Page 17 - The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper - August 2019
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Can Psychics Really Talk to the Dead?                                                                                    17

             Here to Hereafter: Can

          Psychics Really Talk to the


                   by Benjamin Radford

                 In the  Clint Eastwood film "Hereafter,"
          Matt Damon stars as George, a man who has the
          ability to communicate with ghosts. George,
          who retired from the contacting-the-dead
          business (calling it a curse instead of a blessing)
          is reluctantly drawn back into doing  readings
          for people who have recently lost loved ones.
                 People in nearly every culture have long
          believed that communication with the dead is
          possible, and throughout the ages many people
          have claimed to be able to speak with the dearly
          departed. Ghosts and spirit communication
          often show up in classic literature, including
          mythology, the Bible and Shakespeare's plays.          Yet their powers have never been proven   Oxford Professor Argues
                 In Victorian England, it was fashionable  under controlled scientific conditions, and their
          in many circles to conduct séances; Ouija       track records of success are spotty at best. In a     Invisible Aliens Are
          boards, three-legged tables, candles and other  2002 case, Browne, a regular on the "Montel
          accoutrements were used to try to contact the   Williams" show, told the parents of missing           Interbreeding With
          dead. In the U.S., belief in communication with  child Shawn Hornbeck that their son was dead.                 Humans
          the dead rose dramatically in the 1800s along   His body, she said, would be found in a wooded
          with the rise of Spiritualism, a religion founded  area near two large boulders, and that he had
          on hoaxed spirit communication by two young     been kidnapped by a very tall, "dark-skinned
          sisters in Hydesville, N.Y. Despite the fact that  man" who wore dreadlocks. In fact, Hornbeck
          the sisters later admitted they had only been   and another boy were found alive five years
          pretending to get messages from the dead, the   later in the home of a Caucasian, non-
          religion they helped start flourished, claiming  dreadlocked Missouri man named Michael
          more than 8 million adherents by 1900.          Devlin who had kidnapped them.
                 For well over a century, many mediums           There are even entire towns whose
          have been caught faking spirit communication.   populations claim to get messages from the
          Harry Houdini exposed many psychics as frauds   dead. For example, each year more than 20,000
          who used trickery to make vulnerable people     people visit New York's Lily Dale Assembly, the
          believe in the reality of spirit messages. (For  oldest and largest Spiritualist community in the
          more on this, see Massimo Polidoro's book       United States.  The dozen or so permanent
          "Final Séance," Prometheus Books, 2001).        resident mediums offer their psychic services to       26 April 2019 The News Team
                 Whether real or faked, the messages      tourists.
          supposedly conveyed from the great beyond              Despite more than a century of research,  The Oxford Student has learnt that Dr Young-
          have changed dramatically over time. A century  science has yet to validate the afterlife, ghosts or  hae Chi, Professor at Oxford’s Oriental Institute,
          ago, mediums "in touch with the spirit" during  psychic powers. Of course, speaking to the dead  believes in a strong correlation between climate
          séances would write pages and pages of          requires no special skill or ability; it's getting a  change and alien abductions.
          "automatic writing," the psychic's hands        response that's the hard part. Shakespeare noted      In 2012, Dr Chi gave a lecture at the the
          allegedly guided by ghosts to convey lengthy    this in "Henry the Fourth, Part I," when       Ammach Conference, titled ‘Alien  Abduction
          handwritten messages.                           Glendower claims to have psychic abilities: "I  and the Environmental Crisis’ in which he
                 Curiously, ghosts seem to have lost their  can call spirits from the vasty deep," to which  outlined his theory concerning the presence of
          will (or ability) to write since that time — or  his cousin Hotspur replies, "Why, so can I, or so  aliens on earth.
          even communicate effectively. These days the    can any man. But will they come when you do           Dr Chi began his lecture with the
          spirits (as channeled through mediums) seem to  call for them?"                                statement that “perhaps human civilisation is
          prefer a guessing game and instead offer only                                                  coming to an end”.
          ambiguous, vague information: "I'm getting a    Benjamin Radford is managing editor of                In his fifty-five minute presentation he
          presence with the letter M, or J in the name? A  Skeptical Inquirer science magazine, and      cited Dr David Jacobs, an ‘abduction researcher’
          father, or father figure perhaps? Did he give you  author of "Scientific Paranormal Investigation:  in the US, who argued that aliens’ primary
          something special to remember him by,           How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries"; his Web   purpose is to colonise the earth, by interbreeding
          something small?"                                                                              with humans to produce a new hybrid species.
                                                          site is
                 If spirit communication is real, one                                                    Second generation ‘hybrids’ are, according to
          might think that countless unsolved homicides                                                  Jacobs, walking unobserved among us.
          and disappearances could be easily solved                                                             Dr Chi argued that “it is not only
          simply by contacting the dead and getting                                                      scientists and theologians, but also non-human
          specific, incriminating evidence about the                                                     species who appear to be greatly concerned
          circumstances of their deaths.                                                                 about the survivability of the human species”.
                 In "Hereafter," George repeatedly views                                                        He pointed out that the timing of aliens’
          his ability as a curse. But in reality, those who                                              appearance coincides with the earth facing
          claim to be psychic mediums (such as James                                                     major problems, climate change and nuclear
          van Praagh, John Edward, Alison DuBois, and                                                    weapons in particular.
          Sylvia Browne) eagerly exploit their "curse,"                                                         He concludes that “it may be more or
          making millions of dollars on book deals,                                                      less assumed that the hybrid project is a
          appearances, private readings and TV shows.                                                    response to this impending demise of human
                                                                                                         civilisation”. []
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