The great majority of Posner's article is devoted to challenging Renier's alleged hits, and speculating that she knew of a May 1995 report that the decedent (Norman Lewis) had told a handyman that he was despondent. But Posner never explains why, if that were the key to solving the case, the police didn't immediately solve it on their own, rather than calling in Renier two months later. Posner also is guilty of using 20-20 hindsight throughout his article; e.g.: "If Mr. Lewis and his truck were somewhere within the potential reach of the Williston police, where could they possibly be? In the middle of a densely wooded area? In an abandoned building? (Either, perhaps, if only a body was missing. But a truck?) Only one possibility even comes to mind -- submerged in a body of water." Yep, it was totally obvious where Lewis's body was -- that's why police called in Renier 16 months after an extensive search had turned up nothing.

Now, it is possible that Renier somehow picked up on non-paranormal clues that the police had overlooked. In any event, I would say that the Lewis family received a good return on the $650 that they paid Renier for her services. So, maybe she's a clever charlatan, but again, I inquire whether you or anyone else here can name a skeptic who has been instrumental in helping the police close a case of this nature.
Rodney is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th April 2011, 07:40 AM   #21
Resume
Troublesome Passenger
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 15,985
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
So, maybe she's a clever charlatan, but again, I inquire whether you or anyone else here can name a skeptic who has been instrumental in helping the police close a case of this nature.
How many successful detectives do you imagine are credules just off the rhubarb truck?
Resume is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th April 2011, 07:50 AM   #22
Squeegee Beckenheim
Penultimate Amazing
 
Squeegee Beckenheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 23,518
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
The great majority of Posner's article is devoted to challenging Renier's alleged hits, and speculating that she knew of a May 1995 report that the decedent (Norman Lewis) had told a handyman that he was despondent. But Posner never explains why, if that were the key to solving the case, the police didn't immediately solve it on their own, rather than calling in Renier two months later. Posner also is guilty of using 20-20 hindsight throughout his article; e.g.: "If Mr. Lewis and his truck were somewhere within the potential reach of the Williston police, where could they possibly be? In the middle of a densely wooded area? In an abandoned building? (Either, perhaps, if only a body was missing. But a truck?) Only one possibility even comes to mind -- submerged in a body of water." Yep, it was totally obvious where Lewis's body was -- that's why police called in Renier 16 months after an extensive search had turned up nothing.

Now, it is possible that Renier somehow picked up on non-paranormal clues that the police had overlooked.
Why didn't they have divers in the pits beforehand? I don't know, maybe it was the expense. Maybe they're as competent as the Keystone Kops. But they knew he had said he would drown himself in a pit, Reiner described a pit different to the one he was found in, and the police decided to search that one after looking at 30 or so and establishing that that particular one was "an obvious first impression . . . being the closest and the most accessible from the Lewis residence."

So, in the way that Reinier maybe provided an impetus for the gullible to spend money they otherwise wouldn't have spent? Sure, she solved the case. In the sense of actually providing any information the police didn't already have? No, not at all.
__________________
I don't trust atoms. They make up everything.
Squeegee Beckenheim is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th April 2011, 03:56 PM   #23
Rodney
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,942
Originally Posted by Resume View Post
How many successful detectives do you imagine are credules just off the rhubarb truck?
Very few, which is a major problem with Gary Posner's article. Throughout the article, he implies that Norman Lewis's disappearance was easy to solve, and yet the Williston police failed to do so.
Rodney is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th April 2011, 05:28 PM   #24
beren
Graduate Poster
 
beren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Dallas, Tx
Posts: 1,213
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
Very few, which is a major problem with Gary Posner's article. Throughout the article, he implies that Norman Lewis's disappearance was easy to solve, and yet the Williston police failed to do so.
You have never read a mystery novel, have you?
__________________
There’s only four things you can be in life: sober, tipsy, drunk and hungover. Tipsy is the only one where you don’t cry when you’re doing it. ~ James Acaster
beren is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th April 2011, 05:47 PM   #25
Rodney
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,942
Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Why didn't they have divers in the pits beforehand? I don't know, maybe it was the expense. Maybe they're as competent as the Keystone Kops. But they knew he had said he would drown himself in a pit, Reiner described a pit different to the one he was found in, and the police decided to search that one after looking at 30 or so and establishing that that particular one was "an obvious first impression . . . being the closest and the most accessible from the Lewis residence."
You should try applying some skepticism to Gary Posner's article, which is little more than wild speculation. For example, Posner asserts that Norman Lewis committed suicide, but that's not what Williston Police Chief Olin Slaughter believes:

"Several different roads led into the pit. 'On one road,' said Slaughter, 'You would come up over a rise, and the road turned right. If you were on the next level up, the road comes over a rise and it just goes off a shear drop. We're not sure how or why Norman ended up in the pit. But I think he probably got confused.'" See http://www.lawofficer.com/article/ma...hic-detectives

Further, Posner's conclusion is downright bizarre: "By then, I had accumulated a number of newspaper articles and maps and had come to an unexpected and provocative conclusion: Norman Lewis' remains appeared to have been found not because the police had the Navy divers search the body of water best fitting Renier's psychic clues, but because they had the Navy search the wrong watery pit!"

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
So, in the way that Reinier maybe provided an impetus for the gullible to spend money they otherwise wouldn't have spent? Sure, she solved the case. In the sense of actually providing any information the police didn't already have? No, not at all.
I guess we can either believe Posner's speculations or believe Chief Slaughter: "I can only tell you what the facts are that led us to Norman. And I can also tell you that we wouldn't have found Norman Lewis without the help of Noreen."
Rodney is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th April 2011, 05:52 PM   #26
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 26,135
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
So, it was just a coincidence that the case was solved after Renier became involved?

A man who said he was going to kill himself in a river or a rock pit was found in a rock pit.

Believing that Renier in any way aided the investigation must take a near superhuman amount of credulity and willful deafness to facts.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th April 2011, 07:09 PM   #27
Sherlock
Muse
 
Sherlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 616
Rodney skips the 15. And a new website launches.

You'll notice I asked Rodney to come up with credible reasons for the 15 claims I listed. Does he attempt 15? Ten? Five? No, he goes for zero and trys to bring up one of his own. I guess that failing to come up good support for her 'top 15' is a little too difficult. And for those who want more information on Renier you can now visit the brand-new (as of this evening) web site http://www.gpinquirygroup.com/gpinqu...pthRenier.html
which includes some of the reasons Rodney and others may likely distance themselves from supporting Renier's credibility in the future.
Sherlock is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th April 2011, 07:13 PM   #28
Rodney
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,942
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
A man who said he was going to kill himself in a river or a rock pit was found in a rock pit.
That's Posner's interpretation of a two-page May 12/June 15, 1995 report, in which a handyman claimed to have "recently told [a client] that [Lewis] had told him that if [Lewis] were not able to take care of himself because of illness, he would find a river or pit rather than the [retired] sailors home. . . . Four days before his disappearance, [Lewis] told [the handyman] that if his health were failing, he would never be cared for by relatives or submit to the sailors home, that there were too many pits and canals. . . . [The handyman later] arrived at the police station . . . and he related [to Hewitt] the last conversation he had with Norman Lewis . . . indicating it [actually] took place approx. three weeks before his disappearance. He stated Norman seemed agitated and dissatisfied with . . . his life [including having] problems at the house with his girlfriend, relating she did not make him feel needed. . . . Told [handyman] not to get old, and made some reference to knowing every rock pit in the county. . . ."

However, the police chief, who -- unlike Posner -- knew Lewis believes that Lewis's death was an accident. In any event:

"Lewis had often been seen driving around town with fishing rods poking out over the tailgate of his truck. Fishing was his passion, and he frequented many spots near Williston and the outlying areas of rural Levy County.

"The initial search for Lewis," recalled Slaughter, "included all of his favorite haunts; borrow pits, phosphate mines and sinkholes. There were more possibilities than you could probably count, including the fact that he sometimes drove over to fish the ponds and springs in the Ocala National Forest. The initial search was extensive and included ground personnel, K-9 and air. We also notified sheriffs in adjacent counties to keep a look out for Norman and his truck."

