Stop Sylvia Browne…again

By Phil Plait | November 2, 2008 8:07 pm

My opinion on Sylvia Browne is on record. She’s icky.

My opinion on Robert Lancaster is also on record. He’s a hero. He takes on people who claim to be psychics, showing their claims fairly and pointing out politely but firmly where they are wrong. He is a role model for skepticism.

A little while back Robert had a stroke. While he was ill, his ownership of the domain name stopsylvianbrowne.com expired. It was immediately snatched up by someone whose tastes, well, didn’t align with Robert’s.

However, Robert is doing much better now, and he and his wife have worked on this, and now SSB is reborn as, simply, Stop Sylvia. So if you want know about Sylvia Browne, then this is the site for you.

If you want to learn more, the JREF forum has the whole story. If you have a blog or website, please change all your links to the new site too, please. You can find out more about that at Skeptools.

Speaking of Cectic earlier today, and on-topic for this post, I have to think the artist may be on to something here…

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Debunking, Skepticism

Comments (39)

  1. Brian Gefrich

    If whoever stole the domain really cared about stopping Sylvia Browne, he or she would give the domain name back to RSL.

  2. Well, crap. I wish I’d have known about the domain issue before it actually passed all the way through the deletion cycle, Phil, I could have helped.

    I still may be able to help, if he wants to re-acquire it. If you’d like my bona-fides to show that I’m actually in a position to do this, let me know (and you can see the domain name in my email address entered above, which should clue you in). If he’s cool with the new domain, though, no worries.

  3. Brian Gefrich

    Oh, it’s pretty apparent, when actually looking at the site that there is no attempt to actually stop Sylvia going on there.

  4. HCN

    He actually did not “steal” it. Due to Mr. Lancaster’s very serious illness the notice of renewal was missed. Anyway, he is still a scumbag and is trying to sell it on Ebay, but please do NOT bid on it. Just push the new stopsylvia.com website.

    Oh, and someone on JREF offered to buy the site and the scumbag asked for $20,000 ! See:
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=4172708#post4172708

  5. Wendy

    Yay, I’m glad they went with StopSylvia .. goes well with StopKaz.

    But what an awful shame that this happened. :(

  6. José

    When ever Sylvia Brown stops talking, I always expect to hear “The trash heap has spoken.”

  7. 01101001

    Update old BA Blog entry (and others?) to reflect new domain, for Google searchers.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2007/02/08/you-just-cant-stopsylviabrowne/

  8. Davidlpf

    ways to describe Sylvia
    Scum
    Scum bucket
    liar
    cheat
    bad cold reader
    lying cheating scum bucket of a bad cold reader
    the scum underneath scum

  9. Oops! Missed that one link. Thanks 01101001.

  10. Seeking Martians

    Quick Off Topic question if I may :

    Did the Bad Astronomer do a movie review of the remake of ‘The War of the Worlds’ ,/i> (2005 I think?) The one with Tom Cruise & Dakota fanning with the underground martians in the lightning.)

    If so is it possible to find it here somewhere?

    Or did it get thrown out when the BA blog shifted to this Discover blogs hoster-thingummy? :-(

    Saw that movie on TV recently, interested to see what the BA thought of it.

    PS. I preferred the old BA site I gotta admit. :-(

  11. Knurl

    Something else that happened, I don’t know why, but the links that BA, PZ, and Orac have posted (and are still available from those original posts) for Stop Jenny McCarthy now go to a very different and bad place. Check out Phil’s post http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2008/10/20/stop-jenny-mccarthy/ and see where you end up. If you remove the “site.” from the name, it works.

  12. Susan Lancaster

    Thank you, Phil – for everything. And thanks to everyone else for changing their links. Robert is confident the right people are handling this for him. He wants to extend his deepest gratitude and admiration to everyone involved. You are all “Amazing!”

