Email: "My Experiences in the Early 70s With Sylvia Browne"
Notes on Browne from her early years as a professional "psychic."
Published: Apr 28, 2008
Written by: Robert S. Lancaster
"...according to her, ... I got sick because the “entity” who was residing in my womb had to leave suddenly and that a new entity came into my womb to take the former female’s place…only now the new entity was a male who needed to be born. Uh…HELLO???"
- email author
I frequently get email from people who theorize that Browne was at one time a "true psychic," but through greed or ego, has lost her "abilities."
In my replies to these emails, I always ask the person why they think Browne ever had such abilities in the first place. These people seldom reply, but the answers of those who do generally fall into one of two categories:
1) "She describes lots of successful readings in her books." This of course makes the unsafe assumption that Browne is being truthful in her books. It is akin to saying "She can't be a fraud because she says she's not."
2) "She couldn't have gotten this famous unless she was a real psychic at one time." This does not take into account the ease with which many of us can be fooled, and the power of television appearances in reaching an ever-changing pool of such people.
Regardless of this, was Browne ever more accurate with her predictions than she is today? The email in this article gives us one person's perspective on that from the early days of Browne's career as a professional "psychic medium."
top of page
Here, with the author's permission, is that email, with my comments inserted (all emphasis mine).
And, as usual, this email is simply one person's account of their experience.
Subject: My experiences in the early 70s with Sylvia Browne
From: "" <>
Date: Sun, Apr 27, 2008 11:44 am
I am almost physically shaking here as I write this to you. Frankly, I had no idea that anything like your website even existed before this morning. Over the past 34 years, I’ve heard that Sylvia has prospered and often been on television, but each and every time I would hear her name, I would either immediately switch channels or turn off the TV as I really didn’t wish to hear or see any more of her charlatan antics that I knew only so well from 1973 through 1977 when I finally ended my friendship and all contact with her! I only came across your website when doing a Google search this morning to ascertain a couple of facts that I was using to try to persuade a friend via email about the both real and perceived dangers in dabbling in the occult.
I first met Sylvia Browne in the Spring of 1973 when I lived in San Jose, CA. I was a young mom then of one little boy and newly pregnant with my second child when a friend and neighbor asked me if I wanted to go with her to see this “psychic” who was holding meetings in a church in Campbell, CA (if I remember right, it may have been an Unitarian church). Being tied down with diapers etc. as a young mom, I was eager to just get out of the house…for anything…be it a Tupperware party, plant party, psychic…you name it, so I agreed to go.
At that time, Sylvia was married to a fireman named Dal Browne. She was very “folksy” and still quite the “unknown” back in 1973. For some odd/strange reason, she took an immediate liking to me and personal interest in me that very first night. She even began telling me all about the child I was carrying and about my son at home. Obviously, as a young mother, I was rather enthralled to hear anything I could about my son and my pregnancy. She was quite adamant that I return the next week, so I agreed to come again. As the weeks progressed, Sylvia began really “doting” on me and encouraging me to “share” much of my life with her. Of course, at that time I didn’t realize how she was gleaning information in order to “weave a tapestry” of my life and how she could use it to try to make me believe how intertwined her life was with mine……supposedly both here and “on the other side”.
Soon, Sylvia was calling me daily at home and it wasn’t too long after that she convinced me to allow her to hold her “readings” (séances…whatever you want to call them!) at my house. This was far before she concocted whatever she’s calling her “church”. (I have to admit that I have not read ANY of her books or other fabrications nor do I know what elaborate scheme she’s using for this so-called “church” as I am a Christian and wish nothing to do with her dangerous “other side” ramblings and her other charlatan behaviors). In the 1970s, Sylvia claimed, at least to me and my friends and relatives, that she most certainly was a Christian and only here through the grace of God to help others. Interestingly, back then, she also refused to take any moneys for her readings and séances as “Francine”, her spiritual being on the “other side”. She said that God would take away her “powers” if she charged money for her work and that HE had only given her these powers to help all of mankind. Since she knew that I was a Christian, she worked everything around cleverly to try to make me believe that what she was doing was approved by the Christian church and that God had sent me to her because HE wanted the two of us to work together to spread the “Word” throughout the world.
Part of Sylvia’s con job was to tell me that she and I had always been sisters throughout many previous lives and that we were actually psychic twins on the “other side” which was why she needed me as her “soul mate sister” to help spread all these wonderful things that we could do together throughout the world. Besides her weekly meetings in the Campbell church, she would come over to my house in San Jose every week where she would do her “readings from the other side” as Francine. She would coax me to ask my friends and relatives to come to these Francine nights where she would lie on my living room couch and suddenly go over to the other side to emerge as Francine who would give us advice and tell us all what our deceased relatives on that other side wanted us to know and what we should be doing. Sylvia was quite open telling everyone that I was her soul sister on the other side and that we were destined to keep returning over and over in our continuing lives together.
