The future looks a bit dim for Utah's psychic community, which has been trying in vain to get Salt Lake police to pay attention to its visions and predictions in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case.
Last week, Chief Rick Dinse acknowledged that "we've got psychics coming out of our ears" but said that none of these volunteer psychics has actually been consulted by police.
"I'm kind of upset they haven't given the psychics more play," complains a local psychic known simply as Tracey.
"I personally know of seven psychics who have provided information, and it's similar information," says Tracey, who owns the School of Medium Arts and Predictive Science in Murray. Some of the information was turned over to police as audio tapes of clairvoyant visions, she says.
A Salt Lake City bookstore owner who employs two women as on-site clairvoyants said the FBI did consult the pair in the Smart kidnapping.
The women told Golden Braid manager Joel LaSalle that they were questioned by the FBI early on in the investigation and that one of them was called back for a second interview. The psychics declined interviews with the Deseret News.
The FBI denied contacting the two women. "We're not interviewing psychics, there's no way," says FBI spokesman Kevin Eaton, adding that the bureau has received hundreds of calls from psychics around the country offering to help solve the case.
It's typical for police to get calls from psychics in high-profile cases, especially child abduction cases, but Salt Lake police don't solicit such information, said Capt. Scott Atkinson. All leads are given a "1" to "3" ranking, with "1" being the most credible, he said. The psychic leads are generally given a "3."
"I think (police) are listening to some of the stuff but won't admit it," says Tracey, adding that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints frowns on the work of psychics.
Old-timers confirm that the department has used paranormal help in the past, including the case of Joseph Paul Franklin, who was eventually tracked
down and convicted of killing two joggers near Liberty Park in 1980. Although police knew Franklin was driving a green Camaro, a psychic was able to accurately describe the car's black and white checked seat covers and a cigarette burn on the right arm rest.
"When your leads peter out, you use what you can," says one former police official.
In other parts of the country, police departments and private detectives sometimes use psychics. Cyd, a psychic based in Littleton, Colo., who appears weekly on a Salt Lake radio station, says she has helped in investigations by the FBI, the KGB, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and police departments in Los Angeles, Denver and Orlando.
Two days after Elizabeth's abduction at gunpoint from her Federal Heights bedroom, the Golden Braid bookstore invited nine psychics to its Salt Lake store and "sequestered" them for several hours so they could independently record their impressions about the case.
Later, the bookstore's two staff psychics asked the nine sequestered psychics to keep "a few of the real critical details that 85 percent of them came up with confidential," LaSalle says. These details involved the site where Elizabeth had been taken.
"I will tell you that there were crews of volunteers sent to the three different sites after the meeting," including a site near Henefer, but nothing was found. "We were told by one psychic that we'd know if we were headed in the right direction because there would be an unusual animal that crossed the road, something that looks like a beaver but it's not a beaver, it's like a huge chipmunk. We were getting ready to leave, getting frustrated, and then one of those things hopped across the road and we were freaked out."
Some of the nine psychics gathered by Golden Braid also came up with a name and "it wasn't Bret Michael Edmunds." Most of the psychics felt the name began with a "G" or "J" sound, LaSalle says.
"A bunch of us got a white truck," says a psychic known as Margaret Ruth about the images of the nine psychics that Friday night. "Two or three people pulled a dark sedan." Some got both the truck and the car.
Some of the psychics that night felt the abductor is a loner, some thought the kidnapping was the work of a group. "One hundred percent could see trees and a cabin, shacky place," said Margaret Ruth, a weekly psychic on X-96 radio.
LaSalle says he turned all the information over to the police.
Cyd, who uses no last name, is an on-air psychic for 107.5 "The End" radio, on the Chunga and Mister morning show. She describes the perpetrator as a man who is about 5-foot 8-inches, between 25 and 28 years old, with dark hair and eyes, short legs, a 32-inch waist and a "saggy butt." She says he has a soft demeanor, is a sexual predator, may work for a computer company, is "geeky," and has been living with his mother off and on. His name begins with "a J — Jay or Jason or something similar." She also said that she "saw" something made out of wrought iron.
Cyd says she has helped find 17 of the 17 missing persons she has been hired to find in other states. "She's been eerily dead-on with a lot of predictions she's made for some of us who work at the station," says 107.5's Mister.
According to Cyd, several listeners have followed up on her "reading" of the Elizabeth Smart case, and four separate listeners came up with the same first and last name of a person that may be the perpetrator. Cyd said she faxed the information to the police.
Listener Christine Green also came up with a name after hearing Cyd's description — a man named Jason who used to work with a friend of hers at a computer-related company. Green says she drove to the man's address, an apartment house that included a wrought iron balcony.
"I can't go to the police with this," she says. "They'll look at me like I'm crazy."