Psychics Will ‘Cure’ Cancer — For a Fee

Carrie Poppy decided to do a little experiment to see just how shameless “psychics” can be. So she went on one of the most popular online “psychic” sites and asked a bunch of the con artists there if they could cure her cancer. Most of them said yes, but only if she pays for a private session, where presumably their magic powers are amplified.

Nancy was a dark-haired woman in her forties, who wore a grey shirt and Native American-inspired medallions. As she happily chatted with her twelve active chat room members, I attempted to edge in.

“Hello, can you help someone with cancer?” I asked.

“Yes, Melanie, he will come back to you! No, Kurt, I don’t have a husband. Aww, that’s sweet of you. Deborah, I doubt it but who knows? We could discuss it more in a private chat. Oh… Welcome, InnerEye.” That was me. “When did you find out about your cancer?”

I told her my story: that I had recently been diagnosed, but it was quite far along, and my doctor wanted me to undergo chemotherapy. I preferred spiritual solutions instead of medical ones, I said.

“Oh yes, I understand,” she said. “I can do a healing on you, but we have to go into private chat.” Private chat meant paying for her services. I declined.

“Come back tomorrow then,” she said. If you come to my free chat again, I will do one healing on you, and then you can come back for more.” I agreed and left. It was that easy to get someone to heal my cancer. Or at least, to promise to.

As it turned out, Nancy wasn’t alone. A man in his late forties called Nate (not his real name) was willing to help me, albeit cautiously.

“I have been told by a clairvoyant that I will have healing powers, but I don’t yet,” he said. He sat in his bedroom, in a purple shirt with his chest hair poking out of the top. Behind him, a golden sun and moon hung above a matching golden bedspread with a mysterious, locked wooden box atop it. There was probably a portal to Hell in it, but I didn’t ask…

All in all, of the thirteen psychics I spoke to, nine offered to heal me privately, two said no, and two immediately disconnected their computers.

Should this be legal?

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  • It is illegal. It is fraud.

  • dhall

    Fraud, practicing medicine without a license, etc. However, the writer doesn’t say if these amazing psychics are in the US. Wearing “Native American inspired” medallions doesn’t pinpoint location either. But at least 2 were honest enough to say no, and two were smart enough to know they were being set up. Not sure why anyone should care about the chest hair, though. Was that supposed to imply something negative on its own?

  • Trebuchet

    @1: So is what Stanislaw Burzinski does, but he’s been getting away with it for decades. And then there are Benny Hinn and all his ilk.

  • busterggi


    Unless, of course, it is done by a representative of an organized religion.

  • Jerry

    Burzynski should have had his medical license revoked decades ago and been prosecuted for killing patients (hyponatremia caused by his anti-neoplaston junk) . And yes, as for the rest (faith healers, psychics, etc.) they should go to jail along with the other miracle-cure “supplement” peddlers.

  • Jerry

    excuse me, hypernatremia (elevated sodium in the blood).

  • Not sure why anyone should care about the chest hair, though.


    He was going bald and asked a psychic for more hair. Be careful what you wish for.

  • David C Brayton

    It is an interesting First Amendment question. While it is morally reprehensible, the 1A protects a lot of speech that is offensive, stupid and dumb. Heck, it even protects the right to lie.

    So, should the government have the right to throw people in jail for stating claiming that they can cure a particular person’s cancer?

    My answer is yes. We know that cancer is complicated. The term cancer covers at least 200 distinct diseases. Huge resources have been expended in trying to prevent and cure cancer. Let untreated, cancer is in most cases results in a premature and painful death.

    We also know that the investments in research have paid off. Certain cancers have wonderful cure rates.

    Against this backdrop, these psychics are claiming they can cure a deadly disease without performing any analysis, research or diagnosis. They don’t even consider studying whether their psychic powers have had any benefit for other customers. And they are doing this in exchange for money. In other words, this is a commercial transaction.

    The unfortunate result of their advice is deadly. If a patient relies on the psychic’s representation that they have been cured, the patient will likely forego treatment that in many cases can extend their life considerably or even cure the disease. Science had developed these treatments and proven that they work, in some cases very, very well.

    Considering these factors, I think the 1A shouldn’t protect the psychic’s commercial speech and they should be punished. A person with cancer is in an vulnerable psychological state and using the state’s vast power to protect such individuals is warranted.

    If the circumstances were different–i.e. the psychic claims a cure for baldness, impotence, etc, or there was some evidence that the psychic’s “treatment” was beneficial–I might change my mind.

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