Friday, January 20, 2006

Communicating with the Dead

If Cyndi Wallace is a psychic, as she claims to be, why does she include this on her voice-mail greeting: "Leave me your name, area code and phone number and I will return your call as soon as..." Shouldn't she know that information, I mean, if she IS psychic???
Miss Wallace, a $95-an-hour medium who says she can read the future and channel the dead, knows she is an easy mark for the cheap shot and is good humored about it and often laughs right along with the jokes. It is tempting, perhaps comforting, to dismiss psychics as a sideshow, as the gypsy cousins to the three-card-monte. To do so may maintain our tactile boundaries and some sense of control, yet if we do dismiss this outright, what might we be missing out on? Let’s look at this a bit more closely…

Twenty-eight percent of Americans (up 10% from 1990) believe that people can hear from or communicate mentally with the dead, a new Gallup poll reports. Another 26% aren't sure, but won't rule it out. Half of all Americans believe in extrasensory perception. And everyone from Hillary Clinton to Nancy Reagan to Adolf Hitler are known to have consulted with psychics, famous and obscure.
"These are not the Shirley MacLaines of the world channeling 3,000-year-old Assyrian warriors," says Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, which reports that roughly one in three Americans believe that they have personally communicated with the dead. "Clearly this is a phenomenon that is fairly common, and particularly common to those who have lost someone very significant to them."
"People not only want it to be true, in many cases they need it to be true. It's the feel-good syndrome," says longtime skeptic and magician James Randi, 72, whose standing offer of $1 million to psychics who can independently verify their "magic" has gone unclaimed for years. "Everyone wants to be reassured about loved ones who have passed. Just once I want to find a spiritualist who says, 'Oh, well, sorry. She went to hell and I can't reach her.' "
TV psychic John Edward tells viewers of his popular cable show Crossing Over with John Edward that the "love bonds" created on Earth "stay with us after we cross over."
But is going to a psychic medium the only contact we hear about with the dead? Certainly not, some communication is very subtle other is often not believed accept by those for whom “it was intended.”
For example take these three cases. At 34, Michael Owen, was a recovering alcoholic. His mother Donna was grateful he was attending AA meetings and holding down a steady job as a boat mechanic. But after six months of sobriety Michael gave in to temptation and was killed in a car accident. Two months later in a gift shop Donna believes she felt an emotional connection to Michael. She says she was standing next to a rack of porcelain cups with imprinted names from A-Z. Off to one side were two cups. Imprinted on one was "I love you mom" and the other one said "Michael." Donna felt as if Michael was letting her know that it was okay. There were several other signs of communicating--one of which was somewhat unsettling. Exactly one year after Michael's death, Donna says she heard his voice on her answering machine. The message was supposedly recorded at 6:33. The tag-voice on the machine said "Saturday, 6:33" – This was the exact time that Michael had died one year earlier. She then heard Michael's voice. He said only two words "follow me." She’s not sure what it means but does believe it was her son talking to her. Donna's experience resonates with thousands of other parents who believe their deceased children are in contact with them.

Then there is the case of Sharon Throop, who believes her daughter Wendy has appeared to her several times. Wendy was a freshman in college when she became a victim of a date rape. Shortly thereafter, Wendy became depressed and tragically committed suicide. Wendy was only 19 years old. Sharon, Wendy's mother, was devastated and spent the days after her daughter's death in an emotional fog. It was then that Sharon believes Wendy came to her in several visions. Later that year at a neighbor's holiday Christmas party, one of the neighbors told Bill that a friend claimed to have had a sighting of Wendy just weeks after she died.
Finally, let’s look at the case of Judge Kilty. Judge and Georgia Kilty were married for eleven years and had two daughters, Beth 7 and Jessi 4. On the night of May14, 2002 Georgia was driving the girls home from dance class when their car was struck by another and the three died. Judge was a basket case for weeks after the accident, he even purchased a gun and planned to kill himself. The pistol loaded he seated himself on the couch and placed the gun in his mouth when he heard the voices of children coming from his kitchen. Carefully he placed the gun down on the coffee table and went to the kitchen and there found nothing. Returning to the couch he picked up the gun and again heard voices. This time he clearly made out the voice of his youngest daughter saying, “Daddy, no. Please don’t.” This was followed by the voice of his eldest daughter who said. “Don’t be sad, Daddy. It’s OK, we’re all OK. Mommy is here and Grammy and Pop Pop and lots of family. It’s not your time yet, Daddy. We will wait here for you. We love you.” Judge broke down in tears and within days was doing much better. He destroyed the gun, reopened his video store and although he misses his family he knows that when it is his time he will be with them again.

Judge, Sharon and Donna will continue to find solace in the messages they believe are from their children. But regardless of whether spirits are attempting to communicate with us, we are trying to communicate with them: parents to deceased children; children to deceased parents; spouses to deceased spouses. Skeptics and believers alike say it is this love - and love lost - that drives our undying desire to talk to the dead. Whatever is the reason one thing is sure, we truly do live in a weird world!
I’m Average Joe

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