So, even if it was known that Lewis had committed suicide, that would have been of no use in determining the location of his body.

Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Believing that Renier in any way aided the investigation must take a near superhuman amount of credulity and willful deafness to facts.
Almost as much as believing Posner's speculations.
Rodney is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th April 2011, 07:40 PM   #29
Sherlock
Muse
 
Sherlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 616
I will let Gary Posner answer for himself as he knows this case far better than I. However is it a coincidence that Williston Police Chief Olin Slaughter and Noreen Renier were informal associates? In fact Noreen Renier actually had a very extended visit from the Orlando area to the town of Williston during the time being discussed. Williston at the time was down in population to about 1700 people. Anyone take the time to compare the locations for the residence of Police Chief Slaughter and that of Noreen Renier? Rodney --- check it out. Williston just isn't that big. There are reasons that sources who support paranormals may not be unbiased. Enough said.

Last edited by Sherlock; 5th April 2011 at 07:43 PM.
Sherlock is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th April 2011, 11:57 PM   #30
Squeegee Beckenheim
Penultimate Amazing
 
Squeegee Beckenheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 23,518
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
You should try applying some skepticism to Gary Posner's article[...]
I have done.

Quote:
[...]which is little more than wild speculation.
No it isn't.

Quote:
For example, Posner asserts that Norman Lewis committed suicide,[...]
No he doesn't. He points out that the police were in possession of testimony saying that he had said he was going to commit suicide if he thought his life was bad, as well as testimony that he believed his life to be bad.

Quote:
[...] but that's not what Williston Police Chief Olin Slaughter believes:

"Several different roads led into the pit. 'On one road,' said Slaughter, 'You would come up over a rise, and the road turned right. If you were on the next level up, the road comes over a rise and it just goes off a shear drop. We're not sure how or why Norman ended up in the pit. But I think he probably got confused.'" See http://www.lawofficer.com/article/ma...hic-detectives
Now, that is speculation with no evidence to support it.

And neither of these points is relevant to Rainer's "prediction", except in that the data to suggest his body would be found in a pit was in the hands of the police before she was involved.

Quote:
Further, Posner's conclusion is downright bizarre: "By then, I had accumulated a number of newspaper articles and maps and had come to an unexpected and provocative conclusion: Norman Lewis' remains appeared to have been found not because the police had the Navy divers search the body of water best fitting Renier's psychic clues, but because they had the Navy search the wrong watery pit!"
It's only bizarre if you disregard the evidence which points to that conclusion. If you assess the evidence, however, it's obviously a reasonable conclusion to come to.

Quote:
I guess we can either believe Posner's speculations or believe Chief Slaughter: "I can only tell you what the facts are that led us to Norman. And I can also tell you that we wouldn't have found Norman Lewis without the help of Noreen."
Or we can look at the evidence for ourselves and draw our own conclusions. If we do that, then it's obvious that Reiner didn't give the police any data that they didn't already have, that much of the data she gave didn't fit reality or had to be retrofitted to match, and that if she was instrumental in finding the body it was only by giving the gullible the impetus to spend money on brining in the Navy to search, rather than by providing any information which helped locate the body.
__________________
I don't trust atoms. They make up everything.
Squeegee Beckenheim is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2011, 08:18 AM   #31
Rodney
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,942
Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
No he doesn't. He points out that the police were in possession of testimony saying that he had said he was going to commit suicide if he thought his life was bad, as well as testimony that he believed his life to be bad.
Posner's claim is that "it was now apparent that as a result of his failing health and other personal problems (an early newspaper article had also described him as 'despondent' over financial matters), Lewis had threatened to commit suicide in a 'river' or a 'rock pit'."

However, the idea that Lewis had threatened to commit suicide in a river or rock pit is "apparent" only if an unnamed handyman's claim is credited. According to Investigator Brian Hewitt's May/June 1995 report, the handyman had only recently come forward to claim that Lewis had told him prior to Lewis' March 1994 disappearance that Lewis was despondent. So, why did it take the handyman more than a year to come forward with this information? Further, according to Hewitt's report, the handyman initially told a client that Lewis had conveyed this information "four days before his disappearance", but then changed the time to "approx. three weeks before his disappearance."

