Talking to the Dead

by Menelik Solomon 

There are several extraordinary beliefs that have made a significant impact on people. There are many extraordinary beliefs that I believe are relatively harmless, such as the belief of big foot or the belief of the Lochness Monster. However, there are still plenty of extraordinary beliefs that have had a severely negative impact, beliefs that are actually incriminating and full of lies. An extraordinary belief that exemplifies these poor standards is one’s psychic ability to connect with dead people. There are people that claim to have these extraordinary powers and they’ve made a profession getting paid by people who really miss their passed loved ones and come to them to get in contact with them, when there has never been any evidence to prove this is possible.

The psychic gets information for their reading by asking the subjects a series of questions and then reads their responses to give them a psychic reading. These self-proclaimed psychics often slyly get information on their subject, such as relationship status, occupation, or number of siblings, before doing the reading by looking them up online and then pretend that they learned that information through their psychic powers. In most cases, the subjects actually believe the psychics are communicating with their dead loved ones. This hit its peak of popularity throughout the 80s up til the early 2000’s. Sylvia Browne was famous for these psychic readings and by 2008, Browne was charging over $700 for brief telephone sessions. She was found to have been making roughly $2.9 million from her psychic reading enterprise. People can be investing their last dollars to be fooled. This wrong and very important because not only are innocent and broken people being lied to, their being falsely dragged into an emotional rollercoaster.

Some would argue that there is evidence that these psychics are for real because of some of the information they dig that does seems so accurate that it could not have been a guess. But in reality, there is much more evidence against them because for every celebrated piece of information that they guess right, there is a substantially greater amount that are guessed wrong. However, the subjects are mistaken for believing in the psychics because they only account for the few things the psychics guess right, not the many more pieces they guess wrong.

Talking to dead people should seem absolutely irrational to any normal person. Many people don’t even believe in an afterlife, so why would anyone ever believe that some random people have the special psychic ability to connect with dead people? This is because most of these subjects come from broken families who are still in mourning and will believe anything that makes them think there loved is still out there and that they can still connect with them. They are experiencing confirmation bias. Regardless of the evidence pointing against the psychics favor, these subject believe the psychics because they really want to believe that what he or she is saying is true.

In conclusion, extraordinary beliefs are often harmful but sometimes people are really hurt and fooled. Humans connecting with the dead seems like a foolish concept, but humans have a strong belief system and are most willing to hold their strong beliefs for those that they love. Even the evidence is pointing to the fact that these psychics are wrong, people still believe them because that is how strong their love is for their loved ones. But the psychics must be stopped because they wrongfully lying and taking money from these hopeless individuals.

15 thoughts on “Talking to the Dead

  1. I enjoyed reading this blog and found this interesting! While learning about this in class and watching the videos of the readers and the large crowds they would draw, I was shocked. I certainly agree with you that these messages from the dead were very vague and were shouted out to a large crowd. The accuracy of these is definitely flawed and there is a lot of harm that can be caused by this.

  2. I liked the last two paragraphs when you discuss that its important to note that the people who speak to mediums most likely are coming to them after a devastating loss. And when someone has that really strong want for something to happen that they are able to fool themselves into believing that the vague statements and applying them to their passed love one.

  3. Menelik, I really enjoyed reading your blog post! I thought it was interesting how you made the comment about how you believe that there are relatively harmless extraordinary beliefs such as big foot, but then there is another extreme. When you separate them like that, it really makes you think about the extreme differences of some of the extraordinary beliefs that we have learned and read about. I also thought it was interesting how you made a comment about many people not believing in an afterlife, so why would they believe that some random people have an ability to connect with the dead. Did the people who claimed to have the psychic ability to connect with dead people claim to believe in an afterlife too? Do you think a belief in an afterlife directly connects with all of this?

  4. Hi Menelik,
    I definitely agree with you that a belief that you can communicate with the dead is much more emotionally extreme and much more potentially harmful than a belief in something like Bigfoot. However, I’m wondering if you think there are ever cases where the positives might outweigh the negatives. For instance, do you think some people who are in mourning might ultimately take comfort and be able to move on after feeling like they have connected with a dead loved one? I have felt conflicted about this for a while and was wondering if you had any thoughts.

    • great question! As controversial as it is, i think sometimes talking to the dead and mediumship can bring comfort to a grieving person who just does not want to let go and move on. If someone can find closure and comfort then i look at it as harmless because it is helping someone in pain!

  5. Hi Menelik,
    I like the thought process you have in your post, and I agree with the things you are saying. Something that stood out to me was, “Talking to dead people should seem absolutely irrational to any normal person.” Of course, I think this is the case too. Something I wonder is what do these people who believe that people can talk to the dead also believe in? For example, are they religious, are they atheist, do they have consistent beliefs? I think some forms of religion even “allow” you to try and talk to the dead through prayer. Why dont people take this route, as opposed to paying someone to make something up?

  6. I definitely agree with you in that talking to the dead has many negative impacts. A lot of psychic mediums use the claim that they can talk to the dead to exploit grieving clients for monetary gains. I can see how vulnerable people could be susceptible to believing that psychics can actually talk to the dead as they want some comfort in knowing what happened to them after they died. However, like how you outlined in your blog post, there’s no evidence for the effectiveness of psychic mediums and it can cause a lot of harm than good.

  7. I never really thought about psychic readings having such a negative impact…but I see where you are coming from. When someone like Sylvia Browne is charging 700$ for a simple phone session, things start to cross the line. I just wonder if people like her feel bad for hustling others? Especially others who can barely afford to pay for these readings. I see why it is so popular, but could false information really be a healthy source of closure?

  8. It is pretty amazing to think that someone could make a small fortune from claiming to have a special ability. It’s hard to think that someone would capitalize on the grieving process of people who have lost a loved one because just the fact they promise to talk to the dead gives hope to an unfortunate situation.

  9. i liked reading this post because this topic is so interesting to me! I always question what do people who claim to speak to the dead have to gain and its money and fame but besides that what do they have to gain. And then i think about people who have lost loved ones and want to talk with people who “can talk to the dead” and i wonder what do they have to gain. the answer to that is closure and comfort. perhaps one last good bye or a way to wrap up loose ends. I think people who claim to speak to the dead whether they truly in their hearts believe it or they are doing it for fame, can bring some sort of healing to people who are having difficulty letting go

  10. I like how you mentioned that most extraordinary beliefs are harmless, but one such as this can have a severely negative impact. This is exactly how I feel. I think people who claim to talk with the dead exploit others and can actually cause harm to them. I understand that some people may use this as a coping mechanism or form of closure, but I think there are healthier ways that don’t involved exploitation to go about.

  11. My brothers current girlfriend does this exact same thing. She is a psychic who talks to the dead! My brother has talked to her about it because he is a strong opponent of these types of “scams” as he calls them. She rationalized it that she is no different than a therapist telling the client what they want to hear and making them feel better. I think it is an interesting career path that most people couldn’t do. I’m personally not a fan of what I would say is lying to people in order to gain money. Thanks for your blog post!

  12. I had left a negative opinion comment on one of the psychic medium posts about exactly this. Is is so disgusting that someone is able to lie so easily to and take advantage of someone who is clearly having a hard time. This is so clearly a scam, these people are wrong all time time and yet they make a crazy good living, and have followings of people who trust and believe in them. It is a sickening shame.

  13. Loosing a loved one comes with an ungodly amount of grievances. The thought of re-connecting with a loved one is a beacon of hope to be able to do the impossible, connecting with the one they thought they would never get the chance to connect with again. That love is so powerful that those beliefs will be strong, especially if it consoles them and brings them a sense of comfort.

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