Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Story About Keeping Memories Alive

My old classroom at the Beethoven Elementary School in Waban, MA, before it is torn down for good.

This past weekend I took a road trip to Boston where I spent some of my childhood.  I kept the whole schedule wide open. I had no idea who I would see or what I would be doing.  A childhood friend named Michele had invited me via Facebook to attend a small gathering of our 5th and 6th grade classmates to say good bye to Beethoven Elementary School since it is about to be torn down and replaced by office buildings. I figured I would stop by and visit my mother in her nursing home on my way over to the school party that evening.

My mother has become exceedingly senile.  She can still talk and seems to be very actively present until you realize that she will repeat the same information roughly every three to five minutes. It is usually information she has shared repeatedly with me over the course of every phone conversation for the last several years.  She has no idea she is repeating herself.  Talking to her is like being stuck in the movie "Groundhog Day" where the actor Bill Murray is stuck reliving the same day over and over and over again, and finally realizes he can say or do anything and there will not be any consequences.  When she tells me for the 500th time about her "new" apartment and how happy she is and how much she likes her seated physical gym exercises, I can react with surprise,  boredom, happiness, sadness, anger or whatever.  It doesn't matter because she won't remember how I reacted three minutes later.  This strangely liberating, but also sad. 

I arrived at her door without announcing my visit.  What would be the use?  She would forget it anyway.  She was completely unsurprised by my rare visit.  My mother thanked me several times, despite being gently corrected, for a birthday gift mailed to her by her sister.  She then advised me that my uncle had actually had only 3 children (not 4) and had been previously married (not true).  My head was spinning trying to sort out reality.  We discussed my upcoming visit to my old elementary school before it is torn down.  I reminded her of a story when she was called by the elementary school principal, Mr. Zervas, and asked to come in to meet with him.  As it turned out, I and one other child had been shown to test with the highest IQ scores in the school.  My mother, to my eternal disappointment, was too timid to ask him the score.  So I will never know.  I did contact the other classmate many years later (he was a former senior adviser to former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice) and he graciously suggested that, while he did not recall the exact IQ scores, his recollection was that mine was the higher of the two!  

I left my mother's nursing home and drove aimlessly in the direction of the town of Waban where my old home was located not far from the Beethoven School.  I texted Michele to see if she knew any of the details of this "party."  She didn't.  I figured it would turn out to be nothing more than a small handful of grey-haired former classmates gathered outside behind the school in the darkness for a couple of hours, and maybe one of them would have the foresight to bring a bottle of whiskey and some plastic cups while we shivered in the night air.

I stopped by my old home on Ashmont Road and got out of my car to walk up and down the little street I remembered so well.  It was very dark outside now.  I was deeply entrenched in some old childhood memories like teaching the neighbor's pet dog how to sit only weeks before he was run over by a truck, and learning to ride my bicycle down the slope with the neighbor kids.  A car drove slowly by and someone yelled, "Nancy!  Is that you?"  I was shocked out of my reverie.  I haven't lived in Boston for decades. 
"Yeah,  Who's that?" 

I couldn't imagine who would have know what I was doing here.  It was Michele who was with her brother and sisters, and had vaguely remembered this was where I used to live.

"Come on, let's go over to the school!" she said.

The school was only about 7 or 8 blocks away.  As soon as I turned in front of the school, I saw the entire school was lit up from the interior, the parking lot was jammed full of cars, and people seemed to be walking to the main entrance from every direction.  I was shocked by all this activity.  It seemed this was a much, much bigger deal than I had imagined.  I had not walked into this school since I was 10 years old.  The little hallways were jammed with people of all ages - toddlers running, preschoolers yelling and playing in the classrooms, teenagers looking excited, young and old adults, and some real old-timers.  Former classmates brought their brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, parents.  It was truly a giant family reunion.

There was a feast of food spread out in the old gymnasium.  I recognized the same old climbing ropes hanging from the ceiling, and suddenly recalled the girl's room off the gym where I used to take my flute lessons because there were no music rooms available.  My teacher, Mr. Manuel, a flutist with a bad temper, used to kick my chair every time I played a wrong note which would then reverberate  mercilessly off the tiled walls of the bathroom!  I saw an absolute flood of my friends, some recognizable and some barely recognizable, from 6th grade.  As if in a dream, I found one of my best friends from 5th grade.  I always remembered her father playing Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass famous "A Taste of Honey" while we played in her basement.  Strange what things you remember.

