More Options

Nancy Grace Should be Ashamed of Herself!

Guerrilla Skepticism

Susan Gerbic

April 20, 2018


Nancy Grace, remember her? She is that headline news commentator that was on the air from 2005–2016. She provided nightly legal-enraged current affairs and celebrity news, mostly about police investigations and court cases. A quick read through her Wikipedia page and you can find scandal after scandal with her rush to judgment, lock them up attitude. Two people committed suicide after she interviewed them; several financial settlements against her show were won. She was on Larry King Live, CNN, Court TV, and more in her heyday. You remember her, don’t you? Southern accent, big blue eyes? Well maybe you will remember her from her reading with Tyler Henry, Hollywood medium, from the end of 2017? What, you missed that? Well good thing I’m here to tell you all about it.

Why should we care, she is just another celebrity known for hyping other celebrities right? Wrong. This woman is not the average entertainer; she is an attorney known for her brash style about evidence, how to evaluate it, what it means, and how to come to a conclusion. Many may argue that she overreacted, ignored, or embellished evidence and rarely admitted she was wrong. Just look at that Wikipedia page, what a lot of drama this woman has been involved in, although great for her ratings. But to some people she is a noted and respected member of justice. She has over 460 thousand Twitter followers and has tweeted 20.7 thousand times. Yes, she has been mocked for a lot of her tweets, but still it is obvious she has an audience.

What is more egregious is this woman has taken a firm stand on psychics. She had mentalist Mark Edward on her show at least three times to talk about the people who swindle millions out of others. I just finished rewatching one of her exchanges with Mark. This is a direct quote from Grace, “Supernatural swindles, psychics who con believers out of millions of dollars, tonight WE BLOW the LID OFF!” and then there is a floating graphic with one word, BUSTED!, on screen.

Check out this exchange:

Grace: “Mediums, psychics, fortune tellers, tarot card readers bilk the public out of millions of dollars a year … what are the most typical tricks … how do you trick the client?”

Edward: “Cold-reading—make bold statements as facts, wait for one to stick, then course correct and keep riding it out.”

Grace: “Once psychics get your name, psychics can go on your Facebook and see your family, your friends, your postings, what you did the day before; that gives them incredible leverage.”

So, this woman obviously understands; she had at least three interviews with Mark Edward over a couple years on this topic. She even appears to care about how people are being harmed by these grief vampires.

Another thing, Grace often talked about the murder of her fiancé Keith Griffin back in 1979. That was commonly known; she brought that bit of information out every chance she got on the show. And now reading her Wikipedia page (you really need to check this out), I can see that there was a lot of controversy between what she said happened and what actually happened. When challenged on that, she seems to be saying that she really didn’t want to think about those details and has forgotten a lot. Oh really? Let’s just see.

This brings us to the reading; my favorite part of this story. I haven’t watched it yet and am preparing to report my impressions as I do. It is available on Amazon for a couple dollars and includes Tyler Henry reading Kristen Doute, Stassi Schroeder, and Johnny Weir (Season 2: Episode 14).

Just in case you don’t know who Tyler Henry is, I’ve written about him many times; you will find all the articles on his Wikipedia page. He is a twenty-something grief vampire that is on season three of his reality show called Hollywood Medium on the E! Network. I’ve analyzed many of his readings over the last couple years, and have come to the conclusion that in the beginning of his career, his “accuracies” appear more likely to be cold-readings and clever editing. As time has progressed and he is interacting more with the Hollywood celebrities, I seem to think that he is relying on more hot-reading techniques. In other words, he has prior knowledge of the person he is reading that he relays back as if he is getting the information from the dead. OR he could be truly communicating with the dead.

Buckle up—let’s take a look at this reading. I bet he brings up her murdered fiancé and her twins. Keep in mind that this reading is probably close to an hour long, but it is carefully edited down to under ten minutes. You will only see the best bits. If there were better hits than what we see here, then they will be included in this show. If it was solid gold, top of the line hit after hit, then it would be reserved for its whole show. There would be no need to share with Donte, Weir, and Schroeder.

He starts out by stating “I’m in the Hollywood Hills today, and I have no idea who I’m about to read. I’m really excited. I have some information coming through that I think will apply to the client today and so I’m going to this reading even more confident as I know I have something to deliver.” How odd, I didn’t know that the dead know Henry’s schedule and where he is going to appear. I thought the dead were lingering around their living loved ones.

Knock, knock; he is at the door and who opens it is … surprise, it’s Nancy Grace! What happens if Henry recognizes her? Does he say “oh my, we can’t do this reading because I know all about your murdered fiancé?” Also keep in mind, Henry isn’t walking up to random doors in the Hollywood Hills, knocking, and asking if he can do a reading on them. These are organized far in advance, with legal paperwork signed, and a camera crew already waiting inside her home. So, when he says he has no idea who he is reading beforehand, everyone else does know. And we have to just trust that he is telling the truth, but then again, he is also telling us that he is communicating with dead people.

