Noreen Renier is a psychic who helps law enforcement solve homicides and other cases. Noreen Renier uses Psychometry, the art of gleaning information about someone by holding an item belonging to that person, to provide leads that may take officers to an undisclosed location or point to suspects previously overlooked. Renier’s skeptical critics maintain, however, that her clues are no more than educated guesses obtained by cold reading.
Born to a French Catholic mother and a Lithuanian father, young Renier had no psychic experience as a child. She didn’t even know until later in life that her paternal grandmother read cards. Renier’s first brush with the paranormal came in a sitting with medium Ann Gehman in 1976. Renier was director of advertising and public relations for the Disney World Hotel in Orlando, Florida, and her friend Mary took her to see Gehman in an effort to get the psychic booked as an attraction for the hotel. Recently divorced with two teenage daughters, Renier was not impressed with the depth of the reading until Gehman mentioned Renier’s brand-new office chair, so new she hadn’t told anyone about it. Renier’s interest was piqued, and she began devouring books on psychic activity, meditation, and Mediumship. She and her friends practiced their newfound skills at home and on their other friends. Renier “read” her colleagues at work, so much so that she neglected her work and was fired. At this point Renier took the plunge and became the resident psychic at another Orlando hotel. She even dressed as a gypsy to attract attention.
By the late 1970s, Renier had studied with the scientists at the Psychical Research Foundation at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, including its head, William G. Roll. One of the researchers, a cultural anthropologist named David E. Jones introduced Renier to the possibilities of police work by testing her psychometric abilities and suggesting that she might be able to shed light on a robbery case. Both Renier and the detective were dubious, but Renier’s visions helped lead to an arrest and recovery of the stolen property.
By 1979, Renier moved to Ruckersville, Virginia, near Charlottesville, to be closer to her sister now that the girls had moved out. Her first case in Virginia was the capture of a serial rapist in the town of Staunton. After visiting two of the victims’ houses, Renier was able to provide clues that the detectives used to make an arrest.
Since that time Renier has worked on hundreds of cases with law enforcement officials all over the United States. She has also provided insight to the FBI. Robert K. Ressler, retired special agent assigned to the Bureau’s Behavioral Science Unit in Quantico, Virginia, and the real-life profiler who inspired both the film The Silence of the Lambs and the hit television series The X-Files, endorsed her as an important investigative tool. Renier won Ressler over when she predicted President Ronald Reagan would be shot. She also predicted the circumstances of the assassination of Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat, but mistakenly ascribed some of the details to Reagan.
Some of her most famous investigations include the double murder of an elderly couple in Colonie, New York, where she worked with Lt. Raymond Krolak, a skeptic turned believer; the brutal stabbings of a mother and her young daughter in Cassopolis County, Michigan; the location of a downed plane that contained the brother of a former FBI agent’s wife; her readings for a man whose true occupation was professional assassin; and the New York City Zodiac killer, a copycat murderer who assumed the persona of the still-unidentified Zodiac killer in San Francisco.
Renier also became involved in the high-profile Scott Peterson murder case. Peterson was convicted of the murder of his pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn child in December 2003. In March 2004, Jackie Peterson, Scott’s mother, hired Renier to help authorities find the body of Laci and thereby hopefully to clear her son Scott of suspicion of murder. Renier visualized Laci’s location and felt the young woman was already dead when her body was dumped in the water.
Renier has been a frequent guest on television programs. A Mind for Murder (2005), written with Naomi Lucks, is her autobiographical account of her life as a self-styled psychic “homicide detective.” Other books that feature Renier include Psychics: The Investigators and Spies Who Use Paranormal Power, by Sarah Moran; Remote Visions: The Secret History of America’s Psychic Spies, by Jim Schnabel; Shopping for Miracles: A Guide to Psychics and Psychic Powers, by Joanne D.J. McMahon, Ph.D., and Anna M. Lascerian, Esq.; and Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI, by Special Agent Robert Ressler.
- “Laci Peterson Case, The.” CourtTV Online. Available online. URL: www.courttv.com/talk/chat_trancripts/2004/ 0722peterson-renier.html. Downloaded January 30, 2006.
- Renier, Noreen, with Naomi Lucks. A Mind for Murder: The Real-Life Files of a Psychic Investigator. New York: Berkley Books, 2005.