Enter Phil Jordan, psychic sleuth cure spiritualist. He was, he says, "raised on dreams," and from about the age of six experienced clairvoyant visions. Prompted in part by "severe unemployment," he decided to offer "psychic consultations" to the public. Two years later, he launched his reputation as a psychic detective by supposedly locating a missing five-year-old boy. Although Jordan claims to have been helpful in other cases, it is this one that receives the most attention in his autobiography, I Knew This Day Would Come: A Personal Journey to Psychic Awareness (Jordan 1999, 58 64).
The case--the rescue of Tommy Kennedy in Tioga County, New York--began on August 3, 1975. Young Kennedy had wandered away from his family at Empire Lake, and some searchers feared he might have fallen into the water and drowned. Using psychometry (or object-reading, an alleged type of ESP) Jordan supposedly received impressions from the boy's discovered T-shirt. Jordan announced, "He's alive," and, producing a sketch, said, "that's where they will find him." Subsequently, Jordan led searchers into the woods where "they found the exhausted five-year-old, under a tree in the exact location sketched by the psychic the night before" (Randles and Hough 2001).
Unfortunately, the story has become "mythologized," according to Kenneth L. Feder and Michael Alan Park, who investigated the Kennedy case for my book Psychic Sleuths (Nickell 1994). They demonstrated how facts have been exaggerated and the story subjected to various embellishments. For example, the psychic's own accounts (Jordan 1977, 1999) fail to mention the T-shirt, a detail given in Arthur Lyons and Marcello Truzzi's The Blue Sense: Psychic Detectives and Crime (1991, 74), citing Fate magazine and the tabloid National Enquirer. It is repeated by Jenny Randles and Peter Hough in their credulous Psychic Detectives (2001, 86-88), which, astonishingly, ascribes the Kennedy case to 1982!
Moreover, Jordan's map was vague and contained erroneous details. It was apparently of little use in the search, during which Jordan supposedly received vibrations telling him "to go here, to go there" (Feder and Park 1994). Jordan had, by his own admission, chosen an area of the woods that "no one had searched" (although Randles and Hough  report otherwise).
"Just as I was ready to give up, he says, "I looked down and saw the footprint of a young barefoot human headed up the trail." Even with such good luck, Jordan happened to be elsewhere--in a ravine--when other searchers in the party actually located the lost child. They had heard him "yelling for help" (Jordan 1999, 58-63).
A 1989 television re-creation further exaggerated the story, leading Feder and Park (1994) to conclude, "It is curious indeed that this case, with all of its contradictions and odd coincidences, is considered an example compelling enough to be singled out in a television documentary more than a decade after the fact." And, of course, it has also been featured in mystery-mongering books such as that by Randles and Hough (2001).