Psychics Versus Skeptics

I’ve always had a deep love of the paranormal. From a young age I enjoyed TV shows and books with a fantasy element. Then when I started writing, I mostly focused on the supernatural genre. The novel I’m writing now highlights psychic phenomenon.

Oddly enough, this transitioned to my real life. Over the years more than one person told me about their psychic experience or encounter with a ghost. At this point I’m not even fazed by it. If a friend tells me “hey, I saw a ghost!” my response is “okay, cool, what was it like?” I’m not so gullible that I believe every story I hear, but it’s happened often enough now that I don’t dismiss it either. Besides, it’s something interesting to talk about for the moment. Why not?

I’ve never seen a ghost myself though, or had a notable psychic experience. Go figure. Apparently I’m just a magnet for people who have.

The novel I’m working on explores psychic phenomenon, but with less fantasy – meaning I’m not going to throw in vampires and werewolves later on. In the real world there are psychics who inspire TV shows and work with the police. I’m fascinated by this weird dynamic going on – thousands of fans believe in mediums, while a major percentage of the population doesn’t believe at all. (Well, I realize the dynamic isn’t unique to this issue – it also applies to religion, climate change, etc. – but I’m talking about psychics.) Every psychic who emerges in the spotlight is immediately called a fake or a scam artist. Since all video can be edited, I wonder what it would take to convince non-believers once and for all. Maybe one day scientists will produce indisputable proof.

Then again, that would bring on another set of problems. Maybe we’re not meant to know for sure.

Working on my novel led me to read some non-fiction written by psychics. The first was The Other Side and Back by Sylvia Browne (with Lindsay Harrison). Talk about weird coincidences – this book had been in my house for years and I finally decided to read it. Apparently my mom got it from someone, so for a long time it was “that random book under the table in the basement.”

I found myself interested in her version of the afterlife. I’ve always liked the idea of reincarnation – it sounds so much more exciting than floating around on a cloud for eternity, you know? I even started a novel about reincarnation before…well, moving on to another story. Browne also talked about angels, spirit guides, and learning what you’re supposed to learn in this life so you’re more informed in the next.

These elements showed up in Theresa Caputo’s (and Kristina Grish’s) There’s More to Life Than This. I don’t watch Long Island Medium on a regular basis but I relate to her. We have vastly different personalities, but I’m also an Italian, Catholic New Yorker. Queens is right next to Long Island, so there’s actually a – very slim – chance we could cross paths one day. I thought it was interesting that, like Browne, Caputo spoke about spirit guides, angels, and learning life’s lessons.

Side note – I like that she explained how she can be Catholic and believe in reincarnation. I struggled with that concept myself and never expected to receive reassurance in a book. Plus, in a book about signs from Spirit, she kept referring to the date June 9th…which is my birthday. It’s also the day Caputo’s grandmother passed. When she mentioned her daughter’s knee surgery and June 9th in the same section, I was a little spooked!

But I’m a skeptic at heart. Really, I swear. I’m open-minded but I’m not naive. Any skeptic worth their salt would argue that Caputo copied Browne’s version of the spirit world and added her own voice. Maybe she did read Browne’s book at some point. However I still find the similarities worth pursuing, especially when I might be able to incorporate them in my novel. Next on my list is Allison DuBois’ Don’t Kiss Them Good-bye. And yes, I was a big fan of Medium!

 

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