Can You Hear Me Now?
(page 1 of 3)
THE PHONE RANG. Suzanne Krupp, psychic and medium, was calling; a mutual acquaintance who knew I was a writer and liked good story ideas had given her my number. But I’d been wrestling with a troublesome project that morning, and the last thing I wanted to do was spend time speaking with some medium I didn’t know about some psychic skills that couldn’t be proven.
If she sensed my resistance, Krupp didn’t let on. “Your grandmother is here,” she said. “She says you should be very careful about what you put your name on. If it doesn’t meet your standards, don’t do it.”
That got my attention. Roughly an hour before the call, I’d been contemplating that very conundrum. So I kept listening. Krupp proceeded to describe, perfectly, one of my partners on that project. She nailed other problems I was having with the job. She suggested I drink more water with lemon—the favored remedy of my grandmother, who died in 1975. And by the way, she added, “Your mother says to quit driving so fast.” My mother was there, too? “She sits in the back seat sometimes,” Krupp said, “and she has to hang on when you go around corners.”
This made me laugh. I wasn’t buying it, but I was curious, not only about such purported medium skills but also about those who sought them out. I had first heard about Krupp at the Thomas Charles Salon in St. Louis Park, where stylist and master storyteller T. C. Reddin frequently regales his clients with tales of the psychic’s amazing knowledge. But I hadn’t sought a reading. And it scared me—the prospect that someone else might know what I was thinking or, worse yet, might be bearing messages from the other side.
An estimated 70 percent of the general public (but only 6 percent of National Academy of Science members) believes in the existence of psi, a general term applied to psychic phenomena ranging from ESP to telekinesis and poltergeists. That psi might be used to talk with the dead is hardly a new idea. And now that America’s 78 million baby boomers have begun turning 60 and attending an increasing number of friends’ and family members’ funerals, interest in communication with the other side has grown considerably. In fact, many of the folks who are seeking out psi experts to converse with the dead are not, as you might think, New Age woo–woos: instead, they’re your friends and neighbors. Some are prominent Twin Citians whom you’d recognize if they chose to share their stories.
Dean Radin, PhD, author of The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena, has researched psi for AT&T, the U.S. government, and several major universities. Now a senior scientist at the nonprofit Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, California, Radin claims that new scientific ideas go through four stages. One: skeptics claim such ideas are impossible because they violate scientific laws. Two: skeptics concede possibility but cite weak effects. Three: the mainstream realizes the ideas are important and pervasive. Four: former critics want credit. Psi is in stage two, he says, with stage three looming on the horizon.
Full disclosure: I’ve crossed from stage one to two—the transition Radin deems the most difficult. I’m no longer the skeptic my father, a no–nonsense surgeon and military commander, taught me to be. That was before a friend gave me a psychic reading as a gift, before I published an article about animal communication, and certainly before I experienced three “visits”—so abrupt and unexpected that I swung my head around to look—from my mother, who died in 1995. I saw nothing, but I “got” messages: one of support, one of apology, and one asking me to tell my father she was in a joyful place, which I didn’t do for fear of being ousted from the family on my heretical keister.
After getting Krupp’s call, I decided to pay her a visit. The vivacious, comedic redhead lives in a modest, well–kept house on a quiet street in Robbinsdale. I sat in an armchair in the living room, attempting to erect a protective shield of skepticism around myself, while Krupp sat on the couch across from me, taking a mental elevator up through various dimensions, invoking the aid of her angel and spiritual guide, Gloria, and working a tape recorder on the coffee table. After a few quiet minutes, the relatives showed up, women on one side and men, including my portly grandfather in his typical white shirt, smoking his traditional cigar, on the other. I was missing the party that Krupp was clearly enjoying. She seemed to see people behind and around me; evidently they were funny, talked all at once, and interrupted her frequently. She was in the middle of a sentence when she suddenly stopped.
“Somebody keeps trying to get through. Who is this?” she asked, clearly confused. “Do you know someone by the name of Thacher? T–H–A–C–H–E–R, or maybe it’s T–H–A–T–C–H–E–R, something like that.”
I do. A decade ago, Carol Thacher, an attorney at a large Minneapolis firm, had an office adjoining mine, and we talked often. Now I see her only a few times a year for a quick lunch downtown, and I hadn’t thought about her lately.
“Well, this is someone connected to her. Does she have someone in her family with a B. E. name?” I didn’t know. Krupp said a man, about 5-feet-10-inches tall, was writing a note. She squinted, then reported its contents: “There is no death. I didn’t die. There’s more.” It was signed “L.”
When I shared this information with my friend, Carol froze, her eyes big, despite the fact that she views such things as a bunch of hooey. Her mother is named Beatrice, her sister is Becky, and before he passed away, she and her husband, Steve, often discussed the meaning of death. He was 5- feet-10-inches tall. But Carol stayed firmly planted in stage one.
“My main reaction is that this was a very generic message that could have worked for tons of people,” Carol said. Besides, her husband always signed his notes “S.,” not “L.”
But Krupp didn’t show me what she saw. Could she have seen what she thought was a lower-case L—or a stylized S?