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« Final Call for Skeptical Writing The RantsMedium: The Dubious Claims of Allison DuBois - Part IV »

Medium: The Dubious Claims of Allison DuBois - Part III
2005.03.16 (Wed) 00:00
Allison's Track Record Assisting Law Enforcement:
"As usual, should you or any member of your I.M. Force be captured or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your existence. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Jim."
— Mission briefing from Mission: Impossible
DuBois, Texas Ranger! In our previous Rant, we discussed the perceived problems with Dr. Gary Schwartz's theories, methods, and conclusions surrounding the tests which medium Allison DuBois leans on for validation. Today, we'll discuss Allison's claims that she has assisted various law enforcement agencies on murder and missing person cases.

Before we get into this, it is important to note that these claims actually mean very little. Even taken as true, the fact that a psychic is used by law enforcement agencies is not by any stretch "proof" of their powers. In the same way psychics might seem to be real to civilians, they can also dupe law officers. So, if Allison's claims along these lines are true, and she has been contacted and utilized by law enforcement agencies, it only points to the credulity of the decision makers within those agencies, and not to any genuine "medium" abilities on Allison's part.

That said, Allison's big claim to fame, which she maintains started her career as a medium, was her work with the Texas Rangers. We've seen mention of this in numerous articles around the internet, as well as in statements attributed directly to Allison herself. In the January 17 issue of Haunted Times, the following statements appeared in the introduction to an interview with Allison:

[Allison] sent details about crimes she could not possibly have known to law enforcement agencies around the country. ... Uncomfortably, The Texas Rangers contacted Allison shortly after receiving her information and asked her to come to Texas to assist them with a missing persons investigation.

In the January 3, 2005 edition of Science Fiction Weekly, Allison again refers to this incident, and affirms that it happened:

How much of Medium is real?

Dubois: The pilot episode was very accurate to my life. ... The Texas Rangers was the first case that I worked. So that was very accurate, and there was a child that disappeared. They did change some things. The officer that had the heart problem, that happened. And Hurricane Allison, that happened. Things like that. The things you would think couldn't be true happened.

That's a powerful testimony; and one easily fact checked. We decided to go straight to the source on this claim, so we contacted the Texas Rangers via email, citing the above statements. We received the following reply within three business days, from Lisa Block of the Texas Department of Public Safety's Public Information Office:

According to Texas Ranger senior management, the Rangers have not used psychics, including Ms. DuBois.

Pretty straightforward. So, the event upon which Allison based her life as a medium — the case upon which the first episode of Medium is modeled — is denied by the very people she supposedly helped. We also checked up on her claims concerning her work with the Glendale Arizona Police Department. We received no reply from their Public Information Office, but we did find the following account in a Skeptical Inquirer article (found via Live Science) which included a reply from them stating:

Glendale police spokesman Michael Pena stated that the detective who handles missing persons cases "does not recall using Dubois at all in [one specific] case, or in any other cases."

In the spirit of fairness, we wrote to Allison to ask for her comments on both statements attributed to her, and the comments issued by the Texas Rangers and Glendale Police Department. Her emailed response was:

You have been misinformed by those agencies.

What can we glean from this brief reply? For one thing, it tells us that Allison does affirm that she worked with the Texas Rangers and the Glendale Police Department since she didn't inform us that we had been misinformed as to her own statements. So she is sticking to her stories.

We have to wonder, though: if she really did provide such an invaluable service to these agencies, then why would they flatly deny using her services? Sure, they could be embarrassed that they turned to psychic assistance, but again, if her assistance really was as effective and beneficial as she claims it was in cracking the cases, we can't really understand the hesitation to acknowledge her contributions. We also wonder why Allison hasn't taken any steps to set the record straight given her assertion that these agencies are misinforming the public about her record. In effect, they are publicly stating that Allison is lying about her involvement with them, which could have legal ramifications if Allison has in fact worked with them. Given that such accusations, if untrue, would be harmful to Allison's livelihood, we would think she would have a solid litigious leg to stand on. Yet she does nothing. Perhaps Allison operates like the Impossible Mission Force, and being interviewed is tantamount to capture...or perhaps, she never worked with these agencies after all. We may never know the truth.

