Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chuck Bergman on Coast

I'm always in the market for a "real" medium... As I've written many times, I think mediumship is a valid process, but I'm very skeptical of public, televised mediums. Chuck Bergman came across as being sincere and honest. He bills himself as the "psychic cop." Now... I'm assuming that this is actually what he was. Robert--is this true? There's a photograph on the cover of his latest book that *seems* to depict someone looking remarkably like a youthful Bergman riding a police motorcycle... but as we know, amazing things can be done with photoshop nowadays.

Okay.... for the sake of argument, let's assume that Bergman was really a cop--a good one--and that he's really a psychic. The psychic experiences that he describes ring true. I've had them--often--and I wouldn't be here to blog this if I hadn't. "Something" has jumped into my time stream on at least one occasion, like with Bergman, to save my life.

Bergman did make one telling observation regarding a public "television" medium whose credibility I question: James Van Praagh. He mentioned it in passing, but I think it's significant. He describes being on stage with Van Praagh, who was doing his usual shtick--talking to dead people, for the benefit of his usual audience. But Bergman could not "see" any of the entities that Van Praagh "saw." As Van Praagh is walking up and down the stage, communicating with Aunt Whatsherface and Sally So-And-So, Bergman wonders, "Why can't I see any of the spirits that he's seeing?"

What does this tell you?


  1. Out of curiosity, I checked Bergman's site and he has quite an effusive page dedicated to the wonder of Van Praagh.

    I appreciate the appeal of mediums and can accept that some have sometimes been helpful. That said, the history and quality of C2C guests makes me immediately dubious about Bergman.

    From website: 'Phone readings cost $250 and last for about an hour. The session is digitally recorded and edited for maximum quality. You will receive a personalized CD to share with family and friends!'

    I'd guess that if mediumship was real, it would need to conform to scientific Laws and principles. It wouldn't necessarily be a requirement that it'd feature a conscience or that it would be spiritual in nature. Neither would it have a built-in 'kill-switch' to prevent the *gifted* from making a few bucks.

    Nevertheless, $250 for answering the phone seems an awful lot. Especially so when the clientèle are grieving, lost or vulnerable.

    A quick bit of math has him on $1500 for a 6 hour day. If he worked 50 weeks at 6 hours a day, he'd be pulling in $375000. Nice retirement!

    1. Basically, when I started listening to the "call-in" portion of the show, when Bergman started giving "readings" for the callers, it became very obvious that he was doing "cold readings." I was going to type up a transcript of one of he calls but decided that it wasn't worth it. A "cold reading" is a quick but shallow fishing for information... usually involving something trivial, like, "I'm seeing the color blue around you. Does this mean anything?" If the sitter responds negatively, the "medium" might say something like, "Okay, was blue the favorite color of your father? Because he's pointing to a ship... maybe a Navy ship." And the medium continues to shift his line of questioning until the sitter responds positively.

      Now, public mediums always argue that ghostly information is received piecemeal and through mental images that are hard to decipher. I say "bullshit." "Real" mediums never fish for affirmation, and they very quickly produce specific and veridical information without worrying about what the sitter thinks about the message. A real medium's focus is on the message--trying to accurately convey as much information as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, virtually every public medium I've seen or heard does the opposite: they start off with very open-ended and general questions and then quickly alter their line of questions based on the subject's negative or positive response.

      Having said all that, it is possible that Bergman is a "real" medium, and, for all I know, he might occasionally talk to dead people. But the pressure of having to be "always on" in a public setting might cause him to fudge a bit here or there. It doesn't matter, however. Once you are caught in a lie, your credibility as a medium is destroyed, no matter how many times you migh have previously told the truth.

    2. To prove that it is possible to communicate with the dead, I've argued that you don't need to assemble a lot of data, and invite quantum physics, Einstein, and Higg's Boson into the discussion--you just need to produce one case where "communication with the dead" is the only explanation for the information received. The reason that there's no scientific proof of such communication is fairly simple: there's just no scientific proof.. Yet. A real scientist is intrigued with mystery and is open to discovery, fully aware that no matter how much is discovered, there will always be an undiscovered country just over the horizon.

  2. Yeah, I have more to say about Mr. Bergman later...

  3. Hiya, whenever I post to your blog, I don't get follow-up e-mails so forgive me if it seems I post-and-run.

    It isn't often I argue *against* science, but I'm not sure if 'Science' would be open to the evidence of "communication with the dead." Looking at the reception the NDE research has had has allowed for doubts to creep in. It's not so much that science is at fault, just that many scientists don't come across this research and, if they do, it's been mediated by self-promoted skeptics.

