Christine Wicker’s book, Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead covers some of the same territory as Spook by Mary Roach—although I think, at the end of the day, Wicker’s book was more genuine. I liked reading both, and Roach is very funny, but she went into her skeptical deep dive exploration of the paranormal with the goal of mocking. She did quite a lot of that in Spook, sometimes to funny effect, but other times to her detriment as a reporter.

Wicker also went in skeptical but was genuinely interested in exploring the lives of the people she encountered. She approached them with respect and a reporter’s eye towards following where the story led, rather than leading the story. I won’t say she became a true believer by the end of the book, but she did emerge from the story changed by what she’d experienced.

Even Roach had to admit that she could not come up with rational explanations for everything she encountered. Yet she clung to the rock of her disbelief like any true acolyte of scientism. And that’s fine with me. I don’t require anyone to drink the Kool-Aid. Some people need to disbelieve no matter the evidence to the contrary, just as some need to believe despite rational explanations. As Ms. Wicker said so eloquently in her quote of the day, below.

See my full review of Christine Wicker’s book here.

Random quote of the day:

“Even when believers earnestly explain how things are and disbelievers earnestly listen, disbelievers go away unchanged because facts are the least of their differences. It’s perception that separates them. That’s how it is, and that’s how it has always been. Those who must see to believe don’t believe enough to see. And those who believe enough to see won’t stop believing, no matter what they see.”

—Christine Wicker, Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“In order to disprove the assertion that all crows are black, one white crow is sufficient.”

—William James, quoted in William James on Psychical Research by Gardner Murphy and Robert O. Ballou

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.”

—Raylan Givens, “Hole in the Wall,” Justified (written by Graham Yost)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

A reminder to myself: “I can’t afford to hate anyone. I don’t have that kind of time.” —Takashi Shimura, in Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru
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Sometimes when I see the Trumpets waving their Trump 2020 signs I think it says Trump ZoZo. (Demon In-Joke)
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I will vote for Bernie if he’s the one although very reluctantly because I think he’s as much a Russian operative as Trump is. But anything blue is better than Trump.
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Yes, I’m wanting a kitty again, why do you ask? Actually, I’m in the process of making the house kitten safe before I take that action. It’s a slow process, given the arthritic knees, but I am working towards that goal.
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Weird irrelevant fact: Five of the accused Salem witches were executed on my father’s birthday, July 19. Eight were executed on my birthday, September 22. The other five were executed on August 19, and Giles Corey, the other victim of the hysteria, was pressed to death on September 19. I’ve always wanted to go to Salem, not so much for the touristy aspects as to pay my respects, but I doubt that will happen now. I watched an episode of America’s Hidden Stories on the efforts to finally locate the actual execution spot. Turns out the family who owns the property had handed down that knowledge through the generations but because no one in town wanted to talk about it, it had never made it into the history books. When the historians who were investigating it showed up on the property, the owner confirmed their suspicions. They erected a memorial there in 2017. So many secrets in Salem, so much official censorship.
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I will admit that Action Bronson watching Ancient Aliens (Viceland) is infinitely more entertaining than Ancient Aliens. With Action, I don’t usually want to throw anything at the TV even once. Granted, Action Bronson is stupid in his own way, just not Ancient Aliens stupid.
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I think the people in the Swiffer commercials are way the hell too anal.
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Everyone is eager to label other people fools, but everyone has something they’re foolish about. I guess it’s a multiplicity of foolishness that makes a true fool—or maybe it’s a blindness to our own idiocy.
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You never know what will launch someone on a screed. Sometimes it seems innocuous but echoes in the haunted chambers of their mind in ways the rest of us can’t see. Which is why I try not to take screeds too seriously. But sometimes they strike one of my private nerves—and we’re off!
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So strange how one’s taste and appreciation changes over time, sometimes dramatically. Yet it’s necessary. If you’re not changing you’re stagnant and dead inside. I was just reading “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold, a poem that made my young undergrad heart go “blech” back in the day. It seemed so stiff and formal. But today when I read it, it flowed, it spoke to me, I really took it in. How strange and wonderful is the passage of time.
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Bridging scenes are the worst. Going from point A to C in a necessary but difficult scene makes me want to scream. Sometimes it indicates I’m going in the wrong direction, other times it just means it’s boring. And will probably be edited out but I still have to write it first.
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Whenever I hear the word Apologia I think it should be the name of one of Prince’s former backup musicians.
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On Carl Jung’s birthday (July 26), I of course had a very interesting dream (said in a cheesy Austrian accent).

Random quote of the day:

“How odd I can have all this inside me and to you it’s just words.”

—David Foster Wallace, The Pale King

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Your fate is to be yourself, both punishment and crime.”

—Jane Hirshfield, “Envy: An Assay”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Memory insists with its sea voice
muttering from its bone cave.
Memory wraps us
like the shell wraps the sea.”

—Anne Michaels, “Memoriam”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Don’t laugh at a youth for his affectations; he is only trying on one face after another to find his own.”

—Logan Pearsall Smith, “Age and Death,” Afterthoughts

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“If you will remember that living people are as good as dead, you will be able to perceive much that is very funny in their conduct that you perhaps might never have thought of perceiving if you did not believe that they were as good as dead.”

—William Saroyan, preface to The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze (1931)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

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