Wednesday, December 27, 2006
If Wishes Was Fishes We'd Die From The Stink
Another year winds towards its end and once again talkshow host Montel Williams favorite Wednesday afternoon Psychic, famed Sylvia Browne, has trotted out her predictions for 2007. I remember Sylvia from a 1972 episode of THAT'S INCREDIBLE (Kathy Lee Crosby, Fran Tarkenton...I am SO old) when she outed a ghost that haunted a TOYS 'R US.
I was reared ("reared" is for animals, "raised" is for corn or soy beans) brought up, if you will, to expect the miraculous. From Church to comic books, miracles and super-powers filled my childhood. As a result I have spent 42 years pining, yearning, wishing (and hoping, and praying) for the mystical supernatural inexplicable to occur or be illustrated in my lifetime. Of course by definition mystical supernatural inexplicable events once proven would lose their mystical supernatural inexplicable designation. But UFOs, cryptozoology, ESP, ghosts, astral travel...I have been SO ready for a little magic in my life.
Then. The "psychics" or "ghost whisperers" hit popular television and I, always seeking that special gift in humanity, watched with great interest. Afterall, if any one of us can see the unseen then perhaps we all can. Unfortunately I watched too closely, learned the routines and realized that the one truth that survived is "everything old is new again."
Following the American Civil War, our New Birth of Freedom was accompanied by a New Birth of Spiritualism. There were so many who had died remote from their loved ones rational 19th Century citizens sought out spiritualists to gain closure. In fact, throughout history times of uncertainty have been fat times for "seers" of all shapes and sizes. Some famous Americans, desperate for contact from their loved ones who had passed, sought the assistance of mediums. Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln after the untimely death of sons, Houdini following the death of his beloved mother - opened their wallets and hired the best spiritualist/medium/psychics of the time. Both President Lincoln and the 20th Century's greatest Magician came to the same conclusion - bunk.
Psychic readings as performed by the vast majority of "real" psychics follow simple scripts with or without props (Crystal balls, Tarot, dousing rods, the human hand, lumps on the head, tea leaves, the moon and stars, chicken innards even bowel movements.) But the goal is simple - wish fullfilment of the person paying for the service.
"Did Uncle Sid die in AGONY?"
"No he passed peacefully in the night."
"Do you see Romance in my future?"
"Yes, not this year but next. A tall man with dark hair."
"Will the next year bring peace to the Middle East?"
Even simpler is the "audience reading." Asking 100 people if anyone's lost a relative with an "S" in their first or last name is a great job if you can get it.
I wish they were special but most are just clever.