The Dallas Observer calls the case the “single greatest lawsuit ever to be filed in Dallas County” – and they’re not exaggerating. After all, It’s rare that a suit involving a 46-year-old grandmother psychic, real name Presley, who sometimes goes by “Angel” or “Rhonda,” comes along. Brass tax: the psychic is being sued for defamation, by a farmhouse-living couple, because a real life attempt at being the “Medium” backfired.
The Farmhouse Owners v. The Psychic: In The Beginning
One June day in 2011, the FBI, DPS and the Liberty Country Sherriff’s Office descended upon Joe Bankson’s and Gena Charlton’s farmhouse in Hardin, Texas. A few media outlets arrived, too. The gang was there because a woman who called herself Angel had called the police insisting that a mass grave of of dismembered children’s bodies were buried at the farmhouse. The psychic also warned that “stuff was written all over the walls in blood.” When police asked where she got her information, Angel explained she divined it.
Who Called the Cops…And the Paps?
Now, it’s unclear if authorities already had information pointing them to the Hardin farmhouse, or if they’re big time believers of clairvoyance. Regardless, the Sheriff’s department supposedly called some cronies and made their way to the site. Turned out, though, that Angel’s extra-sensory skills were askew – because nobody found any bodies.
You Believe A Psychic, You Get Sued
When the masses left the property, Bankson and Charlton decided to file a lawsuit. In their eyes, privacy was breeched and peace was disturbed thanks to a Psychic and overzealous law enforcement agents. The farmhouse owners sued “Angel” for defamation, the Sherriff’s department for unreasonable search and seizure and Belo News, NYT, CNN, Thomson Reuters and ABC News for publishing “false statements in national and international headlines.” Bankson and Charlton claimed to have suffered lost wages, mental anguish and substantial reputation damage.
First Step In This Defamation Saga: Find Out Who Angel Really Is
Bankson and Charlton encountered some legal hurdles at first. Most notably, the only name they had for the less-than-stellar psychic was “Angel.” Was that her real name? Was she even a woman? After some lawyering, however, Angel was revealed to be one Presley Grindley of Lago Vista – a 46-year-old grandmother who also went by the name Rhonda.
Related Reading: Click here to find out how to uncover an anonymous defamers real name.
Name in hand, Grindley was served. The process agent even took a pic of the incident, which can be seen on the Dallas Observer’s site. Nevertheless, photographic evidence didn’t stop our intrepid Angel from sending a note to officials – a few days before she was due for a deposition – that she had “no knowledge of” why she should schlep down to Dallas for questioning.
Between you and me, Angel-Rhonda-Presley may have a hard time getting out of this one. Even if the case is thrown out, she still has to go through the motions so it can be. If you ignore a lawsuit it won’t just go away – even if you DO have super-sensory powers.
What Happens Next In the Great Dallas Psychic Defamation Lawsuit?
Early on in the case, Bankson and Charlton opted to dismiss the charges against the media outlets, on the condition that they can re-file at a later date. It sounds like they’re seeing how the case against the psychic goes first to determine if it’s worth going after the others. If Bankson and Charlton are serious about suing the others, though, they need to keep defamation statute of limitations in mind.
As far as Angel goes, when approached by media outlets about the story and subsequent defamation lawsuit against her, she explained, “I am a reverend. I am a prophet and I get my information from Jesus and the angels. I told them that I had 32 angels with me and they were giving me the information and then it went from there.”
Good luck with that argument in court, Angel!
P.S. – If you want to read a well-written, laugh inducing bit of journalism, check out the Dallas Observer’s articles on this satisfying case. You’ll be glad you did.