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Section 12A... The Occult/

 

003white Index To Section 12A The Occult         >            Psychics

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Psychics

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ALSO SEE The Message of the Bible   and  The Warnng of The Bible

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Nostradamus
Jeanne Dixon
James Van Praagh
John Edward

 

Nostradamus w
as born a Jew, but because Louis VII ordered all Jews to be baptized Catholics or "suffer the consequences" his family was baptised, but secretly held onto their Jewish beliefs. He lived as a good Catholic by day and engaged in the mystical and occult at night. Nostradamus became famous for both his astrological activities and his ability to heal with herbal medicines.   His prophecies have a magical quality for those who study them: they are muddled and obscure before the predicted event, but become crystal clear after the event has occurred. His "believers" work very hard to try to make his prophecies fit events. His writings are full of symbolism and obscure references that could be twisted to mean anything.

For example he wrote:

    L'an mil neuf cens nonante neuf sept mois
    Du ciel viendra grand Roy deffraieur
    Resusciter le grand Roy d'Angolmois.
    Avant apres Mars regner par bon heur.

Translated

    The year 1999 seven months
    From the sky will come the great King of Terror.
    To resuscitate the great king of the Mongols. Before and after Mars reigns by good luck. (X-72)

Nobody, not even the most fanatical of Nostradamus' disciples, had a clue what this passage might have meant before July 1999 when John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette and sister-in-law were killed in a plane crash on the 18th of that month. Here is some of the ways this obscure ‘prophecy’ was interpreted.... Could the crash of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s airplane in July of 1999 fulfill the line "from the sky will come "the great King of Terror"? Could the human fear of death and bodily injury be the intended definition of "the great King of Terror"?

 Some claim that Nostradamus predicted the Challenger space shuttle disaster on January 28, 1986. Here is the passage:

    D'humain troupeau neuf seront mis a` part,
    De iugement & conseil separez:
    Leur sort sera diuise' en depart,
    Kappa, Thita, Lambda mors bannis esgarez.

Translated

    From the human flock nine will be sent away,
    Separated from judgment and counsel:
    Their fate will be sealed on departure
    Kappa, Thita, Lambda the banished dead err.

Some have connected this prophecy with the Challenger on the basis that Thiokol made the defective O-ring that is blamed for the disaster and that the name has a 'k', 'th' and an 'l'. It cannot get more vague that that. Additionally seven died in the Challenger, not nine. The rest is vague enough to fit many different scenarios.

    “Quatrain 2-24 reads: “Beasts mad with hunger will swim across rivers, Most of the army will be against the Lower Danube [Hister sera]. The great one shall be dragged in an iron cage when the child brother [de Germain] will observe nothing.”

    This is allegedly a prophecy concerning Adolf Hitler. According to followers of Nostradamus, the lower portion of the Danube is known as either “Ister” or “Hister” (Randi, 213), which seems to be close enough to “Hitler” for their purposes.

    However, the substitution of “l” for “s” in Hister, and the inversion of “t” and “s,” is totally arbitrary. In another quatrain (4-68), Nostradamus mentions the Lower Danube in conjunction with the Rhine (“De Ryn”). But if “Hister” refers to Hitler, then to what does “De Ryn” refer? Followers of Nostradamus are inconsistent, treating one river as an anagram and taking the other literally. The Latin phrase de Germain should be interpreted “brother” or “near relative,” not “Germany” (Randi, 214). Even if these highly questionable interpretations are allowed, the prophecy is still quite ambiguous. What are we to make of the “Beasts” and the “iron cage”? To say that Adolf Hitler (“the great one”) will be “dragged in an iron cage” while Germany “will observe nothing” is so ambiguous and confusing it renders the entire prophecy meaningless.” (Nostradamus  by Dr. Norman Geisler (from Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Book House, 1999)

Nostradamus is alleged to have predicted a great earthquake in California for May 10, 1981, reported on May 6, 1981, in USA Today. However, no such quake occurred. As a matter of fact, Nostradamus mentioned no country, city, or year. He spoke only of a “rumbling earth” in a “new city” and a “very mighty quake” on May 10 without giving a year.

