“Psychics” in the Casey Anthony Murder Case

July 11, 2011

In the travesty of justice that was the Casey Anthony Murder trial in Orlando, two things may have escaped the reader’s notice. The first is that the O.J. Simpson jury must have moved with O.J. to Florida and made themselves available to serve at the Anthony trial. The second concerns the involvement of “psychics.” Did, in fact, a “psychic” divine the location of the remains of little Caylee Anthony, who was long sought after she went missing from her Orlando, Florida, home in the summer of 2008?

Private investigators working for the Anthony family—whose daughter Casey, Caylee’s mother, was unsuccessfully prosecuted for murdering her child—acted on a tip from a Virginia “psychic.” The alleged clairvoyant, Ginette Lucas, was introduced to the PIs, Dominik Casey and Tim Hoover, by Casey Anthony’s mother, Cindy Anthony, after she received a tip from Lucas. The PIs searched the wooded site the psychic directed them to, but had no success, even thought they were in immediate cell-phone contact with her. However, the child’s skeletonized body was found in the vicinity a month later.

Given the discovery, some have credited the psychic with indeed having special powers, while others have suspected Anthony’s parents Cindy and George of using the psychic as a conduit to reveal the location which they supposedly already knew. There is in fact another possibility.

The wooded area is simply the nearest such hiding place to the Anthony home. Among the techniques used by phony psychics, and one which I have written about before (Adventures in Paranormal Investigation, 2007, p. 111), is to study maps of the area where someone has gone missing and pick the most obvious possibility consistent with known information. In fact, Ginette Matacia Lucas (along with her father, Louis Matacia) is known to me as a map dowser—one who uses a pendulum to supposedly divine the location of water, treasure, missing persons, etc., from maps. Lucas acknowledges studying maps of the area around the Anthony home (https://Kreuzer33.wordpress.com . . .). Indeed, PI Dominick Casey stated that he had sent Lucas a copy of a Google Earth map. (See Charisse Van Horn, Tampa Crime Examiner, June 30, 2011.) (The only surprise is that—as in the Anthony case—prior searching by authorities and volunteers has not always been immediately successful in locating a body that was actually quite close to the place from which the person went missing.)

Given this information, therefore, although defense attorney Jose Baez emphasized that the area the PIs searched was quite specific given Orlando’s “101 square miles,” the correct way of looking at the location is to consider it the obvious square one in any search. Besides, noted legal analyst Mike Brooks (speaking on a CNN Headline News Special Report of July 2, 2011) pointed out that the psychic was “way off the mark” anyway, that the divined site was “way down the road” (i.e., far down Suburban Drive) from the actual place where the remains were subsequently discovered by meter reader Roy Kronk. (Kronk had come upon what he thought might be the remains months earlier, while stopping to relieve himself, and he had made repeated attempts to get authorities to check out the site. Finally, he went there on August 11, 2008, and, inspecting closely, identified a child’s skull.)

Moreover, Ginette Lucas’ psychic ability has been called into question by a former client. The woman stated that twenty years ago she paid Lucas about $5,000 for information that proved completely useless. “She makes you feel like you’re her best friend,” said Mary Thweatt, “until the money runs out.” (See “Psychic’s Credibility Questioned Amid Claims She Talked with P.I.” online at https://www.wftv.com/print/18482075/detail.html; accessed July 6, 2011.)

Interestingly, another “psychic,” Gale St. John, leader of a group called “Body Hunters,” also claimed to have gone to the site. She supposedly had a “vision” of Caylee’s remains but—just in case—was accompanied by cadaver dogs! Even so, actually on site, she was unable to zero in on the remains. (St. John appeared on “Issues with Jane Valez-Mitchell,” CNN Headline News, July 3, 2011.) Had St. John too, simply relied on one of the oldest “psychic” tricks in the book, calling attention to what was obviously the closest secluded place to the home of the missing child? Psychics typically make lots of guesses, later touting anything that could be construed as a success and rationalizing away any failures. (For more, see my Psychic Sleuths, 1994.)