Ed Driscoll


NEXT THING YOU’LL TELL ME IS THAT SHE’S NOT PSYCHIC…The Miami Herald says that “Miss Cleo, the Jamaican shaman and spokeswoman for a psychic hot line, was born in California, according to her birth certificate.” I think somebody should investigate her hotline for a monoply status. Their ads are all over DirecTV, and lots of cable channels.

And yes, they’re silly as all get-out, and I’m sure innocent people believe in Miss Cleo’s psychic powers. But Reason had a good article about Miss Cleo, which said:

The state attorney general’s office has subpoenaed Miss Cleo’s birth certificate and other records in an effort to show whom she works for and where she has lived. The idea seems to be that Miss Cleo-a.k.a. Youree Harris, a 39-year-old Broward County resident-cannot document her claims of psychic powers and hence is guilty of fraud.

But that charge assumes Miss Cleo’s customers really believe she’s psychic. Surely at least some of them do not, viewing a Miss Cleo “reading” as no more than a lark.

The state appears to be on more solid ground regarding the strong-arm collection tactics of Miss Cleo’s firm, accused of harassing people who don’t even owe it money. Such tactics are particularly effective against less educated, lower-income segments of society.