Well, he does know her; right off the bat he says “Nancy Grace, no way … this has made my life, you don’t know!” Apparently, Henry is a big fan of Grace and as I said before, on her show she was always bringing up the murder of her fiancé.

Grace speaks to the camera before Henry gets to her house and she states that she is pretty skeptical of psychics. Here is what she says: “Well for me if I were trying this case, I would never put a psychic in front of a jury … so for me to believe in almost anything; I look for proof. And that would be, him knowing something that is not already out there. Something only I would know. I want to believe, but I’m on the fence.”

They chat together on the couch for a bit; Henry says that he is such a fan of hers, and she says “likewise” then she says, “I’m really hopeful that you are real.” She tells us that she is really interested in “Tyler’s medium ability to speak to those who have passed on … I brought some items today to help him, if he is for real.”

She hands him a folded-up piece of white cloth, like a handkerchief. Henry reaches out for it and she continues to hold onto it and says, “I normally don’t let others touch it.” Henry takes it, starts to scribble on his notebook, and says to himself “two men, thank you.” The camera pans to Grace’s face, and we can see her eyes are already watering up. Henry says, “I have a man that insists on coming though and he connects very much so as a fatherly figure;” Grace nods in agreement. Henry says, “Who had the congestive heart failure?” She answers, “my father” and then tells Henry that the handkerchief belonged to her father, and she keeps it with her always next to her heart.

Henry tells her that there were two visits, or two places associated with the congestive heart failure, and wants to know if he went to one medical facility and then had to go to another place, or maybe was it suggested that he needed to go to another medical facility? She nods yes, and then Henry says that he is getting two causes of passing, like he was diagnosed with one thing but really it was something else that contributed to the death. She agrees and said that her father died of kidney failure because of the treatment he was getting from the heart treatment. Grace explains that she has always felt responsible for this because she urged him to get the kidney treatment. In this part it looked like he went immediately from the father to the heart failure, but it appears to be a cut in there. I would really like to see the whole reading to see what was taken out. Henry offers her a bunch of platitudes saying that her dad is not angry, it was his time (happy music playing), and he was never upset at her or anyone.

Then they cut to commercial, where a lot of the reading was probably cut out. And we are back; Henry is getting a “tragedy, tragedy, tragedy. I don’t know what this is, but it’s a feeling, a situation getting out of hand and not going as it was intended to originally go. It doesn’t look like ‘I was supposed to die that day’ the feeling is, I don’t necessarily get the strongest impression of someone seeking someone out and I’m going to take your life. There’s a feeling that something goes wrong. And I don’t know why that feeling of something going wrong, that wasn’t the original plan. It really comes through as a feeling I know this like for my money, it comes across more like a robbery that ends up being a homicide.” Grace says that she is sure he is referring to her fiancé who was murdered. We think as a mugging; not really sure why, we never knew. (Cue sad music.) She then tells Henry what happened. Keith was working construction during the summer, and a coworker who had been fired came back and shot Keith in the face many times. They didn’t really know each other, and no one understood why that happened.

Henry said that Keith “hated the way you found out … a phone call in one place, an individual, in a public place, he’s having me acknowledge a phone call.” Keith says that he is so proud of Grace. “He’s having me bring up finding handwriting after, going through some things (music escalates) he actually wrote you a letter or a note.” Grace says, “That is incredible.” “After he passed away he wanted you to be able to look at this, go back to this, to pull it out and be able to read this, because it has significance to him, a very loving context. Do you have any letters or notes saved of his?” She reaches over and picks up a folded piece of paper and says that she has many letters from him. She keeps them in a wooden box and rarely looks at them because they make her so sad. She said she removed the envelope, so Henry would not see the address on it, then she reads a bit and in it Keith tells her how much he loves her. Henry says, “It was interesting that it got referred to without even having to look at it.” What? Her fiancé wrote her a letter saying he loved her and that matches him saying that he wanted you to have a letter you could read over and over? That is so weak; of course he told he loved her, it was a love letter. I also don’t understand, was Keith writing her letters so that after he died she could read them and remember? Isn’t that what Henry is implying? Keith knew he would be dying soon?

Henry says that Keith has been appearing to her and other family members in dreams, saying “I am here.” Grace tells a story about having one specific dream years later with Keith telling her to “move on.” So the next day Grace calls her current boyfriend and tells him that they need to get married and have a family or she is going to move on. And two-days later her (now husband) showed up at the door with his bags packed, they got married. and she had the twins. This has been the happiest time of her life, and it is all because of that dream where Keith told her to “move on.” (Pretty peaceful piano music.)

Grace says to the camera after that “there were many things he said were impossible for him to have gleaned on the internet or even a computer search, speeches I’ve given, of things that have happened, I find it difficult to believe … I find many of the things he said to be absolutely amazing.”

And that was all. Yawn, I know huh.

