“A technology now exists that will allow you to communicate directly with the dead. Gone are the days of psychics passing along messages from beyond. Now we have the ability to hear the voices of those who have passed and communicate, in real time, through a highly specialized device. The results speak for themselves.”
Uh huh. Yeah right.
Ever since I wrote away for the blueprints for “Spiracom,” a device mentioned in a footnote from John G. Fuller’s book “The Ghost of 29 Megacycles,” I have been intrigued by the completely absurd concept that somewhere a machine exists that will allow me to talk with dead people. When I shared my findings briefly the first time I met Randi back in the 80′s, he laughed out loud. We both agreed that the concept was just too harebrained to pay any attention to. What person in their right mind could buy into such a product, much less endorse it?
Unfortunately the answer many years later is that there are many people hotly involved in this folly. The claims are all over the Internet on a daily basis telling us that we can now not only chat with deceased Aunt Clara, but dial up spirited conversations with immortals like Thomas Edison.
Really? Then what becomes of the obvious question I have posed to mediums like Rosemary Altea:
“If you can reach these folks, then why not get in touch directly with the spirit of Albert Einstein and find out how to neutralize all the nuclear weapons on the planet in one swoop and really do humanity a service?”
Of course mediums or their new fangled “technicians” cannot do this or even offer a reasonable answer to why they cannot (or will not) do this. Rosemary offered this sage insight to me when I did an off- camera interview while working on the “Speaking with the Dead” segment of Penn & Teller’s “Bullshit” series:
“I prefer to work with individuals one on one.”
Oh okay. How noble of her. That will help mankind and put you on the big map won’t it Rosy? I suppose telling us Aunt Martha wore a green hat and had a rose garden is better news from “the great beyond?”
As far as I can tell this whole fol-de-rol got its start with Thomas Edison himself, supposedly an avowed believer in the paranormal. Read the full account here:
Then contemporary culture fell into the rift back in 1953, when William Sloane wrote the sci-fi book “Edge of Running Water,” which concerns an electrophysicist, Dr. Julian Blair, who is attempting to construct an apparatus that will enable him to communicate with his dead wife. Sloane wrote two highly popular books, both novels concern themes that were used by his contemporary, H.P. Lovecraft: “obsessed scientists pursuing forbidden knowledge”. We can all relate to that can’t we? I mean, conspiratorially speaking: if it’s forbidden, it must work according the general rule of woo, right?
The “Edge” story went on to be loosely adapted for a 1947 thriller starring Boris Karloff, “The Devil Commands.” A fun little romp into the macabre featuring linked corpses hooked up to a machine that captures dead voices. It’s an excellent B movie showcasing a marvelous characterization of the sleazy medium; “Mrs. Walters” by veteran character actress Anne Revere. Worth seeing if you want to see where the current crop of scoundrels got their selling points. Now we have contemporary sleaze-ball “scientific types” pitching the same appliances. The devil commands indeed.
From new found friend and fellow phony phone box investigator Paul T:
“Perhaps the worst of all of these is Chris Moon, Mr. Moon who also claims to be in direct contact with Thomas Edison through a device known as the Franks box. The Franks box is basically two radio receivers scanning in opposite directions of each other creating a random noise. Chris Moon claims to be one of the few who can interpret this random noise and speak directly to the dead like in a phone conversation. Individuals are paying upwards of $1000 for a single session. There are of course many stories of people being unhappy with their session then Chris would come back later and tell them that they have finally contacted their loved one but the information will cost an additional fee. A true scam artist. “
Where would our movement be without these losers and what better fodder for a Skeptologists episode? These are the sorts of winner take all magic peddlers who need to be stung by their own stingers. Fair warning is now given that I have received a spirit message from a really nasty rotting and putrefying dead entity that told me it may be shambling its way to your door soon Mr. Moon. Don’t expect a pretty voice with glad tidings.
Believers and their leaders beware: If you are reading this, might I suggest that you turn your dials away from Attila the Hun, Hitler, Jack the Ripper, Lizziy Borden and Jeffrey Dahmer? They don’t like to be disturbed or appreceiate unsolicited calls and our newly upgraded machines here at The Skeptologists Lab have a “specialized” call forwarding option. Ready to talk?
I have also put out a line to some knowledgeable living people and we may have a breaking news story if we can swing it. Moon and Frank Sumptionare now taking reservations for their ”Telephone to the Dead. ” Does this include rollover minutes or are there weekend rates?
I doubt it. But if you want to call up their “operator” and arrange a “special treat” for them, contact Dina Everling at 303-525-3045. This stuff is ripe for a take down. Time to kick some woo ass. Like Rosemary Altea, it only takes one or two well positioned news stories to put them out of business or at least temporarily on notice with the fact that people with a brain are not going to put up with this imbecility. BTW: Where’s the FCC when you need them? Speaking to dead people? Ahhh hem… Isn’t that false advertising? Aren’t there laws against promulgating superstition and fortune telling over the airwaves?
BTW: I saw a ray of hope on the street yesterday: I was on the train coming to work and a homeless guy had on a tee-shirt on that read: “I See Dumb People.” Brilliant.