Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Dirty Lowdown on Psychic Sylvia Browne

By the way, I'm delighted to be able to include Boz Scaggs' 1976 song, "The Dirty Lowdown" in my post title today because it is a favorite. So it's like the cherry on my sundae up there.

Anyway.

I've shared with you all before that I was reared in a very strict religious denomination. There's a saying about this denom that goes, "Premarital sex is against our religion because it might lead to ... dancing." Oh, how I wish I could claim that joke, but I can't.

We didn't even have a deck of cards in our home while I was growing up. Thus, I never learned to play Euchre and still seem to have a mental block when it comes to learning.

Once we invited a couple over who thought they could teach me. They thought if they were all patient and everything that I would quickly learn and they could then gloat in their superior tutelage of the famous Euchre Dunce. But I knew I was in trouble when the male of the couple began explaining it to me with his eyes closed so he wouldn't have to look upon my dunceness. Then I could see through his lids that he was rolling his eyes upwards while trying again.

Fortunately, Jorge jumped in and stopped the volcano that was about to erupt from the guy's head from his frustration with me. Jorge was my hero. It was like he was saying, "She may be a Euchre Dunce, but she's my Euchre Dunce!"

Anyway, part 2.

Obviously, occult practices were never high on the church's list as "wholesome past times."

However, on my mother's side of the family, there is a history of interest in superstition and mysticism.

Based on my upbringing, though, you can imagine my dismay a couple of years ago to learn that my 80-something mother is a regular viewer of Sylvia Browne on Montel Williams' show.

In case you have missed the 8th Wonder of the World known as Sylvia Browne, here is a thumbnail bio sketch on Wikipedia that will fill you in about her legal mishaps, professional blunders and the church she has founded.

Sylvia has three distinct physical qualities: smoker's voice, a lisp and acrylic talons that only Napoleon Dynamite could draw. But the most irritating facet of Sylvia is her demeanor with people she "reads." (By the way, she can help you out for $850 per 20 minute phone call. Oh, go ahead and call! You know you're dying to know where that missing Target receipt is!)

She's compassionate with people on one hand but is then dismissive on the other. She hands out bad advice with the authority and audacity that Judge Judy hands down court opinions.

Once, I saw an audience member ask about her elderly mother's failing health and the prospect of possible surgery. Sylvia told her not to let them do surgery on her mother. Or perhaps I should say, "Dr. Sylvia said not to treat the patient." Can you believe that?

But probably the most infamous and worst blunder was when, on the Montel Williams show, she told Shawn Hornbeck's parents that Shawn was dead. Of course, this young man was eventually found alive, and all of the details that Sylvia had stated so surely about the abduction were completely wrong. My heart broke when I saw the video of Shawn's mother drop her head into her hands to weep for her son.

Sylvia's defense is that she never claims to be 100% correct and that not even the most respected professionals such as doctors are always right. The rebuttal to that is obvious I'm not even going to verbalize it.

My mom contends that there are some people born with something "extra" about them, spiritually speaking. Whether you believe that or not, this issue is not a gray one in the Bible. About consulting mediums and trying to reach the dead, etc., God says, plainly, "Don't," and there are some very good reasons for that admonition.

So here I am at 46, still Euchre-disabled, scratching my head over a mom who's now watching Sylvia.

Kids today! What's a parent to do? Parents today! What's an adult child to do??

PS: I hope you don't read this as disrespectful to my mom. You know I love her. And please don't think of me as all "holier than thou." I have a lot of issues, too. I'm just processing another mid-life confusion out loud. Maybe I'll just chill for a while with Boz. Get it out of my system!



33 comments:

Linda said...

Oh my word! Sylvia may be able to tell us if the amish fireplace heater (or whatever that thing is) is actually a good deal or not?! I'll go in 1/2 if you will?!

Roxanne said...

You are cracking me up. I've been beset by trolls (go see my blog later), so I'm just now catching up.

Renna said...

I'm so out of the loop, I didn't even know who this Slyvia person was...but I'm betting my mom does. :-(

Quite possibly we were raised in the same religion, or at least my mom married into it when she married my stepdad (who I grew to love as Dad). I still remember the day he came home and caught my brother and older stepbrother and I playing a seemingly innocent card game. There was an empty vegetable can in the trash with cooking oil it it. He scooped up the card deck and dropped it into the yucky oil.

What's funny...well, sorta...is that my dad, who later changed his mind and views on the evils of playing cards, spent the last few years of his life playing Solitaire every night.

My mom, who I love dearly, has also begun watching the most questionable television shows. When we talk, she wants to tell me about shows that I don't watch because of their lack of morals, and I want to talk about the wonderful things God is doing in our lives. It's frustrating, but I have to remember to respect her, and I do love her, so I let her talk on...sigh.