By the looks of things, it's possible that some other groups may doubt the veracity of Allison's claims, as evidenced by the fact that they seem to be shying away from the specific details of her accounts. According to the Skeptical Inquirer story cited above (this time linked via PR Web), it seems that NBC may have done the same research that we did. As recently as February 1, 2005, the NBC web site for Medium is said to have stated the following:

The show's Web site (http://www.nbc.com/Medium/) claims that "DuBois has consulted on a variety of murders or missing-persons cases while working with various law-enforcement agencies including the Glendale Arizona Police Department, the Texas Rangers, and a County Attorney's Office in the Homicide Bureau."

As of March, 2005, it no longer reads that way. Instead, if we visit that site today we see this generic reference:

Allison donates her time to missing/murdered persons and criminal cases for agencies across the country. She is contacted by law enforcement and families to help find missing and murdered people. Allison also assists in jury selection for District Attorney's Offices. Each of these is a means for her to give back to the world for being so blessed.

Perhaps NBC didn't want to perpetuate a claim that has been categorically denied by the law enforcement agencies in question, which makes it at best a difference of opinion, and at worst an outright fabrication. Of course, that doesn't stop Allison from continuing to make this claim again and again.

Speaking of suspect claims, here's one surrounding Allison's motivation for helping law enforcement, per the Science Fiction Weekly article:

Dubois: ... I want to make it clear. When I'm a jury consultant or when I profile somebody, I have never accepted payment for it, because that's how I give back, in that aspect of what I do. So I just want to put that out there, that I'm not financially gaining or getting any publicity from it, nor do I want it. I do it because it's the right thing to do, and I'm comfortable with that.

We'll accept that she isn't being financially compensated by any law enforcement agencies, but the notion that she's not getting any publicity from working with them is ludicrous. In point of fact, whether she has or has not worked with the Texas Rangers, just about every article we read about her mentions that example, and the first episode of Medium revolves around that supposed case. In addition, we suspect that any consumers who actually have used Allison may be basing their decision to use her at least in part on the publicity she has received from these claims, and we're pretty sure that her position as a consultant on Medium is owed to this same publicity. We also imagine that her private reading business has benefited from the positive impact of these media boons, all a result of her claims to have helped the police.

Clearly, Allison is getting lots of beneficial publicity from her claims of helping the police — saying otherwise is simply absurd. The problem is that the only person who attests to the truth of Allison's claims is Allison herself, and the agencies she claims to have helped have disavowed any knowledge of her assistance.

— • —

In tomorrow's installment, we'll see what Allison herself says about the accuracy of her ability to communicate with the dead, and we'll see if she has more empirical evidence of those claims than she does for the ones we discussed today. Stay tuned!

The Two Percent Company's Allison DuBois Week:
% Monday: An Introduction to Allison DuBois
% Tuesday: Dr. Gary Schwartz's Research
% Wednesday: Allison's Track Record Assisting Law Enforcement (this Rant)
% Thursday: The Success Rate of Allison's Powers
% Friday: Allison's Answers to Skeptics

— • —

Disclaimer: Throughout our posts, we are presenting statements and opinions of various third parties. The Two Percent Company makes no claims as to the accuracy of the statements of any third parties. In addition, any statements attributed to the Two Percent Company are strictly our opinion, and are not meant to be statements of absolute fact.



Allison DuBois: Debunked! (2%Co)

— • —
[  Filed under: % Allison DuBois Week  % Bullshit  % Two Percent Toons  ]

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.twopercentco.com/rants/tpc-trkbk.cgi/86

Comments (13)

% Trackback » 2005.03.16 (Wed) 18:14
"Alison DuBois Week At Two Percent Company" from Unscrewing The Inscrutable

Back in January I wrote about the television show "Medium" and it's real-life inspiration, super-duper crime-fighting "research medium" Alison DuBois (UTI, Jan 8, 2005 - "I Like My Medium Well Done").Starting last Monday, UTI friends The Two Percent C... [More]


Saint Nate, 2005.03.16 (Wed) 23:52 [Link] »

Great series.Dubois has flown under the skeptical radar for too long, and it's refreshing to see her claims examined. I look forward to reading the rest.



% Trackback » 2005.03.18 (Fri) 10:29
"Alison DuBois Week At Two Percent Company" from Unscrewing The Inscrutable

Back in January I wrote about the television show "Medium" and it's real-life inspiration, super-duper crime-fighting "research medium" Alison DuBois (UTI, Jan 8, 2005 - "I Like My Medium Well Done").Starting last Monday, UTI friends The Two Percent C... [More]


% Trackback » 2005.03.29 (Tue) 21:00
"Tolerance is out the Window" from Michael's Blog

A while ago I posted an article on Why I'm an Atheist and a large part of the post was dedicated to promoting... [More]


Susan, 2005.04.26 (Tue) 19:20 [Link] »

Do you really think the Texas Rangers, or any other organization of that type would admit to the public of using a medium? Of course they are going to deny it...they can't prove it, and they are all about proof.

