I’m sure I’m not the only person who read the crooked-psychic series in the Times recently and asked himself, What would an uncrooked psychic be? The story, in case you missed it, involves a thirty-two-year-old man from Brooklyn with love problems, who engaged the services of a psychic referred to as Ms. Delmaro. Two years of treatment included things like having the psychic build a gold bridge for an evil spirit to cross over into the other realm. By the end, the man from Brooklyn had coughed up $713,975—basically everything he had. “This caused me to start thinking,” he told the police, “that Delmaro wasn’t everything she was purporting to be.
”No kidding. But was there any point at which Ms. Delmaro’s services were legit? Is the distinction between crooked and uncrooked psychics meant to turn on the eye-poppingness of the sums involved? If I told you I was going to build a gold bridge to the other realm and charged you fifty bucks, would that not constitute fraud? There are no bridges to the other realm. If you charge a man to build him one, you’re taking money under false pretenses.