Did A Psychic Really Predict The Coronavirus Outbreak Back In 2008?

If the name Sylvia Browne rings a bell, you may recall her as the self-described psychic and spirit medium who routinely appeared on The Montel Williams Show and Larry King Live. In 2020, Kim Kardashian tweeted about Browne's 2008 book, End of Days, causing it to sell like wildfire on Amazon, according to Newsweek. Browne, whose last day on Earth ended in 2013, wrote that "in around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments."

Some people view that passage as evidence that a psychic foresaw COVID-19, but aside from the year, her description could easily apply to the 1918 flu, too. In fact, in 2008, the National Institutes of Health said most fatalities resulted from pneumonia that developed "when the virus destroyed the cells that line the bronchial tubes and lungs." Furthermore, multiple notable pandemics have emerged toward the end of decades (the flus of 1918, 1957, 1968, and 2009 and the 2019 coronavirus), and according to Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, an infectious disease expert at Mount Sinai, pandemics tend to occur "every 10 to 40 years." So, maybe, Browne's description was rather predictable. Interestingly, Brown's book also prophesied a 2010 outbreak of a "funguslike, extremely contagious" bacterial infection resembling the "flesh-eating disease." Transmitted by "almost microscopic mites," it would supposedly prove impervious to existing medicine. Instead, "some combination of electrical currents and extreme heat" would kill the illness. 

Swing and a miss. Actually, Browne's had multiple misses.

Did Sylvia Browne predict her own fraud conviction?

There was a time when people trusted Sylvia Browne more than their own eyes and ears. The desperate parents of missing children would seek her services. Among them was Louwanna Miller, the mother of Amanda Berry. As ABC details, on a 2004 episode of The Montel Williams Show, Miller asked Browne to reveal Berry's fate. "She's not alive, honey," Browne replied, per Cleveland newspaper the Plain Dealer. Utterly crushed, Miller would die a year later believing her daughter was already dead. In reality, Amanda Berry was being held prisoner, along with two other women, and managed to escape in 2013.

In 2003, Browne told the parents of Shawn Hornbeck that they wouldn't find their missing son alive. She claimed Hornbeck's remains were located near "two jagged boulders." So imagine the parents' surprise when he turned up alive, years later. Apparently, Browne also failed to predict her own 1993 conviction for investment fraud. As recounted in Nate Hendley's The Big Con, she and her then-spouse pleaded no contest to charges that stemmed from selling securities illegally, and deceiving investors about a gold-mining venture. 

So, maybe it's best to hold off on coronating her as the coronavirus oracle.