Having become close to someone with similar abilities, I accept and understand that many things are possible, even though I don't see them concretely myself.



The Two Percent Company, 2005.04.26 (Tue) 20:39 [Link] »

Susan,

We've heard this line of reasoning before. Do we really think the Texas Rangers would admit to the public that they used a medium? Yes, and we'll explain why. We'll start by using a quote from our own post above:

We have to wonder, though: if [Allison] really did provide such an invaluable service to these agencies, then why would they flatly deny using her services? Sure, they could be embarrassed that they turned to psychic assistance, but again, if her assistance really was as effective and beneficial as she claims it was in cracking the cases, we can't really understand the hesitation to acknowledge her contributions.

According to Allison, she came into the investigation with the Rangers and basically handed them the answers on a silver platter. If she really did provide that kind of service, then we absolutely do think that the Rangers would admit to her help.

Why wouldn't they admit it? Many people seem to think that there would be a public backlash if they did, but we completely disagree. While only 28% of people admitted to a belief in mediums according to a 2001 Gallup Poll, beliefs in other forms of psychic foolishness ran as high as 54%. That doesn't leave too many people to lash out, does it? Also, in our experience, skeptics are far less fanatical than the "true believers," and by admitting to using Allison's services (if they had done so), the Rangers would only be pissing off the far-less-explosive skeptics.

So, in effect, the Rangers would seem to have little to lose by jumping onto the Bullshit Bandwagon. And yet, they have not done so.

Now we'll again use our post above to turn the question back around:

We also wonder why Allison hasn't taken any steps to set the record straight given her assertion that these agencies are misinforming the public about her record. In effect, they are publicly stating that Allison is lying about her involvement with them, which could have legal ramifications if Allison has in fact worked with them. Given that such accusations, if untrue, would be harmful to Allison's livelihood, we would think she would have a solid litigious leg to stand on. Yet she does nothing.

Allison is the one who, by all logic, should be doing something about this discrepancy. Of course, she can only do so if she's telling the truth. Hmmm...

And by the way, regarding your own beliefs, you are of course free to Believe What You Want to Believe, as our earlier post states. For our part, we require some sort of proof, and thus far, there isn't any proof for any paranormal event.



Dude, 2005.06.02 (Thu) 04:45 [Link] »

Allison is HOT. I'll believe anything she says. END OF STORY. :)



The Two Percent Company, 2005.06.02 (Thu) 13:56 [Link] »

Dude, if you're talking about Patricia Arquette, we can agree. If you're talking about the actual Allison, we'd politely disagree. If you're talking about our caricatures of Allison, we'll have to call the men in white coats to come get you.



shazza45, 2005.06.08 (Wed) 09:32 [Link] »

I love the show. I only wished you put this much effort into your American politicians who lie constantly, have been caught doing it and yet continue to be followed by the sheep. It doesn't matter if you believe her or not, she has obviously worked to help in solving cases. This is a good thing!!!!!!!! You live in one of the most jaded countries in the world, where your idols are actors and popstars and your villians aren't drug dealers or murderers but instead people that you don't agree with. People who don't harm you or wish you anything bad. Yes she has gotten some publicity, but what is wrong with that? I'm glad there is something other than reality TV or Paris Hilton on our screens. The show is so different to anything that has been on for a while. It's nice to think that even the bad guys that don't make any mistakes during the crime can get caught too. If it's not true, ohwell, but for now I like to believe it and I like to believe her.



The Two Percent Company, 2005.06.08 (Wed) 13:03 [Link] »

shazza45,

Since you posted four nearly identical comments, we have removed all but the last one. We apologize if you had some trouble leaving a comment — we have been aware of some glitches with MT for about a week, but we haven't isolated the problem yet. That said, let's move on to your comment.

I love the show.

And that's just fine, as we've said before.

I only wished you put this much effort into your American politicians who lie constantly, have been caught doing it and yet continue to be followed by the sheep.

Ummm...we do. We can only assume that you read this one series of posts and nothing else, since the majority of our site is all about taking to task the very American politicians you speak of. Check it out!

