Let's spooky on down.
As we approach Halloween (Trick or Treat) I thought it'd be the right time to highlight a few concerns, inconsistencies, and discrepancies, about the wacky world of psychics and the afterlife.
I am prompted to write about this after reading an article about an individual who has written a book that entails: near-death experiences and reincarnation.
Before I begin, I would like to state the following....
The great TV detective Colombo once said (and was quoted as so in a film):
"There are three things to look out for in a crime scene...
(1) What's there now that wasn't there before?
(2) What was there before that isn't there now?
(3) What's been moved?
In other words, Colombo was merely highlighting probability and asking provability. He wrapped it up in a simple triple-point equation.
I would like to take Colombo's three-point turn and add a few twists.
Reasons to be a Psychic Skeptic
File One: The Clothing
You may ask why dead people are always seen wearing the last thing they wore before they died, or they may have on their favourite suit or dress.
I am not sure how Detective Colombo would analyze this one but there is a mathematical, logical, scientific-like, and tangible reason for this...
It is so that the ghosts' relatives will recognize them.
It is much more poetic that a diseased loved one is recognizable because if they were just a blobbed blurred orb floating on a ceiling, nobody would know who the hell they were.
File Two: The Eye Witness
Psychics can no longer get away with telling you there's 'a man in a dark suit standing over your shoulder, could that be your grandfather?'
That ship has sailed because way back in the day most men did indeed wear dark suits; but we are a lot older now. Time has moved on - and so has society.
When a psychic tells a client, 'there's a fat f**k, balding man, with badly-spelled tattoos, wearing an overstretched football top pressing dangerously-tight over his bloated stomach - holding a can of cheap lager - then I might be persuaded, otherwise.
However, as long as the same old, same old, 'dark-suited grandfather' is lurking in the shadows of the wallpaper, I ain't buying it.
I don't want a retired sailor with a pipe and a limp from last century. I want Casper the Friendly Assehole with a Kappa tracksuit and a fist shaking towards an angry mob.
File Three: Exhibit 'A'
Believers of psychics and their 'abilities' often point to the evergreen photo on the dressing table that has moved or fallen over flat on its face.
Now, here's a simple explanation that doesn't require the services of Detective Colombo: flimsy photo frame, door-opening-and-closing causing a draft, timber furniture and a floor in a house of a new-build that is still going through its settlement period.
Don't believe it? Well, if your loved ones really wanted to make contact with you don't you think they would do something a little more real-life than move a photograph a couple of millimeters?
If I was a ghost, and I had that kind of power, I would fire up the music system, make myself a sandwich, and empty the contents from your security-locked mini-bar. And, I wouldn't be hanging around a graveyard, either.
File Four: The Accomplice
If you were a ghost why would I need a psychic? I know lots of elderly men from last century who never went through a third party to get what they wanted. Even my own grandfather always cut out the middle man. Why the hell would he go through a buxom dark-haired, bandana-wearing lady with a gypsy forename, with his letter 'J'? when he can go direct to me and say, "It's grandpa John, son."
It's the alphabet, I tell ya. It's that bloody alphabet.
Five: The Guilty
Finally, I truly believe there is something of the extraordinary that we cannot explain. I understand the phenomena quite well. But, and I say 'but' with conviction; there are many charlatans who have cashed in on the vulnerable through their 'trade'.
Some of us don't have the answers to the afterlife more than we don't know how a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat.
Therein lies the similarities.
You see, we enjoy the magic of an illusionist but we never question how they stage it all up beforehand. We just enjoy a white dove flying out of the ass of a magician's assistant.
But we don't, however - and we should - question the afterlife claims, sightings, and paranormal activity claimed by the many who have never proved beyond any reasonable doubt.
Read more of Stephen Hamilton's work in the Dafty News