Right now I’m engaged in a back-and-forth with someone via Facebook regarding my lack of belief in a god. During the conversation, the person asked if I believed in an afterlife, to which I replied, no. Their follow up was: “What do you have to say about mediums and their ability to communicate with both the living and the dead?”
Disregarding the fact that this is a mild form of begging the question, I wanted to write about this because I do have experience with mediums.
Every year – twice a year – a nice lady who I’ve known for a long time puts on a “psychic fair.” Trying to keep an open mind, I decided to go and see if there was anything to it.
I ponied up the $25 bucks and sat down with a medium who performed a Tarot card reading and conferred with the angels. I could’ve gotten a cassette recording of the reading for an extra $10 bucks, which leads me to think I’ve chosen the wrong career path. $35 bucks for a 15-minute session? Not bad.
Needless to say, I came away from that experience convinced that the medium I went to, at least, was either inept, or possibly a fraud.
Here’s a few tidbits from the session that have stuck with me:
While “speaking” to my dead father, she said “Your father wants you to know that he’s grateful that you were at his side when he passed.”
Nope, I wasn’t there.
“Well, he meant in spirit.”
Nope. I wasn’t expecting him to go when he did. I was shocked.
“I’m seeing a black dog in your life, possibly a pet.”
Nope. My mom hates dogs, however, I’m pretty sure in my life someone I knew had a black dog. This is no revelation and it’s something so vague it could be accurate when applied to virtually anybody.
“Are you looking for a new job right now?”
“Good, because now’s not a good time for you to be job hunting.”
Oh good. I wonder what would have been the response had my answer been yes.
And lastly, “I see you changing jobs in the future. I see you working with computers.”
Wow. Computers, eh? Like, every fucking job these days involves computers, so bravo on that call.
Now, as I said, this doesn’t mean that all mediums, psychics or soothsayers are frauds, and it doesn’t mean that the one I went to was a fraud either. She could’ve been having an off day. Maybe the spirits were silent that particular day and she needed the money; could be many reasons why she failed to nail down anything specific.
I stayed around for a few hours and watched several other mediums give readings, and I found them to be asking the same leading questions and offering the same vague insights and prophecies.
Again, this doesn’t prove much. I’ve had people tell me the psychics they went to told them very specific and personal things no one could’ve known. If this happens to me, I may amend my thoughts on the topic.
I know it appears I enjoy shitting on these beliefs, and to a degree I do. While it’s easy to view this as harmless entertainment, the fact is real people get scammed out of lots of money. When people are hurting or are desperate, they reach for anything to give them comfort.
It’s also sad to see how many people willingly turn to – and give money to – people who will tell them what they want to hear.
As advanced as a people as we are, I’m amazed at how gullible we are and choose to be.
It would thrill me if science proved that life goes on after death. But for me, I have to remain skeptical for now.
I plan on going back to the fair again this year and I’m going to get another reading, but this time, I’m going to challenge the medium more when they get things wrong. And I think I’m going to pony up the extra $10 bucks for the cassette.
Then again, I don’t have anything on which to play it.