    Hugs, Susan

  13. Knurl

    When a domain name expires, anyone can get it. All domain name services (GoDaddy, etc.) send emails to the owner well in advance of the expiration. Owners can set up their profile such that more than one person will be notified. I work for a .com and we lost a couple of revenue generating names because the person receiving the email was gone, and nobody had access to his email due to poor planning. That’s what happened with RL. More’s the pity, but you can’t “steal it back” because it wasn’t stolen in the first place. All you can legally do is buy it back.

    Sylvia and other such charlatans do need to be stopped. The best thing we can do at this point is support the new site and just plain get the word out. Particularly to the people we know who eat the junk because they believe it.

  14. Adrian Lopez

    It’s stuff like this that makes me wish it weren’t possible to speculate on domain names.

  15. Seeking Martians, you can still get to the old BA site…
    http://www.badastronomy.com/index.html

    Movie review (inc. WOTW) are here
    http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/movies/index.html

  16. The internic used to take a pretty dim view of sliming in on an expired registration. If the guy wanted to, he could probably appeal to the internic – explain his situation, explain the already existing content that has been forced to move, explain that the person who took it really isn’t using it, and call it a trademark infringement.

    Odds are good the domain will be returned if he does that.

    @adrian: I agree with you, but as long as people continue to pay these squatters for domains, the industry will flourish.

  17. Brian Gefrich

    Oh, I was certainly using the world “stole” in metaphorical way.

  18. Seeking Martians

    Thanks Shane! That’s just what I was after … Appreciated. :-D

    That was a good review – wonder if the BA has finally read the original 1898 HG Wells novel yet? ;-)

    There is justwone thing though – the last paragraph of the conclusion there maybe missing something … I think?

    “So I liked a lot of it, and disliked a lot of it. It’s a tense, scary movie, and like many movies of this genre, won’t translate well to the small screen, so see it while it’s in the theaters. But see a matinee! [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] (What the …?)

    —————————————

    ©2008 Phil Plait. All Rights Reserved.
    This page last modified Saturday, 12-Jan-2008 17:01:34 CST

  19. Seeking Martians

    Ah, a lot of the reviews (all?) seem to have that :

    “error occurred while processing this directive” mesage on them. Not sure why or what’s missing but at least on my computer when I was reading some of the other reviews (Eg. StarWars prequels, Contact) had that at their ends too.

  20. There were some commands in those HTML files that were obsolete. I fixed it, thanks.

  21. Cheyenne

    Finally got back to work (and computer access) and, grumph grumph, have to check in to see that the charlatan Sylvia Browne is back here again. I hope JREF, Robert, Phil, and whoever else with an audience can continue to erode her “credibility”. Taking money from people the way she does is just, it’s just beyond the pale.

    Well, not sure how much I can do. I’ll try to push up the new Stop Sylvia site on places like Stumble Upon and the others. Get better Robert!

  22. I think that the “error occurred while processing rational thought” message could charitably be applied to Browne and her ilk…

  23. Ryan

    I contacted the new owner of this domain name and he wants $10k for it. That’s also his reserve price on eBay. I can’t see rewarding someone like this with that kind of money or I’d buy it myself.

  24. alfaniner

    The listing has been removed from eBay, no doubt due to the many reports of its misleading text.

  25. This whole ordeal is rather upsetting, but I like that Lancaster doesn’t know how to quit.

  26. Evolving Squid, that’s not the way it works, nor has it ever been. And “The InterNIC” doesn’t exist anymore as such.

    The comments that the name wasn’t stolen are correct, and there’s *almost* nothing that can be done other than buying it.

    But there are avenues (both legal and ethical) outside of that realm, if the original owner wanted to pursue them.

    This is what I do for a living ;)

  27. What a slime bag. I went to the old like a few days ago and was sure I got sucked into some whacked out parallel mentioned where everything was all topsy turvy. I’ve since repointed the link on my blog to the new site.

  28. Argh! That should read: “I went to the old link

  29. José

    But see a matinee!

    I kept reading this as “But see a manatee!” I didn’t make much sense, but it was still an awesome ending. Punch a Dugong!

