Dumbass gives “Psychic” $40,000 to cure her of negative energy.

A “psychic” named Carol Stevens, who goes by the name Bianca professionally, is due for a day in court for violating a Pennsylvania law against “fortune telling” after she convinced Margaret (Dumbass) Cifelli of Doylestown that she could cure her of negative energies with a “money sponge.”

Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/05/2003 | Fortune-teller’s future involves a date in court

Stevens, who has offices in Doylestown and Lahaska, told Margaret Cifelli she needed $50,000 to create a “sponge” that would absorb the negativity in Cifelli’s life, according to an affidavit filed in court.

“This is a promise between you, me, and God to complete this sponge,” Stevens allegedly told Cifelli.

Cifelli’s first appointment was in April, with a woman named Tiffany, in Stevens’ Lahaska office. Tiffany, whose last name was not listed in court papers, and who has not been charged, told Cifelli to drink hot lemon water, eat salad and yogurt, and add vinegar to her bath as a way to cleanse the “chakras,” the affidavit said. She told her not to watch the news and to beware of other psychic readers, “as they don’t all tell the truth.”

Two days later, Cifelli met with Stevens, who allegedly told her to take four bags and put three $100 bills and three rolls of quarters into each.

“The money will not be called money anymore,” Stevens allegedly told Cifelli. “It will now be called the sponge.”

Two days later, according to police, Stevens told Cifelli “the sponge” needed $9,000 more, the affidavit said. Cifelli obliged. Four days after that, Cifelli was told to add $3,000. Two weeks later, she added $9,000. By the time Cifelli went to police at the end of May, she said she had given Stevens $40,240.

She said that when she asked Stevens for the money back, Stevens called her “rude” and told her she had given the money to churches.

Cifelli also said she gave Stevens a journal that contained personal papers, Social Security numbers and credit card information.

So not only was Cifelli dumb enough to pay out nearly $40,000 to the psychic, but she also turned over everything you would need to commit identity theft. Not only should the “psychic” be arrested, but Cifelli should be charged with being criminally stupid and locked up for her own safety as well as everyone else’s. Most frightening of all is that someone so gulliable and willing to swallow such ridiculous nonsense still has a legal right to vote in the upcoming Presidential election.

16 thoughts on “Dumbass gives “Psychic” $40,000 to cure her of negative energy.

  1. This chick would have gotten away with it if she had been less greedy.  Lots of psychics and tarot readers are basically “loss leaders” who try to get people dependant on them.  Then they start milking their clients with rituals and bogus voodoo.

    One common scam is the “cursed money”.  They’ll find out that you got a $413 tax refund, for example.  They’ll start playing up bad things which have happenned to you, tell you about your negative chakra balance, whatever.  Eventually they’ll “discover” that the $413 was cursed.  They’ll offer to bury it at midnight using a ritual which will remove the curse.  Just bring them $413 plus $200 for the ritual.  Needless to say, the money never gets buried.

    Hit someone up for $500, say twice a year, and she’ll keep coming back (for whatever reason, the victims are almost universally female).  $50,000 all at once.. Well, I admire the chutzpah, but you’re pretty likely to get caught.

  2. Hawq, I’ll preface this by saying that I’m definitely a skeptic when it comes to ESP, Tarot Card readings and just about anything supernatural. I’ve yet to see any data from any studies that would suggest that fortune telling of any kind actually works.

    That said, if people want to have some fun with a deck of Tarot Cards or reading their daily horoscopes then I don’t generally have a problem with it. When they set up shop and start charging people huge fees for their services then I get a lot more uppity about it. The statement from Daryl is, I believe, referring to the latter over the former. If you’re doing readings for folks who ask for it and they’re giving you some token of their appreciation for it then that’s certainly OK in my book. When you get to the scale of the “psychic” in the news story I quoted then I think you’re committing fraud.

    I encourage folks to be skeptical of things like Tarot Cards and psychics because it can lead to situations like the news story above. Some folks just seem to be susceptible to credulous thinking that just multiplies with each thing they buy into.

  3. I understand what you are saying Les. And I realize that Daryl was speaking about those whom take advantadge, but it is one of those things close to home which hit a soft spot. Just had to make sure the oither perspective was seen (one of many pespectives)

    I don’t consider tarot cards as a form of ESP. But at the same time many take then as was to see the “future”. Personally they are just a tool that gives a focal point when trying to figure out a problem. Yes the card individally has their meaning but for the most part everything they mean depends on what is inside. I use to think they were a crock of shit. Till I stopped listening to what I was made to beleive and start thinking for myself. So I picked some up and “investigated” them.

    So I am a try-it-at-least-once girl.

  4. Hey, I’m with you on the try it once thing. There was a time in my youth when I believed in a lot of this stuff including ESP and UFOs and Ghosts and what have you. In fact I was so taken with some of the ideas that I read up on them quite a bit. My personal library is full of books on hauntings and pyramid power and so on. I’ve had my palms read, I’ve played with Ouiji boards, and I’ve hunted ghosts, tried my hand at telepathy, and done the tarot thing and so forth. I was even engaged to a practicing Wiccan for awhile.

    Between my experiences and the studying I’ve done on the subject I ended up becoming the skeptic about such things that I am today. I know folks who swear by their daily horoscope, I have friends who can’t go a day without doing a tarot reading, I’ve heard from hundreds of people who will swear on their mother’s grave that they’ve had experiences that can’t be explained away and I believe all of these people are sincere in their belief, but every time anyone tries to do a study of whatever phenomena it fails to hold up under scrutiny.

