Psychic wrong on Aisling, sceptics say

A television psychic who claimed to have seen where the body of Aisling Symes was last week was not only wrong, but she should be ashamed of exploiting a family's pain, says the head of a sceptics group.

Two-year-old Aisling was discovered last night in a drain in a property next door to where she went missing a week ago.

Police are now investigating exactly how she got into the drain and how long she had been there for.

On a Facebook page dedicated to finding Aisling, a Symes family spokesperson said they were not interested in hearing from psychics.

"Please do not suggest psychics, the family are a strong Christian family, and will not consider this under any circumstances," they said.

"I know you are all just trying to think of anything to help but it's not helpful for us to see that on here, sorry," the message said.

But last Wednesday, Sensing Murder medium Deb Webber said she had details about the case during an interview on TVNZ's Breakfast programme.

"I was walking past the television and [Aisling] popped up, and I went, 'Oh, she's in a ditch, hole, in West Auckland'," she said.

"That's what I got instantly."

NZ Skeptics chair Vicki Hyde said Webber's prediction was wrong.

"Well a ditch is not a drain," she told NZPA.

"It's not sensing murder, it's sensing opportunity, sensing exploitation and there's nothing worse than exploiting parents who are under such strain and stresses."

TVNZ were not blameless either, Ms Hyde said.

They were guilty of using the situation as a marketing ploy, both for the station and the psychics, she said.

"There's really no entertainment value in watching a family go through this sort of agony over a week wondering what's happening to their missing child. And nor should there be."

There had been numerous examples of psychics making claims that were incorrect, she said.

"There was a missing guy in Wellington who was said to have been abducted by a bunch of Maori in a beaten up car, when in fact he had fallen down a skylight after a night on the town.

Psychic Margaret Birkin was also convinced she could find the bodies of Olivia Hope and Ben Smart between Maud Island and Dart Rock in Pelorus Sound.

She was accompanied by four other psychics and three divers, but the search came to nothing.

"That must have been terrible for the parents," Ms Hyde said.

"Everyone always says 'Oh well it doesn't harm, they're just trying to help'.

"They know damn well there's harm."

- NZPA

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