But let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the handyman's belated account was accurate, and that the police believed him. How valuable was this information? Chief Slaughter observed: "The initial search for Lewis included all of his favorite haunts; borrow pits, phosphate mines and sinkholes. There were more possibilities than you could probably count, including the fact that he sometimes drove over to fish the ponds and springs in the Ocala National Forest. The initial search was extensive and included ground personnel, K-9 and air. We also notified sheriffs in adjacent counties to keep a look out for Norman and his truck." See http://www.lawofficer.com/article/ma...hic-detectives

Did the handyman's information lead the police to the correct pit? Not at all. So, finally, after no further progress in the investigation, Investigator Hewitt recommended that the Lewis family enlist the aid of a psychic.

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
It's only bizarre if you disregard the evidence which points to that conclusion. If you assess the evidence, however, it's obviously a reasonable conclusion to come to.
What evidence might that be? Posner concedes that, even though the case was solved only after Renier became involved and the police fully acknowledge that fact, it was solved because "they [the police] had the Navy search the wrong watery pit!" If you turn the situation around and assume Posner were the psychic, rather than the skeptic, people here would be rolling in the aisles at his argument, which can be summarized thusly: "A fruitless missing person's investigation finally succeeded after a purported psychic gave the police information about his whereabouts. However, the psychic's information was actually worthless. Rather, the police misinterpreted what she said and searched the 'wrong pit' which, by an amazing coincidence, turned out to be the right pit."

Last edited by Rodney; 6th April 2011 at 08:19 AM.
Rodney is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2011, 11:24 AM   #32
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 26,135
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
Did the handyman's information lead the police to the correct pit? Not at all.

Neither did Renier's. She told police the pit was east, it was not. She gave numbers that were, coincidentally, the numbers of local highways. The pit wasn't on those roads. She was wrong.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2011, 12:15 PM   #33
Garrette
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 14,755
For those interested, the idea of non-psychics finding people when the police could not has been discussed before, with examples given. Try this thread starting around post #63. Rodney, of course, dismisses the examples because the dragon in his garage becomes invisible, then incorporeal, then capable of flight.
__________________
My kids still love me.
Garrette is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2011, 12:17 PM   #34
Rodney
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,942
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Neither did Renier's. She told police the pit was east, it was not. She gave numbers that were, coincidentally, the numbers of local highways. The pit wasn't on those roads. She was wrong.
Why did the Williston police order a search of the pit where Lewis' body was found?
Rodney is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2011, 12:26 PM   #35
Rodney
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,942
Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
For those interested, the idea of non-psychics finding people when the police could not has been discussed before, with examples given. Try this thread starting around post #63. Rodney, of course, dismisses the examples because the dragon in his garage becomes invisible, then incorporeal, then capable of flight.
How is that thread relevant to the question that I posed on this thread? To refresh your memory: "But can you name a skeptic, such as Gary Posner or Joe Nickell, who has assisted the police in the manner that Noreen Renier did in the Williston Case?"
Rodney is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2011, 01:20 PM   #36
Wolrab
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 4,431
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
Why did the Williston police order a search of the pit where Lewis' body was found?
Why didn't they before? Sounds like general incompetence, to me. Hell, they had the handyman's testimony.
Quote:
How is that thread relevant to the question that I posed on this thread? To refresh your memory: "But can you name a skeptic, such as Gary Posner or Joe Nickell, who has assisted the police in the manner that Noreen Renier did in the Williston Case?"
Sounds to me that Posner, Nickell, and myself help equally as much as Renier.
Wolrab is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2011, 01:55 PM   #37
Garrette
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 14,755
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
How is that thread relevant to the question that I posed on this thread? To refresh your memory: "But can you name a skeptic, such as Gary Posner or Joe Nickell, who has assisted the police in the manner that Noreen Renier did in the Williston Case?"
Ah. So it has to be Posner or Nickell? If it doesn't have to be them, then who is acceptable?

