Montel: Civil War "Energy Implant"
A correspondent to the site researches one of Browne's readings.
Published: Jan 16, 2008 - Updated: Jan 16, 2008
Written by: Robert S. Lancaster
Photo of Civil War soldiers (from video clip in show).
On the May 16 2007 episode of the Montel Williams Show, a woman named Susan asked Sylvia Browne whether her husband's collection of Civil War memorabilia had brought a ghost into their home.
Months later, a correspondent - who had viewed a clip of the reading on YouTube - shared some of her considered opinions about the reading.
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Here is a transcript of the reading (all emphasis mine):
Play video of clip. (15.3MB)
Williams: Like my first guest that said that her house is haunted, and she believes that the spirits are connected to some old artifacts. But before you watch this, before we watch this, now look. This is a family that goes around and collects all this Civil War stuff. They've got like old bombs, they even have in their house... they've got those saws that they used to use to cut people's limbs off. Now, if you collect stuff like that, don't you think you're gonna bring some bad stuff up in your house, right?
Browne: Yeah. I... No, Montel, I've even said to people that, you know, go antiquing.
Browne: Be very careful...
Browne: ...because you don't necessarily bring a spirit in, but you can bring the energy in.
Williams: Well, take a look at this.
Susan: We started collecting the Civil War things. And we have about 38 cannon balls plus amputation saws, the scalpels, the probes, and I actually have my great, great, great grandfather's gun that he carried in the Civil War. One evening, I was cooking and all of sudden, I heard behind my right shoulder, I heard a  just like that. And I turned around and there was no one there. I looked up and I saw blood dripping down from the middle of the wall. When I go to take a bath at night, the water, after I've run it, it'll be still. And then, all of sudden, I look over to get in and it starts rocking back and forth.
Susan: Usually between 1:00 and 3:00 AM in the morning is when the dogs start growling and we hear something, so we go check it out. We feel the actual cold spots. And nothing like that ever happened until my husband started bringing in the Civil War cannon balls. I need to know who my spirit is and if the spirit is connected with one of the objects I have here in the house.
Williams: See, I'm gonna tell you, it's just that since... Not that I'm afraid of ghosts and stuff.
Browne: No. But why...
Williams: But why am I bringing in stuff...
Browne: Why court it? Why court it?
Susan, guest on the show.
Williams: Please welcome Susan to the show.
Susan: Thank you.
Williams: But, and you know, you should collect whatever you like. Collect stuff if you like it, but...
Susan: My husband started collecting the balls. We've lived there for like, 20 years. And in the year 2000, we went to Gettysburg. We started going to the Civil War battlefields.
Susan: And he started getting one by one. And then things started... it started moaning. It's...
Williams: And yeah, people moaning, 'cause you got somebody saw in your room, and the leg chopped off, and they're probably  for 1,000 years.
Browne: Yeah. Yeah.
Williams: I would... I'd say get rid of the stuff.
Browne: I would. I...
Williams: Or put it in a box, put it in the garage.
Browne: I would, I would.
Susan: But we've... I mean, I wanna know who's taking a bath with me sometimes. Who's ... you know, in my bed? Besides my husband!
Williams: Oh, wait, let's talk about that part, though.
Browne: Well, there's a very prominent person that did have his leg cut off, and his name was Rodney Campbell. Now, let me tell you something. Civil War records are sterling. By that, I mean, you can find them. And I think what you've done is brought in the saw or a bullet or something that is of, you know, negative that's brought in the energy of the person.
Susan: Okay. Do you know what battle he was in? If it was in Gettysburg or was it...
Browne: No, it was in Gettysburg.
Susan: It was in Gettysburg? Okay.
Browne: Oh, yeah, definitely, Gettysburg.
Susan: That's when it started. We were there two months later.
Susan: But I've had people see him go across. He has a long coat on with a hat.
Williams: And one leg?
Susan: Well, he... they said he was walking. You can feel cold spots. He'll show up usually between 1:00 and 3:00 in the morning.
Browne: And how many times have you heard me say, if you watched on, at home, if ghosts show up, they show up about like 3:00, 4:00, 1:00, 3:00, 4:00. That's when they get... it's because the dew is the strongest...
Susan: And he told me, he told me thank you very much one time. And I didn't know... If he...
Browne: Yeah. Well, he was very polite. See, he thought you're...
Susan: Yeah. Is he a confederate or Yankee?
Browne: No, he's a, he's a confederate.
