Psychic Detectives: What’s the Controversy?


Joe McMoneagle is best known as Remote Viewer #001 in the Army/CIA’s psychic spy program known as Stargate. But he’s also a psychic detective, one who has located close to a dozen missing persons over the years. Many of the cases were people who were missing in Japan. Because of his successes, he became a frequent guest on a Japanese television show called Psychic Detectives. His cases were documented, both the successful and unsuccessful ones.

Yet, skeptics to this day maintain that there is no proof that any psychic detective has ever successfully found a missing person or solved a murder case. We’ll get to the controversy, but first here’s a summary of one of McMoneagle’s cases.

This was a missing person’s case that Joe worked on about 20 years ago. He was given a blank sealed envelope containing the name of a 48-year-old woman who had been missing in Japan for twenty-seven years. Without even opening the envelope, he was able to remote view his target and give authorities the exact location of the woman, including the island, the city, and the specific prefecture within the city. He described the apartment complex, the apartment building, picked the right floor and even directed authorities to a specific apartment. Japanese police and television crews were suitably impressed.

“They were very surprised to find her actually residing in it under her maiden name,” McMoneagle said in an e-mail. “I think it woke the Japanese detective agency and police up. I don’t think they ever expected me to find her.”

It’s hard to come by statistics about the accuracy of psychic detectives. One poll of the largest police departments in the country found that one-third of them had used psychics on some cases. If they were unaware of any sound results found by psychics, it’s doubtful that any would admit to using them from time to time. Police departments that use psychics do so typically behind the scenes and don’t publicize the extent of help received from this non-traditional methods of investigation. The stories of success usually come from the psychics themselves, or observers.

It’s not surprising that skeptics say that psychics might occasionally make a lucky hit on the whereabouts of a missing person or the identity of a murderer, or related details. But they ask what about all the times they are unable to assist an investigation? Possibly because of the popularity of television series that feature psychic detectives, skeptics have come out en mass attacking the very existence of any evidence that a psychic has ever solved an investigation into a crime or found a missing person.

If you Google psychic detective, one article after another cites studies where psychics were wrong on cases. Some of the on-line reviews by skeptics are hostile or snide. One offers this headline: Psychic Detectives have a Perfect Record. The record is that they are always wrong, according to the article. Cases are cited in which psychics have said a missing person is dead, only to see the person turn up alive. The article evades explaining success stories, by simply rejecting them. “On closer inspection, other than anecdotal accounts, there are no documented discoveries of missing persons by psychics.” That, of course, is the only way to avoid looking at the overwhelming evidence of psychic successes as well as the decades of scientific evidence that attesting to the reality of remote viewing and other psychic abilities.

But hard-core skeptics miss an important point. If psychic were never successful, police departments and individual wouldn’t bother with them. The problem is not that no one has psychic abilities, but rather that psychics with limited abilities, who want to gain notoriety, take advantage of the fact that some psychics are successful. As a result, individuals who invest in such psychics come away disappointed.

In our decades of researching the paranormal, we’ve noticed that, unlike hardcore skeptics, psychics see both sides of the story. They know psychic abilities exist from their own experiences, but they are also well aware of psychic frauds. They are especially skeptical about psychics who are great at gaining publicity, but have minimal abilities and rely too much on their analytical minds over the intuitive.

Inside Edition set to test psychic detectives, selecting ten people randomly who called themselves psychics and were willing to be filmed. The interviewer showed each one a photo of a young girl who was said to be missing. All ten said the girl had been murdered. But the photo was actually the interviewer when she was a young girl.

The key word in the selection process was “random.” In other words, the television show didn’t examine the track record of the psychics they chose. Skeptics who debunk psychics often target individuals who have already been accused of fraud. Such exposes may provide a valuable service by warning the public to avoid such fakes, but hardly prove that all psychics are frauds or simply incapable of assisting police in cases.

In fact, Dean Radin, author and psychic researcher, points out in Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities that there are scientific reasons to accept that some cases of psychic detective work are valid. “Given that we know from scientific experiments that clairvoyant abilities do exist, the assumption that psychic detectives and psychic spies are always guessing is wrong.”

There are cases in which psychic detectives fail to assist police, and there are cases where they prove successful in assisting police. The controversy is really about the big picture of what it all means that psychic abilities are real.

As older scientists and academics die off, mainstream science and academia are slowly…very slowly…coming around to accepting the reality of psychic abilities. The problem is that the evidence, when taken seriously, will inevitably lead to a paradigm shift in beliefs as we recognize that we are more than physical beings living in linear time and 3-D space. At a deeper level of reality, we are all interconnected in a vast web of consciousness.

Philosophers and spiritual leaders have said as much for millennia. In Hindu mythology, it’s said that one tug on the god Indra’s net ripples through the Universe, everything being interconnected. In the Western World, 2,000 years ago, the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote: “Everything is connected and the web is holy.”

Now science is on the verge of proving it beyond doubt.

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2 Responses to Psychic Detectives: What’s the Controversy?

  1. Adele says:

    Wonderful post! Trish, I am in a mad rush at the moment but your post triggers something I will have to get back to you in an email. Thoughts sure do travel!

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