Posted by: learningwoman | May 3, 2008

Charlatans

One of the mothers at S’s school invited me to go to a ‘meditation afternoon’ today. With a little bit of past-life regression workshopping included. They’d booked an expensive Medium/psychic/past life regression expert to run the workshop and were offering cakes and tea at half-time.

I accepted the invitation because I’m a curious sort of person and it sounded like relatively harmless fun.  So, at 1:30 this afternoon, I rushed in, late, because I’d got the starting time mixed up with the time S’s friend’s party was due to begin. The event was held at a small Arts Centre, set in large, beautiful gardens and the room I’d hurried into had its doors open to take advantage of the sunny day.

There were about 12 people, sitting on blue chairs in a semi-circle, facing the man who was running the workshop. I won’t mention his name, since this post is going to be something of a rant. He was medium height, shaved head, expensive jeans, flashy earring in one ear and missing a tooth. 

Within minutes I could see that he didn’t believe a word of what he was talking about.

It dawned on me, slowly, that for most of the people in the room, this wasn’t a bit of fun, it was a very serious undertaking. They were here to learn how to regress to past lives, how to ‘read’ each other and for some, it was a way to connect with loved ones who had died ‘passed over’.

I have to admit to being sceptical about this stuff, not because I don’t believe it might be possible but because it’s the sort of thing that can’t be quantified and therefore, is open to all the worst sorts of conmen/women and charlatans.

This bloke was one of them.

“Serves you right” some might be thinking “Complete fantasy rubbish”. Well, maybe, and maybe not. There are people out there for whom this stuff is as valid as any other belief system. Since I can’t prove otherwise, I have to respect that.

I felt some serious contempt and burgeoning anger for this man by the time the afternoon had passed though. No one else seemed to notice that he kept looking at his watch, or asking over and over again; “Are there any more questions? Are you sure? Someone must have a question surely? Come on, let’s have some more questions.” to pad out a programme seriously short of material.

Or that he didn’t bother even to pretend to care about what anyone thought.

Or that after asking someone a question, instead of listening, he’d look out into the garden, or read over people’s shoulders. Or the fact that the tea breaks lasted an hour each time. Or that he poked fun at everyone in the room. I waited for someone to say something, surely they’d notice soon? I didn’t choose to comment, since they all seemed to know each other and be entirely happy with him.

Fair enough, if they were willing to pay out money to him that was okay.

What I had real trouble with though was when he told the very overweight woman in her sixties, who had told us that she was very lonely, that she had to meditate the way he’d outlined, or it wouldn’t work. He led her through a meditation that took her down into a dark cave when she’d confessed to a fear of the dark and then proceeded to feed her things to say about a past life.

When he’d finished he said triumphantly; “See? There’s no way she could have imagined all that! It must be true!”

He told a woman who had a fear of water that her experience of falling into a pond as a child had nothing to do with her phobia, that it could only be a result of a past life and that she needed to be ‘regressed’ in some one-to-one sessions.

He told us that when we do wrong in this life, we’re punished in this life, and the little woman with cancer, her head in a scarf, nodded sadly.

He wasn’t smooth or slick or charismatic. He sputtered and contradicted himself at every turn. Every bit of his body language screamed “How much longer do I have to be here with these people and how soon before I can get the hell out of here?”

He collected about two hundred pounds for this four hour ‘workshop’, two of which were spent drinking tea, smoking cigarettes and chatting on his mobile phone.

Afterwards, smiling happily, they all asked me whether I’d enjoyed it and agreed with each other that it’d been a very interesting day.

Not only that but they’re already organising another one!!! I feel as though I’ve spent the afternoon in the Twightlight Zone. People like this man give this whole concept a bad reputation.

Time for a hug with my family and something nice for dinner I think.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. I have two kids (sons). How I sometimes wish I had daughters who would look after me. Boys being boys, happy to play physical games and keeping their brains free from either their school work or family matters. But this was about a week back. Last week a miracle happened. Now these two brats keep dashing on the walls while walking around the house…reason absorbed in reading their science lessons. This magical transformation took place in in their school. The school had invited a group of interesting people as organisers of an extra curricular event. They set up a huge magical stage with lots of ‘slimy’ things around. They had created an artificial pond which contained a lot of marine animals. The simple process in which the show organisers explained the effects of global warming was fantastic. Me and my husband were present and the model on stage graphically showed a nice demonstration of the effects of the degrading environment. I am also more concerned now than I was after seeing the Al Gore film. My kids say they are studying because they want to save the world. Thanks Mad Science guys. Let me request the principal to arrange for more such events.

  2. I’m not sure how this relates to my post but thanks for the comment anyway.

  3. I admire your restraint.

    I wonder if his contempt for the participants may be a part of the reason he’s acceptable to them. Unlike yourself – attending for the fun of it – these women seems to have low self-esteem and attended to find a way to “fix” something.

    I wonder how many of them had fathers that treated them similarly…

    How’s that for armchair psychology?

  4. Hi BTW. Not bad, although there were a few men there too… 🙂
    What puzzled me was that some of the participants seemed like intelligent, confident people but they were behaving as though he was some sort of higher being. They kept referring to his greater ‘knowledge’, none of which was in evidence as far as I could see…

  5. Hi there
    I used to work in this field, but left partly because there are so many people out there who use their supposed skills as a way of feeling powerful over people who feel weak, needy and vulnerable. It used to make me so angry.
    A friend of ours was killed last week in a tragic motorbike accident. His wife rang us with the news and because she wanted to talk to us about the possibility of having a spiritualist funeral (my dad works within the church). As she was talking she told us that it wasn’t a shock because she had been to see a medium who had told her that her husband was going to leave her and die young in a horrible, pain filled accident. It made me so very angry, but I didn’t/couldn’t say anything because she was suffering enough.
    This person, as it turns out was right, but why tell her that? Why put her through two years of wondering what if, every time her husband stepped through the door? That’s tantamount to torture. And as for the number of people who are unskilled, stupid and manipulative and just trample all over people’s pain, igniting their worst fears and telling them rubbish that will never come true but that they will live with the possibility of for the rest of their lives, it makes me insanely angry.
    I know there is something to this stuff, because I have the ability to ‘know’ things about people, but I have never, and would never use it to hurt people in any way. If you have that burden, and a lot of times it is a burden, it is your god given responsibility to use it well and to help people, and if you don’t think you can help people, then you shouldn’t be doing it.
    I’m very proud that you didn’t hang him up by his ankles and beat him. Horrid man.
    Kxx

  6. Very horrid man..
    I’m sorry to hear about your friend and I agree, who ever told his wife that stuff was being very irresponsible!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: