A look at the claims, predictions and behavior of a media "psychic".

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Email: "My Reading With Sylvia's Son Chris"

One woman's account of her phone reading with Christopher Dufresne.

Published: Mar 19, 2008
Written by: Robert S. Lancaster

"Not one thing he said was or is true. He couldn't even come up with the same thing as his mother. And she couldn't answer one questions the same when asked twice."

- Email author

Background

I have recently received several emails from people highly dissatisfied with phone readings they have had with Christopher Dufresne, Sylvia Browne's son.

Although this site focuses on Browne herself, I feel that readings with her son are also relevant to the discussion of whether or not Browne is a "real psychic", for at least two reasons:

1. He works for his mother's corporation, and

2. He is endorsed on her web site as "the only other psychic recommended by Sylvia."

The author of this email also received some readings from Browne herself which make her experience even more relevant.

The Email

Here, with the author's permission, is that email, with my occasional comments inserted. All emphasis mine.

And, as usual, this email is simply one person's account of their experience.

Subject: My reading with Sylvia's son Chris
From: [name] <[email address]>
Date: Thu, Jan 03, 2008 9:48 pm
To: [email address]

Hello Mr. Lancaster,

I stumbled on your web site quite some time ago and have been reading the articles every now and then. I just read the article from the former minister and felt I needed to share my story.

A few years ago, I was at a low point in my life when I decided to purchase one of Sylvia's books - The Book of Angels. I'm not a reader, but I finished this book in record time. I was hooked. I knew that she did personal readings but really didn't give it a thought because of the cost - $700 for just 20-30 minutes! This was out of the question since finances were one of the issues I was struggling with. Over time, I purchased probably 8-10 of her books, of which I'm considering selling on e-bay.

A couple years later I was feeling lost and I really wanted some answers and thought that a reading from Sylvia would help me. I decided that I would apply for a credit card just to be able to purchase a reading. Because of the waiting list for Sylvia (2+ years) I settled for a reading with her son, Chris, for $450. After all, her web site claimed he was just as good as she was. I called in July of 2006 and was told there was a four month waiting list. I was asked to give my credit card and was told it would be charged for the full amount, but I wouldn't be contacted for my reading until October. I agreed, and waited patiently.

I have been told a number of times that when a credit card is used to pay for a phone reading, Browne's people charge the card far in advance of the actual reading.

One possible reason for this: some credit cards have a dispute/refund policy which states that a charge must be disputed within a certain number of days (typically thirty days) from the date the amount is charged to the card, not the date the goods or service is received. So, if the actual reading does not occur until after that "grace period" is over (as appears to be the case here), the customer obviously cannot dispute the charge with the credit card company, putting them at the mercy of the merchant should there be a dispute or a request for a refund.

And, as has been shown in the article Email: A Request For a Refund, the refund procedure at Sylvia Browne Corporation is lengthy and involved, apparently in an effort to discourage dissatisfied customers from pursuing refunds.

Back to the email:

October 2006 finally came and I received a call from Sylvia's office to set up a day and time for my reading with Chris. I was given some time frames to choose from - 7am-9am, 9am-11am etc. It couldn't be an exact time because it would depend on whether or not he was able to reach the person before me. I picked a time and was told to wait by my phone for his call. I took the day off of work to have this reading since he's only available during the week. When the day came I waited, and waited, and waited. I started getting mad thinking I paid $450 and no one was going to call. Finally, 5 minutes before the end of my two hour window the phone rang. It was a woman from Sylvia's office. She explained that I'd have to reschedule my reading as Chris had an emergency at home, something about a water leak. Needless to say I was very dissapointed, having taken the whole day off of work and waiting by the phone. I rescheduled anyway since they already had my $450. I would wait two weeks. As my day was once again approaching, I came home to find a message on my machine that Chris would not be available to do my reading on the scheduled day and would, once again, need to reschedule. Third time is a charm. The day was finally here. I will now describe how my reading went and what Chris told me.

Most if not all of the emails I receive about phone readings with Christopher Dufresne, as well as many of those I receive regarding readings with Sylvia Browne, mention the reading being rescheduled multiple times before it finally occurs.

In the case of readings paid for by credit card, this makes even more certain that any dispute "grace period" has long since expired.

The email continues:

First of all, we could barely hear each other, so the first few minutes of my reading was of us trying just to hear each other. He then asked me if I wanted to ask specific questions, or if I wanted him to just tell me what he saw. Even though I had carefully written down questions I wanted to ask I was already skeptical just from the way he was talking. He kept calling me "dear". Kind of creepy. Anyway, I asked him to just tell me what he saw. I didn't want to lead him in any way.

