A year after Amanda Berry disappeared in Cleveland, her mother appeared on "The Montel Williams Show" to speak to a psychic about what happened to her daughter.
Psychic Sylvia Browne, who has made a career of televised psychic readings, told Louwanna Miller on a 2004 episode of the show that her daughter was dead, causing Miller to break down in tears on the show's set.
"She's not alive, honey," Browne told Miller on the show, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. "Your daughter's not the kind who wouldn't call."
Miller told the newspaper that she believed "98 percent" in what Browne told her. Miller died a year later from heart failure.
On Monday, Berry was found alive after she broke free from a home in Cleveland where she says she has been kept for the past decade.
Now, as sympathetic a figure as Miller is, anyone who goes on "The Montel Williams Show" looking to be met by the Phythia can't have their judgment left unquestioned. Still, who do you have more sympathy for? A distraught mother whose final years were dominated by uncertainty about the fate of her daughter or a glorified carnival worker who's gotten rich as a world famous haruspex?
So, yes, it's a two-way street and people who put their faith in psychics are culpable too. But imagine being Sylvia Browne and knowing that you had conned a grief-stricken mother into believing that her daughter was dead -- and that she never had the chance to know that you were wrong.
There's no amount of shame sufficient.