Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Belief in the Paranormal

"It was insane to me. I told him many times he was out of his mind. He was convinced that if he didn't pay her [psychic] for the work she was doing for him, bad things would happen to him."
Lauren Horton, New York

"It certainly has some parallels to the classic addictions -- drug addiction and also pathological gambling."
"Starting small, escalating, developing what we would consider a tolerance, and then feeling that loss of control, engaging in what feels like compulsive behaviour."
"They [psychics] can offer an almost magical way to restore a relationship. I think even more powerfully, connect with a person who was loved and . . . has now passed away . . . I think that that's one of the things that makes it so exploitative."
Dr. James MacKillop, addiction researcher, St.Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, Ontario

"Science is about looking at questions and this is a big question for a lot of people If we start looking in further and trying to find tools, such as functional MRI, that you can actually scan the brain while psychics are doing readings, I think you're going to start to see this evidence start to emerge over time. So I think it's a fertile ground for scientists to really think about."
"It's a gifted minority [of psychics] that are out there."
"We kind of want to know if there's something more out there. I don't know that answer."
"I'm behind the scenes. I know everything that's going on [his mother doing psychic readings] and it was that moment when she's in the crowd of 2,000 people ... and she's talking to this one person. She said the name of the loved one that's going through this very specific situation and I'm going, 'Oh my God, how did  you know that?' And then I started paying attention."
Dr. Christian Smith, brain tumour researcher, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto
Brampton psychic Geraldine Smith holding letters from grateful parents whose missing children she has 'traced'
Brampton psychic Geraldine Smith holding letters from grateful parents whose missing children she has 'traced'
August 11, 1978| Credit: Dick Loek

"There are people in this business who are not legitimate, and there are people, a lot of people like myself, who are legitimate that have gifts and varying degrees. Part of my service is providing empathy and support to people."
"I'm not in the business of false hope. I'm in the business of truth, whether you like it or not."
Miki Corazza, psychic
 Dr. Smith seems an unlikely person as a medical practitioner, a scientist, a research specialist in brain tumours, to hold a fascination and an open mind about psychics, people who are felt to be gifted in some strange alcane manner that they are able to sense what most people cannot, and able as well to express information about specific people known only to those people, though that information has never been divulged to them by any human agency; it is as though that knowledge has been plucked from some deep inner spring of unaccountable knowing.

The mystery is there, and it is deep and puzzling, but Dr. Smith's own connection to the art, or profession, or whatever it can be classified as, including the paranormal is simple enough. His mother, Geraldine was a 1970s-1980s psychic of wide renown for her abilities. And he tells the story of his own mind being captured into the puzzle of that deep knowledge emanating from some unknown source, able to be plucked out of the ether by some select skills of rare dimension, as a boy of 14, in the audience as his mother performed her mysterious connection with that mysterious source.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan's wife Nancy was known to have trust and belief in psychic experiences. Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King also believed in the power of psychics. And then there was a Jewish psychic in the 1930s in Berlin whose powers of prediction were sought by none other than Adolf Hitler. Erik Jan Hanussen  whose birth name was Hershmann Chaim Steinschneider was known as Hitler's Jewish clairvoyant. He was also known as "The Prophet of the Third Reich",  "The Nazi Rasputin", and "Hitler’s Nostradamus." He was murdered in 1933.

Of more recent history is the case of Niall Rice, when the 33-year-old Internet consultant was revealed to have paid out $718,000 to psychics. Niall Rice paid a psychic money for a 130-kilometre bridge of gold located in another dimension to serve as a portal for him toward reincarnation. That psychic, Priscilla Kelly Delmaro, 26 years of age was sentenced for grand larceny after admitting collecting over $550,000 from Rice. It was, after all, his to give of his own free will, and she accepted his absurd naivete.

As far as Dr. Smith is concerned, although the psychic industry is rife with charlatans who prey on susceptible people who will believe what they want to believe, there are others whose genuine gifts of psychic intuition exist and whose talents present as a challenge to scientific enquiry. He has interviewed and consulted many to satisfy his own curiosity as a scientist. He speaks of one psychic he consulted who he said had an accuracy rate of as high as 85 percent.

Ms. Corazza, who has practised her trade for 42 years, has had many people approach her with their sad stories of exploitation at the hands of  unscrupulous people posing as psychics. She counsels people herself, she does not instruct. The fraudulent fortune tellers who prey on people's trust disgust her. She advises people who approach her with their agonies of frustration over their experiences with psychics to scrupulously avoid any contact with them in future.

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