Esthermay said...

Yep. No deck of evil face-cards in my childhood home either. TOTAL blaspheme of Christianity: Kings mock God, Jacks, Jesus. . . . or something. . . . Hence: RACKO!
I am “one sharp cookie” so I will pray for your mom. We do have an extra RACKO game here we could send her. ?? RACKO is a great aid in thwarting the escape of demons from the television here at our house. We do RACKO quite regularly. Lots of demons, you know.
I hide the face-cards in a little basket on the top of a very tall dusty bookshelf. Don't tell my 80-something mother. She'd have a heart-attack!

A Stone Gatherer said...

First of all I am Euchre Illiterate too, but I actually won a Euchre tournament on a campout once, just don't asked me how! I agree with everything you said! I have some sisters that listen to people like her! It blows my mind! I had to point out the scripture to them concerning witches, mediums and spiritists! My very godly father watched "All in the family" and Sanford and Son" figure that out!!

Theresa said...

We could have been raised in the same household. I still can't dance and I'm 50, I too can't play cards. People like Sylvia give me the creeps.

sara said...

Wow, you are in Euchre territory....!

I have never heard of this woman, but I too have scratched my head at some of the things my parents do....when they say the rolls switch...they are right!!

Greg C said...

Sylvia is a fake. I know. LOL If you keep guessing eventually you will be right. I never learned to play you-ker either. I thought I would put that in there for the southerners who can't pronounce Euchre. Ok it was me.

I have nothing bad to say about your mother. We keep stones out of reach of my mom.

Stacy said...

Okay...I'll be honest...I have only read the first paragraph of this post, but I had to stop and comment already.

I grew up playing Euchre every week. My dad insisted that we have "family time." :) Then, we moved south and never again...seriously, never...have I met anyone who has ever heard of the game! Oh, when I explain it, they try and say that Spades is similiar, but I'm not buying it.

So, I honestly do not know where you live, though now I'm tempted to believe that you are north of the mason dixon...but, for just a moment, you made me recall my yankee roots.

Have a great day...and I will finish reading today's post. :)

Debbie @Like a Rose said...

Love the "Parents today! line.

I've noticed the older my mom gets the more fiesty she gets too. I had to scrape my chin off the floor when she said she watches Two and a Half Men.

Susanne said...

In my family we cut our teeth on a deck of cards. It was the thing to do amongst my parents and their friends when they got together. I do believe the game of choice was Rummy but I may be wrong.

I just don't even know what to say about the psychic lady except the way they con people and then use an excuse like that when they are wrong really, really makes me mad. Remember the psychic on AI a few years ago that thought she was great and predicted she'd win and then didn't make it past the audition? Now that was funny. A taste of their own medicine IMHO.

Sitesx6 said...

Sylivia, if you are reading my mind right now...you would know:

YOU FREAK ME OUT.

I'm just sayin'

Kelly in Michigan (of course you already knew that Syliva)

Mocha with Linda said...

I feel your pain as if I could read your mind.

And I have Euchre on my PC card games and it looks like Greek to me.

Jules from "The Roost" said...

The bible IS clear on this issue and staying away in every and any form is the way to handle it! Parents can be a challenge.....I sure don't want to be!

Sara said...

That was great! I have seen this woman on tv several times and am in awe of how some people can make a career out of absolutely nothing! Enjoyed your blog!

Debbie said...

I think i am happy to say that I have never seen Sylvia. If I had seen her do that to that poor mother, I would have had to go after her.

lmerie said...

Great Post! My mom was raised not to play cards, dance or go to movies (unless of course you sneak to do it). I enjoyed the post too, because like you, I am having midlife crisis over changes in my mom's walk, I guess you could say. She is not watching old sylvia, but she is attending a church that is teaching some theology that seems to be laced with a little mysticism. I just nod and think where did that come from and based on what?!? Rather confusing at this point of the game!

I have never played Euchre by the way . . . have no idea what it is beyond a card game - haha. But have played spades and spoons!! You could do spoons! Go for it!

skoots1mom said...

love me some BOZZZZZ :O woo hoo!
SB gives me the creeps, too. I'm not sure how she does anything with those claws...she must type with her chin too!
How many cigs do you have to smoke to sound like that??
I must say I don't watch Montel, 'cause 90% of the time it's "who's-your-Daddy" day.
I'm praying this time of struggle will return people to their knees for their decisions and guidance.

Susan Storm Smith said...

I come from the other side of the family, my mother's side were very entrenched in Masons/Eastern Star which are very demonic, and then I got into the occult before being found at the foot of the cross.

Your sound scriptural advise, do not consult with mediums or soothsayers is spot on. But let us not dismiss the prophets in the Bible. BUT the church must understand the difference!

