Alright, admittedly “bad psychic” is redundant, but this morning I got a comment on my old blog from a post I did about seeing a psychic where I used to work:
Ashley, people do not pretend its a gift. It is a gift. Because you do not have the gift is why you respond in this way. Its not a technique anyone can learn from a book. Its called altered consciousness. Do your research before writing about Gordon Smith in such a negative fashion. He is a top of the range medium. The real deal. Not the best of articles, very poor in fact. Go and see Gordon Smith live, you will not be disappointed. Then you will see his accuracy. Street names, names etc. – Mystic Kaz
Because the comment was clearly so traumatized by the idea of bad publicity for Gordon Smith, I thought I would share the story again, for a wider audience at FreethoughtBlogs.
I had the unique opportunity to see a psychic called Gordon Smith. I hadn’t heard of him until today, but I took the liberty of google searching him before seeing him and learned a bit about him. He’s not just a psychic, he’s also a medium, which means that in addition to seeing the future or reading your mind he can talk to dead people. He is quick to reassure that this isn’t scary, because spirits are nice.
He once amazingly predicted that the body of someone last seen trying to cross a dangerous river would be found somewhere downstream, but his normal schtick is telling people that their recently deceased relatives love them and are happy on the other side. Whether you find that to be taking advantage of people who are desperate and grieving or as comforting them is up to you.
But when I see things like he read about a dead kid in the newspaper and then used that information to do a hot reading on the parents and put it on TV to get publicity and money, I confess I get a little queasy.
It turned out to be a group reading for a crowd that was probably half hostile, half believers. He started with a directive to be open and communicative with him if he talked to us, not to be afraid, and that it was all to do with love. We were directed to try to make mental contact with a person who had passed.
He started by talking with an older woman I know who is well known for her love of all things woo — she likes to do astrological charts and thinks aliens built the pyramids — and who dresses that way as well. I believe I saw her talking to him beforehand, but if not it would have been easy for him to get info on her or just guess it based on her looks. She was an ideal target because she obviously wanted to believe. Also, as much of the crowd was young, she was more likely to know people who’d died.
I won’t bore you with the cold reading details, suffice to say they were pretty standard. ”An Older Man? Your Father? He loves you. He had a nice smile.” He went into histrionics and said that her father had had trouble breathing when he died. How vague and necessarily true. He said there were connections in Boston or NY, which really implies the whole northeast, which is how much of the population of the US? She didn’t seem to know specifically what it was referring to nonetheless.
He said the name “Michael” was coming through, but this didn’t mean anything to her. He insisted it would. He started talking about wallets, photographs, and “the house”, all of which was incredibly vague. He ended with “He’ll be with you in September.” The entire thing was vague and banal, but she seemed happy with it.
Then he pointed to a group of three men standing together, and said he was sensing a man who’d had a heart attack and died and it was connected to “You, sir”, but he pointed so vaguely that it could have been any of the three. Alas, it was not a hit with any of them. He kept pressing and said someone had lost an older man, father perhaps. A skeptical man in a mustache said, “Yes, about a year ago, but he didn’t die of a heart attack.” Oh, snap.
Then Gordon proceeded to pretend that he’d heard about the one year thing from the ghostie, not from the guy, and the guy wasn’t buying any of it. Gordon said that he had unfinished business, there was so much they never did. There was a single rose, a symbol of love. And the guy said, “I understand what you’re saying, but you’re way off the mark.” Snickers.
GS: There are many unfinished things…
M: Like what?
GS: He’s telling me something about phone calls…
GS: He’s proud of you, he’s happy with your life. Something about photos on a computer…
M: That doesn’t mean anything to me.
GS: There’s a dog with him? He loved being with family.
I imagine had we been a less polite crowd, had we paid to see this, or had alcohol been involved, there would have been jeering and heckling at this point. Flop sweat is not a pretty thing, and as much as I wanted him to crash and burn, it was difficult to watch.
He obviously couldn’t end on that, so he pointed to a different trio of guys and said he was sensing an older woman. A guy I know pretty well took the bait.
GS: The last 18 months a lot as happened. Are we near some sort of anniversary?
M: … Yeah.
GS: She says you need to tidy your mess. Her hair is lovely, she got her hair done.
GS: Feeling something in my throat, she loved to sing?
GS: She’s saying three’s company, two’s a crowd.
(What kind of embarrassingly trite bullshit is that, btw)
GS: She’s saying there are wires everywhere. You need to clean up the wires so there’s not a fire — that’s not a prediction, just a worry. There are too many phones.
M: OK, yeah.
GS: She’s saying the name “Anne” or “Annie”?
GS: There’s a ring… she’s saying wear the ring so they’ll remember her
M: I don’t know of any ring.
GS: There’s a ring, look for it.
GS: She had trouble with her legs, or her feet, difficulty walking in her old age
M: She had a walker.
GS: She’s saying don’t worry about the money.
(Because like no one has money problems)
GS: She’s saying there’s a connection to Ireland?
M: … sure
GS: She’s saying get a passport to Europe, someone’s been talking about Europe
GS: That’s in Europe!
GS: There’s something to do with the fourth of July, or near the fourth of July, not American Independence day, but something different
GS: Complaining about a sore back?
GS: There’s a spaniel, a little dog
M: … no
GS: You love animals
GS: There’s a watch?
M: Not that I know of.
GS: Maybe your grandfather’s. The name Tom, does that mean anything to you?
(Can’t they ever just use an interesting and uncommon name for shits and giggles?)
GS: Look for the watch. She’s saying that you’ve had two lives, that you’re very different now. The year 1981 does that mean anything?
GS: She’s saying look to the early 80s. You’re a different person now than you were then.
(No shit, it’s been 30 fucking years)
GS: She says something about Rose? Not the flower, she’s with Rose?
M: Don’t know that…
GS: She says the best is yet to come.
At this point, he said no more spirits were coming to him but he’d take questions about what he did. There were a few questions and he told a lot of stories, including a particularly good one where he contacted someone named Jared and the lady said that was her husband, and he wasn’t dead, she’d just left him, and he said sometimes he made mistakes, but when she got home he was dead on the couch.
Then he said dead people were like angels, or light beings, and they were kind. Sometimes they’d apologize for abuse. All humans are spirits. Everyone has a sixth sense (I assume he means everyone has some sort of extra sense, because people have more than just five) but not everyone is a medium. And then we were dismissed.
He was a perfectly pleasant man with a Scottish accent and a sense of humor, but I just don’t understand how people can do this and pretend it’s a gift not a technique anyone can learn from a book.