Consider this one, which can be interpreted so as to fit any number of events in the future.:

    “Scythe by the Pond, in conjunction with Sagittarius at the high point of its ascendant—disease, famine, death by soldiery—the century/age draws near its renewal” (Centuries 1.6).

“The marvelous prophecies of Michel de Nostredame, upon examination, turn out to be a tiresome collection of vague, punning, seemingly badly constructed verses.... From a distance of more than 400 years, I fancy I can hear a bearded Frenchman laughing at the naiveté of his 20th century dupes” (J. Randi, “Nostradamus: The Prophet for All Seasons,” The Skeptical Enquirer (Fall 1882).

Although he firmly believed that all his predictions came from God, he actually utilized psychic methods, such as emptying his mind to see visions in water bowls and candle flames, similar to magical divination rites practiced by such people as Branchus, an ancient occultic Greek prophetess. In order to avoid being burned to death for sorcery, he had to convince the King that God almighty was the sole origin of his revelations. However, we know that the God of the Bible forbade the very practices Nostradamus said he inspired. Furthermore Nostradamus never ever attested to the deity of Jesus Christ. He spoke about the Pope, church, Israel, faith, scriptures, prayer, God, Holy Spirit and Satan, but never about Jesus Christ. (TOP OF PAGE)

 

Bible1-Bar

 

Jeanne Dixon,
America's most famous psychic, died in 1997. She predicted that the Soviets would beat the U.S. to the moon and that World War III would begin in 1958, there would be a cure for cancer in 1967.

In 1956 she predicted in Parade magazine that the 1960 election would be won by a Democrat and that he would die in office, "although not necessarily in his first term." However, in 1960, apparently overriding her earlier prediction, she predicted unequivocally, "John F. Kennedy would fail to win the presidency."

Some of her other predictions that didn’t come true were

    That President Eisenhower would appoint Douglas Macarthur to his administration.

    That Russia would invade Iran in 1953 and Palestine in 1957.

    That World War 3 would break out in 1958.

    China and Russia would be one country in 1964.

    Castro would die in 1966.

    Russia would land a man on the moon first.

    That the Vietnam war would end by Sept 1966.

    Many would die like ants in the 1980's as a result of germ warfare unleashed on the Western World by Red China.

    The United States would have its first woman president in the 1980's.

    A comet will strike the earth in the middle of the 1980's causing potentially disastrous earthquakes and tidals.

Ruth Montgomery's 1965 book A Gift of Prophecy: the Phenomenal Jeanne Dixon, which sold more 3,000,000 copies failed to mention any of the above facts.

In The Influence of Eastern Mysticism, Dave Hunt mentions a frightening incident..

    “However In one of her rare accurate insights, the late psychic Jeanne Dixon foresaw this massive turning to the East. The story is reminiscent of the Garden of Eden. Dixon relates how the serpent crawled up on her bed and wrapped itself around her:

      Its eyes were gazed fixed toward the East…. The serpent turned its head and our eyes met. Its eyes reflected all the wisdom and suffering of the ages, but also an unspoken plea for trust and understanding. It moved its head again, facing the East one more, as if to tell me that I must look to the East for wisdom and understanding. Somehow I sensed that it was conveying to me that if my trust and faith in it were great enough, I would be able to partake of it unlimited, unearthly wisdom. The serpent looked back, and while I gazed deeply into its eyes, it withdrew and vanished. [1]

    Later reflection convinced Dixon that this serpent had been Satan appearing to her and that he was going to deceive the world on a massive scale. [2] Who better would know the role that Eastern mysticism would play than the very instigator of that delusion! Yet Dixon though she saw in the serpent’s eyes "all the wisdom and suffering of the ages." How seductive is the occult invasion!”

The world wide deception has not only already begun, it is already deeply entrenched. For details See Alice Bailey and The Lucis Trust, The Global Alliance, and The United Nations]

1 Jeane Dixon with Rene Noorbergen, Jeane Dixon, My Life and Prophecies, Her Own Story As Told to Rene Noorbergen (William Morrow and Company, 1969), pp. 160-161.

