The Sixth Sense

The sixth sense exists. It’s real, there is proof, and I’ve seen it in action. It’s not as strong as our other senses, of course, which is why most of us are not aware of it, but it’s there – absolute, undeniable, and statistically provable.

The experiment goes something like this… Put two curtains in front of a person and let them know that behind one is a photo of something. It could be anything – a rabbit, a family of four, ball bearings; doesn’t matter. Behind the other curtain, there is nothing. Now choose which curtain hides the photo. Sounds like a 50/50 proposition, doesn’t it? It is. On average, people get it right half the time. We’re obviously guessing, and the laws of probability rule the day.

Now replace the random photo with a picture of something erotic, and repeat the experiment. Miraculously, the erotic photo is discovered 53 percent of the time – consistently. Is that because we’re a sex obsessed species? Well, yes, as a matter of fact. Over the millennia, we’ve had to survive varying degrees of a harsh environment, and the key to our survival has been the ability to successfully reproduce sufficiently enough to continue as a viable species. When faced with the promise of something so vital to our subconscious need to exist, our sixth sense is awakened, and we’re no longer merely guessing.

I would imagine that some of us fall below this 53 percent – like me, for example, but that means there’s someone else whose sixth sense is incredibly stronger than the average. I find that encouraging. I love the idea that there are people with a highly developed sixth sense, even if I’m not entirely certain what that means or how it can be reliably put to use. Evidently, this truly is a gift – like throwing a baseball faster, or playing a violin better. Certain people among us just seem to know things the rest of us don’t, and we should revere and celebrate their abilities as much as those of any athlete or musician.

Personally, I’m satisfied that the sixth sense is more than the stuff of coincidence or fiction. Scientists at Harvard and Cornell are convinced as well, and while it’s a tremendous leap to suggest any paranormal implications, that too may be possible. It certainly gives me pause to wonder, and I’m not alone. Studies are being done on willing test subjects with the hope of discovering those individuals whose sixth sense is the most highly developed, and whether this could include the ability to deal with “other” things unseen.

If this sixth sense had a hand in allowing mankind to make wise decisions and recognize better survival choices millennia ago, why couldn’t we use it once again – now, when we seem so hellbent on annihilating ourselves in such a variety of ways. I think we’re missing the boat here! Not that we should become a planet of seers and fortune tellers, but maybe we could finally learn to embrace life without so much misappropriated effort, unfounded prejudice, and lousy decision making.

Personally, I’m all for it. The sixth sense is real – just as real as the moon, the stars, and Hershey’s chocolate. There’s no denying the data. Why deny ourselves the benefit?

Ongoing and Current

Knowing the future must be a ghastly existence. Who ever thought that one up? To know years in advance that you and everyone you love would die in a bloody heap of metal on Route Whatever can’t be encouraging. Where’s the joy in a quarterback knowing his team will win a future Super Bowl, but that he will break his neck on third and one? Oh sure, we are all afforded some brief vision into the next few moments. Just this morning, I realized that if I didn’t stop driving stupid and distracted, it wouldn’t matter what I planned for dinner tonight – I’d be eating hospital food. That’s not prognostication, of course, but it’s as far in advance as I want to see.

I don’t believe spirits know the future either. Partly because they never reveal it, and partly because I’m not so sure they could handle it any better than I would. But what about the countless messages that mediums reveal from the other side? Well, I’m glad you asked. I’ve never known of a medium who delivered that kind of apocalyptic stuff, have you? Most of what the other side talks about has to do with themselves. “We’re fine. We’re proud of you. We love you. The weather’s great.” When do they venture down the Oracle Road even a little? Mediums tell you the name of your unborn son, or whether or not you’ll quit work to be an artist in Paris. They almost never tell you anything you can’t alter. They predict intelligently, but they don’t know the final future. Who would want to?

Living in the past sucks too? Why do we think spirits do that? Why relive bad times over and over? Or good ones! Can the past be changed? It seems to me that eternally living in the past would be like a horrible, cosmic, lethal shot of heroin from which you always recover – quickly and miserably. How do you escape the doldrums of reliving only – of never actually adding to the ledger; caught in a constant loop. No, that’s just unacceptable. I can’t imagine choosing to spend my spiritual eternity like that no matter how hung up I am now.

I’m sure the present for our spirit counterparts is different than it is for us. I don’t know why I’m sure of it, but it makes sense that if everything else is incomparable, an understanding of what is “the present” would be as well. Most of the spirits I hear from are very much about the now – tempered with some great memories, of course, but from everything I can tell, even though their reality is different, it’s ongoing and current. They have things to do; places to go. But doesn’t that make sense?

We always seem to feel that once our loved ones graduate this plain, they become like Superman or, dare I say it – like God. We think they’re either trapped in a horrible whirlwind of suffering, or they’ve got every base covered at once. They know everything, see everything, and understand all truths. Talk about over-achieving! But for all we know, the next step in the process of life is just that – one more step; one step below the next one. What could still be in store for us? And after that?

We haven’t a clue! Especially me, since Clueless is my middle name, but I’m aware enough to know that I object to toiling through a life that is only intimate with the past, or possessing an awareness of the actual future that would turn me suicidal. Give me a today – a vibrant, capricious, always fantastically fickle present. One that requires me to be in it. You can take away my body, and remove any other remnants of living humanity you like, as long as I’m part of a here and now. That’s what I think – how about you?

Not Suitable for Television

Friends and family frequently come to me with questions about the paranormal TV shows. “Is Ghost Adventures bogus? Celebrity Ghost Story is just for publicity, right? You know John Zaffis, don’t you?” Well, lets see – I don’t think so, no, and I only met him once (for ten seconds). I guess they think because I’m in the field, I’m compelled to watch every single paranormal show. It’s a requirement, right? “You went to Penn State. Was Ryan Beuhl there then?” Good Lord, he wasn’t even born yet! Hush.

