Iowa 'Psychic' Barred From Magically Healing People After Client's Death

Snake Oil And General Woo
Iowa 'Psychic' Barred From Magically Healing People After Client's Death

Allison Campbell

An Iowa psychic has agreed to pay a $2000 fine and barred from offering to "heal, cure, treat, prevent, or mitigate clients’ physical or mental health" following the suicide death of a client she "misdiagnosed."

According to a report from the Iowa Attorney General's office, 53-year-old Craig Courtney sought help from psychic medium "healer" Allison Campbell following a fall in his home. Campbell had advertised her healing services and purposely sought people with “with at least one physical illness or injury that they would like worked on" despite having no medical background and also sought to help people with mental health issues she was similarly unqualified to address.

Becky Courtney, his widow, filed a consumer complaint in which she explained that her husband saw Campbell three times for "healing" and other services, and was told by Campbell that his entire body was filled with cancer and that he would undergo one surgery and then die within three-to-five months. Not wanting to deal with any of that, Craig Courtney committed suicide in July of this year.

He did not, of course, have cancer.

Via Iowa Attorney General's Office:

Campbell has denied all allegations and some of them are impossible to document because the only witnesses to some of them were Campbell and Craig Courtney. However, documented text messages exchanged between the two appeared to demonstrate that Courtney had sought Campbell’s advice about serious physical health issues he falsely believed he was experiencing, including throat cancer. She had performed an alleged “body scan” that suggested Courtney was suffering from conditions about which he was worried. Further, a video Campbell posted to her promotional social media accounts also showed a portion of a conversation in which Campbell suggested Courtney’s back injury would require medical intervention. Evidence further suggested Courtney took Campbell’s readings literally, as a Google review of Campbell’s business posted by Courtney read: “I’m not a believer but Allison cured me of this. VERY ACCURATE.”

While Courtney also sought the treatment of a licensed doctor and proper medical tests showed no signs of throat cancer, Campbell allegedly advised that through her experience in the medical field, she believed a mass in Courtney’s throat “may not be visible to doctors due to being under the tissue,” according to Becky Courtney’s complaint.

The Iowa Attorney General's office determined that Campbell had violated the Consumer Fraud Protection Act by:

  • Seeking people to “practice healing” on, including those “with at least one physical illness or injury that they would like worked on,” despite not being competent to do so.
  • Soliciting customers to purchase services that could “help you research your grief and bring new knowledge to help you move forward,” despite not being competent to opine on mental health disorders.
  • Discussing physical injuries with clients despite a lack of professional medical competency.
  • Failing to comply with the Door-to-Door Sales Act.

Per an agreement with Democratic Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, Campbell will no longer be allowed to do any of these things and must tell clients with physical illnesses or injuries or mental health issues to seek help from a qualified professional.

Allison Campbell's website still claims that she blends psychic powers with science, because of course it does.

My name is Allison Campbell, and I am just a normal (normal being relative of course) person who happens to have psychic medium abilities. A Medical Laboratory Scientist by trade, and psychic medium by chance, my unique background has provided me with the opportunity to blend science and spirit, and I believe in sharing spirit's messages with love, authenticity, kindness, and compassion, all the while keeping everything "down to earth."

What's more "down to earth" than telling people they have throat cancer when they don't have throat cancer?

I so very much want to be all "live and let live" and "whatever gets you through the day!" about people believing in magic powers, psychics, ghosts, astrology, magic healing crystals, water having feelings or a memory and other things that are not, you know ... real. I'm not a person who likes to hurt people who are not hurting anyone else and to be entirely honest I feel deeply uncomfortable with how hurt people get when I express my skepticism on these subjects.

That being said ... this bitch is evil.

Medium Allison Dubois on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, because irony.

This is an evil thing to do. A person is dead because they believed in her bullshit. A person committed suicide because she told them they were dying of cancer and they believed her. This is the literal opposite of "live and let live!" and "whatever gets you through the day!"

Craig Courtney did not live, he did not get through the day.

There are also lots of other people who, while they have not necessarily lost their lives, have lost thousands and thousands of dollars.

There needs to be some amount of regulation with these things, just like any other business, especially when it comes to health issues. It's messed up to charge people to heal them magically to begin with, but there's something especially cruel about doing it in a country where access to actual health care is out of reach for so many people. This is getting somewhat better in some areas — a DC court recently revived a lawsuit against CVS and Walgreens for their stores placing "homeopathic" products next to actual medicine, the FDA barred Jim Bakker from claiming his magical silver solution cured COVID and cracked down on a lot of other health scams during the pandemic as well — but we need to do better.

There has to be some line drawn between letting people believe what they want and letting them scam vulnerable people.

If it were just people getting their palms or tarot cards read for funsies or if it were just "mediums" cracking their toes under the table to convince rich people they were communicating with their dead relatives, that would be one thing. It's not. It's people like Allison Campbell telling people they have cancer when they don't, it's Sylvia Browne telling people their kids are dead when they're not. It's people actively using their claims of magic powers to hurt and scam people and it shouldn't just be allowed because it's been labeled "for entertainment purposes only."


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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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