Conversations with dead people

William Shatner and Patricia Breslin in "...

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I just got a distressing comment on an old piece I did about bogus psychics claiming to be able to communicate with the ghost of Michael Jackson beyond the grave. The comment distressed me so much I decided to re-post it along with my reply in a separate piece here.

First the comment:

Hi..i am 15 and i am sort of sensitive. I have predicted things before they happen in my dreams before. I had a dream when i was younger that my mom had to go to the hospital becausse something happened with her leg. I told my dad about it the next morning and sure enough i got a call from her. My loved ones have also came to me in my dreams. I was just wondering if you could contact my oma (grandma) for me. She died when i was very young and i miss her so much. I dont understand why she had to die when i was that young. I just need to know if shes stilla round me. Also can you ask her if i will ever see spirits like you???

-shannon : )

This perhaps summarizes better than I could ever articulate the harm caused by these alleged psychics, these grief-rapists, who prey on people at their most vulnerable. I was reminded of that great Twilight Zone episode, Nick of Time, where William Shatner plays a man who becomes almost hopelessly obsessed with a penny fortune-telling machine that appears to really foretell the future. The obsession almost takes over his life:

Here was my responnse to Shannon:

Shannon, it is not my intent to sound harsh or mean but unfortunately everyone has had that dream. On a long enough time line, everyone eventually has an occasional dream that seems to correspond to an event that happens soon after. There’s nothing paranormal about.

Unfortunately, as difficult as it must be to accept, your grandmother is gone. No one…NO ONE can communicate with her and if someone tells you they can, they are either lying to you or are lying to themselves.

You don’t need some charlatan to tell you what you want to hear, that your grandmother is up in heaven somewhere looking down on you and loves you very much. Without any magical powers, I can say with strong confidence that your grandmother loved you. And much as we might want to believe that our loved ones are not really gone and are out there somewhere because we’re scared about the finality of death, there is a beauty in death. If existence lasted forever it would lack any real value. So while I cannot say for certain that death is the end, I think the best way to live is under the assumption that this is all we get and to live this life to the fullest and with a view towards helping to leave the world better than when we found it.

You don’t need your grandmother to live a happy, healthy, productive, and wonderful life. And you certainly don’t need some crook to charge you for the service of lying to you no matter how pleasant those lies are. My advice is that you move on and live the best life you can while taking the time to appreciate your loved ones in the here and now.


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