2 Ibid., p. 166.

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James Van Praagh.
‘Beyond’ with James Van Praagh is a weekly TV show taped in Los Angeles. A self proclaimed ‘medium’ (one to whom spirits communicate directly) he ‘does readings’ for audience members based solely on the spirits who are talking to him at that moment.

According to Van Praagh he was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family but "found the Catholic view of God to be too limited and unrealistic" (Talking to Heaven, p. 6). He was "plagued" by various issues that probably trouble everyone at one time or another: the existence or reality of God, the reliability of the Bible, and obtaining a "personal experience" of God (Ibid., pp. 6–7). 

These questions or "prayers" for proof were supposedly answered for Van Praagh when he was eight years old, as he experienced a mystical, "clairvoyant" encounter with a glowing white hand, which gave him "an overwhelming sense of peace, love, and joy." He interpreted this vision as God, and proof that He (it) existed (Ibid., p. 7). 

This led him into a fascination with the concept of death and the hereafter. His belief in spirit contact was reinforced at age twelve, through mystical experiences he had working with a Magic Eight Ball, Ouija boards, and finally in a séance (Ibid., pp. 8–9).  

He believes that “Life is ever-changing and evolving. What was true for our ancestors may no longer apply to us" (p. 17). He stereotypes and caricatures the church as "encumbered by" outdated rules and mythology (p. 20). 

Skeptics Society director Michael Shermer, was invited by 20/20 to examine Van Praagh's methodology and interaction with his subjects. Shermer demonstrated that Van Praagh had "far more misses than hits," and that he uses the common techniques of a stage mentalist or con man (20/20, April 3, 1998, transcript on file). However there is little doubt that Van Praagh does on occasion give correct information, which should not surprise anyone, least of all Christians who know that Satan and his principalities are aware of information and can pass it on to their gullible human mediators

On "Larry King Live," March 6, 2001 He said  "...we [psychics] are here to heal people and to help people grow...skeptics...they're just here to destroy people. They're not here to encourage people, to enlighten people. They're here to destroy people."

Unfortunately for Mr Van Praagh the Bible holds the opposite view...

    Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.  Deuteronomy 18: 10-12  (emphasis added)

     

    Bible1-Bar

Communicating with the Dead.. John Edward
By
Michael Gleghorn

Mediums and the Media
Both John Edward and James Van Praagh are highly sought-after mediums who claim to possess the ability to communicate with the dead. Each has his own Web site and hit television show. They have both authored best-selling books, been interviewed by television personalities and news journalists, and each has about a three-year waiting list for personal readings.

"According to a recent Gallup Poll, 38 percent of Americans believe ghosts or spirits can come back in certain situations. In 1990, it was 25 percent. Today, 28 percent think some people can hear from or 'mentally' talk to the dead, compared with 18 percent 11 years ago." {1} Some believe that the increased interest in after-death communication is a "spillover from the growing interest in alternative medicine and Eastern spirituality."{2} But whatever the cause, the popularity of self-proclaimed mediums like Edward and Van Praagh has soared in recent years.

John Edward was 15 when he first learned of his life's work.{3} He received a reading from a psychic who told him that he would help bring comfort to the living by reuniting them with those who had crossed over to the other side. Since then, John has gone from doing private readings in his home to making appearances on popular radio and television shows. He has been a guest on Entertainment Tonight, The Crier Report, and The Maury Povich Show, just to name a few. He's also been interviewed by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and others. He's authored three books, produced a series of audio tapes that explain how to communicate with the other side, and, since June 2000, he's had his own television show, Crossing Over with John Edward.

The story of James Van Praagh is similar. On his Web site we learn that James was 24 when a medium told him that he would be in the same line of work within just two years.{4} Although James was initially skeptical, he soon realized that he indeed had the ability to communicate with the dead. Since that time, James has gone from doing psychic readings for friends, to making television appearances on such shows as NBC's The Other Side, Oprah, and 20/20. In addition to writing four books, he's produced two meditation tapes and a video about psychic development. The popular CBS mini-series, Living with the Dead, was based on his life and work. And since September 2002, he's been the star of his own television show, Beyond with James Van Praagh.