    Unfortunately the common reaction from most folks who believe in this stuff is to blame science for the failure rather than whatever phenomena is being tested. For some people it almost seems like they have a need to believe in whatever their particular thing happens to be regardless of what the truth may or may not be for fear that there’s no reason to have hope if it turns out to be false. Excuses can range from claiming the study itself is flawed, which is certainly a possibility, to the presence of “negative energy” from the skeptics that are present, which is hardly a reasonable claim.

    Former magician and professional skeptic James Randi has had a standing offer of $1 million to anyone who can prove the existence of any paranormal phenomena in a double-blind test that both parties agree to ahead of time. That is to say that the person applying for the award is involved with the design of the testing process and agrees to it so he won’t have any reason to object if it should not turn out in his or her favor. Randi has accepted applicants for just about everything from homeopathy to dowsing and no one has walked away with the prize yet.

    Guess who they blame?

    Anyway, I’ve rambled on more about this than I intended to. In part because it’s a sore spot for me as well. There are a lot of scams and frauds that folks could avoid if they just applied some critical thinking to some of the stuff they’re asked to believe and buy into. Can science explain everything? Of course not. If it could then they could shut down all the science departments as there wouldn’t be anything left to discover. One of the purposes of science is to find the facts behind things we don’t currently understand. Critical thinking is unpopular, though, and “skeptic” is practically a four letter word in our society. I point to Halle Berry’s new movie Gothika as a perfect example of this message being reinforced through popular media.

  5. Why is that an unreasonable claim?

    That’s a good question and there are several answers. The first being the fact that some of the tests have been done by people who were not skeptics and didn’t necessarily expect the test to fail. The second being that no one seems to be able to define exactly what “negative” energy supposedly is, just that it’s something emitted by skeptics. Third, it doesn’t seem to be affected by distance as some have claimed that a single skeptic in the same room would screw up the experiment and others have claimed that simply a skeptic being aware of the test anywhere in the world would be enough to screw up the test. If that’s true then that would make skeptics some of the most powerful psychics ever.

    Fourth, and most important, when the time comes to administer the agreed upon tests that Randi has set up, before they do the actual test the person making the claim is allowed to demonstrate his ability whatever it may be (dowsing or reading while blindfolded or what have you) in whatever way they normally do. Every single time it works as advertised. Then they administer the double blind test and every single time it fails. You would think that Randi’s presence during the initial demonstration would be enough to screw up that as well as the test itself, but it only seems to affect the test.

    You mean like scientific data?

    Touch

  6. Money sponge?! What a great idea.  Wish I thought of that.

    But as a believer, I couldn’t use it.  I think there’s a special place in hell for those who hustle people by taking advantage of their spiritual inclinations.

  7. Les, I appreciate the time and thought you put into your response. I can see your point in a lot of what you said. I am going to pick your brain some more.

  8. Les, I appreciate the time and thought you put into your response. I can see your point in a lot of what you said. I am going to pick your brain some more.

    Not a problem. My answers may get involved, but if you’re willing to read them I’m happy to post them.

    “The second being that no one seems to be able to define exactly what “negative” energy supposedly is, just that it

  9. Maybe I was too vague, or you misread – I just want to point out a couple of things.

    It’s certainly possible I misunderstood you, I am only human. wink

    I said “facts as they are believed,” and meant that even those tend to change after initial claims.

    Sometimes that’s true, but you’ll notice that most scientists who are reporting initial findings of a study don’t call their data “facts” but just “data” or “evidence” and they’ll qualify their findings with statements like “seems to support” or “could lead to” rather than making definitive statements. Now that doesn’t stop newspapers from proclaiming these announcements as “facts,” but that’s not necessarily the fault of scientists.

    Usually if something is called a fact, the sun rises in the east for example, then there’s usually a good deal of evidence backing that fact up. So, yes, some facts do change as new evidence comes to light, such as the one-time fact that the Earth was the center of the Universe, but overall something has to have a good amount of evidence behind it before science will proclaim it a fact.

    Probably. But you might have missed what I said about it.

    That’s certainly possible. If you wish to elaborate, feel free.

    You might have missed what I said about that too. I referred to my runes as tools – which is the basis – and as a preference over tarot cards, it matters. I referred to spiritual belief as a source of comfort, which even if that was a psychological trick I played on myself to feel comfort – and all that it implies – then that is okay with me.

    Ah, I assumed your mentioning of spiritual belief was directly tied to the use of runes. I see now you were making two separate statements.

    I’ve always said that if belief in these things helps people to be better persons and brings them some comfort then I don’t have a problem with it. Far be it for me to take away a source of comfort if it’s relatively harmless. I think you’d be better off realizing the truth of your own potential and ability, but if it works for you…

  10. In this New Testament passage of the Bible ACTS:16 “Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.” You can see that there are such things, but if they have any abilities to do so it comes from demons and ultimately from satan. God may allow things of this nature but abhors it as he does murder, adultery, worship of idols, etc, SIN! I don’t know if any of the present day psycics are possessed or not, but anything of this nature isn’t from God and therefore not for me.

  11. “Former magician and professional skeptic James Randi has had a standing offer of $1 million to anyone who can prove the existence of any paranormal phenomena in a double-blind test that both parties agree to ahead of time. That is to say that the person applying for the award is involved with the design of the testing process and agrees to it so he won

  12. It’s a nice story, but without knowing your friend’s name or what her supposed power is supposed to be there’s no way to verify that you’re telling us the truth. A lot of people make claims like this against James Randi without providing anything to back those claims up. Not exactly a convincing argument.

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