Sensing Murder hasn't helped NZ Police

July 30, 2017

Categories: Skepticism , Tags: Pseudoscience, Psychic

Emails have been released (opens new window) about the show Sensing Murder from OIA requests, and have brought to light (unsurprisingly) that the show has not materially helped the Police, and in some circumstances is considered to be a potential problem for ongoing cases.

Philly De Lacey from maker Screentime said it gave comfort and closure to the families of those who had died.

She would not describe herself as a believer but said information coming from those portrayed as psychics "must be genuine" because she could not explain it.

Not only was there value in that information, but it gave cold cases "a chance for hour-long exposure on television".

Of course, the flip side of this is that the psychics are also getting an hour-long exposure, and they seem to have taken of advantage of it by going to tours with tickets sometimes costing over $100.

Vicki Hyde, ex head of the NZ Skeptics, said:

"Prime-time exposure of cold cases can help, but when it's framed in such an exploitative, manipulative way you have to seriously question whether the end justifies the means. The patent lack of results worldwide by this distasteful franchise suggests it should be consigned to the bin as neither entertaining nor effective. The show has always been about exploitainment, not about justice or acceptable policing process."

NZ Police said:

"Homicide cases often attract the interest of psychics or clairvoyants. Although these individuals may genuinely wish to help, hearing their dreams and visions can cause distress to families and can give them an unrealistic sense of hope. Previous police searches for missing people actually show little or no evidence of any successful psychic involvement.

"The motive of any psychic wishing to assist should be considered, especially where they stand to gain financially for their involvement.

"Although police will keep an open mind and assess all information which enters the investigation, care must be taken to ensure that the enquiry is not side-tracked by tabloid sensationalism that risks taking resources from other phases of the investigation.

"(Office in charge of) Investigations should be careful not to give credibility to claims made by psychics in the media."