Against my better intuitive judgement, I went on the highly popular “Coast to Coast AM” radio show to talk about “Psychic Blues” last night. It was an eye opening experience for everyone, not the least of which was me. I knew I was trending head first into the lion’s den by going this route, but without taking some chances, life can become quickly predictable – in a common sense way that is.
My book has been doing well for only being officially in print a month, and in an attempt to boost sales and let people know there is another side to all the paranormal rubbish out there, I arranged a two hour spot with host George Noory. George was much more accommodating than I had anticipated, cooly agreeing with most of my points and making it a special issue to let everyone know that he had “bounced” Sylvia Browne from his show for her egregious Sago Mine readings she did on his show. He himself even brought up the famous Shawn Hornbeck bomb she dropped a few years back and let it be known he will be “vary cautious of booking any psychics on his show from then on.” This was a winning fit as far as I was concerned. There was a no holds barred attitude to the proceedings and I did my best to inject as much humor as possible considering the show normally is overloaded with serious accounts of ghosts, Bigfoot and UFO coverage. George tried in vain to get me to relate stories about people who I had come across who were “real” psychics. Had I ever run into anyone who was the real deal? I said, “…No” twice. He also tried to get my take on the “what about God?’ issue, to which I was happy to use a retort I had recently heard Randi put to good use, ” …Which one?’ I asked. The humor was refreshing and our banter was lighthearted and without the acrimony I expected after dealing with Skeptiko’s Alex Tsakiris, another show that promises a “sciency” look at paranormal subjects.
The two hour slot: from 10:00p.m. – midnight was positioned to run live before the midnight spook extravaganza, which was all about Robin Foy and ” the Scole Experiment, called one of the most successful examples of physical mediumship and afterlife communication ever.” Yeah right. That’s what it’s called.
Never mind that I had told the producer of C2C that Brian Dunning and I had thoroughly taken the Scole sham apart on “Weird or What” with William Shatner last year. I went to great lengths to make mention of that fact on air to George and added that (in Brian’s words) the biggest red flag in that whole Scoles scam was “… the fact that there’s been no followup. If amazing phenomena truly did happen at the Scole Experiment, it would have changed the world. Mainstream psychologists and other academics would have gotten in on it, it would have made worldwide headlines, and it would be repeated in labs everywhere and become mainstream science.” That’s right George. It’s more than ten years now and the best these guys can come up with is a DVD called “The Afterlife Investigations?” It might have been a more compelling show if they had put me on after the afterlife routine, but that’s not how ratings work in the Arbitron world. I totally understand. The creatures of the night demand their dark thrills. I would have been a major wet blanket to all that hokum, including such things as ” his (Foy’s) study of Marcello Bacci, an Italian medium and “direct radio voice,” whom he believes is able to receive spirit voices, often of deceased children that are recognized by their parents, through his old tube radio.” Sound familair? It should. Just more of the same tired shenanigans of con artists who know that there’s a sucker born every minute and Frank’s broken radio box is always new to someone.
Several times I had to do my best to direct the show back on track to “Psychic Blues” whenever George would settle into his well- worn groove and begin spinning off into random bits about death, his experiences with magic tricks and other awkward moments. Later, the call-ins were clueless and the usual C2C people with wild anecdotal tales which I was of course expected to explain; one person had premonitions about where to go to find his lost cat. I basically told the listening audience there was nothing paranormal about such things and calmly explained what confirmation bias was and how plenty of people go out looking for their lost cats and don’t find them. George even trotted out that oldest of chestnuts about, “… you are thinking about someone and the next minute they call on the phone!” I thought that went out with pyramid power and bell bottom pants, but I guess it’s always news to someone out there. I did my best to explain that one too. A woman called in and said she saw “lights” around things. I told her to seek an optician. That sort of thing. Probably not the best showcase for my book, but what the hell…
Now I have the dubious pleasure of going through dozens of emails that are being “channeled” to my website, thanks to C2C’s huge radio following . There’s no denying over 3 million listeners. I sold some books last night. The large percentage of quips are genuinely appreciative of my efforts and agree with my stance on psychics and mediumship. The longer and more verbose diatribes are just crazy misspelled rants about my secret Illuminati connections, Bible references and all manner of whacked esoteric nonsense. Obviously, the hard-core Coasters will only hear what they want to hear. One rant angrily dotted with mostly ad hominem attacks on me obviously based on this radio show and not on any reading of the actual book was posted at Amazon’s review section for “Blues” titled “Skeptical of This as Propaganda.” The writer attacked “Blues” as “…A shining gospel to the new-farmed crop of angry 13 year olds, crafted to proselytize and to fuel the fervor of the faithful for the future of wink-and-nudge thought enforcement” and “…the book is an historical fiction-feel celebratory treatise for those who made up their minds at age 13 and need a Sunday Morning boost from the pastor to re-kindle that faith which assuages the chronic unsettling inner angst.” Wow. That oughta’ sell some books!
And BTW Rupert, (the guy’s name,, could it be Sheldrake?) I was never on any payroll or support system at “Skeptic” magazine. Shermer will most certainly vouch for that. Facts are important to some of us.
Here’s the link thanks to ConspiracyTheory2012:
Special thanks to my good friends Karen and Brian Hart for loaning me the use of their land line, putting up with me until after midnight and snapping the above pic. It was a fun night.
Next week : DragonCon! Four days of fab lectures and wild performances. I’ll be doing a special set of my “psychic readings” for the SkepticTrack. Free Candy! Drop by the IIG table at SkepticTrack and say hello.