It doesn't matter if you believe her or not, she has obviously worked to help in solving cases. This is a good thing!!!!!!!!

Please help us to understand why this is "obvious." She has made two direct claims to have helped law enforcement, and both have been refuted by the very people she has claimed to help. What information do you have that we do not? Please cite your sources.

You live in one of the most jaded countries in the world, where your idols are actors and popstars and your villians aren't drug dealers or murderers but instead people that you don't agree with.

Well, we also agree that American culture may have taken a dive lately, but please don't lump us in with the reality-TV-watching, scandal-hungry morons with whom we share our country. There are plenty of Americans out here who are sickened by the steady decline of the country's standards. For the record, we personally do not idolize any actors or pop stars, and we certainly villify murderers (though not necessarily drug dealers, depending on the definition). We also do not villify those who we don't agree with out-of-hand; we only villify those we don't agree with who cause harm to others. Which brings up to your next point.

People who don't harm you or wish you anything bad.

Bullshit. If you think that people like Allison (and others who peddle similar forms of crap) cause no harm, you are dead wrong. You can read our Rant on this very subject. You can also check out our Rant called "Believe What You Want to Believe" for a general discussion of what we consider harmful.

Yes she has gotten some publicity, but what is wrong with that? I'm glad there is something other than reality TV or Paris Hilton on our screens. The show is so different to anything that has been on for a while.

See our above reference to our post called "Extraordinary Fiction & Bullshit Claims." If you like the show, rock on. We have no problem with that. For our part, while we don't care to watch reailty TV or Paris Hilton, we long for a better alternative than Medium.

It's nice to think that even the bad guys that don't make any mistakes during the crime can get caught too. If it's not true, ohwell, but for now I like to believe it and I like to believe her.

It would be nice if that was true, but sadly it isn't. Psychics aren't catching any criminals by way of their "powers." But if you want to believe her, you are certainly welcome to. Hey, Believe What You Want to Believe. No skin off our asses.



jaime watesr, 2005.08.15 (Mon) 04:05 [Link] »

well... i think that allison is a very honest girl and i believe her 100% not just because im a psychic but because shes very strong about what she says... the texas rangers... take this into perspective first... every law agency denies they work with psychics because it makes them look like they cant do there own work trust me i know... and mediums like allison are very much real... trust me i know... i am one myself..
jaime



jaime waters, 2005.08.15 (Mon) 04:14 [Link] »

oh and this is for the record
you might not believe in people like us... but you sure as hell dont know what we go though and if u had this "ability" i think you would have no choise but to believe aswell... yea thast right its not powers its an ability... jeez skeptical people can get realy cocky sometimes... and my point... believe in what u want to believe because people like me know for sure its real and face it... we DO solve crimes with our ability and we do help ppl and also talk to the other side...hey mate you would be suprised at how much we could tapp into your personal life without you even knowing but us knowing every litle thing you have done... sadly were not like that ... just respect us and how we live because frankly i think you couldnt handle it... buh bye :)
jaime waters P.S allison i respect you... good luck



jaime waters, 2005.08.15 (Mon) 04:22 [Link] »

oh haha and no we dont do any harm what so ever... your all just silly... or scared and know we have this ability and deny it... am i right?



jaime waters, 2005.08.15 (Mon) 04:54 [Link] »

you can believe in what you want to but you dont have to ridicule the people who do... thats the point ive made...



The Two Percent Company, 2005.08.15 (Mon) 22:16 [Link] »

jaime,

No, actually, the point you've made — quite handily — is that you are not quite in control of your mental faculties. We're pretty sure you didn't intend to make that point, but you have made it nonetheless.

Let's take a look at your super-convincing arguments, shall we?

well... i think that allison is a very honest girl and i believe her 100% not just because im a psychic but because shes very strong about what she says...

Hitler was "very strong" about what he said, as well. So is George W. Bush. Believe it or not, that doesn't make someone right or credible.

the texas rangers... take this into perspective first... every law agency denies they work with psychics because it makes them look like they cant do there own work

Sorry, no. We've already called bullshit on this particular line of crap. Like most "true believers," you apparently don't bother to read a post before you comment on it. Just scroll up to Susan's comment and our reply if you'd like to be set straight on this point.

trust me i know... and mediums like allison are very much real... trust me i know... i am one myself..

