Friday, 26 August 2011

The Talking Dead

In March this year I put up a post called Bring Out Your Dead in which I worked myself up into a lather over psychics and mediums.

I became so enraged that I ended up standing in the garden with no shirt on, bellowing incoherently into the sky until I was tasered by the police.

Ok, not that last bit.

Now I wouldn't normally revisit a subject that I have already posted about but I recently had a conversation with a work colleague who had visited one of those medium shows.

She said that the medium had 'known things she couldn't possibly know'.

These turned out to be how her grandmother had died, what her name was what had happened to her grandad.

However my friend said that the medium askd a lot of questions before coming out with these facts.

This technique is called cold reading, where the medium throws out vague questions into the crowd like bait until someone bites and says they know someone called Trevor or something.

The medium will then ask questions, eliminatng any dead ends or questions that aren't leading anywhere by saying that another stronger message is coming through or something, until the person he is asking has unwittingly given the medium all the information they need. People tend to forget about all the leading questions and focus on the ones that hit home.

So other than stuff that my friend already knew, what did granny have to say? Basically nothing other than don't worry about me now, I'm alright.

Now as far as I'm concerned, being dead is as far away from being alright as anyone can get, so what was the point of this excercise other than the medium trying to prove that they can talk to the dead?

My friend defended the medium by saying that she brought comfort to the grieving.

Grieving people want to believe that their lost loved ones still somehow exist somewhere and that we will meet them again. I lost my mother and the aching hole that is left inside takes a long time to heal and never truly goes away.

Now imagine that you discovered that you could talk to the dead, you have proof that there is an afterlife.

What would you do?

I bet most of you would not take your gift out on the road, charging grieving and vulnerable people £20 for a theatre seat where you would tantalise them with vague statements and platitudes. It may bring comfort but it isn't right.

Like I said before, if mediums are so confident of their power then why aren't they aproaching the scientific community and saying, 'I can talk to the dead, hook me up to whichever machines you think can help and together we can prove there is actually an afterlife. That way I can really provide comfort to the grieving'.

But they never do. When confronted with a sceptic who puts them on the spot on a talk show or something and asks them to talk to the dead their usual line of defence is that they cannot turn their power on and off like a tap.

Unless they are in a theatre full of paying customers, then the power flows just fine.

It says something about how strong the need for comfort is within us all when we tolerate this level of opportunistic bullshit and is a worrying sign of our increasing tendency to disregard rational thought in favour of unthinking, emotional response.

Anyway, next week I promise I will post something a bit more light hearted, about when I got run over by a car perhaps or when my mate shot himself in the bollocks with a crossbow.


Bart said...

wooo skulls, chemtrails, all seeing eye... creepy pic :D

Al Penwasser said...

If I was a medium (or extra large), I'd say that grandma said, "I'd love it if someone would pass me a roll of paper under the door."
"I told you I was sick."

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

I'm glad that you're skeptical about stuff like that, it really makes me respect you. Anyone who falls for that kind of thing is pretty foolish.

D4 said...

I'm with you with all this. I can't believe it. However, I'm pretty sure once I'm dead I'll be alright. I mean nothing can really go wrong after that.

SkippyMom said...

I am very sorry for the loss of your Mom Tony.

I do have to agree with everything you said, tho' - my husband and I love to laugh at them. It is so obvious..."Did their name start with T? um, no....I mean a D..wait, was it David. No Daniel. Oh no. Danny?" And they always get three guesses on death - disease, accident or sudden illness. Such charlatans.

Vapid Vixen said...

If I were dead, I would hope I would have something more interesting to do than hang around the living people I'd already spent my entire life with. It's time to branch out!

Craziness abounds said...

I'm with you this crap pisses me off. It's a bunch of money grubbers stalking the grieving people around them. There is nothing more irritating.
As for my "test" post... My question is why do you only come over when I do a serious one or this type? Yesterday I had a post about feeding my co-worker viagra since he wouldn't stop stealing my food. Sigh what am I going to do with you?

dirtycowgirl said...

Re the mate and the crossbow...please, and are there pictures ?

Kelly said...

I don't know what I think about mediums and psychics. Some people really do rip people off guessing about their loved ones, but I truly wonder if a select few do have this psychic power.
Though I would never go to one. It would freak me out!

Dilord said...

I don't know what to say. Are you me?

Chris Hashemi said...

I personally think it's all a bunch of BS. A scam. If I ever see something real, then cool.. I'll have an open mind, but so far it's all pretty obviously fake.

my day in a sentence said...

You have to be kinda dumb to believe to mediums.

Ting Kubby said...

Hate those so called 'mediums' and cold reading, especially those tv shows where they con vulnerable people.

Padded Cell Princess said...

When we moved to Scotland, we couldn't believe how much more superstitious the culture was. I was told by a co-worker that if a gypsy ever showed up at my door selling lucky white heather then I had better scrounge up some money and buy some or I would have horrible bad luck. This fact was reiterated by an English couple I met that had moved to Scotland. I had friends that regularly went to a medium which was unheard of where I grew up in the States. I do get very frustrated by it because some of my friends there didn't have much money but when they were stressed and having problems they seemed to think that going to the medium would help...definitely didn't help their financial problems! Even though we didn't have much in the way of mediums where I grew up in the States, we had the money sucking tele-evangelists! I grew up in the church and still go but even I can see right through their ridiculous schemes! I suppose each culture has it's own version of these terrible scammers that pick off the most gullible of society.