I find it difficult to believe that you do not see your shifting goalposts here. The link is exactly relevant to the thread, regardless if you think it is not relevant to your question, because it shows examples of people finding people that the police could not and doing so without using psychic abilities. The fact you do not care to admit that does exactly nothing to detract from it.
__________________
My kids still love me.
Garrette is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2011, 02:17 PM   #38
Squeegee Beckenheim
Penultimate Amazing
 
Squeegee Beckenheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 23,518
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
Posner's claim is that "it was now apparent that as a result of his failing health and other personal problems (an early newspaper article had also described him as 'despondent' over financial matters), Lewis had threatened to commit suicide in a 'river' or a 'rock pit'."

However, the idea that Lewis had threatened to commit suicide in a river or rock pit is "apparent" only if an unnamed handyman's claim is credited. According to Investigator Brian Hewitt's May/June 1995 report, the handyman had only recently come forward to claim that Lewis had told him prior to Lewis' March 1994 disappearance that Lewis was despondent. So, why did it take the handyman more than a year to come forward with this information? Further, according to Hewitt's report, the handyman initially told a client that Lewis had conveyed this information "four days before his disappearance", but then changed the time to "approx. three weeks before his disappearance."

But let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the handyman's belated account was accurate, and that the police believed him. How valuable was this information? Chief Slaughter observed: "The initial search for Lewis included all of his favorite haunts; borrow pits, phosphate mines and sinkholes. There were more possibilities than you could probably count, including the fact that he sometimes drove over to fish the ponds and springs in the Ocala National Forest. The initial search was extensive and included ground personnel, K-9 and air. We also notified sheriffs in adjacent counties to keep a look out for Norman and his truck." See http://www.lawofficer.com/article/ma...hic-detectives

Did the handyman's information lead the police to the correct pit? Not at all. So, finally, after no further progress in the investigation, Investigator Hewitt recommended that the Lewis family enlist the aid of a psychic.
None of that counters the statements that I made. Posner did not "assert that Norman Lewis committed suicide", and Reiner didn't provide any evidence the police weren't already in possession of. How reliable a witness the handyman was or was not is entirely irrelevant to either of those statements.

Quote:
What evidence might that be?
The evidence outlined in the article.

Quote:
Posner concedes that, even though the case was solved only after Renier became involved and the police fully acknowledge that fact, it was solved because "they [the police] had the Navy search the wrong watery pit!" If you turn the situation around and assume Posner were the psychic, rather than the skeptic, people here would be rolling in the aisles at his argument, which can be summarized thusly: "A fruitless missing person's investigation finally succeeded after a purported psychic gave the police information about his whereabouts. However, the psychic's information was actually worthless. Rather, the police misinterpreted what she said and searched the 'wrong pit' which, by an amazing coincidence, turned out to be the right pit."
Not if there was evidence backing it up, they wouldn't.
__________________
I don't trust atoms. They make up everything.
Squeegee Beckenheim is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2011, 05:46 PM   #39
Rodney
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,942
Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
Ah. So it has to be Posner or Nickell? If it doesn't have to be them, then who is acceptable?
Any skeptic would be fine.

Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
I find it difficult to believe that you do not see your shifting goalposts here. The link is exactly relevant to the thread, regardless if you think it is not relevant to your question, because it shows examples of people finding people that the police could not and doing so without using psychic abilities. The fact you do not care to admit that does exactly nothing to detract from it.
My point is that police generally do a good job of exploring all realistic possibilities, so it is unusual for assistance to be provided by someone who does not have inside knowledge regarding the case.
Rodney is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 6th April 2011, 06:18 PM   #40
Garrette
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 14,755
Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
Any skeptic would be fine.


My point is that police generally do a good job of exploring all realistic possibilities, so it is unusual for assistance to be provided by someone who does not have inside knowledge regarding the case.
And we have shown that, more than once. Your insistence that it be a skeptic is ludicrous. Perhaps they were. Perhaps they weren't. The point is that those people we have shown to have found missing people have actually been proven to have done so.

The best you can come up with your psychics is that they gave statements which can be retrofitted.
__________________
My kids still love me.
Garrette is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:47 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.