Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I know, I know. There's no such thing, right? But what if you have a bona fide experience with someone who comes up with information that they only could have gotten by reading your mind? Here's the scenario:

I was in the Notre Dame Glee Club for the four years I attended the University. It was a great bunch and probably the most sought after glee club in the United States in the 1950's. We normally traveled about ten thousand miles per year on two 5,000 mile tours by bus. That was not even counting the five to ten side trips we made during the year that were just one day. The two long trips consisted of one at Semester break (after Christmas) and the other at the Easter break. As evidence of their great popularity, the Notre Dame Glee Club was on the Ed Sullivan show seven Easter Sundays in a row. I was fortunate enough to make four of them.

During the first tour I went on with the club in 1953, we went down to Florida and back up the east coast during the semester break in January. While we were in Florida, we gave a concert in West Palm Beach. The night before concert the Notre Dame Alumni Association took all of us to dinner at the very posh and prestigious West Palm Beach Bath and Tennis Club. There must have been several hundred people there eating and drinking and having a good time. The place was huge with large amounts of huge plants all over the place and long tables with linen tablecloths and very expensive china and silverware.

Towards the end of the meal, a man came out on the stage, identified himself (sad to say, I don't even remember his name) and said he was a mind reader. My thoughts were "what a joke! No way anybody can read minds!" He then said that there were slips of paper and pencils on every table and that we should write down some event in our lives that he could not know about and fold up the slip of paper. Then his assistants would pick up the papers, bring them to the stage and put all of them into a very large fish bowl sitting on a pedestal at the front of the stage. "At that point" he said, "I will pull out several slips of paper and read them out. Then I will proceed to read your mind and describe the event that took place strictly from the information in your mind".

I grabbed a slip of paper immediately and thought to myself, "It's not very likely that he going to pick out my slip of paper amongst hundreds of others but even if he does, there's no way he can identify what took place 5,000 miles away two years ago!"

The event I was about to describe in as cryptic a manner as I could figure out took place in Hawaii in the fall of 1951. I was 16 years old and exceptionally angry with my father, a rather usual state of affairs with all kids who are in their mid-teens. My father had bought a brand new 1950 two door Coup De Ville Cadillac when they came out and it was still in mint condition less than two years later. Except to get my driver's license with him in the car, he had refused to allow me to drive the car with him in it much less let me take it out by myself. I was furious with him about that and other non-physical injuries he and my mother had heaped on my head. It was really typical sixteen-year-old resentment at parents' refusal to treat you like an adult.

I told a friend of mine, Mike Mahoney, who was a classic case of a severe juvenile delinquent, that I was going to take the keys to the Cadillac off my father's dresser, roll the Cadillac out of the garage and down the driveway, start it up and go for a ride. I asked him if he would help me. Mike thought it was a great idea and said we ought to have a lot of fun. We got together outside my house about two o'clock in the morning and put the Cadillac in neutral, rolled it out of the garage and then down the driveway. I had already taken the keys off my father's dresser and we got in, I started the car and off we went. We had a blast tooling around the island but the cops caught up with us when we went to visit our girlfriends at the Girl Scout camp on the other side of the island. In spite of my protestations that it was my father's car and I had my driver's license, they arrested both of us and handcuffed us in front of all of those girls and hauled us back to the Honolulu downtown police station. It was really an ignominious defeat!

There was a lot more to the event but that's a side issue for another story. I started to describe this event on that slip of paper and it came out like this: (NOTE: the answers were not written down, just the questions)

1. Q: Two years ago someone stole my father's car. What kind of car was it?
A: A 1950 Cadillac

2. Q: While the car was out of my father's possession, someone broke into the trunk and stole something. What did they steal?
A: A toolbox with some tools in it.

3. Q: Who stole the car?
A: Frank Owens, Jr. (NOTE: The only place where I was known by this name was at my father's music studios in downtown Honolulu. I never used it anyplace else. The secretary used it on the large appointment book to distinguish between appointments for me and ones for my father.)

There is absolutely no way this man in Florida could have known any of these details. It was too obscure and too detailed for anyone else to figure out as I was too ashamed to ever tell anyone about the incident and no one at the University knew me from Hawaii or anything about the car incident, much less that I was known as "Frank Owens, Jr." in a very specialized situation. The only name most of the students who knew me used was "Fritz" although the professors did use my legal name, "Francis".