Bob said...

It's pretty obvious, that there's really slim chance, that any of this is even remotely true.
But people like believing in fairy tales.. that's why religions still exist.

Bushman said...

Way back when I used to be a I'm an extra large...didn't see that coming did I?

Tony Van Helsing said...

Bart: I hadn't noticed the chemtrails.

Al: Or, 'I'm behind you, woooh'.

Sub: It's not that they are foolish, more that they are desparate to believe that they will see their loved ones again. It's the exploitation of them that angers me.

D4: Things surely can't get any worse.

Skippy: Thank you for that.

Vapid: Exactly, when I'm dead I'm not hanging about in Farsley Working Mens Club, I'm off into space!

Craziness: I'm sorry, I wish I had time to read every post that people put up but there aren't enough hours in the day. My wife already says she's a blog widow. At least I haven't played golf for a awhile.

Dirty: You are ill.

Kelly: There are many weird and unexlained things in this world but psychics are not one of them, they are very easy to explain.

dilord: I am your evil twin.

Chris: The greatest minds in the world haven't ben able to say what happens after death so a bunch of Z-list celebrity types aren't likely to enlighten us.

My day: Or desperate.

Ting: They are shits.

Padded: You are right, every society has it's own version of snake oil salesmen.

bob: People are scared of the unknown and will cling to any old crap as long as the person spinning it sounds confident.

Bushman: Zing!

Angie said...

I will believe a psychic when they can tell me something on behalf of a dead person about how I can get my hands on some money. Hey, if my grandpa is able to watch over me I'm sure there are other things he can see as well. So maybe I should have the psychic tell my grandpa to go hang out at the local gas station and watch the scratch off lottery tickets and tell me which ones are hot to pay out.

Craziness abounds said...

Pink is def not his color! lol That's not him. I couldn't post the real picture as he was nude and the pink hat just covered the um pertinent parts.

LOIS said...

you have to click the link! :D
Love Lois xxx

altadenahiker said...

I knew someone who used to get readings from some surfer dude who channeled an alien named Ekton. These sessions were taped so we all had the pleasure of listening to them at dinner parties (what can I say? The food was really really good).

Ekton said one phrase that will forever stick in my mind, "I see you traveling to the island lands."

Tony Van Helsing said...

Angie: Putting the afterlife to good use for once.

Craziness: Pink hat is my new euphemism for penis.

Lois: Will do.

Alta: What's he doing channeling an alien ghost, surely there was a language problem?

Neon said...

Dude, you just made my balls hurt :/

Powdered Toast Man said...

I bet the medium could tell you that you were run over by a car.

Devour said...

The medium scares me lol! Hey I like the luminati lookin pic though!

Scrubby Bear said...

Wow! thought provoking post! Thanks for the creepy picture too. Haha, truly a lot to think about.

Stephanie D said...

Okay, so I'm still playing catch up on posts. This one was great. As usual, you do not disappoint.

Shaw said...

I'm on the fence on this one

Anita said...

I would only tell my husband and my priest.

Rob said...

Great article, I look forward to the next one. Keep up the good work!

Miss FFF said...

Honestly, there are a lot of fakes out there. I honestly believe that some people are capable of communicating with the dead but who goes around shouting that to the world? It can't be a pleasant experience and you'd have to be a fool to let others exploit your discomfort for monetary gain.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

There are a lot of opportunistic assholes out there. And lighthearted crossbow shootings? I'd say that's an oxymoron, but I'm sure you'd find a way to make it funny.

Mama Spaghetti said...

I've always been skeptical of those kinds of things, but I really appreciate what you said about how they aren't using their supposed powers for good, only profit from the vulnerable. Such a good point!

Tony Van Helsing said...

Neon: Bet they don't hurt as much as my mate's did.

Powdered: Only if I inadvertently told them.

Devour: Don't fear the fake.

Scrubby: Always thinking.

Stephanie: So many posts, so little time.

Shaw: That's what the fence is for.

Anita: Don't get me started on priests.

Rob: Thank you, hope you read it.

Miss FFF: I can't call the grieving fools, just desperate. My problem is with the exploiters.

Lindsay: Only an oxymoron would shoot hisown bollocks.

Mama: It's just so blatantly obvious it makes my teeth grind.

H A R R Y G O A Z said...

Have a SUPER weekend !

Dylanthulhu said...

I agree, Brosephus.

nowaysj said...

Put both of them in a singular post. Would be awesome. Run over and shot in the ass!

Damon said...

great post

Reilly said...

damn mediums. I hate those Tv-shows

Tony Van Helsing said...

HARRY: Why thank you.

Dylan: Wo's Brosephus?

Nowysj: The balls, not the ass.

Damon: Then I too shall follow.

Reilly: The TV shows are wors. they edit the fuck out of them.

Padded Cell Princess said...

I have given you an award today on my blog!