  30. Tom

    Come on people you are being too harsh. Sylvia is just a human, just right the rest of us…OK She is totally irrational , she has no perspective on reality, but doe’s that make her any different from the rest of us??

    OK maybe it doe’s e.

  31. Freelance Minion

    I just looked up that site, nothing came up and whois.net suggested the domain might be free again. Maybe I typed the wrong thing in, but if it is free, who friendly to the cause will grab it?

  32. Seeking Martians

    No, Thankyou BA! :-)

    If anyone’s wondering the bit I missed with the error message that’s now been corrected was just the very prosaic line :

    “This page last modified Monday, 03-Nov-2008 09:26:36 CST”

  33. Vicki

    I am not sure about stopping Sylvia but her son Chris is another story. He told me on August o7 that my father in-law would be around for a long time, that he might have some trouble with his immune system but other than that he would be fine. Well within a month he was told that he had lung cancer and within another three months he was dead.

  34. Rev. I. P. Freeley

    Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

  35. Diane Smith

    Since when did all of you Sylvia bashers become her judge and jury? This should be left up to the higher power. You must have a lot of time on your hands to trash people – you are the trash that needs to be taken to the dump not Sylvia.

  36. Roberta

    I actually had a reading with Sylvia several years ago….WASTE of my money…don’t do it!! Keep your money ..I wished to hell that I had…. Not anything she told me came to pass. and she did not see a major health event in my life a couple of months after I spoke with her >>>>most people want to know about their health and she should have picked up on the problem ( as good as she claims to be a medical intuitive…what a bunch of BS!!!! Her son Chris is also a Fraud!!!! wrote of my experience to Mr. Lancaster, But it was right around the time of his illness…Hope he’s is doing better..

  37. Elle

    Hi can you tell if saliva b has a son by the name of richard who goes by ricky on the psychic source website as an psycic advisor. I ask because about eighteen years ago I worked with a guy by the name of Richard Dufresne (sp?) who told me his mother was a famous psychic. Richard only worked with me for a short while and then quit to go back to California where he was from. He was very difficult to get along with so I’m hesitant to call up this website and ask this Ricky adviser if he is my old co-worker. Could his second name be Paul?

  38. Carl the Snarling Atheist

    Since god continues to be successfully debunked and proven invalid by modern science, the whole holly jolly world of spooks, psychics, hauntings, space ailens, UFO’s and the paranormal has been proven and successfully proven invalid. Sylvia Bowne rose to fame just like all of those filthy, redolent scheming TV evangelists. People swoon over them, believe their sugar coated tomfoolery and keep them well funded. You see, if people, desperate people, like what they hear they’ll come back for more. It’s the same way with any organized religion. Weak people hobbling on their spiritual crutches craving all the cookies and ice cream that Reverend Anal Fissure is farting out in the pulpit. For us atheists we see the the universe and planet earth as a wonderous place of accidental randomness. We humans are just mere extensions of primative life forms and are the future to occupy the ground in our ashes and decaying bodies. What goes around comes around. We’re born, we live and we die. Nothing more and nothing less The cycle of life as nature indended. The invention of god(s) was to provide control of civilized societies, embarking on the level of advancing humans and their advancing grief of losing loved ones. This god was a money maker for faiths, a grand delusion for the menatlly ill, the profiteers, psychics, mystics, etc. My wish is for Sylvia Browne’s health to deteriorate or she’ll be arrested on some fraud conviction and thrown in the slammer for a year or two until she’s dead of advanced old age; her son Chris to be locked up without parole for the rest of his days of 20 or 30 years. Chris, Sylvia’s son, is not young at 46, so if he’s convicted of anything (I hope, I hope) he would be in prison for life.

    PS Syliva and her ex-husband Kensill Browne (husband number 3) were convicted on three counts of fraud in 1992. It was some gold mine scheme investment oppurtunity They both pleaded no contest to the charges and Sylvia had something like 200 hours of community service as her punnishment.

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