Browne, Sylvia (1936– )
Sylvia Browne, contemporary psychic and channel, was born
Sylvia Shoemaker on October 19, 1936, in Kansas City, Missouri.
She was one of those occasional children born with a caul (a
thin membrane) over her face, an event which has differing significance
in different cultures. In this case, her grandmother
was a psychic, and Sylvia’s caul was interpreted as her continuing
in her grandmother’s footsteps. Her future abilities began
to manifest in childhood. When Sylvia was but three, she predicted
the birth of her sister several years before her conception.
She began to meet people whose faces would appear to
melt. She soon learned that this phenomenon was a sign of
their imminent death. She also saw the spirits of the deceased.
She attended a Roman Catholic college in Kansas City, after
which she began teaching in a parochial school. In 1959 she
married and had two children, but ultimately the marriage
proved unhappy and in 1971 she and her husband parted. By
that time they had moved to California. The next year she married
Dal Browne, who shared her interest in things psychic. In
1974 they decided to open the Nirvana Foundation, a structure
that would allow her to use her abilities as a professional psychic.
It was originally located in their home but soon moved to
an office front in Campbell, California. Browne was an immediate
success and was soon engaged in a variety of psychic consultations,
from investigations of haunted houses to investigations
of crimes. She has authored several books and is a popular
guest on television talk shows.
Through the years Browne had become comfortable with
her psychic talents that frequently manifested as knowledge of
the future, information about the present, or spirit contact.
Since she was eight, she had had awareness of a presence whom
she variously thought of as a psychic guide or guardian angel.
It was the spirit of the sixteenth-century Aztec Indian woman
named Iena, whom she came to call Francine. Over the years
she had had conversations with Francine, but at the foundation
she occasionally operated as a trance medium and allowed
Francine to speak through her. In the late 1980s, she and her
second husband parted company and the Nirvana Foundation
was declared bankrupt. Following the divorce, Browne reorganized
her business as the Sylvia Browne Corporation. In 1994
she married Larry Beck.
Meanwhile, in 1986 Browne took an additional step and
founded a new religion that she called Norvus Spiritus, building
upon her belief in God as a divine reality within each person.
Also central to her belief was reincarnation, a belief which
she professes was part of Christianity ‘‘Prior to its drastic restructuring
under Pope Constantine at the Council of Nicea in
the third century.’’ [There is no evidence of a belief in reincarnation
in the pre-Nicean church. There was never a pope
named Constantine; he was emperor of Rome in the fourth
century. The Council of Nicea took place in the fourth century
and did not deal with the subject of reincarnation.] Novus Spiritus
also affirms the feminine aspect of the Deity as a co-equal
part of God along with the male. She envisioned the new religion
as a focus of love and joy that would dissipate fear.
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Browne, Sylvia
Browne, Sylvia. The Other Side and Back. New York E. P. Dutton,
———, and Antoinette May. Adventures of a Psychic. Carlsbad,
Calif. Hay House, 1998.