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Psychic School

The Good Word

Karen Stollznow

June 23, 2011

Teaching Psychics to Become Psychic Detectives

Psychic medium Nancy Bradley is “one of the foremost leaders in the world of the paranormal today,” “the top psychic, healer and empowerment coach in the world,” and the “Celebrities Psychic” [sic]…if she does say so herself.1

Quite like John Edward, Nancy began her career as a dancer, but soon realized that her true calling was to become a professional psychic. Nowadays, Nancy reports that she is booked three months in advance and has a crew of loyal clients. Her testimonials are impressive; here's what Jane G. says about Nancy:

Jennifer B. says that Nancy is:

Nancy's motto is “Murder, Mayhem, Ghosts and Live TV. All in a day's work!” She is the author of several vanity press books, including Truth in Healing, Be a Ghost Buster and The World According to Nancy Bradley. She is a star of local television and radio, but not of Ghost Girls, her ghost hunting show that never made it to air.

Psychic Development at the Truth Center

Every Friday, Nancy teaches “psychic development” classes at her home in Placerville, California. This is the “Truth Center…where only truth in psychic work is accepted.” The courses treat a broad range of paranormal topics, including “Nancy Talks to Deceased Celebrities,” “Bringing your Valentine to You,” and “Monsters Among Us—Real Creatures That Still Walk the Earth.”

Years ago, I attended a lesson on how to become a psychic detective: “Communicating with Murder Victims—Help Soothe and Find their Bodies.” Nancy claims that four million people receive her newsletters about these courses, but only about twenty fans attended this class. I was in a room full of psychics, from novices to seasoned psychics, all in various stages of their spiritual growth. But these courses are for everyone; Nancy assured us that “everyone has psychic abilities!”

“How many of you think you're ready for communicating with those who've been murdered?” she asked. Only five people raised their hands. “Yes, it is a tough job,” Nancy murmured sagely. “Not everyone wants to do this painful work, but we are all capable of learning how to do it.”

Nancy implored us to be patient in acquiring the necessary skills: “You need to trust the self, to trust your instincts and learn the work in baby steps. This is a long-term goal and you need to develop the tools for this gift.” However, “until you're an expert, don't bother the police.” Learners should experiment first by monitoring current cases and testing their abilities to predict clues and the location of the subject. Consistency is vital. One must be 100 percent accurate in solving eight separate cases before one has achieved “expert status,” like Nancy, who claims to have performed psychic detective work for NASA, the FBI, the CIA, and the Coast Guard.

You must be able to prove to your psychic teacher, and to yourself, that you are capable of this work before you ever approach the authorities to offer your services. “DO NOT force it to happen!” Nancy said. “Put yourself in the shoes of the family—don't offer false hope and faulty leads.”

Nancy will only work for the police if she is invited to do so. Sometimes the deceased won't wait and come to her, such as the man who was killed in a car accident outside Nancy's home and proceeded to walk straight into her office! However, Nancy refuses to participate in cases where other psychics have previously worked. They have left their psychic scent behind, and this “muddies the waters, leading to dead ends.” Furthermore, Nancy won't provide her psychic services to family and friends because they become “too emotional and this is harder to read.” Presumably, murder victims are less emotional.

Nancy never charges for finding the murdered; this is her “gift of love.” However, a reading is no gift: $175 for a scheduled telephone reading and $250 for urgent readings. For those on a budget, a one-question mini-reading comes at a mere $75. An Amazing Energy Healing session costs $125 and a Quick Energy Healing costs $35 for a fifteen- minute session. A one-on-one psychic development class costs $850, while her group classes cost $35 per session.

