8 August 2008
REVIEW: Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal - Episode 6: Angels and Demons
“The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike” - Delos B. McKown.
The first child introduced is Dalton age fifteen. He claims to see and feel spirits. He also claims they are angry at him. Another claim is that he can feel emotions. The show then cuts to Dalton’s dad, Larry. Larry is asking Dalton if he can feel a spirit right now. Dalton answers, “Yes, I can.” The striking thing about this is that it is not Dalton saying he feels a spirit but his father asking.
Dalton then seeking approval from his dad answers yes. From appearances, which can be deceiving, it looks as though Dalton and his father do not have much in common. Dalton is dressed in black and has died his hair black. His hair is also beyond the shoulder in length and Dalton lets it fall onto his face. Larry is wearing a camouflage hat and more hunting type gear.
The next scene is Larry talking about how he used to be skeptical. The parents in almost every interview claim to be skeptical at first, but also believed in ghosts or spirits before their children exhibited these phenomena. Larry says he came to believe because of Dalton’s accuracy.
Dalton is now talking about his first psychic experience. It occurred two years prior to the show. Dalton was with his dad and an unnamed friend, who was not interviewed, trout fishing. What happened, according to Dalton, was he started to get flashes of sadness, a blue truck, and a kid in the truck. Two weeks after Dalton had this experience, a missing young adult and a truck were found in the lake.
As this seemed extraordinary, I decided to research the case. The child was a nineteen year old sophomore at the University of Illinois by the name of Ryan Katcher. He had been missing for 6 years, Dalton and his dad both claimed 7 years. Ryan’s body was discovered by emergency crews while testing new equipment. Why were they testing the equipment on this lake? This lake was where they believed Ryan could be but their old equipment just wasn’t able to detect the truck. Ryan was found 50 feet deep (15 meters) and 100 feet (30 meters) from the shore. The truck he was found in was his own. It was the truck Emergency workers had been stating he was in for the last 6 years. It was a black Ford. (http://www.commercial-news.com/homepage/local_story_206143447.html?keyword=leadpicturestory)
Now looking at what Dalton and his dad said compared with the facts. The truck was black, Dalton claimed it was blue. Considering the truck color was known it is more amazing he missed on this. Dalton said the truck was in the lake. The truck was in the lake. According to the newspaper article, I found, the emergency crews had suspected that the truck was in the lake since Ryan was reported missing. Due to the depth of the lake and the conditions of the water, it was very difficult to find anything in the lake. The show made it seem like Dalton was responsible for finding the truck and body. There is no mention of any psychic help with locating the body. In fact it seems that Dalton and his father only told this story after the truck was found.
The next child introduced is Ashley age thirteen. Ashley claims to see evil faces everywhere she goes. Her first experience was seeing her grandma’s face in her mom’s curtains shortly after her grandma died. Her grandmother died eight years ago. 13 – 8 = 5. Ashley was 5 years old. Ashley’s mom made her go to counseling for “a month or three”. She was 5 years old. Mom claims that as a child Ashley was always frightened. Mom sensed Ashley could see things. She was 5 years old. Her mom then took her to church where they believed that psychics are not speaking to the dead but to demons. She was 5 years old. It then states that Ashley does not believe the same as her mother. Ashley believes more along the lines of her Native American heritage, doesn’t say which one. Ashley says she believes all spirits are good. Her mother believes in angels and demons with nothing in between.
In the next scene, Dr. Lisa Miller and psychic Chip Coffey are seen driving to Ashley’s house. The show states that Chip knows nothing about Ashley. Chip makes the statement, “I had a dream last night about Native American things, the people, the culture, the land, but didn’t know what it meant.” Dr. Miller considers this amazing as the girl they are seeing is of Native American descent. Let’s take a closer look at what Chip said. He did not say he was going to see a Native American girl to help. He says this also as they are getting closer to where she lives, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. “The word Wisconsin has its origins in the name given to the Wisconsin River by one of the Algonquian speaking American Indian groups living in the region at the time of European contact (Wikipedia)”. All of Wisconsin is steeped in Native American history. There was no real way for Chip to be wrong.
Chip talks to Ashley. Ashley now claiming she hears demonic voices and wailing. This contradicts her previous statement of all spirits being good. This is also more in line with her mother’s beliefs. As they are talking, Chip stops and claims something just walked near them and that they are being watched. Ashley goes along with saying she feels like she is being watched all the time.
