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I’m With Stupid – July 5, 2013

WHEN CRYSTAL BALLS AND TAROT CARDS GO AWRY
by Todd Hartley

Todd Hartley-smallA few years ago I paid a visit to a psychic, but only because when I say I “paid” a visit, I mean someone gave me a psychic reading as a gift. Psychics aren’t the sort of thing I would ever pay for myself. This is not because I’m a skeptic, mind you, but I already know everything, so there’s nothing new a clairvoyant could tell me.

I will give the psychic credit, though; she tried to tell me some new things. For instance, she told me my money woes would clear up in a few months and that I had a third child on the way soon. I found the latter prediction rather interesting since I only had one child at the time and have yet to father a second. The former prediction, sadly, proved to be even further off base, as shortly after it was made, the pittance I earn from writing this column was actually cut in half.

Obviously, as I’m not homeless, this isn’t my only source of income, but it’s been four years, and the anticipated boost in my finances has yet to materialize, so I’m going to assume at this point that the psychic blew that prediction as well.

The good news, however, is that since the statute of limitations for small claims in Colorado is six years, I can apparently still sue the psychic to get back the money I didn’t spend in the first place. I’ll probably tack on a little extra for all the emotional distress she caused me, too. I’ve been deeply hurt by not suddenly getting rich like she said I would.

Now, I realize some of you cynics out there might think that anyone who takes a psychic’s predictions seriously deserves to get fleeced. Once upon a time I would have agreed with you wholeheartedly, but that was before a recent case in Texas established a precedent that must be terrifying to psychics everywhere.

In said case, which was filed in Dallas County a year ago and resolved last month, a self-described psychic was ordered to pay a couple $6.8 million for making false allegations against them. In light of the insignificance of my psychic’s predictions, that figure may seem a little exorbitant, but that’s only because you don’t know what the psychic, Presley “Rhonda” Gridley, alleged.

You see, Gridley didn’t just mispredict the arrival of a child or a new source of income, she actually called the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and claimed that the couple had a mass grave on their property containing 25 to 30 dismembered bodies.

Yes, you read that right: With no evidence other than some purported visions, Gridley told the cops that the couple were among the most prolific killers in American history.

Shockingly enough, the folks at the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office believed her a little bit. They didn’t immediately go out and dig up the couple’s yard, but they did leak the false statements to various media outlets and even provided them with the couple’s address.

The media, naturally, being the last bastion of truth and impartiality, waited until they knew all the facts before acting on the tip. Actually, they didn’t do that at all. As the couple’s suit stated, “Over the course of the day, media defendants began to exaggerate and eventually make up facts about [the] plaintiffs, including that a mass grave existed on the property, including the bodies of children.”

In short order, media claims that bodies were found on the property were circulated worldwide. This left the couple, who to the best of anyone’s knowledge hadn’t killed a single person, with little recourse other than to sue the psychic, Liberty County and a host of media outlets for injuring the couple’s reputation “and exposing them to public hatred, contempt, ridicule and financial injury.”

Really? Claims that they had murdered 25 to 30 people damaged the couple’s reputation and made people not like them? Who would have ever guessed that could be the case?

Anyway, for whatever reason, Liberty County and the media outlets were eventually dropped from the suit, leaving Gridley as the sole remaining defendant, meaning she’s liable for the entire $6.8 million.

Unfortunately for Gridley, her psychic abilities evidently don’t include correctly guessing winning Powerball numbers, so the verdict is likely to leave her in debt to the couple for the rest of her life.

Funny, isn’t it? You would have thought she’d have seen something like that coming.

Todd “Pee Wee” Hartley was told he’d find his new income in the basement of the Alamo. 

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