Somewhere, Over the Rainbow

I’ve been visiting the Other Side. Well not so much visiting it, I guess, as reading about it. Or researching it, you could call it. Sylvia Browne calls it researching, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t.

And never mind about shooting fish in barrels. Not that you would, most of you, but some of you would and do. Some of you seem to think that the targets are too easy and that there’s no reason to shoot at them. Well the targets are easy all right, I’ll give you that, but there is every reason to shoot at them. I’ll show you why.

So why this current interest and acceptance of the absolute truth that yes, there are Angels among us?…First of all, as the belief in Angels continues to grow, people are less and less reluctant to speak up about their encounters with them.

That’s Sylvia Brown, in The Other Side and Back (page 25). And she’s right. She’s wrong about nearly everything she puts on paper, but she’s right in that last sentence. As belief in angels spreads and gets entrenched and becomes commonplace and meets little opposition – so it spreads and gets entrenched and becomes commonplace even more, and meets even less opposition, and so people are indeed less and less and less reluctant, embarrassed, inhibited, ashamed about believing in angels and speaking up about their ‘encounters’ with them. And that’s a bad thing. A very, very bad thing. It may be getting to the point where we have to worry that bus drivers, airline pilots, dentists, engineers, pharmacists, grocers and countless other people we entrust with our bodies, our health, our food, our safety, believe in angels and listen to advice from their spirit guides. We really, really don’t want that. Trust me on this (or don’t – read for yourself) – we don’t want people who think the way Sylvia Browne does to have jobs of that kind. It’s hard to think of jobs that are harmless enough to entrust them to people who think like that, really.

I’m actually serious. I sound flippant but I’m serious. Browne does have a serious point there, and she is right. It’s a meme thing. A groupthink, conformity, culture thing. Humans do take their cues from each other, and it is becoming ever more Okay to believe and avow belief in ‘paranormal’ or ‘psychic’ or ‘supernatural’ or ‘metaphysical’ entities and events, as more and more people do exactly that. I don’t see any way to resist this dangerous and idiotic trend other than to resist it. Exposing it is the first step.

And then of course a lot of it is also extremely funny.

We on earth are stuck with our dimension’s annoying laws of time and space, laws that contribute concepts like ‘late’ and ‘crowded’ and ‘traffic jam’ and ‘stressed out’ to our vocabulary. The residents of The Other Side joyfully function without those restrictions and instead enjoy the freedom of such universal laws as infinity and eternity.

Cool. Einstein meets the tooth fairy and everybody’s happy.

And how is this for something to look forward to: All spirits on The Other Side are thirty years old…Spirits can assume their earthly appearance when they come to visit us, to help us recognize them, but in their day-to-day lives on The Other Side, not only are they thirty but they can choose their own physical attributes, from height to weight to hair color.

Eeyup, and they can choose their clothes, too, and their jewelry, their shoes, their accessories, their cars, their wine cellars. Yup.

And on and on it goes like that – just a description of anyone and everyone’s fantasy of a perfect world with everything good at hand and all limits and frustrations and undesirables erased – but described as if it were a real place, and as if Browne had the maps and guidebooks and lyrical travelers’ descriptions at her elbow. Of course, she says she does; she says her spirit guide Francine has told her all about it, and that she herself has then ‘validated’ what Francine tells her through ‘meticulous research.’ Right on page 13 she says that – ‘Typically, Francine gives me information about The Other Side, and I then validate it through meticuous research, including regressive hypnosis…’ Ah yes, that’s meticulous research all right. I tell you about a hitherto unknown alternate universe that my spirit guide has given me information about, and which I have validated through regressive hypnosis. Er, you ask, but how can you being hypnotized validate anything about the existence of a place outside you? Tsk – don’t be silly – that’s a physical question, and the information I’m giving you is metaphysical. Or something.

And yet, and yet – the description can be quite of the earth earthy, at times…

The Other Side is a breathtaking infinity of mountains and oceans, and vast gardens, and forests – every wonder of nature that exists here, its beauty magnified hundreds of times. The landscape is punctuated with buildings of brilliant design and variety – classical Greek and Roman architecture for the temples, concert halls, courtyards, sports arenas, and other public gathering places -

Hmm – sound a little like a mix of Disneyland, Celebration, Las Vegas, a wet dream of Prince Charles’, and Nazi Berlin? And now for the real estate agent’s patter:

- and homes designed to meet every entity’s personal preference, so that a stately Victorian mansion might share a neighborhood with a simple log cabin and a geodesic dome.

Yeah right. People are really going to want to go to The Other Side so they can live in a log cabin while other people whoop it up in a ‘stately Victorian mansion’ (a what?) just as if they were still on This Side. No. Look, if we’re just going to sit around dreaming up our fantasy places, let’s get it right, shall we? The deal is, I get to live in the biggest house in the place, and all the people who irritated me on This Side have to live in nasty little shacks nearby enough so that I can see them when I feel like gloating and far enough so that I can ignore them when I want to. That’s the housing set-up on The Other Side, obviously. Not to mention which, picture it, will you? These chaotic neighborhoods? Norman Bates’ house on one lot, Abe Lincoln’s on the next, a McMansion across the street, a yurt next to that, Trump Towers next to that, then a pueblo, then a Frank Lloyd Wright, then Castle Howard, then the Gherkin – oh gawd, I feel sick. The Other Side will be one long festival of nausea.

Okay, that’s enough meticulous research and regressive hypnosis for the moment.

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