What are Christians to make of all this? Is there good evidence that Edward and Van Praagh can really communicate with the dead? And what, if anything, does the Bible say about such matters? These are just a few of the questions that we will wrestle with in this article.


The Tricks of the Trade
Both John Edward and James Van Praagh claim the mediumistic ability to communicate with the dead. And thousands of adoring fans believe these claims are true. One reporter tells the story of Sally Morrison, who visited Edward after the death of her husband.{5} During the reading, Edward reportedly asked her, "I'm getting a screwdriver; what does that mean to you?" Ms. Morrison remembered that the day before she had spent an hour looking for a screwdriver in her late husband's tool box. Afterward she told the reporter, "It was such an everyday thing to bring up. But to me, it was incredibly comforting, a sign that Paul had been there." Apparently, Ms. Morrison was persuaded that Edward had really made contact with her late husband. Similar stories could also be told of James Van Praagh's apparent successes.

But if this is so, why haven't Edward and Van Praagh managed to convince the skeptics? Michael Shermer, who I must point out is also skeptical of Christianity, observes that there are three techniques commonly used by mediums to convince people of their alleged paranormal powers: cold reading, warm reading, and hot reading.{6} These techniques might be thought of as the tricks of the trade, so to speak.

In cold reading, mediums make use of methods that help them "read" a person who was unknown to them in advance. Such methods may include observing body language, asking questions, and inviting the subject to interpret vague statements.{7} For instance, by carefully observing body language and facial expressions, the medium can often get a good idea of whether or not he's on the right track. Also, by asking questions and inviting the subject to interpret vague statements, the medium can gain valuable information. This information can then be used later in the reading to make what appear to be stunningly precise revelations from the spirit world. Indeed, Shermer contends that by effectively applying these techniques, the medium actually gets the subject to do the reading for him!{8} Skeptics hold that both Edward and Van Praagh make use of such methods.

Warm reading involves making statements that tend to apply to most anyone. For example, many people carry a piece of jewelry that belonged to their dead loved one. By asking if the subject is carrying such jewelry, the medium has a good chance of making a "hit." This can give the impression that the information was divined from a paranormal source. In reality, of course, it may have been nothing more than a highly probable guess.

The last technique, hot reading, actually involves getting information about a subject before the reading begins! But surely Edward and Van Praagh have not availed themselves of such methods. Not according to the skeptics! It appears that both mediums have apparently been caught red-handed using "hot reading" techniques.


Caught in the Act
Skeptics contend that self-proclaimed mediums John Edward and James Van Praagh have both been caught red-handed using "hot reading" techniques. "Hot reading" involves gathering information about a subject prior to doing the reading. Although most skeptics agree that such techniques are probably not used as much now as they were by spiritists in the past, there seem to be strong indications that both Edward and Van Praagh have, on occasion, attempted to obtain information about their subjects in advance.

In an article written for the Skeptical Inquirer, Joe Nickell describes one such episode involving John Edward.{9} The incident occurred on a Dateline special. During a group reading, Edward indicated that the spirits were telling him to acknowledge someone named Anthony. The cameraman signaled Edward that that was his name. Edward appeared surprised and asked, "Had you not seen Dad before he passed?" John Hockenberry, the Dateline reporter, was initially quite impressed with this revelation. The cameraman's name was Anthony and his father was dead. Hockenberry later learned what really happened.

Earlier in the day, Anthony "had been the cameraman on another Edward shoot."{10} The two men had talked and Edward had learned of the death of Anthony's father. When confronted by Hockenberry in a later interview, Edward reluctantly admitted as much. Of course, Edward still maintained that he got this information from the spirits as well. But can anyone blame the skeptic for being suspicious?