Dr. Miller interviews Ashley’s mom. Asks her if Ashley’s descriptions of when she sees things are different than her just imagining things. I have a few issues with this question. First, the question is automatically assuming that what Ashley is experiencing is real. Dr. Miller is giving credence to the idea that Ashley has paranormal powers. The second is Ashley’s mom cannot know if any of it is real or imaginary. Ashley’s mom answers of course yes. Dr. Miller follows this up with the most logical question in the whole episode. “How does it seem different?” The answer though fails logic. “I don’t believe she would make up something out of imagination or anything.” She was 5 years old during her first “psychic” experience. Imagination in children develops between the ages of 3 to 4. Also the experience of losing a grandparent at that age will have an affect on the child. There are plenty of articles on the internet discussing both of these issues. It is fair to say that Ashley’s mother affected how Ashley perceives the world now.
Dr. Miller then asks what it is that she thinks Ashley sees. Her mom answers Demons, fallen angels. The show then cuts to Ashley talking to Chip about the angel and demon thing. Ashley disagrees with her mom that all these things she sees are demons. She never disagrees with her mother’s views in front of her mother. Next is Ashley’s mom saying she wants Ashley to open up more to her.
Chip begins to talk to Ashley’s mom and they argue over whether it is demons or just lost spirits. Ashley’s mother says she will not let her daughter help others “cross over”. At this point Chip gets confrontational and tells the mom that her daughter doesn’t believe that everything is either angels or demons with nothing in between. I felt this was rather callous and insensitive of Chip. This was a discussion that the mother and daughter should have had in private. Chip did not have the right to just throw this in the mother’s face as a bargaining chip. He used this information for the shock value against the mother. The mother could only respond that she does not feel good about that. In my opinion, this showed that Chip, Dr. Miller, and the show do not care for the people they are “helping”, but instead are exploiting them for ratings.
Chip tries to convince the mother to let him “help” her daughter. Mom finally concedes with conditions. Ashley can do the exercises as long as she knows that she is communicating with demons.
The next scene is at the Inn where the two kids are going to meet. The East Park Inn built in 1893 in Racine, Wisconsin. There is some background about the house and how it is “haunted”. Chip makes another statement about feeling a child or young person died here. In 1911, the infant mortality rate for the US was 135 deaths per 1000 live births (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/short/103/2/478). So there was a good chance that a child died at the house. It is confirmed by the current owner.
The next scene is Chip and Dr. Miller interviewing Dalton. Dalton talks about his “finding” of the dead body in the lake. Dalton’s dad then talks about his 15 year old emo son having mood swings and how it “isn’t normal”.
The kids are then shown to be on a ghost hunt while the parents share stories. Dalton’s dad talks about how the teachers get on to Dalton for daydreaming in class. His dad explains that this daydreaming is actually a psychic vision. His dad also says he had a psychologist talk to Dalton. Dalton was declared to be a perfectly normal teenage boy. So why does his dad keep insisting on these paranormal explanations? My thoughts on this, having no background in psychology, is that this is something Dalton and his father can both talk about. It seems that as father and son they don’t have a lot in common except for these psychic visions. Even the first vision relates back to a time they are both doing something together. These are just my own opinions.
Chip and the teenagers are in a dark room. He asks how they feel. Both answer scared. They are in a dark room at night that Chip just told them was haunted, and they are both predisposed to delusions of ghosts. How does Chip expect them to feel? Now Chip asks them to find out any information on ghosts present in the room. Dalton claims that it is a nurse that used to live in the room. He cannot give a name though. The information about the house being a nurse school was given during the tour. It also wasn’t shown if the kids were given the tour or what they did during the day before that night’s ghost hunt.
It is after Dalton talks about the nurse that something happens. Chip and Dalton both claim to hear a voice say hello and then see a figure walk by the hall. One of the cameramen claims to have seen it too. The cameraman was not able to get a shot of it on his camera. He did give a description. It was a figure all dressed in black. It went down the staircase and looked up at them. He said it was like the figure was wearing a ski mask. The “ghost” then went out of eye range into the hall downstairs. When all three, Dalton, Chip, and the cameraman, arrived downstairs, it was gone. There are few things this could be. First, it could be a ghost. Second, the whole thing could have been made up by the members of the show. Third, it could have been someone who works at the Inn trying to drum up ghost stories for more publicity. I personally feel it is option three. It happened to fast for all three to make up the same story, although it could have been planned ahead of time. There is no evidence for the first option. The cameraman did not capture it on film, so all we have is anecdotal evidence. My main reason I believe it was staff there has mainly to do with what happens next in the show. Besides what happens next, it is also easy to explain away the disappearing of the ghost at the bottom of the stairs, if it was staff. They simply went into one of the rooms downstairs. The owners and employees would be able to set up the situation and know which rooms were unoccupied.
