Friday, September 30, 2022

Insight: Peering into the great unknown

By Ed Pierce
Managing Editor

I admit that I’ve never been much into psychics or the paranormal.

This book about the famous psychic 
Jeane Dixon was one of her favorites.
Whether it be fortune tellers, palm readers, or those who make predictions from gazing into a crystal ball, I’m somewhat of a skeptic and have a hard time accepting that someone who doesn’t know me at all can tell what is going to happen to me in the future.

Maybe some of my resistance was some sort of rebellion against the core beliefs of my mother, who fully accepted the notion that a psychic could foretell outcomes in everyday situations. She told me a story when I was very little about how she once had a dream about seeing her grandmother cross a river and waving to her from the other side and when she woke up that morning, she was told that her grandmother had died overnight.

That led to her embrace of the spiritual world, and my mother would spend hours reading books about Edgar Cayce and Jeane Dixon. She frequently reminded me that Jeane Dixon had accurately predicted the assassination and death of President John F. Kennedy and was consulted for her psychic abilities by First Lady Nancy Reagan. Dixon’s astrological column appeared every day in the newspaper we subscribed to and her book “A Gift of Prophecy: The Phenomenal Jeane Dixon” was a national best seller. But for every prediction that Dixon made correctly, I could find ones that did not come to pass, and I told my mother I thought Dixon was somewhat less than accurate.

I did find the story of Edgar Cayce rather interesting, however. He was said to be clairvoyant and would make bold predictions while asleep in a trance-like state. Born in 1877 and raised on a Kentucky farm to a devoutly Christian family, Cayce would often give metaphysical readings that spoke of future events much like the writings of Nostradamus. My mother purchased a biography about Cayce called “The Sleeping Prophet” by Jess Stearn that detailed some of his predictions including the 1929 Stock Market Crash, World War II and suggesting that the lost continent of Atlantis would soon be discovered in the Atlantic Ocean. He gave readings to prominent Americans such as Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Edison, and Harry Houdini.

As much as I was wary of my mother’s fascination with some people’s ability to see into the future, my own encounters with psychics have left me scratching my head.

Once when I was about the age of 8 or 9, my parents took my brother and me to visit family friends at their home. That day it just so happened that an elderly friend of their family was visiting from Canada. He did palm readings and asked my mother if he could read my palm. She agreed and he told us after looking at mine that he knew I was going to be a professional writer someday. He also read my mother’s palm and insisted that she had been married previously, which she vigorously denied. Several years later, my brother and I learned that indeed, my mother had been married and divorced before she married my father.

When I moved from New Mexico to Florida in 1991, my father said he knew a place that he wanted to take me on my first weekend there. We drove to a community just north of Deltona called Cassadaga where most everyone in that town claimed to be a psychic. I was feeling sort of low at that time and had left my reporting job in New Mexico to re-establish my life in a new location thousands of miles away. My father told me perhaps getting a psychic reading would boost my outlook about the future.

Despite my skepticism, he insisted that I do it, so I paid $25 for a 20-minute reading with a woman who used tarot cards. She told me that she could see me getting married in the future and that her first name would begin with an “N.” She also told me I would land a job soon and that she could see me on a football field covering a game as a sportswriter. She said I would own several homes and she saw me in an old car looking at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I mentioned to her that I didn’t know any women whose first name started with an “N,” and she told me, “You most certainly will.”

Afterward, I told my dad I didn’t place much faith in psychic predictions. He told me he didn’t either, he just wanted me to feel good about myself and my future again. Within weeks I had found a job with a newspaper and was covering high school football games. A few years later I met and married Nancy and we have owned several homes. In 2007, we took a vacation trip to San Francisco and went for a tour of the city in a restored 1933 Packard that ended up at Golden Gate Park overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

As for me, I think I more closely identify with those who believe that the sixth sense may or may not be genuine. <

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