He first started with my health. He said to have my thyroid checked, that there was something going on there. Next, he said I needed to go to the dentist because I was going to have a problem with a tooth. He then said I was having problems with my bowels and that I might be lactose intolerant and I should stay away from dairy.

1. I've since had my thyroid checked. Completely normal.

2. I've been to the dentist several times since the reading. The hygienist said I have the most perfect teeth and wanted to use me as an example to show other patients how to brush!

3. I am not lactose intolerant.

All three of these warnings - thyroid, tooth problems and lactose intolerance - are evidently favorites of both Dufresne and Browne, and are frequently mentioned during phone readings.

Is this because these conditions are common? Or is it because Browne and Dufresne have a limited repertoire of predictions from which they piece together their medical "readings?" The fact that all three of these were evidently incorrect in this woman's case (and in many others who have written to me about their readings) leads me to believe that it is the latter.

Next he said that someone was going to call me in the next 90 minutes. My phone never rang.

I then asked about meeting someone and having a relationship. I need to say here that I called in to Sylvia's radio show four months earlier, July of 2006, and actually got through. I simply asked her if I would re-marry and when would I meet him and what his name is. She told me March of 2007 I would meet a man named Larry and marry him. I've never met a Larry. So, I asked Chris what he saw. A man with auburn hair, hazel eyes, in construction, named Steve. I would't meet him for two years. Since it hasn't been two years yet, we'll see. But when I told him what his mother said, he just said he didn't know what his mother was seeing and that they don't always see the same thing. What?? How could they not see the same thing? I also need to say here that when March 2007 came and went and I met no Larry, I was able to miraculously get through again to Sylvia on her radio show. I wanted to ask her the same question and see what her response was. This time she told me I would meet Dan in December 2007. A man with a runners build. It's January 2008 and I met no Dan. So far there is Larry, Steve and Dan. Which one is it??

I have been told that, for some time now, Browne's policy is to only allow one "official" ($750) phone reading per customer, per lifetime. Calls to her radio show apparently fall outside of this limitation.

While the official reason for this policy is to allow more people to "have a turn," I have been told by ex-ministers that the policy was put into place after many people complained that Browne's readings for them would change with each reading: they would be told different names for their "spirit guides," given different numbers of past lives they had supposedly had, different names for their future spouse, etc.

Back to the email:

I asked some other questions like if my sister was ever going to have a baby. He said in 4 to 5 years she would have a boy. My sister is 38 and has never really had a desire to be a mom and because of some health issues she and her husband have decided not to have a child. So, unless it happens by accident, it's not happening.

The last thing I asked was about my biological father. I haven't spoken to him since 2004. His health wasn't great so I wanted to know if he was still alive. This was the real shocker. He started telling me that the person that I knew as my father may not be my biological father. When I asked him what he meant he referred to the whole "mom and the milk man" story. I was stunned. He actually told me I should talk to my mom about it. Ask my mom if she slept with the milk man and if he's my real father? I said you've got to be kidding! I told him that I look just like my dad! He then started mumbling something about how we could all have similar features and look like people were not realted to. Can you believe that!!

That was the end of my reading. He said that my time was up and "God Bless You Dear." I was so completely disappointed. I was angry that I had just wasted $450. That was all I could think about. Not one thing he said was or is true. He couldn't even come up with the same thing as his mother. And she couldn't answer one questions the same when asked twice. I received the tape of my reading in the mail. I could barely listen to it as I felt so stupid.

I thought of calling to get a refund, but I had done this myself. I felt that losing $450 was my own punishment for being so naive. I lost a days work, $450, and got absolutely nothing.

Mr. Lancaster, I give you my permission to use my story on your sight. I hope people will read it and think twice before getting a reading from Sylvia or her son.

Happy New Year

Regards,

[initials]

Analysis

I have listened to enough audio tapes of Dufresne's phone readings to know this one is fairly typical: generic health advice (frequently the same), followed by non-verifiable predictions for the future.

At a cost of $450 (recently raised to $500).

I will leave it to the reader to decide what, if anything, this says about Dufresne's claimed "psychic ability," and, in turn, what it says about Browne, who recommends her son.

In fact, on Browne's web site, it says:

"So if Sylvia is the best psychic around - then Chris is the second best - which is a very good choice."

Actually, from Sylvia Browne's track record, I would say that she is no more accurate than her son seems to be here.

Conclusion

My thanks to this woman for sharing her story with me, and for allowing me to place it here on the site.

Related Links

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