This next scene convinced me the ghost was a setup by the owners. Chip is touring the house with the owner of the inn. The owner claims that her daughter is also psychic and senses ghosts. Now we are introduced to Mallory, age 14. Mallory and Chip are talking to each other about her experiences. In this scene, Mallory says she doesn’t think they are psychic experiences but feelings.
Next, the kids are talking to each other about their experiences. Mallory tell them all the scary stories of the Inn. At this point, Mallory is now talking about spirits and “energy”. This is quite different than the talk shown between her and Chip.
A couple of reaffirmations occur next. In the first one Dalton is talking to Chip about a ghost he sees in a graveyard. He says how he is scared of it. Chip tells him how to “protect” himself from evil spirits. Ashley talks to Dr. Miller about seeing her grandmother. Dr. Miller insists that it is Ashley’s grandmother and not a demon. It seems that Dr. Miller and Chip are just trying to strain the relationship between Ashley and her mother.
The next night, Chip and the kids are going to the basement because Mallory is afraid of it. Chip asks how they are feeling, in this dark, damp, noisy, old basement. Ashley is scared. Dalton is nervous. Mallory says she is getting a headache, apparently a sign of paranormal, and she feels like someone is behind her. Dalton confirms this. Not to be left out this time, Ashley claims to suddenly feel it, also. Chip says they had a visitor and says no more about it. They hear a noise, in the dark, damp, noisy, old basement. Ashley claims to see a face. Chip says someone is present. Dalton says he feels it now. Mallory claims to see something crawling, in the dark, damp, noisy, old basement filled with the pipes for water and heating and air. Mallory now claims something is messing with her. She can be seen pinching her nose and her nose starts bleeding. The little bit of blood from the nose is considered a paranormal attack according to Chip. The attack does not end the ghost hunt, oh no, they continue on.
Chip now tells Ashley to summon her grandmother to protect them, like Lassie, here girl come on girl. At this point, Chip asks Dalton and Mallory what they think they feel of Ashley’s grandmother, let the warm reading begin. I say warm because they already know it is her grandmother and we do not know what all they talked about during the day as only a 5 minute conversation was shown. It is very possible and likely that Ashley told the other children about her grandmother. Especially since Ashley’s grandmother is part of Ashley’s first experience. Dalton says cancer popped into his head. He did not say cancer of the lymph nodes, which was the cause of her death. One would think the dead would know what killed them. Mallory says breathing, breathing and changes that to hearing the word chemo, after Dalton gets his hit. Even if Ashley did not tell them that her grandmother died from cancer, it is still a generic guess. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2007 there were 559,650 deaths caused by cancer.
Ashley starts crying. The show states again that Dalton and Mallory knew nothing about Ashley’s grandmother, even though we never see what they are talking about during the days.
Chip then has Dalton and Mallory talk to Ashley’s mother. Dalton is to describe what he “saw”. The description Dalton gives is of very generic end of life cancer care. Tubes and monitors hooked up to the patient, again nothing specific. Mallory talks about how she thought heart first and then said chemo after Dalton got a hit with cancer. She then tells Ashley’s mother that she sees flowers. It was already stated that her grandmother was in a hospital. The common perception of hospital patients is people bringing them flowers, so this is a safe guess. Ashley’s mother says that flowers were the grandmother’s “thing” but she was not allowed to have them in the room with her. Mallory quickly adds that she felt it was a “mystical” flower in the room. So the flower guess was actually a miss but is quickly changed to a hit by making it mystical. Mallory then claims it is a red rose. Ashley’s mom confirms it was her favorite. The most popular cut flowers in the U.S. traditionally have been roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums.
Ashley is claiming 100% hits by the other two kids about her grandmother. Looking at it though, Dalton’s predictions were very generic and could apply to thousands of people in a single year. Mallory was completely wrong about the heart and the flowers. She was only right about the rose, which is one of the most popular flowers in the United States.
The show ends with updates on all three kids. Dalton is still afraid of a cemetery near where he lives. Mallory is no longer afraid of the basement. Ashley and her mother still argue about beliefs.
Again, a common thread among all three of the kids is that they each were only shown with a single parent. This is exactly the same as the last show I reviewed. I am not sure if they are single parent homes or if the other parent just wasn’t shown.