Let’s look at what we got, keeping in mind that this was the best of the best of the reading. So, anything that is missing was probably not worth keeping in the show. A “father figure” turns up. “Someone” had congestive heart failure, that person had at least two visits to a hospital or medical facility or it was suggested that he go to a different place. There were complications to the death. She says that was her father. What is missing? Well pretty much everything. What was her dad’s name? Why didn’t he call Grace by her nickname? What about her mother? Didn’t he have something to say to his grandchildren? Grace wanted some kind of evidence, and if he didn’t know he was reading her, then coming up with his name while sitting on that couch would have been pretty awesome. He didn’t even say it was her father; it was his normal “father figure” statement that he gives to most people.

Next, he talks about a robbery and a murder and it being an accident. Well what Grace tells us later about how the ex-coworker walked in and shot Keith in the face over and over does not sound like a robbery. An ex-coworker accidently shows up to his old worksite with a gun and he walks up to Keith and accidently shoots him in the face over and over? That does not sound even sort of right. She doesn't care; she just makes it fit. We all already have heard this story many times, and Henry admitted to being a big fan, so of course he knew her fiancé was shot. Henry didn’t mention he was shot in the face; he didn’t mention it was a coworker; he didn’t mention any names either. Everything is missing that should be here.

Keith wrote a love letter to Grace? What are the odds of that! He even wrote that he loves her? WOW! Keith appears in a dream to her and family? Well yeah that is what happens. He didn’t like that she was told over the phone? That was odd. How did he want her told, by letter? A fax? By finding his body? If Keith is really communicating through Henry to his great love Grace, then I think he would have a lot more to say than “I’m glad I wrote you some letters, and sorry about someone telling you I was murdered over the phone.”

I know I sound callous; these are real emotions and memories of people who have died, and Grace is re-experiencing this grief over again. My heart goes out to her. But, just because Henry seems so sweet and helpful does not mean he is. He is not a counselor or have any training in grief; he has no business reliving these experiences with people. When people die, we have a few things they left but mostly memories. Our brains rewrite these memories each time we remember. So, when Henry tells you that he is speaking with that family person, he is suggesting new memories to you; it changes your memory of that person. I don’t care that he sums it all up with these platitudes and how proud they are of you. No, it is not right.

So, Grace, in the heat of the moment, with the camera crews still there and recording, sums up the reading as accurate; Henry told her things that he could never have known. In that stressful moment, when Grace does not have the ability to pause, rewind, and listen again, she missed all the word play and leading statements—like when Henry said that the love letter from Keith was a validation of what Henry said. And what’s up with the camera crew showing that love letter? Hit pause and you can read the letter; that is pretty sleazy and has no business being public. In that letter (yep I paused it), Keith calls her by a nickname, is apologizing for something he forgot to do, and explains why. You can look yourself if you are really curious, but for some reason Henry/”Keith” didn’t know any of that. All Henry mentioned was that Keith had written a letter or a note to Grace at some point.

I’m giving this reading a big fat zero as far as hits for Henry. Everyone knew about the murdered fiancé, but Henry only got the basics; no names mentioned, no memories, no nothing. Henry assumed that the (never named fiancé) was murdered in a robbery like the rest of her TV audience. That was clearly wrong. And a generic father figure, and heart failure which is the number one cause of death for males: Henry didn’t say it was her father, he said “father figure.” And Henry didn’t say her unnamed father died of heart disease, he asked who had died of it. There was something cut out before this exchange, so he could have been talking for ten minutes before he got to that statement, and it was just edited to appear he got it seconds after. What we really need is a full video of one of his readings; if someone has one I would LOVE to see it.

Let’s end this with the reminder that communication with the dead has never been proven. In fact, we can’t even imagine how that would work. It is more conceivable that humans could teleport from place to place or that we could flap our arms really fast and fly around the room. If that just sounds silly, well then why doesn’t communication with the dead? They are dead.

Communication with the dead is a giant claim, a major skyscraper of a claim. And just like teleportation claims if you are going to try and convince someone, then you need to offer up some pretty big evidence. The burden of proof is on the person making the outrageous claim, not on the skeptic to prove that it did not happen. This is crucial, I could have ended this article a couple sentences in, when I said that Tyler Henry claims to be speaking to the dead associated with Nancy Grace. Okay Tyler, prove it. And that would be the end of the article. But what would be the fun of that?

On the Nancy Grace show with Mark Edward, they showed the #psychicscam hashtag and also listed a phone number to call 1-877-626-2901 which appears to be a spam number. Grace said, “tonight we Blow the Lid Off” You were correct Grace. We blew the lid off your reading and there was nothing in the pot. BUSTED!

If you enjoyed this article, please let Grace know, send a tweet to @NancyGrace @hollywoodmedium using the #psychicscam hashtag. I’m at @SusanGerbic and CSI is @Skeptinquirer please keep us in the loop. If you care to learn more about the work I do, please visit our website. Thanks for reading and pass it along. Thank you Stuart Jones and Rick Thomas for proofreading.

Susan Gerbic

Susan Gerbic's photo

Affectionately called the Wikipediatrician, Susan Gerbic is the cofounder of Monterey County Skeptics and a self-proclaimed skeptical junkie. Susan is also founder of the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (GSoW) project. She is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and writes for her column, Guerilla Skepticism, often. You can contact her through her website.