Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Satanic Apples

Happy Halloween.

I’ve been very busy this month (and still am, frankly). But, I thought I’d take a few minutes to share a brief experience.

At the beginning of the month, I went to the John Edward presentation (or “event”) at the Sheraton Station Square in Pittsburgh.

Cost was around $200 per ticket.

He’s easy to listen to, and, I’d say that he has a nice sense of humor. Let’s just say he’s able to charm a crowd.

My father is very much “in to” the psychic scene (people such as John Edward, Rosemary Altea, etc.). We got him a ticket to the show (which is something he’s wanted for quite some time) and I got one for me, so he wouldn’t be there alone. Plus, I admit that I was interested to see how it worked.

We had a nice dinner before the show, then walked to the hotel where the seating would no-doubt be limited. There, we stood in line for about 45 minutes.

I’d wondered if he might have “plants” in the line trying to find information secretly to pass on to John before his show. There was a lone woman about in her late 30’s to early 40’s who stood behind my father and I. She was attentive and had her cell phone out frantically text-messaging while the three ladies behind her chatted about the tragedies they’ve endured in their lives. Loved ones lost, and so on.

“Ah-HA!” Was my thinking… I decided to stroll up and down the line to see if there were other “texters” who might be feeding info to the so-called psychic. There were maybe two others.

I decided to keep an eye on our texter and see where she sat, etc. I also wanted to follow the locations of the women we could all overhear talking about the dead relatives they were hoping to hear from. It would be interesting to see if they ended up as “targets” for Mr. Edward’s show.

We eventually got inside and sat knee-to-knee with other foolish-with-their-money folks. I lost track of our texter-lady… As I suspected might happen (but then later I saw that she’s sat a ways back behind us, oh well).

John showed up, to the obvious adoration of the many fans (mostly women, by the way). Probably there were 90 women for every five males in the audience. He never used any of the information I’d have guessed he’d use from secret text-messagers. So, probably there were none. I was just being super-suspicious.

Nonetheless, I was not impressed by his performance. It was all-to-clearly (to me) a cold-reading performance.

There were a lot of people there, and he would pick an area and “stab” with something like, “Is there someone here who has a father-figure who passed that missed a graduation?” He’d narrow to a small group and keep drilling for a hit. His approach is to ALWAYS try to make a “hit” in the sense that even if the person standing kept saying “no” he’d probe and push around until he could find some type of match. Occasionally to the delight of the audience.

In the above example, a small family stood and the younger adult male was answering “no” about his high school and college graduations. Dad made it to both. After a while of pushing, Edward finally got the guy to remember that, “Oh, wait, I got two degrees in college, and dad missed one of the ceremonies.”

OK, people, the hits are there if we can just open up to them.

Sure, that was a cool hit. But then later, a similar setup with a, “Your mother is saying something about New York?” Followed by nothing from the family. This went on and on, and even I could think of possible hits having to do with New York. Then out of desperation, a family member offered, “Well, sometimes when I drive to work, I think I go past a little restaurant called the New York Deli…?”

This was instantly taken as another one of those “Come on people, open up, the hits are there!” But really, despite the supportive laughter about another bone-head who can’t open up to the obvious hits, I wasn’t impressed by that one.

John is really slick in being able to tease out likely bits of general information, and the audience (or targets) embellish some details that can then be reworked into more specific-sounding hits. As another example, he picked a section and asked, “What’s the association with Gilligan’s Island?” It took a while, but someone was able to say that, in the country they are from, there is a little beach-island nearby that is called Gilligan’s Island, although she’d never been there. Again, I could probably have matched that also because my mother hated that show, even though we (my sister and I) watched it quite a bit growing up. I really think that would that have been close enough to match John’s probe.

My main sense, and what I did mostly, was watch people melt under the spotlight of having loved-ones let them know they are doing fine. Tears a-many were shed. Heads nodded at almost every morsel Edward blurbled out. It was a sort of rapture. It really made me sad.

If I wasn’t a pessimist before the show, I am certainly one now. The ease with which people seem to fall for this smoke paints a dim view of humanity’s future in my mind. Imagine taking the Jetson’s out of their cartoon and putting Fred and Wilma into it as replacements. We are a modern society with such superstitious and mystical beliefs being constantly recycled and perpetuated that I fear for humanity.

Actually, I fear for the world! Not because of what humans will do to it in their fiery spiral toward destiny, but because I doubt that we’ll be even good enough at doom to completely wipe ourselves out. The scourge will probably rise again to torture the planet and its non-human (and human) inhabitants some more.

Wow. How’s that for a downer of a blog-entry?