Okay, okay – I can name drop if I need to. I sold a copy of Voices From Forever to Debbie Constantino and another to Chris Fleming. They were very nice, but I kinda doubt they read it. Chip Coffey once nodded in my direction – knowingly. That counts! Barry Kling said, “How’s it going?” Then he continued walking toward the Men’s Room. I didn’t follow up on that. So that’s the extent of my hobnobbing with the paranormal immortals. Sorry.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – I’d hang with Jason and Steve for sure; have a beer with Zak. I’d love to spend the day with Amy Allen, or the evening with Jael and Lanisha; me and Josh Gates could do some Parisian Catacombs – in the dark. I’m sure all these folks are just wonderful people – salt of the earth, and I wish ’em all well, but even if I did know them, I wouldn’t be spreading the dirt. I don’t feel one ounce of moral turpitude concerning the authenticity of their programs. I’m too preoccupied with keeping my own house in order to go mess up someone else’s.

Good grief! The business of television is to entertain the masses (that’s us), and I for one turn the damn thing off when I’m not being entertained. So I guess it’s highly possible that some things aren’t on the up and up in Paranormal TVland, but I don’t know anything about it.

No one’s ever offered to give me a show. Imagine that! It’s okay though – I always figured the reason film crews didn’t follow me around is because I’m boring. Really boring! Most of the guys they do film are not, but don’t get me wrong, I still love what I do – that’s why I do it. I’m fairly certain it’s not suitable for television though, but a guy can dream, right?

I can see it now – they’ll call it Ghostly Voices or The Ghost Listener… I hate the name, but the contract is air tight, and I have no say about anything. Section Five provides the usual standard pay of $1,300 per episode, and I have to buy my own lunch. Theres no wardrobe budget. Every week we’ll have a zoom close up of me pressing record; spooky sound effects will swell as I ask “is anyone here?” I’ll look all focused between questions – intense; even cerebral. They’ll find me a sidekick (hopefully Jael or Lanisha) who will pretend every word out of my mouth is pure genius; people will wonder if we’ve worked together long. It’ll be great!

Okay, dream is over. Stop asking me about these stupid shows – it’s too painful having to face the depth of my failure to reach paranormal deification. Think whatever you like, but they don’t deserve your adoration – it’s not like they’re The Beatles or Neil Diamond for God’s sake. Of course, you’d probably be better served not to worry about authenticity so much – just enjoy the show. And if you want to be seriously creeped out, watch Honey Booboo – she can’t possibly be real.

Glorious Summer

I remember well our Little League team of 1961. It was a slow motion summer of destiny, where every morning smelled of victory as we climbed undefeated to a sweltering and sticky August afternoon championship. We were a vision for the ages in old-fashioned wool – the grass stains and infield bleached away; smelling of Tide. All who faced us feared even the sight of us – black and orange socks and two-toned hats, heavy leather belts; our shirts tucked in. We made quick work of our opponents all summer and smiled our tired selves to sleep each night with dreams of true invincibility.

But no team is perfect, and our weakness had a name – Owens. He was gangly and awkward; half a foot taller, and we tried not to groan when the ball sailed into right field; bit our lips each time his final spot in the batting order came due. Owens managed to strike out every at bat and dropped every ball, but we won regardless. We became masters of disguising our small boy intolerance. We learned how to stand as a team – the good and the bad of us, so we encouraged the young boy instead, but we knew he was destined to fail. And we were destined to win in spite of him.

As luck would have it, that championship day, we found ourselves down by a pair with two away and two men on. It was the bottom of the ninth, and yes, it was Owens’ turn at bat. We tried to hold it together as he whiffed at the first pitch; even offered those stale words of encouragement he’d suffered all season. But each subsequent pitch brought us closer to the impossible brink, and a loss we were certain would impact the whole world. The mighty O.S.Moore Orioles were poised to lose.

With two balls and a strike, his swing to even the count was deafening – as though he’d somehow sucked the life from the air. All became still, and it was clear that someone else would celebrate as the team of destiny would succumb – the White Sox would steal our glory. Owens! We crowded the dugout fence – 12 year-old fingers laced in the chain links, faces pressed into the dull aluminum. Had it come to this? We turned our hats, crossed our fingers – we prayed, and as the pitcher began his wind-up, we were ready for the inevitability we knew awaited us.

I don’t know how he did it, or how the miracle was worked, but Owens hit that ball so hard that he was on his way home before the left fielder ever caught up with it. He hadn’t so much as a foul tip all season, but in that singular moment, when everyone doubted him, he persevered. He conquered, and all was forgotten by the time he touched the plate. Now the hero, he guaranteed our perfection, and all he could say over and over was, “We did it!” Not I, but we, God bless him. “We did it.”

Years later, coaching what may have been the second best Little League team in history, I told the story of Owens and the glorious summer to another group of wide-eyed optimists in need of some prioritizing and the decency to recognize effort over result. The story was true and the lessons obvious, but as I heard myself recount it, I realized it was more than just another tale of boyhood prowess; more than yet another installment of modern oral tradition.

Today, I pressed record on my LS-7 and asked the predictable question. The answer was clear – “Owens.” I know it’s a common enough name, but I instantly traveled back to one day in August, 1961 – so long ago. I’d like to think it was him; that I might actually be able to thank him – for the victory, the oral tradition, and the lessons learned. But you never know with EVP, so I’m telling his story anyway, and celebrating once again. “We did it!” Thank you, old friend – we did indeed. In style.