A reader posted a comment on my post yesterday about Pam Ragland having allegedly found the body of a missing child using visions she received. I greatly appreciate that because I had missed it while doing a search, and I agree with my reader that it is "a better skeptic look" at the matter than the one I had read and linked to yesterday. Much better.
As I pointed out yesterday, I have some reservations about this matter. I enjoyed reading and urge my readers to check out The New 'Best Case' For Psychics: Did 'Intuitive Vision' Locate Missing Boy? by Ben Radford at the Center For Inquiry website.
Mr. Radford, astutely, I believe, points out that Ragland should have been at least somewhat familiar with the Smith family's property where the child's body was discovered after watching news coverage.
Next Radford informs his readers that
There are exceptions, of course, but the odds are that a missing or murdered child will be found in or near the family home.
I'm not sure how to evaluate that claim because no statistics or studies are provided. Also, that word near is vague and subject to interpretation.
I would also point out that the search was for a missing child. The young boy had not been long missing - and while one would always fear the worst, surely after only a short time most folks would be hoping for the best outcome. (In fact, this was suspicious enough that the police investigated the possibility that Ragland was involved in the murder.)
So Mr. Radford sums up his case thus:
It is far more probable that Ragland is neither psychic nor involved in any crime, but simply someone who unknowingly mistook a television news scene for an intuitive vision and whose instincts correctly told her where the missing boy was statistically most likely to be found-and eventually was.
I'm suggesting that Mr. Radford's "far more probable" is an overstatement - unless one starts with the conclusion one is trying to reach, namely that psychic episodes like this one are impossible.
I'm skeptical enough to seriously entertain that Radford is correct about the news coverage providing the "vision" Ragland had. I can entertain she followed up on this as a lucky guess and literally stumbled upon a corpse. But I'm also open-minded enough to entertain that she actually received an impression to go investigate the Smith property.
I also think that Radford is again being presumptuous by suggesting the skeptical explanation is the simpler explanation or else "Pam Ragland is the first person in history to find a missing person through psychic visions." Some would contest that Ragland is the first.