Saturday, September 12, 2015

PHONY PSYCHICS, MEDIOCRE MEDIUMS AND THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT.

By Mary Kennedy                        
 
If  you were a fan of The Mentalist, you'll remember Patrick Jane saying, "There's no such thing as psychics. It's all an act." And Patrick Jane should know. After all, he was a "carney," a carnival performer and scam artist, for many years before taking the straight road and helping the police with their investigations.
 
The Mentalist is history, but our fascination with the paranormal, with LAD's (life after death) experiences is as strong as ever. A new show called PROOF (the executive producer is Kyra Sedgewick from the Closer) features a cardiopulmonary surgeon (Jennifer Beals) who is searching for proof that there is "life after life." 
 
 
As Dr. Carolyn (Cat) Tyler, she investigates supernatural phenomenon such reincarnation, near-death experiences and hauntings. A "flat-line" machine figures in the plot, but in the interest of avoiding "spoilers," I won't divulge any more details.
                                                        
 
And of course, who can forget the Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo, who may (or may not) communicate with the dead. By the way, if you are wondering how a psychic differs from a medium, here's the Cliff Notes version.
 
"Psychics tune into the energy of people or objects by feeling or sensing elements of their past, present and future. Simply put, psychics rely on their basic sense of intuition and psychic ability to gather information for the person being read.

Mediums take it a step further. A medium uses his or her psychic or intuitive abilities to see the past, present and future events of a person by tuning into the spirit energy surrounding that person. This means mediums rely on the presence of non-physical energy outside of themselves for the information relevant to the person being read. You can read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/What-is-a-Medium-Rebecca-Rosen#ixzz3lGe51xJi.
                                                    
 

I used a psychic in one of my Talk Radio Mysteries (the series that preceded the Dream Club Mysteries,) and I had a lot of fun with the character. Madame Chantal turned up in Cypress Grove, in STAY TUNED FOR MURDER, all set to make a name for herself as a psychic and she even tried to hijack Dr. Maggie's radio show. (the nerve of the woman!).

I referred to her as a "phony psychic" on the back cover copy, and a few readers took me to task for using that adjective. They felt I was implying that there were "real" psychics by describing her that way. Aren't all psychics "phony," they asked me.  But other readers felt I should have given more credence to Madame Chantal, and not dismissed her psychic skills so quickly.

In the interest of harmony (and pleasing as many readers as I can) I try to stay mum on these issues, and opt for diplomacy. Same thing with the Dream Club Mysteries. Do the dream club members really find clues in their dreams that lead them to the murderer? Or is all just a coincidence?

What do you think--are you a "believer," in paranormal events or a "skeptic." Inquiring minds want to know!

Mary Kennedy