Friday, January 28, 2011
A little over 20 years ago, I went out to a seminar on Long Island to listen to a young, relatively unknown psychic medium named John Edward. He was funny, engaging, personable and spoke about ways in which he got psychic information which were startlingly like my own - even though I was, at that time, a practicing attorney with no apparent psychic gifts. I liked him immediately. Intuitively, I felt he was the real deal - he came up with bizarre facts which were verified by flustered and amazed people in the audience. At the end of the seminar, he sat down at a table and I was the only person who went up to talk to him afterwards. I had just bought his new book and asked him to sign it. Why? I believed he was going to be famous and I wanted his autograph while I could still get it.
Fast forward 20 years, and John Edward is arguably one of the most famous psychic mediums in the world. I have been an avid devotee of his various cable and network shows, and have been constantly amazed at his ability to come up with very precise "evidence" (as the Spiritualists would say) of the spirit world. When you watch enough of his shows (the information he gets, how he gets it, the associations he makes in his own mind, and the shock or denials of the audience members), you stop worrying about whether he had hidden microphones or shills in the audience - it is quite obviously "real."
I had the opportunity to go to one of his "small group" sessions in East Rutherford, NJ, this week. I had apparently bought ticket #1 and was there with an intimate group of approximately 400 or so people - all anxious to get a reading from him. I have never felt compelled to get a reading from any medium, let alone John Edward, because I never wanted to steal the medium away from people who really desperately need a reading - those who have suffered the tragic loss of someone important in the lives. But I decided to raise my hand during the question session and was lucky enough to be called up by him.
John asked me to stand up and I was handed a microphone. Then he asked, "Is the man sitting to your left with you?" I said yes. It was my husband. "Sir, would you please stand up also," asked John. My husband Patrick, who is French, stood up next to me. Before I could ask my question, John asked us, "Have you lost a baby girl in your family? With the name Corinne?" Having watched hundreds of his shows, I knew that fetuses count as much as live babies in the psychic world of "family." So I admitted to having two miscarriages in my life. But I knew the question was meant for Patrick. John had strangely asked Patrick to stand up and the name "Corinne" is clearly French. However, Patrick - who is a concrete, literal and mostly skeptical type of person - could not think of anyone in his family who had lost a daughter or baby named Corinne, so he immediately said, "No."
John did not and could not pursue his psychic "lead" and so I was allowed to ask my question. I asked him what he felt about the large number of mediums, psychics and paranormal investigators who seem to feel automatically compelled to clear out or "cleanse" spirits and get rid of them from the location they are allegedly haunting. Did he agree with this as a kind of knee-jerk automatic response to finding spirits? One famous television medium supposedly announced with great pride one year that she had cleared Gettysburg of all 51,000 spirits of the men who had died there during the Civil War. Of course, having taken many trips there since the alleged "cleansing," I know that claim was bogus. At any rate, John gave a thoughtful and complete answer- saying that with all the new ghost hunting shows on television this seems to be what people think they can do - usually for a fee and with an overinflated ego. He suggested that either spirits ought to be left alone to co-exist with the living or the person being "haunted" should deal with the ghost themselves. He emphasized that people view spirits as the Hollywood version - scary and threatening - whereas spirits are generally in contact to express love. I couldn't agree with him more. It was good to hear him say it.
After the show was over, I said to Patrick, "Why didn't you tell him about the fact your mother always said she had miscarried a baby girl?" Patrick's shook his head and said his father never believed her story, and the fetus was never named Corinne. Patrick comes from a family of three boys. Here's the problem: When responding to psychic information, you need to stop your logical mind from dictating what you think you know or don't know. A "baby girl" can still be a fetus. It is possible Patrick's father never knew the full circumstances. It is possible that someone in Patrick's family could still verify that his mother had thought about naming her "Corinne" or something similar-sounding, even though the fetus was never named. The point is that obtaining, delivering and responding to psychic information is like a dance and neither party is in control of all the facts. Clearly, in my mind, John had a message to deliver to Patrick, but we will never know what it was because the unfolding of the psychic information was nipped at the bud by logic.