One of the most damaging teachings of Sylvia is that she believes in reincarnation. Let go of the other stupid stuff, so many Christians and those slated to become Christian read her books and do listen to her.

She believes that all roads will eventually get you to heaven, after as many life times as it takes. Life is like a horse shoe and we keep coming back until we get it right and then go into the awesome light of God.

And that my friends is pretty close to what the emergent church is now teaching! Beware of what is slithering into the pews.

Great article, funny, and oh so true on all counts!

Alexia said...

Silvia is hilarious - I watched her a couple times (before I figured out that Montel has her come on every.single.Wednesday). Most stuff you can tell she's guessing at and she's made so many blunders...it's ridiculous.

And I'm completely with you on the, it's not something a Christian should be involved in. Fake or not, it opens doors I'd rather leave shut!

(And the Amish heater, you should get one!)

Lois Lane II said...

"Sylvia has three distinct physical qualities: smoker's voice, a lisp and acrylic talons that only Napoleon Dynamite could draw." -- LOVE it!

I listened to a podcast the other day that says to love the sheep...but shoot the wolves. And I feel that Sylvia Browne is a wolf, and I feel lots of sympathy for those who entrust their futures to her.

Sara@i.Sass said...

My mom watches and loves Sylvia. Reads all her books. Mom and I had a fight about who actually wrote the bible because Syl said that MEN changed it to hide things and have people follow what the MEN wanted.
ARGH!
I must shut off right now before I go into full on convulsions of this nut-job. (Syliva not my lemming mother)

Laurie Ann said...

Oh my. I grew up in a less-restrictive household. We could drink beer and gamble but dancing was forbidden. Wowza.

Anywhoo, what's euchre? I know what Sylvia is - wolf in sheep's clothing with those scary fingernails. Praying for your Mom to find some other show on TV - could it be a phase? LOL. Sorry.

Rachel said...

Sylvia's a crock and a total poser. It makes me sad that she is swaying so many people.

I am from that same denomination, too. In college we had "foot functions" instead of dances so the convention wouldn't get mad and take away our student organization funding.

Well, we might not get to play with face cards, but at least we get Farkle. Are dice considered gambling? Hmmm....

Chel - An Abiding Branch said...

I know how you feel. I was able to play cards etc. I learned to shoot pool when I could not look over the table!! I know huh? I was shocked when I realized my mother-in-law likes this woman and then her sister-in-law actually went to meet this lady!! I was beside myself!!!!! This aunt lives across the street from a lady who is in Wicca (however you spell) and she took my husband's aunt to that woman!!!
(Greg you cracked me up!)
Chel

LuAnn said...

I think ole' Sylvia is a crock.
It amazes me the few times I have seen here how people listen to her like she is some kind of god.

Jenny said...

I did not grow up in a strict religion, but I can relate to being card game illiterate. I try to learn, but just can not comprehend.

I have only seen Sylvia Brown twice on T.V. and she creeps me out with her voice not her supposed talent:) The way she dismisses people that are truly hurting and believe her baloney gets on my last nerve.

skoots1mom said...

my 'mones' got the best of me..i've cut my hair OFF...come see...my family must really hate it--they've not said one word yet and i got it done a week ago. Today's the first day i've had the gumption to post my pics...oh, and I thought of you and KEN LEE while i was blogging about xmen's JUBILEE.
have a gr8 weekend,girl!

Tammy said...

I have seen this woman on a couple of occasions and seem to get BAD vibes from her. And the fact that people are hanging on edge waiting for her to answers important life questions is VERY disturbing to me!

Mel said...

Ok i thought this woman was like deceased but now you tell me i am missing fine daytime tv viewing LOL...

love boz scaggs and guessing texas hold em was out at your house...

Dena said...

Don't feel bad. I've never played Euchre, and honestly wouldn't even had known it was a card game unless you would have written it. I would have thought it was a diagnosis..."Poor Gentleman has a bad case of Euchre".

Brenda Susan said...

"pre-marital sex may lead to....dancing!" Ha! That is so great! I still can't dance & feel somewhat bitter about what I missed. Tho I know they thought they were doing the right thing.
I'm trying hard not to pass on any goofy rules like that.

The Quiet One said...

"so he wouldn't have to look upon my dunceness." Oh my goodenss that is so stinkin' hilarious!!! I've been on the receiving end of some closed eyes instruction many times when I'm not catching on to something quick enough! I admit, I may have even been on the giving end a time or two. Thank you! I so needed that laugh!!!

As for your mom and Ms. Sylvia... now I don't feel so bad about my mom and her fascination with all things Oprah including that book she recommended not long ago... Sigh - what can we do?