Renowned psychic Sylvia Browne — a leader in the paranormal world who appeared regularly on television and radio and also wrote dozens of top-selling books — died Wednesday in a northern California hospital, according to her website.
She was 77.
A believer in reincarnation as well as God, Browne conducted thousands of hypnotic regressions and hundreds of trance sessions to help people around the world, according to her official biography. She explained on CNN’s Larry King Live that she both communicated with the dead and looked into the future.
“I don’t know how I do it,” Browne once explained on King’s show. “I’ve done it all my life.”
Her following extended well beyond those she helped directly. Some got to know her through her writings, others through the media — including appearances on “Unsolved Mysteries,” “Loveline with Dr. Drew” and “The Montel Williams Show,” on which she was a weekly guest for 17 years.
“I, like so many of you, lost a friend today,” Williams said in a posting on Browne’s website. “But, as has been for the last 20 years, she’ll always remain a part of me.”
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, during the Great Depression, Browne first became aware of her psychic abilities at age 3, her bio says.
It was a “very scary thing” for her when she realized as a youngster she could tell if someone was going to die, she told King in 2000.
“The only thing, I think, that saved my sanity was that there are so many — well, we can track our lineage back to 300 years — of psychics,” Browne said.
After moving to California in 1964, she moved from helping people privately to doing so publicly to help “thousands of people gain control of their lives, live more happily, understand the meaning of life and to find God in their unique way,” her website states.
She founded The Nirvana Foundation for Psychic Research in 1974, and went on to publish more than 50 books. According to her bio, 22 of those made it to the New York Times Best Sellers list.
Browne also trained ministers to help spread her thinking through the Society of Novus Spiritus organization, and created The Sylvia Browne Hypnosis Training Center to teach her hypnosis methods.
While beloved by many in the psychic community, Browne also had detractors. They included those critical of her remarks, on a 2004 episode of “The Montel Williams Show,” that then-missing Amanda Berry was dead — telling Berry’s mother she would next see her daughter “in heaven, on the other side.”
Berry ended up being rescued — along with her young daughter, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus — last May in the Cleveland home of Ariel Castro, where they’d been held captive for the better part of a decade. Browne subsequently posted a statement on her website saying, “If ever there was a time to be grateful and relieved for being mistaken, this is that time. Only God is right all the time.”
Browne’s Facebook page includes a September 10 posting stating, “If you are afraid to die, you will not fully live.” The final message came less than a month ago, on October 27, when Browne wrote, “My one prayer every morning that has carried me through my life is, ‘Hi God, it’s me again.’
“It doesn’t matter how you pray,” she added. “It can be just simply talking to God. Remember, God knows your heart and soul.”
Her website does not give a cause, but does say that Browne died at 7:10 a.m. Wednesday at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, California.
The Facebook post is included below:
World renowned spiritual teacher, psychic icon, author, and lecturer Sylvia Celeste Browne passed away at 7:10am this morning (Wednesday, November 20) at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, CA. Born October 19, 1936, Browne was 77 years old.
For nearly six decades, Sylvia Browne dedicated her life to helping others as a spiritual guide through private readings, past-life regressions and prayer groups that spanned the globe.
Having been called upon to assist individuals, families, and law enforcement agencies across the U.S. and Canada on criminal investigations, she worked tirelessly as an advocate for justice, receiving several commendations for the positive impact her contributions provided.
Browne grew up in Kansas City, MO where her spiritual psychic ability began to manifest at the age of three. For many years she shared her gift with friends and family, gaining a reputation for accuracy with her trademark down-to-earth approach and sense of humor and became very well known for helping people even before moving to California in 1964. In 1974, she founded The Nirvana Foundation for Psychic Research, a nonprofit organization helping thousands of people gain control of their lives, live more happily, understand the meaning of life, and to find God in their own unique way. In 1986, she formed the nonprofit organization, Society of Novus Spiritus (New Spirit) to promote a community of people who are dedicated to living a spiritual life based on its Gnostic Christian philosophy.
Browne’s certainty in the existence of reincarnation remained a central theme in her philosophy and she believed it held the key to understanding life, though never imposing her values upon anyone. Often, she had been quoted as saying, “Take with you what you want and leave the rest behind.”
A best-selling author, Browne published over 50 works throughout her life with 22 appearing on the New York Times Bestsellers List. She was also a frequent guest on radio and television shows including Larry King Live and The Montel Williams Show, where Browne’s appearances quickly became a popular weekly highlight among regular viewers for over 17 years.
“A beacon that shined for so many was extinguished today, but its brightness was relit and will now shine forever for many of us from above,” said Williams. “I, like so many of you, lost a friend today. But, as has been for the last twenty years, she’ll always remain a part of me. My thoughts and prayers go out to Sylvia’s family in this time of loss.”
Browne is survived by her husband Michael Ulery, sons Christopher and Paul Dufresne, three grandchildren, Angelia, Jeffrey, and William; and her sister Sharon Bortolussi.
A private memorial service is to be scheduled.