I then discovered that my all-time favorite teacher, known affectionately to all of us as "Mr. G," was there.  I found him and he actually remembered me!  I cried quiet tears of joy. We all loved him.  And he loved us.  He had a kind thing to say to each and every one of us.  He still looked the same except his hair was white now.  It occurred to me that perhaps he was no more than a decade older than the rest of us, although he will eternally be a much older "adult" in my forever-childlike mind.  My other great teacher, Miss Shields, had died years ago. Her last words to me as I exited her 6th grade classroom were: "Come back and see me when you are great artist, Nancy."  Obviously, that future possibility had now been forever foreclosed..

I learned that the school hadn't been called the "Beethoven Elementary School" for many years.  It was now the Frank Zervas school.  Zervas, as I dimly recalled, was the name of my old principal.  The one who held the key to my IQ.  Why was my school named after him?  Could I find him now and get my IQ score finally?  As it turned out, according to a former classmate I bumped into, it was the same principal I had had all those decades ago.  But sadly the school was named after him because he had taken his family many years ago to a summer home and in a terrible twist of fate, he, his wife and kids had died in their sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning.  So the school was renamed in his honor. 

I bought a mug that said the Zervas Elementary School on it.  It was all that was left of Beethoven or my IQ score.

I walked out the back door of the school, hoping to get some better reception on my cell phone.  It was nearly pitch black.  I remembered this place behind the school with a small forest behind it.  I don't know why I remembered it.  I had no specific memories.  As I wondered aimlessly outside the building I became aware of the joyful sounds in the night air.  In the darkness, I began to make out the figures of tons of children.  Teenagers were playing basketball in the dark.  Younger children were running and laughing everywhere.  They ran by me as shadows.  I saw an enormous swing set and every single swing had a child on it kicking their feet higher up into the night sky.  I decided to take some pictures in the darkness.  This would be my last memory of my school.  I wanted proof it existed and therefore that I existed.  I snapped several photos.  I took a photo of a group of shadowy young boys who were climbing all over some enormous jungle gym.  As soon as I did, the tallest boy, no older than 10 or 11 years old, came walking over to me. 

He asked sternly, " Why did you take that picture?" 

I was so shocked I couldn't answer for a moment.

"For business?  Or for your memories?" he demanded to know. 

"Memories," I responded.

"Oh, well, then that's okay," he decided firmly for the group of boys who had all now swarmed behind him in a supportive line.

"When was your class here?" he asked.

"About 1967," I said.  I half expected that he might remember that year.

"Did you know Miss M?" he asked.  He didn't wait for my answer.  "She was here for 40 years.  But she died while we were here.  So we named the cafeteria after her."

"No, I didn't know her," I said, quickly calculating in my head that she must have joined the staff long after I had graduated.  "But that's too bad about the cafeteria because now it's going to be torn down."

"Yeah," said the boy.  He was clearly the self-appointed spokesman for the entire group of boys.  "We were all in the last class to ever graduate from here!"

"This year?" I asked. "You all just graduated?"

"Yeah.  Isn't that right guys?  This here is Jorge." (He pointed to a scrawny looking Hispanic boy with a sweet smile).  "He only moved up here from Puerto Rico for the last two months of our class.  He doesn't speak English too much."

Jorge said with a thick Spanish accent, "My name is Jorge!"  And another smaller boy poked him in the stomach and said, "Yeah, you're a beast!  You're a beast, man!" 

"Que?" asked Jorge looking truly confused and reverting to his native Spanish.

"Well," continued the larger boy, "See ya!"

And with that, the group of 10-year-old boys ran gleefully back to the jungle gym set and disappeared into the dark shadows of the night.

I cried tears to myself.  These kids were my age exactly the last time I was here.  They magically introduced themselves to me on this final night when the last bit of living evidence of my childhood was about to be torn down.  They had been in the last class.  Suddenly, I felt we were all one.  We were all the same age.  We were all the same tribe.  We were all going to lose this piece of our childhood together.  We held each other's memories in our memories.  The memory of this magical night will never leave me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Religion and the Telephone Game

Remember when you were a little kid and played the Telephone Game?  One person would whisper a word into the ear of the person sitting next to them.  That person would whisper it to the next person, who would tell the next person and so on.  Finally, when it reached the last person sitting in the circle, they would announce the word they had heard.  Inevitably, it was not the same word used by the person who started the game.