Michael Shermer relates a similar incident, this one involving James Van Praagh, which occurred on 20/20.{11} While relaxing during a break, Van Praagh asked a young woman, "Did your mother pass on?" The woman shook her head, but said that her grandmother had died. Unfortunately for Van Praagh, the cameras had accidentally been left rolling during the break. The entire episode was caught on tape! Unaware of this, Van Praagh later turned to the woman during his reading and said, "I want to tell you, there is a lady sitting behind you. She feels like a grandmother to me." Afterward, when confronted by 20/20's Bill Ritter with the video evidence captured during the break, Van Praagh insisted, "I don't cheat. I don't have to prove . . . I don't cheat. I don't cheat. I mean, come on. . . . " Shermer concludes, "Interesting. No one said anything about cheating. The gentleman doth protest too much."{12}

The fact that both Edward and Van Praagh have been caught using information in their readings that they gained beforehand ought to alert us to the possibility that these men may not really be what they claim. Still, to be fair, we must at least admit the possibility that these men not only had advanced information about their subjects, but that they also received such information later through a spiritistic revelation. But is this really possible? Let's see what the Bible says about after-death communication.


Saul and the Spirit Medium
In 1 Samuel 28, we read that Israel and the Philistines were preparing to make war with one another. When Saul, the king of Israel, saw the Philistine army, he was filled with fear. Desperate for a word from God, he inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him. Hoping for guidance by another means, Saul told his servants to find him a medium. At this point in Israel's history this may not have been an easy task, for "Saul had put the mediums and the spiritists out of the land" (1 Sam. 28:3). But why had he done this?

It was actually an act of obedience to the Word of God. In Deuteronomy 18 the Lord had said, "There shall not be found among you…a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord" (vv. 10-12). The Lord had also told His people that they were not to seek out mediums (Lev. 19:31), that the person who did so was to be cut off from his people (Lev. 20:6), and that mediums were also to be put to death (Lev. 20:27). In spite of all these prohibitions against turning to mediums, Saul was apparently so desperate for guidance that he ordered his servants to find him one. They did, and he disguised himself and went to her by night.

Although initially hesitant to practice her art, the medium, not recognizing her client as Saul, eventually agreed to call up the prophet Samuel who had died some time before. "When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice," suddenly realizing that her client was Saul! (1 Sam. 28:12)

Samuel's message to Saul was both tragic and prophetic: "The Lord will . . . deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me" (1 Sam. 28:19). Reflecting on these events, the author of Chronicles wrote, "So Saul died for his unfaithfulness . . . against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the Lord, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance" (1 Chron. 10:13). Whatever truths we may glean from the story of Saul and the medium, it clearly does not sanction man's attempt to communicate with the dead.{13}

But does it confirm that after-death communication is really possible? Although some have speculated that the spirit of Samuel was actually a demonic spirit, the text repeatedly identifies the spirit as Samuel (vv. 12, 14, 15-16) and nowhere even hints that it might be a demon. Thus, we are forced to conclude that after-death communication is not intrinsically impossible. But here we must be careful. Possibility does not suggest probability. The text seems to imply that God allowed Samuel's special return in order to pronounce judgment against Saul (vv. 16-19). And as we'll see, there are good reasons to believe that this was, in fact, an exceptional event.


The Rich Man and Lazarus
Jesus' story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) clearly suggests the immense improbability of the dead communicating with the living. Both the rich man and Lazarus died. Lazarus went to "Abraham's bosom," a place of paradise for the righteous dead (Luke 16:22). The rich man went to Hades, a place of conscious torment for the unrighteous. Though separated by a great chasm, the rich man could still see and speak with those dwelling in paradise. He called out to Abraham, asking that Lazarus be sent to warn his brothers, lest they share his torment in the afterlife. But Abraham refused, saying that if they would not listen to the Word of God, they also would not listen if someone rose from the dead.

But why didn't the rich man just go and warn his brothers himself? After all, if it were a simple matter for the dead to communicate with the living, then why did the rich man ask that Lazarus be sent to warn his brothers? Apparently, the rich man was not able to warn his brothers. He could not escape his place of punishment to do so.
 

