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Todd’s Vile File

A Few Words About Seances 

“Spiritualism is a fraud of the worst description.” Margaret Fox, co-founder of Spiritualism Though the idea of communicating with the dead is an ancient one, with reference to the practice in the Bible and other texts, the seance didn’t come into its own until the Fox sisters burst onto the scene in 1848. The Fox sisters, Kate and Margaret, were two little girls in upstate New York that made rapping sound by cracking their toes. They claimed these knocking sounds were being made by dead people communicating with them. It was a little game they played to scare their mother. But this childish prank was taken seriously by adults who believed it to be real. And thus, the movement known as Spiritualism was born. With the encouragement (some might call it exploitation that bordered on child abuse) of their older sister Leah, Kate and Margaret went on to fame and fortune. They died destitute alcoholics. The Spiritualism Movement took off like wild fire because America was primed for it. The old religions were not filling the needs of our new country, infant mortality was rampant, there was a killer outbreak of cholera and the average life expectancy was 37 years. Each and every American’s life at the time had been touched by death. So, the idea of communicating with the Otherside was a very appealing one. Spiritualism was, and is, a movement filled with fraud. Wondrously evil folks, con artists, that made fame and fortune by preying on good people. People made vulnerable by experiencing the ultimate sorrow, the sorrow that comes from loosing a loved one. And that is why throughout the years, many very intelligent people have been fooled by the kind of simple trickery so prevalent at séances. Scientists, judges, respected public figures like Mary Todd Lincoln, Mark Twain, Horace Greeley, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, were all taken in by this flim-flam, and convinced that it was possible to communicate with the dead. They believed because they needed to believe. And today, more than a hundred and sixty years after those first spirit raps were heard, you can watch people on TV that will claim they can communicate with the dead. And it is my opinion that folks like John Edward, James Van Praagh and Sylvia Brown do speak to the dead. The problem is that the dead don’t speak back to them. I would like to personally thank all the charlatans that have through the years contributed to the séance industry. Without their innovations in the art of deceit, Play Dead would not be possible. But then again, without them Play Dead probably would not be necessary. One thing you can’t bring back from the dead is files and folders that were accidentally deleted when your computer crashed. This is why all of the computers in our offices use Carbonite Backup. We wanted something robust and secure, and that didn’t break the bank. We found a carbonite offer code here http://www.corelnet.com/ and went ahead and used it just like a coupon. Now all of our office computers are protected and we won’t have to worry about trying to figure out how to conduct a seance on the computer that just crashed.


The Collection No. 1: Washington Irving Bishop

I use part of my collection in Play Dead. My collection consists of numerous boxes filled with bit and piece of people’s lives, people that had a special relationship with death. Here is the first tale from The Collection: Washington Irving Bishop connected with people, connected with people in a remarkable way. He was so good, it killed him. He lived back in the late 1800s and astounded all. He did contact mind reading, and more impressively, non-contact mind reading. A committee of people were given a pin and told to hide that pin. Not in the same room, not in the same building, but somewhere on the island of Manhattan; 44 square miles to hide a pin. And Washington Irving Bishop would find it. The way it worked is that after the committee had gone off and hidden that pin they returned to Bishop. He would be blindfolded. The committee was instructed merely to think of where the pin was and to say nothing as they mentally guided Bishop to the pin’s location. Washington Irving Bishop would then leave the building followed by the committee. They would all climb into a carriage and Bishop, still blindfolded, would drive the horses through the streets of Manhattan to the location of the pin, go in and find it. Doing this feat took a lot out of Bishop. He thrashed about, grunted, sweated like crazy, turned beet red with his blood pressure going through the roof. He often collapsed after a finding that damn pin and went into a narcoleptic coma. For all appearance he looked like he was dead. He seemed to have no pulse and wasn’t breathing. It could take hours before he came out of it and days to recover. He carried a card with him explaining his condition and requesting that he not be buried alive. One time he gave an impromptu demonstration in the lobby of the hotel he lived in. He did it for two doctors that cornered him. The doctors were debating whether Bishop had paranormal abilities or some sort of strange natural talent. They were doctors, important men, men of science and they yearned for this matter to be settled. They waylaid Bishop and demanded a demonstration. So Washington Irving Bishop did a simple on the spot demo of this thing he did. After he was done, Bishop was spent, excused himself and went up to his room. The doctors continued discussing what they had witness and soon had so many questions, they went up to Bishop’s room. They knocked but there was no answer. They were doctors, important men, men of science, they yearned for the matter to be settled and couldn’t leave it at that, so they tried the door, and finding it unlocked, entered the hotel room. They found Bishop collapsed on the bed. They tried to rouse him, but he wouldn’t come around. They could not find a pulse and there seemed to be no breath. Because they were doctors, important men, men of science, and yearned to settle the matter of how Washington Irving Bishop did what he did, they performed an impromptu autopsy right then and there. They opened his skull and removed his brain to see if was abnormally sized or shaped. I don’t know at what point they discovered that there performing an autopsy on someone still alive. Of course, Bishop was not alive for long. There was a cover up of this incident and we would have never known about it if it were not for a fluky accident. As they were getting ready to bury Washington Irving Bishop, his Mother went to comb his hair and accidently dropped the comb. It disappeared. When she looked closely, she saw there was an incision. When she touched it, the top half of his skull flopped open showing her son’s skull was empty. His brain was missing. This bothered her, she started asking questions and yearned for the matter to be settled. The facts came out and that is why I am able to tell this tale.

The Collection No. 2: Amazing Joe Burrus

There’s a profit to be made from death. Some look for fame and fortune by cheating death. Joseph “Amazing Joe” Burrus was going to astound the world by surviving being buried alive. Buried alive for a day or something then be dug up or something. This was his ticket to the big time. That is all he must have thought about, because he didn’t put much thought into the stunt itself. He did go to the trouble of putting on a white tuxedo and white patent-leather shoes, but that seems to have been the extent of his consideration of details. Joe had built a clear Plexiglas coffin, a coffin he carried around in his truck as he drove to his tree trimming gig in Fresno, CA. To make sure the coffin was strong enough for the stunt, he jumped up and down on it a couple of times. Apparently, this cracked the lid, but Burrus repaired it with super glue or something. The night of the event, Halloween eve 1990, he got into the coffin and while the news cameras and a crowd of 150 people (including a number of children) watched, the coffin was lowered into an open grave at a small family amusement park. The grave was filled with dirt and concrete. Maybe he truly thought that there was enough air in that plastic coffin to sustain him for an extended period time or maybe he had a plan to escape and miraculously reappear somewhere. Whatever his plan was, it didn’t seem to include understanding how much all that dirt on top of him weighed…7 tons, to be exact. As he laid there he must have felt such a rush from thoughts of his own greatness and all that was coming to him, and then those thoughts were replaced with moments of terror when what came to him were 7 tons of earth and wet concrete crushing the lid of coffin. The video of the event shows the ground suddenly sinking a couple of feet into the grave. Buried alive. He did make a name for himself, or something.