Don't you know this guy pulled several slips of paper out of the fish bowl and the second one he read was the one I had submitted? He asked the person who had written it to stand up so I stood up. Then he said that he wanted me to concentrate on the event and he would describe what he would read in my mind. I thought to myself "I'll fix this dude. Let him see if he can figure this out." I immediately started visualizing what I used to think about to keep people from making me laugh. I imagined that I was in the glass nose cone of a rocket ship hurtling through black empty space, just like a scene from a very popular Bugs Bunny cartoon. All of a sudden he said in a very serious, puzzled tone of voice, "That's really strange! All I see is black, empty space!" Of course, everyone laughed hysterically at what they thought was a joke but it shook me up beyond words because that is exactly what was in my mind! Naturally, I immediately started thinking about what had happened. He then said almost immediately "Oh, there it is! It was a 1950 Cadillac, someone broke into the trunk and stole a toolbox with some tools in it and I think I'd better see you after the show to tell you who stole the car."

I was dumbfounded. Shocked beyond words and absolutely amazed. How could he possibly have come up with the information to answer the first two questions? A huge number of unreal coincidences would have had to take place for him to even get a glimmer of this story. It just didn't seem possible but right then and there I was still unwilling to accept the facts. When he got through with the show, I went up to meet him and he guided me off to the side and down a walkway between lots of bushes. He asked me if I knew who stole the car. I said yes and he handed me another blank slip of paper and a pencil and asked me to write the name on the paper, fold it up and hand it back to him.

By now I was about as paranoid as you can get about the situation so I checked all around to see if there was anyone in the bushes looking at me or hidden cameras recording what I was doing. I held the slip of paper cupped in my left hand close to my chest and printed in small letters "Frank Owens, Jr.". I folded it at least four times and handed it back to him. He looked at it for a moment then looked me straight in the eye and said, "Was it Frank Owens, Jr.?" I was so astounded I think I stopped breathing for a while as he turned around and walked away. It really was breathtaking.

I've thought about this incident several times a year for the last 54 years and have reached the only conclusion possible. He actually got that information by reading my mind. There is no other explanation that even comes close. The kicker to the whole story is that the Korean War was going on at the time and everyone was wondering how long it would last. During his show, this man said, "Quit worrying about the Korean War, it will definitely be over in six months."

Here's a note
"From the Korean War Time Line:"

July 27, 1953 Cease-fire signed

As Sherlock Holmes said, "When you've eliminated the impossible, whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. " I think the man was not only a true gifted mind reader but a clairvoyant as well. How about you? Leave your comment or e-mail me.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Reliable Witnesses

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Have you ever seen the devil? If so, do you have a reliable witness? If you don't, why should I believe you?

Has God ever talked to you? If so, do you have a reliable witness? If you don't, why should I believe you?

This business about the Bible being the word of God is so much hokum. It's the same story with everyone who wrote chapters in the Bible - there were no reliable witnesses, just them saying that God or an angel appeared to them in a dream, or while they were meditating or even sitting on the toilet. If there are no witnesses, why should I believe them? Simply because they said so? I don't think so. Many years ago, there was a man in Los Angeles who went out and used a rifle to kill 13 people. When they asked him why he did it, he said "God told me to do it!" So the way people talk about "having faith" means I should believe this nut case, right?

Seems to me the easiest thing in the world to do, if you can stomach it, is to tell people that you have a direct connection to God and if they pay attention to you they're going to heaven, or paradise, or nirvana or what have you. And if you don't pay attention to them your lot when you die is going to be eternal damnation. There are a lot of very gullible people out there and rather than think for themselves they buy into this story and oftentimes end up dead because of it - remember the Jonestown massacre? ² What exactly is the difference between Jim Jones and the head of the Lutheran church, or the Mormons, or the Pope, or the head of the Presbyterian church, or the head of the Episcopalian church, or the head of the Muslim fanatics? They all tell you exactly what to do with your life because if you don't do it you're going to hell or you're not going to get into heaven. Right?

The annals of history are full of stories of men (and women) who suddenly took on the role of an emissary from God (shaman, witch doctor, priest, minister, etc., etc., etc.) and started telling people what to do. The whole idea of hell is a figment of someone's imagination being used by these self proclaimed "prophets" of God to get people afraid enough that they will obey the "rules" set down by the shaman¹ and naturally, support him in his desired lifestyle. My response to that is very simple: "Who put YOU in charge?