The more frequently information is shared by people, the faster it is corrupted and becomes an entirely different beast.  It is one of the reasons mass media, social media and the internet scare the hell out of me.  People seem to think if something has been repeated often enough, then it must be true.  Repetition has become the modern-day indicia of truth.  And nothing could be further from the truth.  Truth often lies buried in old, boring, trivial facts left moldering in some basement file cabinet.  Truth also lies buried in one's own personal experience but obscured by emotions like fear, desire, mistrust, and hope. 

To find Truth, you must go to the source - whatever it is - and refuse to listen to the noisy parrots of gossip, titillating news, shock value, and propaganda.  Read your own damn books!  Don't rely on summaries by others.  Didn't the intellectual dog named Brian on the cartoon "Family Guy" say that?  Or have I inadvertently attributed that tidbit incorrectly to Brian and it was actually the obnoxious baby Stewie?  But if you have read it in my blog, then it must be true, right?  And you can repeat it in your own blog, right?  And your readers will repeat it as gospel, right?  Truth is not the same as Repetition.

A couple of days ago, I receive a letter from famed psychologist Dr. Leo Sprinkle.  He sent me a translation of the Lord's Prayer from its original ancient Aramaic language.  Our Bible has been most commonly translated from Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English.  With all the resulting errors of this scholarly game of Telephone.  I will give the common version and the Aramaic version (translated by Mark Hathaway).  And when you are done, think about what this game of Telephone has done to our concept of religion and God.

Now, compare that with the more "pure" and distinctly more poetic version translated directly from Aramaic:

     O cosmic Brother of all radiance and vibration!
     Soften the ground of our being
     and carve out a space within us
     where your Presence can abide.

     Fill us with your creativity
     so that we may be empowered
     to bear the fruit of our mission.

     Let each of our actions bear fruit
     in accordance with our desire.

     Endow us with the wisdom to produce
     and share what each being needs
     to grow and flourish.

     Untie the tangled threads of destiny
     that bind us,
     as we release others from
     the entanglement of past mistakes.

     Do not let us be seduced by that which would
     divert us from our true purpose
     but illuminate the opportunities
     of the present moment.

     For you are the ground and the fruitful vision,
     the birth power and the fulfillment,
     as all is gathered
     and made whole once again.


If we had seen the original words in Aramaic, perhaps we would view religion very differently today.  Instead, we rely on the "Telephone" version upon which to base our most cherished beliefs. Do you see yourself, or even God or aliens for that matter, differently when you read this translation?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How To Talk to an Alien

I have just written a new book called "How to Talk to an Alien" which is set to be released in three weeks (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble).  I am very excited about it.  When I first got in touch with my publisher at the beginning of this year, I asked if they might be able - by some miracle - to release the book in time for my presentation at the annual MUFON Symposium 2015 in Irvine, CA on September 25, 2015 (  To my shock and amazement, he said yes!  The only catch was that I had to agree to write the entire book in two months. 

"Sure," I told him, "No problem!  I can write the book in two months and have it ready for you."

I am not quite sure why I told him this.  I had previously published four books and they had each taken me between 5 to 10 years to write. 

And so I wrote this book in two months.  That was also a miracle!

It is a book about a new field I call "Exolinguistics."  This means "exo" or "outside of" or, in this case, it refers to "off planet Earth" and "linguistics" meaning "language."  I am fluent in French and speak some German and Thai, so I have some basic familiarity with various human languages.  The book is about alien languages.  I examine them from the point of view of Comparative Linguistics - which is not an easy feat since part of the problem is finding matches for the various languages reported and channeled by alien or off-world experiencers.  We must learn how to communicate with various alien races for a number of important reasons including that there are numerous documented cases showing aliens can shut down our nuclear missile systems, power plants, violate our commercial and military airspace, abduct ordinary citizens, and conduct bizarre medical experiments on humans!

I had already delivered a presentation at the "Experiencers Speak 2014" Conference in Maine last September on the same topic.  It was the first time I had seriously ventured into the world of ufology.

Frankly, my entire journey into the world of Weird Stuff has been an intentionally very slow voyage.  I started with the psychology of intuition, which morphed into the psychic world due to the lack of conventional scientific data on intuition.  I learned I had some psychic and mediumship ability.  As I explored these new talents through training and apprenticeship, I bumped into the Paranormal World.  This world was very different from the Psychic World.  The Psychic World is filled with love, peace, woo-woo, healing, non-analytic thinking, and crystals.  The Psychic World is mostly populated by women.  The Paranormal World is filled with ghost hunters, horror movie fans, Hells Angels wannabees, electronic equipment, and has a predominantly male constituency.  The Psychic and Paranormal worlds overlap - obviously - but they feel very different. 