Nancy reports that the police are bombarded with bogus leads from “phony psychics. The government estimates that for every one true psychic there are 50 000 shonky psychics.” Nancy's Truth Center “legitimizes psychic work,” because “currently, anyone can put out a shingle and call themselves a psychic.” But surely there can't be any phony psychics, when, by Nancy's own admission, we are all psychic? As Nancy's brochure contradicts, “Does your PSYCHIC insist they were BORN PSYCHIC? Real Psychics know that EVERYONE is born Psychic.”3

“How to Communicate with Murder Victims”

Nancy told us that when we begin to contact a murder victim, we first need to establish whether the individual is indeed deceased, or merely missing. Putting her hand to her chest, Nancy explained that we know if the person is dead or alive, “by the way your heart feels.” Is there a heartbeat or not? If there is a heartbeat there is some urgency to the task, as “most murders occur within five hours of the kidnapping.” The victim's life is in jeopardy; he or she could be “held for ransom, or the victim of a sexual crime or torture.”

How do we detect the subject's heartbeat (or lack thereof)? Acquire a photo of the person. Look into his or her eyes. Connect with the person's heartbeat. You will feel a “pulling energy” and your heart will start to race. Then, “get rid of your heartbeat.” This is achieved by calming your heartbeat, and then aligning your chakras. Nancy demonstrated this act, curling her hands into fists, placing one fist on her head and then raising it in a straight line before repeating the act with the other hand. It looked as though she was pulling an invisible rope out of her head. After aligning your head chakra, stretch your arms above your head and in a graceful motion of vertical breaststroke, sweep your arms downwards into a crucifixion-like pose. With your palms splayed outwards, you have aligned your heart chakra. “Can you feel that? No heartbeat!” Nancy enthused, as awed gasps filled the room.

You have now “lost your heartbeat.” When you lower your hands, you can then tune into the body of the victim. Check yourself for a pulse. If you have a pulse, you have picked up the heartbeat of the person, and they are still alive! If it is slow, the person may be drugged. “If there is no heartbeat you can assume the person is dead.”

If you don't have a photograph, rely on information such as the appearance, gender or age of the person, or the last place the person was seen. “Don't go off what they were wearing; they might be naked now, or have changed clothes.” Psychometry, reading a personal object owned by the subject, “is a great tool for beginners.” Nancy claims she once located a murdered child after reading a “dirty diaper.”

When you start the reading, you will enter into a trance, a “state of suspended animation. It's like absent-mindedness or being on auto-pilot.” Now you have tuned into the victim. “Hug them. Reach out for them and take their hand. This puts them at ease and creates an energy cord. You have touched them because, astrally, you are there.” Comfort the person and tell them, “It's okay. Nothing more bad can happen to you now.” Then, most victims will ask the heart-wrenching question, “Am I dead?” Often they won't know that they have passed. “Don't lie to the dead!” urged Nancy. “Always tell them the truth. Tell them they're dead!”

The energy cord feels “like a spider web. It's all gooey and warm and comes out of your fingers.” Don't let go of it! “Once I held the cord for three days. Showering, driving, sleeping, I never let go.” To ensure her grip is tight, Nancy often wraps the cord around her neck, or her waist.

Now, “take yourself astrally to the person.” This is when your “etheric body” travels to a desired location, Nancy explained, “on a plane, train, through the woods…whatever it takes. I astral travel all the time. I astrally visit my cousin in New York and he cries 'Get outta here!'” It is a safe process for you to travel to the victim astrally. “Your soul won't stay if you are in danger,” explained Nancy; “the cord will shrivel up. You are a vessel for God, and God won't hurt his vessel.”

Follow the cord to the victim. Chat with him or her as you go along. Ask for information; a name, age, details of the murder. Knowledge thickens the cord and strengthens your connection to the victim. Occasionally, the cord will wobble and waver. Beware. This is “black energy, the negative energy of a perpetrator.” Perhaps the perpetrator has returned to “view his handiwork.” Nancy once worked on the case of a murdered female child and felt strong waves through the cord: “the murderer kept bringing his classmates along to see the body.” If you can, maintain your grip on the cord, “but if it gets too much for you, just drop the cord.”

