Over at The Telegraph I'm reading Brendan O'Neill's The Hounding of 'Psychic Sally' is Becoming a Modern-Day Witch-Hunt.
The title says it all and O'Neill concludes: "I don’t believe anyone can talk to the dead. I wouldn’t see a psychic if you paid me. But people like Sally Morgan have existed for centuries and they do not cause great harm to society or warp morality. We should be far more worried about the current fashion for trying to hound out of existence any eccentric way of thinking or believing that decent folk don’t like."
One of his commenters dimitricavalli observes 'I'm waiting for the same types you write about to conduct a campaign against "Groundhog Day"'.
Be assured Dimitri the day these people think they've burnt the last witch's the day they'll turn their attention to ferreting out Groundhog Day because they spend so much time obsessing the rest of us're too dumb to stop being influenced by people who believe in flying saucers, ghosts, God etc it's difficult not to see them as mentally ill.
They remind me of a story I read last week about a man who was so frightened of dogs he jumped in a park lake and drowned.
Except in their case they won't know any peace until they're convinced all the 'dog' and 'dog owners' in the world've been eliminated.
The explanation they usually give for their zealousness is the old one of the unusually powerful meme befuddling the minds of the weakwilled and the gullible ie the only reason people think they see flying saucers and ghosts is because they're told there're such things.
Well all my life I've been seeing unusual things which I don't believe in - but I still see them.
The one I usually give's how I've long believed the afterlife (if there is one) must be some inconceivable way of existing far beyond human imagining and certainly nothing like Spiritualists seem to believe ie a world not dissimilar to this one where you can apparently learn to play the guitar or buy chips and not have to avoid stepping in dog poo on pavements.
In spite of which I've been seeing Roman soldiers wandering through Liverpool (even though they supposedly weren't here) Elizabethan figures haunting the streets of London and more recently me Dad who at times looks about fifty years younger than he should (and other people who've seen him've said the same) - and he didn't even believe in God never mind life after death!
But there's still the possibility that some sort of mental cuing might've prepared my mind to see those things.
So explain what cuing prepared this particular episode for me from about two months back in December.
I'd just sat on the bog when all of a sudden I heard this somehow familiar voice saying something and I immediately thought ooer! Our kid must be taking a shower and not locked the bathroom door.
Except it wasn't his voice and I realised whoever it was must've been addressing me because they went on "...so've you got some sort of problem with me eh then Borky?"
I now looked out the corner o' me eye and was shocked to see a somehow familiar figure sitting on the far corner of the bottom end of the bath.
I put out my mind there should be a load of items there making sitting there impossible - or extremely uncomfortable - and realised I was looking at someone who was the spitting image of George Harrison in the late Sixties but with looser autumnal coloured casual clothing of a style he might've worn during the Eighties.
Now just like whenever I've seen me dead Dad all I can tell you it is seemed remarkably like George.
[Me Dad once even did this walking through me thing at his cremation which somehow convinced me at the time it really was him but I can't tell you for sure it was].
And all I could think was why's he so pissed off with me? What could I've done to so upset him? And who am I anyway that he's remotely arsed what I think about him?
He then started saying something else which I couldn't quite make out (other than to note it was quite aggressive in tone) because by this time the absurdity of my situation hit me: here I was sitting on the bog with me kecks round me ankles and an old boy from my old school the Liverpool Insitute 'George Harrison' out The Beatles was having at go at me! And at that point the incredible shyness I'd felt in his presence was joined by sheer embarassment and an indignant sense it didn't matter who he was I had every right to defend myself!
"Look 'George'" I said "I don't know what I've said to offend y'mate but is this really the time and the place for this sort of thing? I mean can't y'see I'm try'n'o 'ave a shit here!"
And with that he was gone - and he hasn't been back.
If it was George the nearest thing I can think of saying which might've offended him was during the BBC Martin Scorsese thing when I observed how curiously money concerned he seemed to be for someone so spiritual though I was also highly impressed by how much greater his understanding of such things was compared to John's.
[And so far John doesn't seem to've taken offence at my saying that]!