It took me years before I slowly ventured into the Paranormal World.  I was already aware, from my psychic work, that negative energies, spirit attachments, and demonic attacks are very real things and not meant to be played with.  Too many testosterone-filled braggadocio types go swaggering into haunted locations trying to rile up the ghosts while oblivious to their own peril.  My point here is that my journey into these various spirit worlds has been intentionally slow and careful.  I know what lurks.

I never thought in a million years there might be a connection between psychic and paranormal, and then, later, with ufology.  Boy, was I wrong!  The Ufology World has overlaps with the Psychic and Paranormal worlds but "feels" very different.  Like the Paranormal World, it is primarily masculine-dominated.  However, the type of men involved are different.  The ufology men are mostly men of science - engineers, aerospace experts, computer specialists, astrophysicists and so on.  They value objective evidence and the scientific method.  Interestingly, both fields are filled with men who work professionally in law enforcement.  This makes for good field investigations and uncontaminated crime scenes.  However, generally speaking, the paranormal men pay lip service to the so-called scientific method of investigation of spirits.  Ultimately, they are too excitable and think "scientific" means using equipment instead of human beings.  Most fail to establish experimental safeguards or think about their methodologies.  They are mostly cowboys looking for a thrill - and manage to capture some interesting audio and video data along the way.  On the other hand, the typical ufology man tends to be blind and ignorant to the very important and very real spiritual aspects of ufology.

According to Jan Harzan, the executive director of MUFON, I will be the first professional "psychic" to speak at the annual MUFON convention.  I find this to be odd.  As I have discovered, alien contact and communication is often interactive on the psychic level.  Telepathy is the most frequently reported type of communication between aliens and humans.  Other types of psychic features, like teleportation, dematerialization, out-of-body experience, mind control and manipulation, hypnotic suggestion, and shape-shifting, are also commonly reported in ufology.  Case studies also frequently show paranormal activity increases among abductees and contactees after there has been interaction with a UFO or alien species.  So why aren't psychics and parapsychologists more involved in this field?  Why is it dominated by scientists?  Can't we all figure out a  way to work together toward a common cause?

Just hoping to change the world...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Legal Issues for Psychics and Fortune Tellers

I got a call from a woman in New York who somehow managed to find my phone number.  She was inquiring about getting a psychic reading from me, but when I asked more questions, I realized she wasn't really looking for advice in the psychic realm.  She needed practical information.  Basically, from what I could tell from her confusing history, she was terrified of putting up her "shingle" as a psychic in a public forum.  She did not doubt her abilities in the least.  She doubted whether or not she would be pursued by law enforcement for announcing her psychic services.

Naturally, I thought this was an over-reaction.  Psychics advertise their services all the time.  You see them on TV, radio, storefronts and billboards.  But I was intrigued by her concern.  As I also have a vested interest in making sure there are no legal problems with offering psychic services, I decided to investigate the issue for myself. What I found was much more complex than I had imagined, even as an attorney!

A number of states have civil and criminal statutes restricting the ability of psychics to practice their trade.  For example, a number of states require that psychics be licensed.  In Salem, Massachusetts, known for its historical burning of witches and tourist business attracted by occult witches and psychics, different types of licenses are required for psychics depending upon whether they have a store, attend psychic fairs, sell metaphysical products, and so on. 

I was surprised to find that in New York State, "fortune telling" is a Class B Misdemeanor under the New York Penal Law.  The statute, N.Y. Penal Law section 165.35: NY Code, passed in 1967, reads:

"A person is guilty of fortune telling when, for a fee or compensation which he directly or indirectly solicits or receives, he claims or pretends to tell fortunes, or holds himself out as being able, by claimed or pretended use of occult powers, to answer questions or give advice on  personal matters or to exorcise, influence or affect evil spirits or curses; except that this section does not apply to a person who engages in the aforedescribed conduct as part of a show or exhibition solely for the purpose of entertainment or amusement.  Fortune telling is a class B misdemeanor."

In New York (as in Oklahoma), it is thus illegal to engage in the practice of fortune telling unless it is identified as being for "entertainment purposes" only! 

