I just finished Sylvia Brown's book, "Adventures of a Psychic". She is a well known psychic and has appeared on several television programs. She claims to have a psychic guide. If you have read her book I would like to know what you think of it and how you explain her ability to make predictions. Also how she can know so many intimate details about people. There again you can put James Van Praagh in the same catagory. Interestingly they were both raised Catholic and were very close to the church in there youth. Ms. Brown almost became a nun. How could these people goes so far the other way. How do you explain their abilities?
I have not read her book. Nor James Van Praagh. I can only make general comments about psychics. Some of their ability is empathy. "I see that you have fears inside of you." Or "Unresolved issues regarding your parents." Things you could safely say about almost anyone walking around this planet. I suspect that the psychic hot lines operate on the empathy principle and that many people are willing to pay $3.99 a minute just to have someone listen attentively to them. (Husbands, take note.)
There is a possible darker side. As Christians we cannot discount that some psychics have connected with real spiritual powers. And they may not be as benign as they first appear. Even if people seem to be helped in the short term, the real question would be where they are led in the long run. Human beings have long used magic arts to control primal energies, creative forces, whatever you want to call them. But eventually it becomes apparent that is the magician who is being controlled.
For comments about another type of seer, please see my short reflection on a book about Edgar Cayce.
Fr. Phil Bloom
P.S. It should not be a surprise to find former Catholics involved in this. We have traditionally had a more realistic feeling for the spiritual world and its interaction with us. But as we have become more secularized, many Catholics have turned to Evangelical religions or to New Age magic which each have part of the feeling we have lost. I am confident we will little by little recover it thanks partly to the devotional spirit immigrant Catholics are bringing to the U.S. Church.
P.P.S. For the great difference between magic and answered prayer, please read C.S. Lewis, especially Miracles. Also much of the Narnia stories revolve around that vital distinction.
From Rebecca: A Defense of Sylvia Browne