They Call It “Bilking” — I Call It “Services Rendered”

An article in in the San Francisco Chronicle, ‘Psychic’ gets 2 months in bilking of $108,000, has me woefully perplexed…

First, and most obvious, what is the difference between a ‘Psychic’ and a Psychic? What could the quotes possibly denote? ‘Real’ psychics are talking to dead people and ‘psychics’ only talk to ‘dead’ people? Honestly, I am profoundly confused — just by the headline!

But on to the story. It seems that our psychic (I’m foregoing the quotes for what I hope are obvious reasons) charged some woman quite a bit of money to rid her of evil spirits:

Miller convinced the woman that she was cursed and needed “spiritual cleansing,” authorities said. The woman gave Miller $108,000 from her checking, savings and retirement accounts as well as cash, jewelry and gift cards.

Soooooo… where’s the crime? If spirits, ghosts, and demons are non-physical, non-provable entities, how can this be fraudulent in any way? And I am asking this in a non-tongue-in-cheek manner.

If someone believes in the paranormal, the supernatural — as many folks seem to — then how could anyone possibly prove this woman didn’t do exactly what she said — banish evil spirits? What test do we have to show she did not, when the things we are talking about are entirely untestable, beyond science, beyond any sort of measure — on what basis can we say the customer didn’t get just what she paid for?

In a country where at least 70% of the population believes in a Father-like creator God who’s dealing daily with Angels and Demons and a Devil and all sorts of sundry unnatural forces (of His own creation and design) how can we judge this psychic as peddling a deficient bill of goods?

Is it the enrichment of the psychic we are bothered by? If so than Sylvia Brown and John Edwards (and maybe even the Pope) should be serving life terms. I mean, I just don’t see how this can be proven to be criminal, not in a society where we insist that an unprovable, non-physical world actually exists and that some people are better in touch with it than we are…


3 Responses

  1. nothing for 2 days? are you holding new posts ransom until someone comments???

  2. Well, there’s two alternatives which is consistent here. Either we allow the unprovable special privilege, or we demand the same level of real positive evidence for the vality of all assertions. I would advocate the later.

  3. or it could just be she had a better lawyer!

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