I wasn't totally surprised when I read this.  I remember from law school reading about some of the most ridiculous archaic laws that remain (mostly due to neglect and laziness) on the books.  Just to give you an idea: In North Dakota, it is illegal to serve beer and pretzels together; In Minnesota it is a misdemeanor and a $3,000 fine to have sex with a bird if someone is watching you; In Carmel, California, it is illegal to wear high heels that are taller than 2 inches; In Maine, under Title 17, Section 3203 of the state code, you will get six months of jail time, a $1,000 fine, and your auto dealership license will be revoked, if you sell a car on a Sunday; In Orlando, Florida, if you park your elephant on the street, you must deposit the same amount of money in the parking meter as you would a car; In Hartford, Connecticut, it is illegal to educate your dog or give it obedience training.  Well, you get the idea.  Most of these silly laws are ignored by law enforcement.  So I was sure the same would be true of the fortune teller law.

But I was wrong.  These psychic laws are still being enforced today.  In the year 2010, reports indicated that more than ten persons were prosecuted in New York under this criminal law.  Canada has a particularly strict prohibition against psychics dating back to the inception of the criminal code in 1892.  During the decade between 1999 and 2009, 38 people were charged under Section 365 of the Canadian Criminal Code for fraudulently pretending to exercise witchcraft, sorcery, fortune telling or conjuration.  If convicted, it carries with it jail time of up to six months and a $2,000 penalty. The most recent case involved a 36-year-old psychic woman who allegedly scammed a seasoned criminal lawyer (yeah got that one right!) out of more than $100,000 by telling him she was the embodiment of his deceased sister and would help him achieve financial success.  The witchcraft charges were dropped only when she agreed to plead guilty to fraud.

In fact, that is really the heart of the matter here - fraud.  In the absence of legitimate definitions of occult powers in the legal world, legislators and law enforcement are obviously much more concerned about stopping con games involving false promises and large sums of money.  Think of an overzealous or unscrupulous stockbroker who tells you he knows about a stock that is a surefire winner and you will make a lot of money if you invest in his "prediction" and, of course, pay him his fee.  At what point does any prediction - by anyone - amount to a fraud or grand larceny?  The courts in Alexandria, Louisiana and Montgomery County, Maryland, recently rejected arguments that these laws prohibiting fortune telling constitute a ban on the Constitutional right to Free Speech. 

Given the fact that lawmakers clearly don't seem to have any understanding of the true value of psychic abilities, it then becomes incumbent upon the psychics to work hard to distinguish their services from the dreaded fraudulent practices outlined in the statutes.  So what do you do?

There are no clear guidelines on how to avoid a criminal prosecution as a psychic.  There are only rough rules of thumb about how to avoid the appearance of impropriety or fraud.  Several commentators have offered suggestions.  Here are a few:

   1. Avoid encouraging clients to come back for frequent or regular visits

   2. Avoid giving clients the impression that you are absolutely right or sure about your predictions.  Never promise results.

   3. Avoid charging substantial sums of money for any types of psychic services including but not limited to lighting candles, removing spells, delivering information from deceased relatives or spirits, and so on.  Lawsuits against psychics tend to involve cases where the clients alleged they were bilked out of many tens of thousands of dollars over time by the psychic.

   4. In places like New York, include a disclaimer that your services are offered for "entertainment purposes only."  This will clearly feel somewhere in the range between "distasteful" and an outright lie for most serious psychics, but lawmakers leave psychics no choice in this matter.

   5. If it appears a client is overly dependent upon your advice, try to steer them toward getting more conventional help in the health care field.

   6. Avoid telling clients you have a perfect track record of accuracy.

   7. Think carefully about doing readings at psychic fairs and visits to other states and jurisdictions.  Read up on the local laws.

Naturally, these suggestions are not surefire ways to prevent prosecution under the psychic criminal laws but they tend to protect psychics against claims that they engaged in fraudulent acts.  Also, just to add my own disclaimer here, I offer this blog for entertainment purposes only  and not as either psychic or legal advice!  Sheesh!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Bridge of Life

Photo by Ian Parker
I had a big birthday recently.  I share the same birthday as the great American psychic Edgar Cayce on March 18.  It was my first entry into technical "Old Age."  It is a strange place in which to find oneself because it is so surreal.  Anyway, I asked my husband to get a very specific birthday present for me.  It was a simple but beautiful ring set with a "twilight" cut (how appropriate) Spar-Hawk tourmaline from the only mines where they are found in the world in Maine, and some tiny diamonds.  I put it on my ring finger on my right hand and decided, in my mind, I would wear this lovely symbolic ring every day for the rest of my life.

Two days after my birthday I was attending a party at a neighbor's house.  It was nighttime when we returned to the car.  My hands were full holding a large porcelain pie plate with a quiche.  That day it had strangely snowed about 5 inches.  As I tried to march up the mound of snow next to the passenger side of the parked car, I slid and then did a bizarre twist in the air.  I landed, on rocks beneath the powdery snow, with the full force and weight of my entire body on the tip of my ring finger on my right hand.  I lay face down in the snow with my outstretched right hand that had tried to rescue the porcelain plate from shattering and had itself been shattered.

I knew immediately it was a bad injury.  When I got home I pulled my birthday ring off my finger since I was sure it was going to swell up.  Which it did.  That week it swelled up like a balloon and turned all shades of purple, then green, then yellow from the bruising at the finger joint.  That week I decided not to see a doctor.  Maybe it was just a bad sprain, I thought.  Maybe it will heal up by itself if I baby it, I reasoned.  I did my best to ignore my giant damaged finger.  The problem was that I was down to the wire writing my new book and the publisher had given me a flat non-negotiable deadline.  I had to finish writing the book that week.  If a doctor put a cast on my finger I would never be able to finish the book.  I worked furiously - using the old "hunt and peck" style of typing - and managed by some miracle to finish my book.  By then, people were telling me I was stupid not to get it checked out since it could result in the loss of mobility in the finger.

The X-rays came back and, sure enough, the finger joint was fractured and the ligaments were torn as they had ripped a chunk of bone off the joint when they were stretched out by the injury.  As I write this blog, I am struggling to type since my finger is still swollen and stiff.  I was told yesterday that healing may take up to a half a year or more. When I asked when or if I could ever wear my birthday ring again, the physical therapist told me to wait a year and then I will know if it will be possible...

Last night I had a peculiar dream.  I was walking with my husband and three "relatives" - although they were not people I knew.  It was one very old couple, husband and wife, and one exceptionally old lady close to 100 years old.  They wanted us to go sightseeing in their town.  It seemed vaguely European.  I surveyed the colorful townhouses and architecture.  Suddenly, we found ourselves walking up an enormous arched bridge.  They marched happily up the steep slope and talked about how it was the largest bridge in the world.  I was amazed that these very old people seemed to be so physically fit that this hike didn't seem to bother them.  The bridge seemed to climb up in a rounded arc into the mists of the sky.  It was superb.  When we reached the summit, I lost the others.  They seem to have disappeared and taken a path down the other side of the bridge where I couldn't see.  I stood there, a bit lost, and a man appeared from no where.  He said to me, "You are at the top of the bridge.  This is the most you will ever know about everything."  The dream ends.

And so, as I get older, I find myself in a rush to hurry up and acquire the maximum amount of knowledge about everything and to learn all the secrets of the universe before I die.  My message to myself, apparently, was to understand that I know everything, inherently, now - as I stand at the pinnacle of the bridge of my life.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When Predictions Go Wrong

Last night, January 26, 2015, we all hunkered down.  Me, my family and just about every single person in the Northeast. 

Dire warnings were issued non-stop on every single television channel - a mega-blizzard snowstorm with hurricane strength winds will be moving in during the evening and early morning hours.  From northern New Jersey, New York City, Boston and parts of Canada - we were all told to expect anywhere from 2-3 feet of snow plus gale winds up to 70 mph.  The news media, including CNN, touted this storm as being "historic" in its killer potential.  "We have never seen anything like this before!" shouted the weather forecasters.  "Don't underestimate the power of this storm!."

Following suit, politicians up and down the Northeastern seaboard took extraordinary precautionary emergency measures the likes of which I have never seen in my life!  Entire cities were 100 percent shut down!

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took to the airwaves and declared a state of emergency in the state of New Jersey.  He instituted a traffic ban on all private traffic on New Jersey roads after 11 PM.  More than 1,300 flights were canceled at the area's three major airports, Newark, LaGuardia and JFK.  Some hospitals canceled elective surgeries and staff slept overnight on makeshift cots.  All public transportation, trains, buses and light rail service were shut down. 