 IPS Note: The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is usually believed to be Jesus' vivid, and very graphic, description of conditions in hell. That He was warning unrepentant sinners that they would be sentenced to extreme torment, engulfed forever in a unquenchable fire. But is this so? if this parable is meant to be taken literally, we are faced with numerous serious difficulties.
  [See The Rich Man and Lazarus]
 

But wouldn't it also, then, be impossible for Lazarus to warn them? Not necessarily. Although it seems to be a rare occurrence, it appears that the righteous dead are, on occasion, permitted by God to communicate with those still alive on earth. The Old Testament records the appearance of Samuel to Saul (1 Samuel 28), and the New Testament records the appearance of Elijah and Moses to Jesus and some of his disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17). Nevertheless, the biblical evidence indicates that after-death communication is extremely rare.

Does this mean that mediums like John Edward and James Van Praagh are charlatans? Skeptics certainly think so, and the skeptics may be right. But the Bible allows for another possibility; namely, that the spirits with whom Edward and Van Praagh claim to communicate are not human at all, but demonic. Consider the following.

The Bible indicates that messages from the human dead are extremely rare. It's therefore unlikely that Edward and Van Praagh should receive such messages all the time. In addition, listen to what the spirits are alleged to say. Do any of them, like the rich man, strive to warn their relatives about a place of conscious torment? Do they urge repentance for sin or the need for personal faith in Christ? On the contrary, such important Christian doctrines are typically either ignored or denied. But if the Bible is truly God's Word, and the spirits deny its teachings, then who are these spirits likely to be?

Of course, maybe Edward and Van Praagh aren't really communicating with spirits at all. But if at times they are, I fear it's probably with demonic spirits -- not spirits of the human dead.

 

Notes

  1. Bill Hendrick, "Higher Communication," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 31 October 2001, sect. C; Greg Barrett, "Can the Living Talk to the Dead?" USA Today, 20 June 2001, sect. D; cited in Marcia Montenegro, "The Resurging Interest in After-Death Communication," Christian Research Journal, Vol. 25, No. 01, 2002, 12.
  2. Ruth La Ferla, "A Voice from the Other Side," New York Times on the Web, 29 October 2000 (http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/29/living/29/DEAD.html).
  3. See the information about John at http://www.scifi.com/johnedward/aboutjohn/ and his official Web site at http://www.johnedward.net/about_John_Edward.htm.
  4. See the information about James on his Web site at http://www.vanpraagh.com/bio.cfm.
  5. La Ferla.
  6. See Michael Shermer, "Deconstructing the Dead: Cross Over One Last Time to Expose Medium John Edward," http://www.skeptic.com/newsworthy13.html. I have relied heavily on Shermer's article in the following discussion.
  7. See Joe Nickell, "John Edward: Hustling the Bereaved," Skeptical Inquirer, November/December 2001, Vol. 25, No. 6, p. 20. I have relied on some of Nickell's observations in what follows.
  8. Shermer.
  9. Nickell.
  10. Ibid.
  11. See Michael Shermer, "How Psychics and Mediums Work: A Case Study of James Van Praagh," http://www.skeptic.com/. See also Michael Shermer, "Does James Van Praagh Talk To The Dead? Nope! Fraud! - Parts 1" at http://www.holysmoke.org/praagh1.htm and "Does James Van Praagh Talk To The Dead? Nope! Fraud! - Part 2" at http://www.holysmoke.org/praagh2.htm.
  12. Shermer, "How Psychics and Mediums Work: A Case Study of James Van Praagh."
  13. Montenegro, p. 16.

© 2003 Probe Ministries. Copyright/Reproduction Limitations This document is the sole property of Probe Ministries. It may not be altered or edited in any way. Permission is granted to use in digital or printed form so long as it is circulated without charge, and in its entirety. This document may not be repackaged in any form for sale or resale. All reproductions of this document must contain the copyright notice (i.e., Copyright 2007 Probe Ministries) and this Copyright/Limitations notice. 

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