Oh! See, that's the argument we've been missing all these years! The "trust me" argument! Now we believe in psychics and all manner of ridiculous nonsense...just because you told us to trust you. Thanks so much!

Earth to jaime — your word on this means abso-fucking-lutely nothing to us. You're a nameless, faceless entity on the World Wide Web, and you've offered no external evidence to back up your claims. If the "trust me" argument is the best argument that you have, you ought to pack it in now.

oh and this is for the record you might not believe in people like us... but you sure as hell dont know what we go though and if u had this "ability" i think you would have no choise but to believe aswell...

Well, yeah, if we had psychic abilities, we would probably believe in them. Of course, we would also believe in them if there was even one fucking shred of proof that they existed. However, there isn't. There's just the word of people like you...you know, saying that we should "trust you."

Can you imagine if all science worked that way? What if apples that came loose from their branches didn't fall to the earth, but scientists said "Hey, gravity exists — trust us." It wouldn't be very convincing, would it? Neither is your argument, jaime.

yea thast right its not powers its an ability...

Sorry, the distinction is lost on us, since the two words (as used in reference to psychics) are fucking synonyms. Hmm...power...ability...nah, we prefer to think of it as: "Bullshit." Feel free to use our word for it if you like. "Hey, folks, watch me use my psychic bullshit to read your mind!" We bet it'll play in Peoria. (Our apologies to all rational Peorians.)

jeez skeptical people can get realy cocky sometimes...

Well, in our defense, it's easy to be "cocky" when you have loads of scientific evidence and reasoning on your side. The real question is: how do people like you justify your cockiness?

and my point... believe in what u want to believe because people like me know for sure its real and face it...

...or you're simply deluding yourself in an attempt to feel special. But hey, one of these two hypotheses is probably correct.

we DO solve crimes with our ability and we do help ppl and also talk to the other side...

Ah, the argument by capitalization! Alas! Now we're cooked.

Or not. Give us an example of a crime that you have solved along with some details that we can check up on. Or better yet, head on over to our post about Natalee Holloway and fill in all the missing details of the crime. That'll show us. Go on — prove your claims. We're waiting.

hey mate you would be suprised at how much we could tapp into your personal life without you even knowing but us knowing every litle thing you have done... sadly were not like that ...

Go ahead, surprise us! Enlighten all of our readers here about our lives. Spill the beans, we don't care. Oh, no, wait — you're "not like that" are you? Why is it that whenever people ask a psychic for something the answer is always "it doesn't work that way" or "we're not like that"? It almost...no, wait. It couldn't be...but it really seems...well, it makes it seem like the whole thing is, oh, we don't know...bullshit? Yes, that'd be the word we're looking for.

But hey, you have our invitation, right here: give us some really specific juicy details about us that you couldn't discover on the internet, and we'll personally look into your claims to psychic-hood. We'll give you ten guesses, and all you have to do is get seven right — that's just a C-minus! You can do that, right? With your powers — er, we mean abilities — how could you lose?

oh haha and no we dont do any harm what so ever... your all just silly... or scared and know we have this ability and deny it... am i right?

No. Just — no. This is not a joking matter. Whether you feel like accepting it or not, people like you certainly do cause harm. We've got a post all about that that you never bothered to read. Go enlighten yourself before you open up your piehole on this topic again.

And if that last bit about us knowing that psychics are real and just denying it was a "psychic prediction" on your part, then we're sad to inform you that you are dead wrong. That's 0 for 1, you've got nine guesses left. So far, your powers don't impress us. Oh, sorry — your abilities.

just respect us and how we live because frankly i think you couldnt handle it... buh bye :)
you can believe in what you want to but you dont have to ridicule the people who do... thats the point ive made...

No, we will not respect you. We will do our best to expose people like you for the bullshitters that you are. We will ridicule you, and we will laugh at you, and we will point out your stupidity at every turn. And we're not alone.

But of course, you knew all that. With your powers.

Er. Abilities.



The Two Percent Company, 2005.08.21 (Sun) 21:58 [Link] »

Looking over the past few weeks, we've come to the conclusion that the commentary on the Allison DuBois posts have bottomed out. Accordingly, we are closing all five posts to further comments. If you feel that you absolutely must make a comment in support of the luminously illuminated Allison DuBois, may we suggest that instead of posting it here, you simply shout it over the edge of a cliff of some kind so you can hear your own annoying echo validating your moronic statement. In fact, go ahead and throw yourself over the edge when you're done and do the world a favor. 'Kay?



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