Similarly, in New York City, Mayor Bill De Blasio proclaimed a "winter weather state of emergency" and said no private traffic would be permitted on the streets of New York City after 11 PM and all persons would be banned from walking around in any city park after 6 PM due to the danger of falling branches and trees.  More than 1,800 snowplows were deployed, schools closed, and everyone warned to stay inside. 

Boston's Mayor Martin Walsh issued an almost simultaneous emergency announcement for the City of Boston.  He said a snow emergency would take effect at 6 PM, all cars parked on major city roadways would be towed, public schools would be closed for the next two days, all non-essential motor vehicle was banned starting at 12 midnight, and 800 pieces of equipment had been deployed to clear major roads of snow.  All three politicians declared they had taken these proactive positions on the weather because this blizzard was going to be unlike all other previous blizzards.  They called it "historic."

It was the first time I have ever seen politicians reacting to weather predictions on such a massively proactive and rather panicked scale.  I grew up in Boston and I lived for 25 years in New York City.  I had never seen anything like this before.  This was wholesale panic.

When I was a kid, cold weather and snow was no big deal.  Most winters I waited outside for my school bus in weather often reaching 5-8 degrees or approaching zero.  The insides of my lungs felt "furry" and frozen, but it was tolerable.  I once went on a school field trip where we spent the entire day outdoors taking measurements for our science class in weather that was 40 degrees below zero with the wind chill factor.  We were fine.  Further, our schools were never closed unless and until there was 3 feet of snow on the ground.  When I moved to New York and later New Jersey I thought people were funny because they became quasi-hysterical at the sight of anything more than a few inches of snow on the ground. 

I once flew into Little Rock, Arkansas, to visit my father and was shocked to find myself on the last airplane allowed to land and was unable to find a single vehicle or taxi working.  There was one inch of snow on the ground.  People apparently had not figured out that you can drive when there's snow on the ground.

At any rate, I did some late afternoon shoveling of snow off the steps and driveway yesterday - just 3 or 4 inches - in anticipation of the dumping of 2 feet of snow overnight.  When I woke up today there was less snow on the ground than yesterday.  No snow at all last night.  What a disappointment.  What a tremendous let-down after all that crazy hype.

Then, today, a brand new phenomenon:  weathercasters making a formal apology to the public and the politicians for their failure to accurately predict the strength of this storm.  They grossly overestimated its impact, at least in New Jersey, and now the politicians have egg on their face, so to speak.

According to a local newspaper, the Parsippany Focus: A state of emergency was declared in New Jersey Monday afternoon, but the blizzard dropped less than expected amounts of snow on the state Monday night, with no more than 7 inches of plowable falling in Monmouth County, and half as much elsewhere."  That is to say, 3 inches or less.  Much less than the touted "historic" amount of snow estimated to be between 2-3 feet deep.

The article continued:  "Meteorologists took to Twitter to issue apologies and explanations.
'My deepest apologies to many key decision makers and so many members of the general public,' Gary Szatkowski of the National Weather Service in Mount Holly Tweeted early Tuesday. 'You made a lot of tough decisions expecting us to get it right, and we didn’t. Once again, I’m sorry.”There will also be a slight chance of snow showers before 10 p.m., with winds only reaching 9 to 11 miles per hour.'"

I say bravo to the meteorologists who had the guts to apologize for their mistake. 

But here's the thing.  Speaking as a (psychic) person who also makes "predictions," I am fully aware of the pitfalls and problems in advising people about the future.  Predictions, whether they are psychic or based on computer projections, are still nothing but the highest likelihood of trending data that indicates a particular outcome. 

This should be viewed in quantum physics point of view known as the Uncertainty Principle, developed by physicist Werner Heisenberg, in 1927.  Depending on the object of your study and whether you choose to examine its position or momentum, there is no absolute single answer.  As the principle states:  the more precisely the position of some particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be known, and vice versa.  Thus, a field of possible correct answers is generated.  When we make a prediction, it is predicated on what we are watching - and we may be watching the wrong thing. 

Meteorologists - as well as psychics - would be well-advised to remain humble about their predictions.  And skeptics out there should be as respectful to psychics as they are to meteorologists...