Susan: Confederate? Okay. 'Cause he started moaning, I was cooking potatoes, okra and cornmeal.
Browne: Well, I'd moan, too, if somebody was cutting my leg off.
Susan and Sylvia Browne.
Williams: But now, can she do anything about this? Because...
Browne: Yeah. Get rid of that stuff.
Williams: Get rid of the stuff, but can't you just get the stuff, get the, get the stuff off the stuff? Can she like cast the ghost away?
Browne: Well, she can bless it, and she can, she can put it in salt water. She can make the sign of the cross. But still, you've got such a strong imprint of it. I mean, you've got such a trauma there.
Williams: So, you either live with the moaning and the groaning and the people getting in the bathtub with you.
Browne: Yeah, I'd get rid of it. Yeah.
Susan: Right. And since he's served in the service, you know, I'd like to have him, you know, rest in peace. Right.
Browne: Well, I don't think it's so much him as I think what you got is an energy implant. And actually, they're harder to get rid of than if it was a ghost.
Susan: Yeah, 'cause my guests don't even wanna stay with me no more. They're like... .
Browne: Well, I don't blame them. I don't wanna stay with you either.
Williams: No, if I was climbing in your bathtub, and somebody got in there wounded, I can see them, I wouldn't wanna stay at your house either.
Browne: No, no, no. I'm not gonna stay either. No, me either. No.
Williams: No. And, and laying all over the bed. People climbing in...
Browne: No, and moaning all night.
Williams: I tell you, no. No.
Williams: So, the best thing to do is either get rid it, box it up. You don't have to get rid of it, get rid of it. Sell it to a museum.
Susan: Oh, I think my husband would die. It's his cannon balls.
Williams: He can go see it at the museum.
Browne: Well, then let him deal with moaning and the blood and all that stuff.
Williams: Put it on his side of the bed.
Williams: We got to take a little break. When we come back, we're gonna meet a woman who's desperately seeking answers after a loved one's death.
Browne:  They won't hurt you, though. No.
Williams: Before we go... They won't hurt you. Yeah.  Now, you had a... you got a question, right, for Sylvia? Go right ahead.
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Months later, a woman named Marilyn started corresponding with the site. Marilyn is a believer in some psychics, and, until recently, had been a believer in Sylvia Browne's "abilities." As we corresponded, she began looking into various clips of Browne around the web to see if she could find anything to contribute to the information on this site.
The above reading was directly related to an area of interest to her, so she did some research on it, and sent me the email excerpted below.
Subject: SB/civil war reading
From: Marilyn  <>
Date: Mon, Jan 14, 2008 9:06 am
Back to Sylvia Browne. I don't know whether you can use this or not, but here is another example of her throwing out a name, claiming it can be easily validated, when in fact, it cannot. One of my other passions, besides the metaphysical stuff, is the Civil War. I didn't pick up my first book on the subject until I was in my early 40's, but, since that time, I have read hundreds of books and viewed many videos on the war and that time period in history. So, I am what is known as an amateur "Civil Warstorian", or, as my family likes to call me, a Civil War Bore! Naturally, when I came across this particular video on Youtube, I was curious as to what Sylvia had to say:
The woman being read has a husband who collects civil war artifacts, and thinks she might have a ghost. Sylvia states that it is true, the woman has a ghost, a CW soldier named Rodney Campbell. Later, the woman asks if the soldier is Union or Confederate, and Sylvia states "Confederate", and Sylvia affirms for the woman that the soldier fought at the battle of Gettysburg, where he was wounded and lost a leg. Further, after Sylvia states the name of the ghost, she tells the woman that, "Civil War records are sterling...that is to say, you can find them."
Ha! First, while CW records can be found, and, of course, with more frequency and detail than records of US wars prior to the CW, they are far from sterling. Especially on the Confederate side. After the war, whatever was left of the Confederate government was in shambles, records included. The information we do have comes from the individual State governments in the Confederacy, and some were more accurate than others, but none considered sterling by today's or even WWI or WWII record standards.
I belong to an on-line database which has the CW military information from the State govt's, both Union and Confederate. The Union States kept much better records, though not sterling, and, of course, we are fortunate that the US Govt. War Department also kept very detailed information for most (but not all) Union soldiers, which today can be found by searching the National Archives in Wash. DC. Most of the information the National Archives has on Confederate soldiers came from the individual State govt's.
So, on a whim, I searched the online database for a Confederate soldier named Rodney Campbell. No hits at all. I broadened my search to "R" Campbell, and did find 175 entries. 64 of those soldiers have records with the name of "R. Campbell", and the balance had other first names beginning with the letter R. The closest name to Rodney was Roderick, but Roderick enlisted several months after Gettysburg had already taken place, and was not listed as ever wounded. I further searched the 175 soldiers for all of those that were listed as wounded during the war, and, out of about one dozen records, did not find one soldier who was listed as wounded at the battle of Gettysburg. Knowing that the records are not always accurate in terms of spelling, I then searched on "R Cambell" and found one Confederate soldier, who was not listed as being wounded in the war.
On the Union side, I found four hits for "Rodney Campbell", but none of those soldiers were listed as ever being wounded.
So, could there have been a Confederate soldier named Rodney Campbell who was wounded at Gettysburg and lost a leg? Yes. Is it likely that anyone can find a Civil War record to validate such a soldier's existence? Unfortunately, no. The research would at the least involve a visit to the National Archives by the woman being read, and/or she would have to hire a professional researcher to assist her. And the odds of success, especially after the preliminary search of the State information, is very small indeed.
So this reading particularly bothered me because, obviously, Sylvia does not know what she is talking about in regards to Civil War record keeping. Second, because she pretends she does, or thinks she does, she gives the impression to the woman being read and the audience that the name she gave is correct and can be validated. I believe Sylvia probably picked "Confederate" rather than "Union" for the soldier because the woman was so obviously Southern. On the other hand, she may also have purposely chosen Confederate because she actually does know that Confederate records are more sparse than Union records, so her accuracy really cannot be checked. It was kind of odd how she said the Civil War records were sterling, and then qualified that with "what I mean to say is, that they can be found". There is a lot of distance between "sterling" and "can be found", which makes me further think that perhaps she was well aware about the problems with the Confederate record keeping and realized too late that she misspoke and those knowledgeable would catch that (and many, many people in the South are very knowledgeable).
Anyway, in the end, it is just more of Sylvia's smoke and mirrors. At least I am grateful that the woman who was being read did not have a serious problem to begin with, and, hopefully, if there are negative ramifications as a result of the reading, it will only impact the woman in terms of her time and perhaps money spent on research.
With that, I am done. Take care, Robert! I fear I have written another novella!
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I can't add much to the analysis Marilyn has already provided, but here are a few points:.
I have noticed that, when doing readings on the Montel Williams show regarding "hauntings," Browne frequently gives a name, stating that it is the name of the "ghost" involved. She then usually goes on to say that if the person does research, they will be able to confirm the name.
While Marilyn's research does not conclusively prove Browne was incorrect in her reading, it certainly shows that at least in this case, Browne's glib claim about the name's verifiability was incorrect.
In a subsequent email, Marilyn points out that Browne specifically says that "Rodney Campbell" was "a very prominent person." She (Marilyn) states that if this person was indeed "very prominent," and truly existed, there should be information about him easily found. I would imagine that Browne (or her supporters) would maintain that Browne was saying that the "energy implant" was prominent, but in fact, she said "a very prominent ."
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My thanks to Marilyn for her research, and for allowing me to share it with readers of this site.
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Update Jan 16 2008: Imprints
After the article went up, I was informed by an ex-minister of Novus Spiritus (the church Browne founded) that Browne's assessment of this as an "energy implant" contradicts her own statements.
First, I misnamed the article. Browne misspoke when she said "what you've got here is an energy implant," and I named the article based on that. She meant energy , which is something she discusses in some of her books. She even says that as well during the reading: "But still, you've got such a strong imprint of it."
In Browne's xxxx book , she descriebs "implants" this way (p 21, hardback edition):
An imprint is an intensely concentrated pocket of energy, a site at which some extremely dramatic event or series of events has taken place with such profound impact that the images and emotions from those events literally become a part of the land and atmosphere at the site itself.
So, that is what she claims happened with "Rodney Campbell." The operation to saw off his leg was so taumatic, it "imprinted" on some piece of memorabilia (a bullet, a saw), and causes what Susan has described.
However, as the ex-minister told me, what Susan described does not match up with Browne's own description of an "imprint." Here, again from , pages 23-24 (emphasis mine):
But the one thing which always set an imprint image apart from a ghost is that an imprint image will never, ever interact with us any more than a hologram would, while a ghost, believing they're still as alive as we are, will notice us at the very least and probably do a lot more than that, depending on whether they see us as potential allies or annoying strangers.
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