Oct. 29th, 2012

lazypadawan: (Default)
I admit, when it comes to these paranormal t.v. shows, I put a lot more stock in how-the-eff-did-that-happen video footage, photos, or recordings than somebody walking around and saying, “There’s a spirit here!” I figure anybody can pull a Deanna Troi and claim they “feel” something. It’s not evidence to me.

Moreover, there are some self-styled mediums like “Most Haunted”’s Derek Accorah who was exposed as a fake by one of the show’s cast members. There are plenty of fakers, people who might really think they are psychic who just have an active imagination, and some who have minimal talent but exaggerate their “findings” to look more impressive.

On the other hand, 15 years ago, I encountered a guy working a jewelry booth at a ren faire. The guy did not ask but stated, “You’re a Leo, aren’t you?” I was flabbergasted. There was no way he could have known that. I was not buying anything that indicated my astrological sign or birth month. He did not see my identification. I’d never met him before and he didn’t know any of my friends with me. A girl in my group was getting her palm read at a psychic tent nearby but she was a friend of a friend. She had never met me before and sure wouldn’t have known my birthday. She didn’t communicate with this guy at all. All I could ask was, “How the hell did you know that?” He casually said, “It’s in your aura.” So, okay, there are people out there who can discern the normally non-discernable.

Chip Coffey
Star of “Paranormal State,” “Psychic Kids” (Bio)
Trademarks: Buzzcut, glasses, and a Southern accent

Both PS and PK are out of production but they re-run regularly on Bio. Coffey tours, lectures, appears at horror cons, and leads his own paranormal investigations. Neither show really does a lot to back up Coffey’s “findings” and I’ve always felt the youngsters on “Psychic Kids” kind of build on each other during their investigations, but Coffey is good with kids struggling with having odd dreams, premonitions, impromptu visits from the dead, and the rejection of family and peers. He published a book earlier this year called “Growing Up Psychic.”
Contacts: @chipcoffey, chipcoffey.com, (on Facebook)

Amy Allan
Star of “The Dead Files” (Travel)
Trademarks: Black hair, eyeliner, Hello Kitty tats, and a creepy demeanor while in medium mode

Of everybody I’ve seen on t.v., Allan is the most credible for the kind of work she does. I guess the reason for that is the unique format of “The Dead Files.” It’s not your usual ghost hunting show where everyone is trying to capture evidence of spooks. What happens is a former NYPD detective will investigate claims of a haunting by interviewing witnesses and doing his own fact-based background research. Allan and her husband/cameraman will go to that location separately without interviewing anyone, and she gives her impressions on camera. Occasionally she’ll have a sketch artist draw what she has seen. At the end of the show, the detective and Allan report their findings to the property owners. It’s amazing how often what she discovers corroborates the detective’s research and interviews. She will then recommend to the property owners what they should do to alleviate the problem and if they follow her advice, it usually works.
Contacts: @amyallantdf, (on Facebook under Amy Apr Allan)

Theresa Caputo
Star of “Long Island Medium” (TLC)
Trademarks: Big hair, crazy nails, that Lon Guylandt ax-sent

This is the paranormal show a scaredy cat could love. While ghosts and cleansings occasionally crop up on the show, it’s mostly about deceased loved ones giving a shoutout to the living, via Caputo’s readings. There are lot of smiles, tears, and heartwarming moments. If you’ve seen John Edward in action, Caputo pretty much does the same thing. She helps the bereaved heal and move on with their lives. What’s actually the most impressive about what Caputo does isn’t so much the private readings but the cold ones. Make no mistake: TLC is the home of contrived reality show situations. It seems like the only reason Caputo has to buy tires or head out for a spaghetti dinner is so that she’ll be able to read random people on the street. If you know somebody is coming over for a reading, you could always research that person on the internet. But coming up with detailed information about people you’ve just met and describing situations they've never shared with anyone is pretty amazing, not to mention coming up with quirks associated with someone you don’t know at all who has been dead for five years. Even if you don’t buy it, the Caputo clan is pretty entertaining.
Contacts: @Theresacaputo, theresacaputo.com, (on Facebook)

Kim Russo
Star of "The Haunting Of..." (Bio)
Trademarks: Big cross, Lon Guylandt ax-sent

Meet the new kid on the t.v. block, another Italian gal from Long Island whose work is closer to Amy Allan's than Teresa Caputo's, at least on "The Haunting Of." This show takes alumni from "Celebrity Ghost Stories" back to the locations of their paranormal experiences where Russo will fill them in on what's really happening. Russo was previously seen on a CGS special with Loretta Lynn, whose homestead in Tennessee is way haunted. Russo dropped the surprising news that Lynn's deceased husband is hanging around with the other spirits keeping an eye on the place.
Contacts: @THEHAPPYMEDIUM, kimthehappymedium.com
lazypadawan: (Default)
A lot of people don't like cemeteries. You can barely talk my mom into going to one, only if she had to be there. Even the golf courses they call memorial parks that go out of their way to make burial places peaceful instead of creepy and military cemeteries that aren't particularly scary make folks uncomfortable.

Not me! Not that I'd go to a graveyard all by myself at night--please--but I love cemeteries. The more old-fashioned, the better. Years ago I did a video news project on local old cemeteries and found lots to admire about the 19th century monuments and tombstones. The Victorians put a lot of money into their monuments. The well-to-do had them made of the best marble and ordered statues made in Italy, all done within their lifetime so everything would be ready to go whenever the time came. I realized these monuments were the sole evidence that these people ever existed. They knew that and they made their monuments count.

I used to live in Virginia, where it's against the law to move a pre-existing burial ground for construction purposes. So there was a large cemetery dating back to the 1850s within walking distance of where I used to live. It was pretty cool.

But I have to say nothing impressed me more than my favorite cemetery, Pere Lachaise in Paris. I visited there in 1989 and it just blew me away. Shiny monuments to the famous were right alongside decaying and crumbling vaults. You could see inside some of them though I did not see any bones or rotting corpses, thankfully! The main attraction at Pere Lachaise is the final resting ground of Jim Morrison, which was very easy to find thanks to helpful directions scrawled on various tombstones and vaults. Morrison's grave is covered with grafitti as are those of his neighbors. I'm sure Jim's ghost spends a lot of time apologizing to them, heh heh. I'd love to go back to find stuff like Heloise and Abelard's burial site, which I missed that time. My mom was with us and she couldn't wait to leave.

Another great cemetery I've been to is the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague. It's small but crowded with former residents of the Jewish Quarter, so much so the headstones--all engraved in Hebrew--are practically knocking against each other. Nobody knows exactly how old it is or how many people might be planted there (estimates are as many as 100,000) but the oldest known grave dates back to the 1400s.

Then there's Arlington National Cemetery with its history, the burial site of John F. Kennedy and Robert E. Lee, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the scores of heroes who gave their all for this country. More of a patriotic experience than a gothy one. Same goes for the cemetery at Gettysburg where Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. It was kind of sad though to see so many unidentified people buried there.

Then there are the cemeteries that would be cool to visit that I haven't been to yet: La Recoleta in Buenos Aires, Highgate in London, Normandy Cemeteries in France honoring those killed on D-Day, and Hollywood Forever, permanent home of showbiz royalty. Hollywood Forever hosts outdoor film screenings during the summer, where you can watch a movie projected onto the back wall of a mausoleum, often just mere feet away from where the film's stars and director are interred. People bring picnics. I almost went on a tour to see St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans but I did not have time. Oh well, they're not going anywhere.

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