Monday, January 5, 2015

My Grandfather's Spirit in My Dream Saved My Sight

My grandfather H. Maurice Fridlund, Esq. (aka "Puff") and me
I have always had extremely bad eyes.  I have worn glasses since I was 8 years old.  I am extremely nearsighted.  At 20 feet away, my vision is equivalent to someone with 20/20 vision looking at something the distance of two football fields away!  My world is extremely fuzzy.  In addition, I have other annoying eye issues such as floaters, astigmatisms, cataracts, and retinal degeneration.  As I have gotten older, since my eyes don't change as frequently as they did when I was young, I just to the ophthalmologist once a year for a check up. 

About five or six years ago, I went to bed and was having an very average, rather boring, dream.  I was driving to a school in a neighboring community to pick up my daughter after her soccer game.  I got there, found the school, went inside, found my daughter and we started to leave, when I noticed that the door to the room opened.  Normally, since I am a lucid dreamer, I have very good control over the events in my dreams.  I usually know what is about to happen.  That was not the case here.  The door opened and there stood my Swedish grandfather who we called "Puff" (ironic in retrospect, I suppose, since he died in his mid-80's, when I was in my mid-20's, from a debilitating lung disease called emphysema). 

At any rate, I was very surprised to see him in my dream. 

I said, "Puff!  What are you doing here?"

He replied, "I'm here because I need to show you something, Nancy."

He shuffled slowly over to the other side of the room, just as I had remembered him in real life decades earlier.  He picked up a huge, leather bound text book, opened it up to a particular page and pointed to the writing just below a medical illustration on the top of the left page. 

"Here.  Read this," he said.

I struggled to read the words out of this medical treatise, but they began to look like unintelligible squiggles and floated aimlessly. 

"I can't read this, Puff," I said, "because I'm in a dream."

"Oh that's alright then," he answered.  "I just want to make sure that you go to visit your eye doctor because there is a problem with your eyes and you need to take care of it."

"Okay, I will," I promised.

We hugged warmly and he told me he had to go, and so we parted ways. 

I woke myself up from the dream sobbing with tears running down my face.  But they were tears of joy.  That had never happened before in my life.  I was quite certain there was absolutely nothing wrong with my eyes.  My vision hadn't changed and I had no symptoms of anything at all.  But, in my budding exploration as a psychic, I decided - just for kicks - to go and get my annual eye check up anyway.  So I did.

To my shock, at that visit, my ophthalmologist informed me for the very first time that I had early stage glaucoma and would have to start coming to see him every three months and take eye drops for the rest of my life in order to prevent blindness.  What was even more amazing to me was that my dream conversation with Puff could not have been the product of my subconscious mind trying to tell me about my eye disease. 

Glaucoma is a symptomless disease - until you begin to go blind.  There are only three ways to check for it and none of them would result in any conscious or subconscious awareness - thinning of the wall of the retina, high intraocular fluid pressure, and the beginning of the loss of peripheral vision.  Tests showed that my peripheral vision was still excellent.  So there would have been no way for me to know or sense the presence of glaucoma. 

This was enough to convince me that I had, in fact, been visited by my deceased grandfather - for real!  It would also account for my strange crying upon awakening from the dream.  I also found it ironic that Puff was the one who showed up to tell me about this eye disease.  He is the only other member of my family, on both my mother's and father's sides, who - like me - wore glasses.  It was only suitable that he would tell me about this eye problem.  Furthermore, it was perfect that he showed up with a medical text to convince me about the problem. 

Born in 1896, Puff was a brilliant man.  He spoke eight languages fluently, attended Harvard Law School on a full scholarship and graduated with some of the highest grades ever, and also studied law in France and Germany.  He adored reading books that classified things - like weather, animal species, birds, historical events, etc.  When he sent me a rare letter in the mail, the letter was always divided into a main topic, subheadings and separate clauses.  He wasn't exactly a warm and fuzzy guy, but he had a good heart.  He was a tax lawyer for one of the largest admiralty law firms in the United States and created a very wealthy lifestyle for my mother's family.  Former Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis (Jacqueline Kennedy's second husband) begged my grandfather to be his lawyer, but Puff turned him down.  He didn't like Onassis' dirty business practices. 

Since that time, I have continued to see my ophthalmologist faithfully every three months and have had to increase my eye drops since my vision is now slowly starting to deteriorate.  Ultimately, there is no cure for glaucoma.  All you can do is slow the onset of the disease.  If Puff had not shown up in my dream, I believe it is possible I could be partially blind by now.

So, I offer this story as proof that the dead can help the living and give accurate medical advice from beyond the grave.  It's wonderful.