The latest fiasco is this weirdo Pat Robertson who claims that God called him on the hot line and told him bad things were coming. He has no reliable witnesses so why should I believe him? He's nothing but a charlatan cashing in on people's wish to have someone else in charge so they don't have to be responsible. Have you ever tried to saddle one of the so-called "clerics" with the responsibility for what has happened to you? How about settling down and accepting responsibility for what you have done to yourself? The very definition of God precludes the idea of unhappiness and/or suffering. The sado-masochistic story of the last days of Jesus Christ is something that sounds like the Marquis de Sade dreamed it up. The Bible is full of one horror story after another, almost as if it was written by the same type of people who sit around the campfire and scare the hell out of children with stories of ghosts and goblins and witches.
RELIABLE WITNESSES - Thursday, February 01, 2007 - page 2

All you have to do is look at the obvious haven for pedophiles, the Catholic Church. They have done a pretty good job so far of avoiding responsibility for all the lives their priests have ruined in the last 75 years. I wonder how many others lived in abject misery due to the actions of priests before that time. We'll never know.

The term "religion" is quite convoluted - go to and see the definition there. Having been through an extensive religious education including four years at a very prominent Catholic university, the simplest definition seems the most apt to me: "religion is a way of life".

Amongst substance abusers, it is a well-known fact that the substance abuser very often finds something to take the place of the substance. Unfortunately, many of them turn to "religion" as a crutch and become "holier than thou" because they quit smoking pot, or taking pills or getting drunk. I had personal experience with a drunk in New Orleans who was a policeman and a very good vocalist. When he was fired from the police force he went into the carpentry business and was so unreliable that I had to quit using him. He stole from me, lied to me, overcharged me and did everything he could to get the money for just one more bottle of Thunderbird wine. He was a very personable man and had quite a knack for persuading people to loan him money. When I heard he had sobered up, I went to see him and his response was "where were you when I needed you?" I never bothered to try and explain to him that "religion" had obviously not shown him the error of his ways. I never saw him again and wonder if he survived Katrina.

Let me tell you my definition of a true religious person. I did not find out until I was in my late twenties that my father went to Mass and Communion EVERY morning. He did not preach to me about his religion, he LIVED it. On the other hand, my mother was a convert to Catholicism and she was constantly ranting about how I wouldn't have any bad luck if I went to church more often. Is that garbage or what? As if the Supreme Being is sitting on his throne up there (or down there, take your pick) and decides that the motor in your station wagon is going to blow up because you didn't make it to church last week or the last year. Please, spare me!

This leads me to the insane babblings of the madman (or madmen) that wrote the section of the Bible entitled "Revelations". Any sane person with an ounce of common sense would take this section of the Bible and throw it in the trash. For instance, Rev. 1, verses 17 &18: "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." Notice that there are NO witnesses to this event. So by what stretch of the imagination do YOU think I should believe this? I have to have faith you say? OK. I'll start by believing that maniac in Los Angeles who killed 13 people really did have a message from God to do it. Consequently, he should be released from prison immediately! How's that for starters?

In Rev. 2, verse 26: "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:" There's a hook for you. Just follow the precepts laid down by your friendly minister and you'll end up as president or senator or governor or whatever position of power you seek. Right? As you go through the rest of the this section you get the distinct impression that you are listening to the babblings of some wasted drug addict who has obviously gotten hold of a heavy dose of LSD and is describing his latest nightmares. And of course, there are NO witnesses. Get too involved in this and you're liable to end up an inmate of the funny farm³! If you disagree, open up and comment. Likewise if you agree.

¹ sha·man shah-muh n, shey-, sham-uh n] –noun (esp. among certain tribal peoples) a person who acts as intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds, using magic to cure illness, foretell the future, control spiritual forces, etc.
sha·man (shä'mən, shā'-) n. A member of certain tribal societies who acts as a medium between the visible world and an invisible spirit world and who practices magic or sorcery for purposes of healing, divination, and control over natural events.
² On November 18, 1978, nine hundred and twelve (912) followers of American cult leader Jim Jones ("Peoples Temple") died in a remote South American jungle compound called "Jonestown" in British Guyana. Some members were shot, others were forced to drink poison, but most willingly participated in what Jones said was an act of "revolutionary suicide."
³ Funny farm: A euphemism for an insane asylum.