Nancy says that working with children is easier than with adults. “Kids know the other side. They are closer to the other side than to Earth. Until a child is 7-8 years of age they are still connected to the etheric and anxious to go home.” In contrast, adults are angry, bitter and vengeful. “As soon as they see me they start to whine and shout. All they want is revenge for their death.” Working with children may be easier, but it requires tact, and patience. “Go to the child. Smile, so that the child knows you're good. Talk softly, gently, evenly. Sit next to them. Allow them to talk, to cry, but don't push them. Their memories will be painful, and difficult for them to understand. Cuddle them and don't leave them alone.” Sometimes a child will ask, “Can I see Mommy?” Tell them that they need to travel over to the other side to “prepare a special place so that Mommy can be with them too one day.” Also a pet psychic, Nancy admitted that animal murders caused her the most pain. “Animals are more pure than humans,” she explained.

The dead body is a perfect one. “At the minute of death the body is made whole again. If the person was beheaded, they will have their head back again. If they are born without an arm, they will have an arm upon death.” They will also have a “fairy dust appearance. They'll be all sparkly. This is because they are changing from breathing to the etheric. They don't need to breathe anymore.”

Soon a deceased loved one will appear to take the person on a journey to the other side. “For children, Grandma or Grandpa usually appears. There is nearly always someone, a guide, waiting to collect you on the other side. Only in the rare case of a few homeless people have I not seen a relative or friend waiting for the deceased.”

Guides are eager to see their loved ones and often impatient to escort them to the other side. “But don't let them transition until you have all of the information you need. Your job is to put the perpetrator behind bars.” Explain to the anxious guides that you are there to solve the murder, and that this is a gift for the family. Tell them to “back off” until you've gathered the details of the murder.

The victim should not be “released from life” until they have responded to the following survey:

Then ask the victim for a special word or image to be repeated to their loved ones still on Earth. “You don't know how comforting and emotional it is for the family to receive a message from the victim. It gives them peace of mind and proof that someone has spoken to them.” The psychic will receive all kinds of verbal, visual and cognitive messages during the communication. Remember, “Thought travels faster than sound or light.”

“You might 'see' the crime scene, or colors surrounding the deceased. Blue indicates that the body is in water. Brown indicates that the body is on land, so does green. Turquoise or aquamarine tells us that the body is near water, or on the water's edge.” Tip: if the scene is bloody with no body it's a good bet that the scene was staged. Sometimes the victim isn't really dead at all, but doesn't want to be found for personal or financial reasons. Sometimes the deceased don't want to be found either, if they've been involved in something sinister or shameful. “One young girl was involved in porn and didn't want her family to know the circumstances surrounding her death.”

During this turbulent time between Earth and the Other Side, between life and death itself, the deceased will be in limbo. “The life cord doesn't leave for three to five days,” Nancy explained. “Notice that when someone dies it doesn't hit us for the first few days? We start to grieve properly when the life cord disappears.” The life cord is part of the chakra system. It grows from our navel to the center of the Earth, connecting us to this plane until death. For this reason, never cremate the deceased for at least three to five days after death. “Cremation before this time doesn't hurt but it will cause the person to jolt because they are still connected to the Earth,” Nancy shivered to demonstrate the deceased's reaction to premature cremation.

Death is generally predestined, including murder. Murders are planned. They are purposeful. Sad, yet meant to be. In a circular argument Nancy claims that “such a tragedy leads the family to start up a support group, or set up a charity in the name of the victim.” However, suicides are unplanned. “If you suicide your soul group isn't prepared. You've taken yourself out prematurely.”

Most of us will be recognised by a soul group when we die. The murdered will be welcomed, but not the murderer. “Murderers have no souls. As a result, they have no soul group.”

In the world according to Nancy, this is how psychics can “find missing murder victims, soothe their distress and help their transition to the afterlife.”