    Riffing off the NDE thing, I see folk using it as proof of afterlives, proof of one belief over another and especially proof of a stick to beat 'materialist' science! So far, I've only personally seen 'proof' that something very interesting is worth studying.

    On the 'communicating with dead' idea. It might suggest that we exist, somewhere, in what could be described as non-corporeal form. Some might prefer soul or spirit. Either way, it'd be communicating with an intangible entity. By extension, I sometimes wonder where that would leave us in terms of the limitations of who and what gets to be non-corporeal? If it's sentience, then elephants and crows would be examples. If it's only humans, what agency or medium would make the distinction?

    1. I've read in certain mediumistic texts that there is actually a debate in some parts of the "afterworld" whether there *is* a physical reality, or whether it's merely superstition.

      I think that there are degrees and states of consciousness that transcend our definitions of "life" and "death." I'm mostly interested in these areas--from a strictly philosophical perspective--because my sense is that our physical reality is manufactured by "someone." It is this belief that causes me to question both the paranormal as well as the normal. What we experience on the physical level is both symbolic and manufactured. Manifestations of consciousness that seem to originate outside our physical reality--such as "ghosts," "channelings," or religious texts--might provide clues to the ultimate nature of reality--if there is such a thing. Both reality and consciousness may have no ultimate resolution or point of origin--both may extend infinitely, with no ultimate "truth," merely a multitude of truths of varying degrees of complexity.

  4. I tend to tie myself to consensus reality and go exploring more difficult concepts from there. I believe a lot of the ideas we expose ourselves to can be reminiscent of the Sirens and carry the same potential for doom. This idea is backed up by the procession of folk who went before us and lost their way. In that spirit of caution, it's worth exploring 'degrees and states of consciousness' as long as they aren't given more weight than consensus reality. Let's face it, if the voices and messages from beyond are genuinely from Elsewhere...we have no way of knowing whose interests they serve. Broadly speaking they tend to be devoid of substance whilst long on platitude.

    Along the lines of 'manifestations of consciousness,' I've found a couple of old books rather thought-provoking. Frank Podmore's Studies in Psychical Research includes apparition sightings that don't conform to popular ideas of 'the dead.' He also discusses incidents where people are warned of the deaths of family members in ways that suggest a connection to a greater consciousness. It's over a hundred years old and quite a rational discussion. It's over at the Internet Archive and opened up a new vista of thought for me.

    If you haven't listened to Skeptiko radio shows, I recommend them for a scientific (some say pseudo)approach to NDEs and the afterlife. Questions, questions questions!

  5. simply said, If your not a medium you will never get it.It is easy to dissect a medium and the way he or she gives the information.If you believe that when we die,you go into the ground and when the trumpets sound so be it. You are in for a big surprise. Science does support the afterlife, and mediums have been tested and tested and their will always be skeptics. Ask me,who cares.remember the moon landing was filmed in Arizona.:]

  6. I'm not a medium per se, though I have communicated with the deceased (and received helpful info). I have always stated that I'm skeptical of *public* mediums (including Mr. VP). However, since I've quit listening to "Coast," I haven't had to worry anymore about who not to believe.

  7. i think it is important understand that medium messages are choppy at best,but clear to the medium.When asked about the color blue and the answer is a negative the medium simply wants to confirm a definite image in his mind.This is not fiching but attempting to Validate clear information that is being given to him or her.For example.I hear the name Helen,the sitter says i have a neice Helen. The medium says I hear Helen and chirp, chirp. the sitter responds I had an aunt that passed ,her name was helen and she had parrots.See the difference. A mediumship reading is an investigation, Why dont the deceased just say Hi it's George. Who knows why. Think about whaty is being accomplished here. Information comes through for the sitter,that only the sitter would recognize. And its a hit,as they call it.Other names that may come through that the sitter doesnt know is not a miss, but probably another spirit trying to get the attention of the medium.He is an open line.Agian when a medium says to a client,do you recognize the name george?And the sitter says everyone knows a George. The medium should respond Im not talking about everyone, Im talking about you.

  8. This makes sense. I've had a few communications from the dead. As a whole, they are not easy to translate. Depending on how long the personality has been "dead," the information is usually given as symbols rather than words. The receiver then has to go through a process of clarification, to see if the symbols match the words. Although I have on two occasions clearly understood what the personality was trying to "say" without distortion. I think that this was due to the capabilities of the "spirit" that was communicating. More "advanced" nonphysical beings bypass both words and symbols and communicate directly with ideas.