I think though that my first realization that Sylvia might not be the psychic extraordinaire and my psychic twin was when I became hospitalized during my 7th month of my pregnancy due to some pre-term labor. Sylvia had been telling me that I was carrying a little girl but she must have gotten worried because after I came home from the hospital and was on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy and told her that the doctors were pretty sure it was a boy rather than a little girl, she came up with this amazing story: according to her, the reason I went into pre-term labor was not that I was in danger of delivering prematurely, but instead, that I got sick because the “entity” who was residing in my womb had to leave suddenly and that a new entity came into my womb to take the former female’s place…only now the new entity was a male who needed to be born. Uh…HELLO??? Ultimately, I did deliver a second son, but even though I was only about 23 at the time and pretty naïve…even I wasn’t stupid enough to think that one fetus can mysteriously disappear to be replaced magically by a different fetus! Come on!
After that little episode, I wasn’t nearly so eager to believe everything that Sylvia said. I also noticed that she began taking what she called “donations” of money. When I confronted her about this, reminding her that she’d told me that she couldn’t ever charge for her work both as her and as Francine, she told me that God had suddenly told her that she could accept “donations” rather than charging people because, after all, how were she and Dal supposed to live?
Browne mentions several times in her books that she will "lose her powers" if she ever profits from them. How does she reconcile this with her $750 "phone-reading" fees, $2,000 "hypnosis class" fees and more? When asked about this, she states that she does not profit from these things, since most of the money (according to her) goes towards her church, and to charity.
I have yet to find evidence that the money goes where she claims it does, and have found evidence which would seem to indicate otherwise, including the millions of dollars in houses and real estate she (not her church) owns.
(I now know she has a son….but at that time, he was never mentioned so I don’t know if she had already had him or what. I also don’t know if she stayed married to Dal or not since I broke off all contact with her in 1977 and subsequently moved from San Jose to Stockton, CA in 1980).
Interesting that even though Browne told this woman that they were "soulmate sisters," she apparently didn't share with her the fact that she (Browne) already had two sons, who would have been around thirteen (Paul Dufresne, born in 1960) and seven years old (Christopher Dufresne, born in 1966) when she and this woman first met in 1973.
As the years passed from 1973 until I broke off our friendship in 1977, I started noticing that Sylvia was very talented – not so much as a psychic, but rather as a “folksy con artist”. She was very good at coaxing out information from people….including me, and that she had an excellent memory. What she didn’t realize though was that I too have an excellent memory – often known as a photographic memory, and that I would remember her gleaning information that she would then weave into rather believable stories when she was doing her group and private readings as Francine. Basically, her whole thing was a series of “smoke and mirrors”. Whenever she was proved wrong, it was always because something “happened on the other side” that changed something or moved something around. Her other routine was that if something didn’t occur as she said it would, it was because the person’s relative(s) on the other side had changed it for the “ultimate good” for the person here on this side. It was interesting to me how she told me that I would only have one more baby after my first two sons (one of whom had been a girl until the 7th month of pregnancy! LOL!). She told me that I most definitely would have a daughter as my 3rd child and that she would have really blonde curly hair. Funny thing though: My 3rd child was yet another boy….with dark straight hair like his two brothers! When I asked her to explain that one, she hemmed and hawed…then tried to say that my little girl on the other side was needed elsewhere and that a son needed to be born so he had agreed to take her place just before I conceived. Sylvia also told me that I would never have any more children as my work as a mother who would bring in more “souls” from the other side was finished for this life. She told me then that I needed to start concentrating on how “WE” were going to grow “OUR” work here on this side rather than worrying so much about my little family. When I again became pregnant with my 4th child and asked her how this could have happened since Francine said I was not to have any more children, Sylvia really couldn’t give me a straight answer nor would she predict the sex of my child. I did have a daughter that time around and ultimately she did end up having blonde hair but she was born a redhead!
I think the birth of my daughter actually finished me off with Sylvia. Sylvia wasn’t happy that I was busy with 4 children ages newborn to 5 and the fact that I no longer wanted her planted on my couch as Francine doing her séances. Frankly, I no longer believed her, and I sure didn’t want my children to hear this kind of nonsense either. I had finally grown up…. I didn’t need someone who called herself my TWIN on the other side. It makes me wonder how many other people she has pulled this “other side twin” routine on over the years since I ended our relationship. Obviously, too, even though I have never read or watched her over the years, somehow, God must have made it OK for her to accept large sums of money and He didn’t take away her powers because of it?! I find it rather amazing that Sylvia has been able to change supposedly concrete edicts from God to suddenly some mumbo jumbo church that she has supposedly created….think I heard something once about a “Mother God”??? Also that it suddenly became fine and dandy for her to accept large sums of money while doing God’s work here on this “side”.
I’m sorry that this is so long….but seeing all the crap about her on the internet suddenly and then finding your site, just got me remembering all over again….31 years later! If you should have any questions, or need to reach me, please feel free to do so below:
Best wishes with your website. Hope this helps in some small way.
top of page
If the above email is accurate, more than thirty years ago, Browne was wrong in three out of three predictions she made for this woman: 1) That her second child would be a girl, 2) that her third child would be a girl, and 3) that her third child would be her last child.
And, if this woman's experience is any indication, Browne was no more accurate at the beginning of her career as a "psychic medium" than she is today.
top of page
My thanks to this woman for sharing her story with me, and for allowing me to place it here on the site.
top of page