A Current Case

To test our psychic skills, Nancy led a reading of a current case. She wasn't involved in this one, “as only phony psychics talk about their cases and reveal information to the media. [But she can brag about supposedly working for NASA, the FBI, the CIA and the Coast Guard!] Psychic detective work is an act of love, not to be abused.” If it is abused, it is lost. Apparently, psychic Alison DuBois has “squelched her gift by exploiting it. It's a God-given trust.” Ironically, Nancy's “Phony Psychics” handout announces:

Does your Psychic badmouth other Psychics, ESPECIALLY accomplished, famous or well-known PROVEN PSYCHICS? Beware of the jealousy factor. This is a serious giveaway for a phony Psychic, a charlatan, and a scammer. These “so called” Psychics are envious of the real thing and are running scared because their limited or non-existent gift cannot compete with REAL PSYCHICS…RUN!!!!!

Nancy raised the case of missing person Stacy Peterson. With reference to the 2002 Laci Peterson murder case she said, “If my name was Peterson, I'd be changing it! First Laci, then Stacy!” Nancy's knowledge about the case was inaccurate. “Stacy disappeared in Minnesota….” (This was incorrect; she disappeared in Illinois.) “Stacy's 23 years of age.” (Wrong again; she was 22 at the time.) “She's been missing since early November.” (Wrong yet again, she was last seen on October 28, 2007.)

“So…is Stacy alive or dead? Who thinks she's dead?” Nancy asked flippantly. Most hands were raised. “Who thinks she's alive?” A few hands went up gingerly for dissenting. I was conspicuous for not responding to the questions, and Nancy zoomed in on me. “What do you think, honey? Go by your intuition and you'll never be wrong.” I paused. “I just don't know enough about the case to guess,” I replied. “Oh. You don't know the details of the case. Okay then.” This seemed like an admission that psychic detective work is merely guesswork, influenced by media coverage of a case. “For those who said she's dead, you're correct,” praised Nancy.

Throughout the discussion, the group's superficial analyses were based in stereotyping and bias, and centered on the victim's 53-year-old husband, former police officer Drew Peterson. Drew was the main suspect, especially in the trial by media. The psychics' comments included: “Her husband looks like a bully”; “He's a misogynist”; “He's a wife beater”; “He is cold and unfeeling”; “He was jealous of her youth and accused her of cheating”; “He did away with his previous wife too”; “He's overpowering her”; and “She's crying for help and he loves the sense of control he has over her.” Led by Nancy, the group mutually concluded that Stacy's body would be found near water within ten days to two weeks.

This class was conducted on 29th November, 2007. Sadly, Stacy is still missing and her body has not been found.4

School's Out

Nancy teaches her own esoteric beliefs that are not testable, but her psychic detective readings can be examined for hits and misses; although these are “confidential.” Refusing to reveal her alleged police work affords her protection from any failures. However, if her conclusions about the Stacy Peterson case are an indication, her psychic abilities are unconvincing.

This article has been in Nancy's own words; so, to finish in her own words:



1. Nancy Bradley. Accessed 06/07/2011.

2. Nancy Bradley — Celebrity Psychic. Handout.

3. Nancy Bradley. Phony Psychics. Handout.

4. Find Stacy Peterson. Accessed 06/09/2011.

5. Nancy Bradley. Phony Psychics. Handout.

Karen Stollznow

Karen Stollznow's photo

Karen Stollznow is an author and skeptical investigator with a doctorate in linguistics and a background in history and anthropology. She is an associate researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and a director of the San Francisco Bay Area Skeptics. A prolific skeptical writer for many sites and publications, she is the “Good Word” Web columnist for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the “Bad Language” columnist for Skeptic magazine, a frequent contributor to Skeptical Inquirer, and managing editor of CSI’s Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice. Dr. Stollznow is a host of the Monster Talk podcast and writer for the Skepbitch and Skepchick blogs, as well as for the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Swift. She can be reached via email at kstollznow[at]