09 January 2006

Pathetic Paranormal Pandering

While reading on the Skeptics Society message board today, I happened across one of the most disgusting things I've seen in recent memory.

9/11 Victims Speak Out in New Book

"Above Us Only Sky: A View of 9/11 from the Spirit World,” is the first to channel the accounts of 9/11 from its victims.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) January 6, 2006 -- Author and spiritual medium Sarah Price has released “Above Us Only Sky: A View of 9/11 from the Spirit World,” her new book comprising channeled messages from victims of 9/11 and “spirit witnesses.” The book is the first to bring the words of the victims to the public post-9/11.

The book was written after “vivid dreams and a need to be of help to 9/11 victims became overwhelming and unavoidable,” Price says. Soon, she was inundated by messages that needed to be passed on, and the book was born.

The 9/11 victim chapters are divided into seven sections: Flt. 11, Flt. 93, Flt. 77, Flight 175, The Pentagon, The Rescue Workers, and The World Trade Center Towers. The last section comprises the accounts of victims who had to leap from the towers. For this reason, only first names are used.

Among the spirit witnesses are Anne Frank, Christopher Reeve, President John F. Kennedy, John Lennon and NBC journalist David Bloom, who bring their own insights on the events of 9/11 and advice on life in general."

Unbelievable. As if we didn't already have enough to contend with on the subject. The cottage industry of September 11th conspiracy garbage and related marketing ploys persist to this day, senselessly trampling upon thousands of innocent casualties. Not only the victims' lost lives are tastelessly being dragged through the mud along with their surviving relatives and loved ones, but also the cumulative sum of law enforcement, firefighters and emergency responders, vast scores of civil servants from municipal, state, and federal levels who suffered losses of their friends and peers. Incredible numbers of dedicated professionals labored tirelessly around the clock for months, performing grisly search and recovery tasks I couldn't imagine in my worst nightmares.

Now, along comes Sarah Price, some ethically devoid, two-bit "medium" who claims "psychic" abilities, purportedly channeling spirits of the deceased from the great beyond. These assertions constitute nothing new. Any number of misguided paranormal believers delude themselves into thinking they can accomplish these or similar varieties of magical acts, despite there not being an iota of empirical evidence demonstrating the validity of such extraordinary claims. Some may innocently think they possess supernatural abilities, others solely attempt to bilk funds from the uninformed masses; those who unfortunately fail to recognize the nonsense for what it is.

Does Price offer her "services" free of charge? Nope. She charges $75 a pop for "mediumistic readings." According to her website, she also has a similar book planned in the near future:

My next book is channeled messages from servicemen and women who have passed away in the war in Iraq. I am working directly with the families on this project, so if you have lost a family member in the war and would like to participate, please e-mail me. 50% of the proceeds will go to American Gold Star Mothers, to help with sending supplies to service members who are still in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I have a better idea -- since I doubt Price's book sales will total $500,000...

The James Randi Educational Foundation offers a $1,000,000 prize to anyone who can demonstrate these alleged abilities under double-blind test conditions designed to root out chicanery. Despite a number of applicants, the purse remains unclaimed. As it's ripe for the taking, Sarah Price should apply for the JREF Million Dollar Challenge. If her abilities are indeed genuine, she could easily secure the cash and donate half of the proceeds to these and similar charitable organizations. I won't hold my breath.

Michael Shermer's words echoed in my head as I waded through all this tripe -- as he wrote in Deconstructing the Dead (Scientific American, August 2001):

Sooner or later we all will face this inevitability [death], starting, in the normal course of events, with the loss of our parents, then siblings and friends, and eventually ourselves. It is a grim outcome under the best of circumstances, made all the worse when death comes early or accidentally to those whose "time was not up." As those who traffic in the business of loss, death, and grief know all too well, we are often at our most vulnerable at such times. Giving deep thought to this reality can cause the most controlled and rational among us to succumb to our emotions.

The reason John Edward, James Van Praagh, and the other so-called mediums are unethical and dangerous is that they are not helping anyone in what they are doing. They are simply preying on the emotions of grieving people. As all loss, death, and grief counselors know, the best way to deal with death is to face it head on. Death is a part of life, and pretending that the dead are gathering in a television studio in New York to talk twaddle with a former ballroom-dance instructor is an insult to the intelligence and humanity of the living.

We have the real, depictive records of what took place on September 11th. Truly compelling and horrifying stories of survivors. Recordings and transcripts from the police and firefighter communications, cell phone conversations from passengers on the hijacked flights -- some knew death was imminent, others did not. Some willingly sacrificed their lives in attempt to save others'. These events serve as painful reminders of humanity's nature, the best and the worst of which our species is capable. Absolutely no justification exists for defiling this somber reality with fairy-tale irrationality.

This vile shyster, whether intentionally or not, has managed to insult innumerable victims, loved ones, cherished memories. Her completely deplorable actions merely rub salt into the unhealed wounds of an entire nation while attempting to profit at the expense of the innocent dead, wholly undeserving of being swept into this transparent sham.




Anonymous Fidelio said...

Are we allowed to curse in here?
Because this sure seems like the right time.

12:09 AM CST  
Blogger Wolverine said...

Go ahead.

12:11 AM CST  
Anonymous toad said...

This sort of thing is just infuriating! When people ask stupid questions such as, "What's the harm even if (this or that bullshit) isn't true?" This book, this woman and all those like her is what's wrong. The predatory nature of this behavior is nauseating. I can't help but wonder not only how the families of the September 11th victims feel, but also how, perhaps Christopher Reeve's widow might feel about the exploitation of her deceased spouse. I'm honestly disgusted.

2:26 AM CST  

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