Friday, 17 October 2014

#9: "Crossing Over" by John Edward

You Should Never Listened To 'The Boys' (2.5/10)

by Peartree

(book selected by Beau Dashington)

Editors Note: I am an atheist. I do not believe in any deity who has a conscious will. The universe simply is as it is.

“If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.” – President J. Reuben Clark

I will disagree with former President Clark in that I do not want to attack Mr. Edward personally (he’s exploiting the grief of others for monetary gain) or his profession (psychics are frauds) with this review. This is because I honestly do believe that John Edward thinks he really is psychic and that he is helping people. And it is not kind to attack those with mental illnesses.

Besides there are hundreds of articles, programs, and books which deal with debunking those claiming a connection to the spirit world by professional skeptics like James Randi, Penn Jillette and the like.

‘Crossing Over’ is the story of the struggles John Edward had leading up to the syndication of the  television show of the same name at the turn of the century. We get a glimpse into his past when he first started having visions and working at psychic fairs and had a reading from a fellow psychic which changed his life, telling him this was his career. In true Baader-Meinhof fashion as soon as he knew he what he was suppose to be doing he saw signs everywhere. ‘Guides’ (or ‘the boys’ as he dubbed them) began following him pushing or pulling him in certain directions of his life choices and he learned to follow their advice.

He spends most of the book defending his work talking about ‘the process’ he goes through and that all of the information he gives out, if wrong, is simply not for the intended audience, has not happened yet, or he had misinterpreted the signs. The rest of the book is either a rattling of some amazing reading he gave, celebrities he spoke to from beyond the grave (including Andy Warhol and Elvis Presley), countless names and stories of people who helped him along the way which the reader could not possibly care about, or chalking up any failure he endures to ‘the boys’ needing him to go through the failure to better appreciate his successes or some other bullshit.

One of the best parts of the book was certainly his snide remarks to other psychics he himself think are frauds forcing him to sweep in and correct the mistakes and save the day. “Apparently this “psychic” had told Naomi she should cancel her wedding. Pat wanted me to call up the station and uncast this evil psychic spell.” So he did and she got married. We don’t know how it went, but one can assume that if she had broken off the marriage there were other issues at play and it wasn't just because a psychic told her to, and that since the idea of soul mates is ludicrous on the face of it she would find another person and her life would play out just as well or bad as it will now. Your life will be as happy or depressing as you make it regardless of others. He also “wanted to make sure [he] wasn't one of those 1-800-dial-a-psychic charlatans.”

One piece of advice that really stuck out while reading this book is his philosophy “about the whole idea of destiny and choice. If you meet with obstacles, you try to overcome them. You fix what you need to fix to reach what you believe is your goal. If you still can’t fix it, if you’re hitting a wall, it probably means you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Change careers. Change direction. You’re meant to be doing something else.” This is definitely the same kind of bland, ambiguous, drivel which most spiritual guides will have you believe.

But in the end John Edward is “no different from anyone else”. He “saw no reason to be embarrassed about seizing [his] opportunity to be paid as much money as [he] honestly could for [his] hard work.” Which is fair, but curious because when asked if his ‘boys’ could give the next lottery numbers he says “they could. But they won’t”. Luckily, however, “a sucker is born every minute”, and although he says “that’s not the demographic [he’s] going for” he definitely ended up with them.

I do respect his choice to include numerous scandals and ‘off readings’ he had in this book. And one client had what I felt would be my reaction to such a thing. After the reading she says “He comes back and says he’s okay? I mean, he’s dead. How okay is that? I didn't find any consolation in the fact that Lee might be there. In fact, it’s kind of disconcerting. If you think about it, it brings up more problems than it solves.” The thought that our loved ones are watching over us unable to help but want to seems kind of tormenting. And the only message that was ever received was “I’m ok, you can move on”. I suppose all of the ‘bad souls’ don’t get to come back and try to call someone an ass hole for pulling the plug or who are bitter that their loved ones did move on and marry someone else. I guess they are all burning in hell.

The final chapter of the book is his week before and the weeks following September 11th. He writes mostly about how he doesn't want to exploit the tragedy but simply help those who were affected. You’d think he’d offer free, untelevised, readings to those wanting them or some sort of charity to help. But no.

I suppose at the end of the day this book was written for those who already believe in John Edward. And although the writing it self was not note-worthily poor it doesn't offer anything of value like grief counselling, advice on how not to get swindled by ‘fake’ psychics, or really any insight into the afterlife which those who already believe in such a thing don’t already know.

The only thing I was actually curious about was were his 'boys' with him when he masturbated, and if so, did they offer encouragement? I fear I will never know.

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