True-believer syndrome: Self help write in name…….

True-believer syndrome

True-believer syndrome


Coined by M. Lamar Keene (1976)
Definition The condition of continuing to believe a paranormal event/phenomenon after it has been debunked
Signature Belief continues without grounds or base
See also Belief Perseverance[1]

True-believer syndrome is a term coined by M. Lamar Keene in his 1976 book The Psychic Mafia. Keene used the term to refer to people who continued to believe in a paranormal event or phenomenon even after it had been proven to have been staged.[2][3]
Eric Hoffer used the term true believer in his first book, published in 1951, which explored the nature of fanaticism and mass-movements in the political context.
Keene considered it to be a cognitive disorder,[4][5] and regarded it as being a key factor in the success of many psychic mediums.[3] The term “true believer syndrome” is not used professionally by psychologists, psychiatrists, or medical professionals and is not recognised as a form of psychopathology or psychological impairment, nor is it listed in any version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [6].



In his book The Psychic Mafia, Keene tells of a psychic medium named Raoul. Some people still believed that Raoul was genuine even after he openly admitted that he was a fake. Keene wrote “I knew how easy it was to make people believe a lie, but I didn’t expect the same people, confronted with the lie, would choose it over the truth. . . . No amount of logic can shatter a faith consciously based on a lie.”[7][8]


According to The Skeptic’s Dictionary, an example of this syndrome is evidenced by an event in 1988, when James Randi, at the request of an Australian news program, coached stage performer José Alvarez to pretend he was channelling a two-thousand-year-old spirit named “Carlos”. Even after it was revealed to be a fictional character created by himself and Alvarez, people continued to believe that “Carlos” was real.[5] Randi commented: “no amount of evidence, no matter how good it is or how much there is of it, is ever going to convince the true believer to the contrary.”[9]

3 Responses

  1. I have just read the entry of September 30th by AntiCultGuru.

    It seems the writer is a victim of a cult, or a guru, and so it seems self-evident to the writer that the guru is the chosen one and outrageous people doubt. or criticise.

    The simplest way to explain the problem with this thinking is that there are tens of thousands of cults, led by gurus, whose followers feel the same.

    These cults don’t recognise each other and flatly contradict each other’s world views and cosmologies.

    At most, in the abstract, only one of them could be right. The fact you’re sure you’re in the one thats right doesn’t help : all followers of all these cults feel certain they are in the one that’s right.

    (A good source for information on the large number of such cults is

    If you think clearly about it, none of them are true, and the reason people reject them is because it is self-evident to a clear thinker they are not true. Realise you are a victim of mind-control, and seek help.


  2. We who are engaged in spiritual practice should never forget how painful and destructive such practice may become when our enthusiasm for the truth of whatever tradition we are pursuing becomes exclusive. Not only does narrowness of view cut us off from others who practice and believe differently than we do, it also cuts us off from ourselves, as we slash away at our thoughts and feelings in an effort to fit them to the shape of the doctrines we hold dear.


  3. Diehard Unbeliever Dysfunction: a serious condition which applies to a person who fails to recognize a TRUE PROPHET. This unfortunate individual can’t help himself as he is lost in a fog. A dramatic conversion, such as Saul experienced on the road to Damascus, is the only hope for one afflicted with this deplorable syndrome.


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