When I get emails from crazy people, I delete them.
When Dear Abby gets them, she reinforces their lunacy.
Like yesterday, when someone wrote in to talk about her psychic powers:
DEAR ABBY: I will graduate from college in June and be a social worker. I am psychic, although I dislike that word because it conjures up visions of crystal balls, quacks and scams. For legitimate psychic individuals, it can be overwhelming to live this way.
I first noticed my ability when I was young, but I repressed it because my folks thought I was imagining things. It began to resurge in college. This school is haunted, so I have become used to daily interactions with ghosts — often in the dead of night. I also notice that during client counseling sessions images will pop into my head. I once gave a classmate the “willies” by perfectly describing the garden in her backyard having never laid eyes on it. My adviser says I must never tell my clients the things I “see” in them because it will frighten them.
It’s hard to separate my own thoughts and emotions from those of spirits around me. I’m concerned about my psychic ability in relation to my clients. If I pick up on abuse in the mind of a child, for example, am I obligated to report it?
Being psychic is as natural to me as my having blue eyes. It will never go away. I must now find the means to manage it. I don’t want a career as a medium. I’m dedicated to the profession I have chosen. Can you offer me advice? — GIFTED IN NEW YORK
And if you think children are being abused, here’s a thought: Ask them about it!
So the proper response would be to let her down gently. There’s no such thing as psychic powers. You’re counting the hits and ignoring the misses. Etc.
In fact, Abby starts out well enough, bypassing the bluntness and suggesting that the writer get concrete evidence for her thoughts:
DEAR GIFTED: Instead of using your visions to form judgments about your clients, use them to guide you during interviews. If you do, you will then be better equipped to provide concrete proof of the need for an intervention than revealing you “saw” something that others can’t see or wasn’t disclosed to you.
Then Abby gets weird:
Many people have psychic abilities to a greater or lesser degree than you do, and those “vibes” can be invaluable. It is possible that your gift will give you insight into the individuals you will serve. I wish you success.
Ugh… there’s Abby’s mistake. She’s confusing “gut feelings” with psychic powers. In the process, she’s just feeding the letter writer’s ignorance and making the situation worse.
People do not have varying degrees of psychic abilities. They have only one degree: None. Anyone who believes otherwise is delusional.
(Thanks to James for the link)