Hump Day: Don’t confuse willingness to believe with mere gullibility

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Journalists, newspaper columnists and media people who’ve been in the public eye to varying degrees for a number of years all have tales to tell. Some good. Some bad. In my case, thankfully, it’s all mostly good.

The good part is the many people who contact you to tell you that they like what you do. That’s always very nice and it’s certainly always a boost to the ego. I love hearing from people who’ve been touched in some fashion by a column – either emotionally or because it made them laugh. Or perhaps because a rant of mine that they read perfectly reflected what they’ve been thinking all along.

Once in a while, though, the odd ducks come out to play. There was the woman who emailed me years ago about a missing person’s case. They knew the entire story of what happened and would tell me everything in an interview. Sure, I’d love to talk to you, ma’am. But before I called her (which I had no intention of doing), I contacted the RCMP and let them know. Within an hour, they were knocking on her door. She immediately recanted her story. I guess she just wanted to feel important and thought this was a way to do it. Talk about something that backfired!

Then there was the anonymous online stalker who’s no longer anonymous after a very expensive day in court. And then there was the usual nastiness that most people who put themselves out there in the public eye have to put up with. The emailed insults and the vitriolic comments left on blogs and various social media outlets. All part of the so-called freedom of speech they all claim to love until you shine a light on the cockroaches and they all scurry away back into the darkness.

Last week, I wrote about the passing of my uncle. Interwoven with that story was information about my father. I’ve mentioned their names in my columns and on my website. If you take the time to search, it’s not difficult to find obituaries and a bunch of other personal information. I’m not that private of a person and am a writer, so if you want to find out something about me, I’ve probably mentioned it at some point in one of the approximately 450 Hump Day columns I’ve written since 2005.

Now, I’m not a cynical person by nature. I’ve written about this topic a number of times.I think politicians are pretty good people who want to do good work for the community – at least most of them. I don’t think most rich people got to where they’re at through fraud and deceit. I’m pretty sure that most of them worked darn hard to get where they are today. What’s a rich person doing when a jealous person is sitting on their sofa complaining about how corrupt the rich person is? Well, they’re probably working. I can assure you they’re not sitting on their sofa whining about others.

And I’ve also written a number of times about spirituality. I’ve read a number of books on the subject and I know what I believe. I’m definitely not an atheist – not in the least. But I’m definitely not a Bible-thumper either. And yes, you can be very spiritual without believing every single word in the Bible. And no, I don’t read the never-ending slew of letters in the newspaper debating the real meaning of Bible quotations. At this point, that ad nauseum debate is just white noise to me. My eyes glaze over and I just ignore it. There’s only so much I can take.

psychicI tell you all this because someone tried to play me last week – and I’m not sure if they were trying to be nice or trying to be a jerk. I think they were like that person who called me about the missing person. I think they just wanted to feel important. Well, just so that you know if you’re reading this, you failed miserably in your mission.

I received an email from an individual who claimed – for all intents and purposes – to have channelled the spirits of my father and uncle. In their email, which they didn’t sign,they wrote a number of messages. Miraculously, they knew the names of my father and uncle. They knew the name of my dog. They knew that my uncle had three children whose names started with the letter ‘T.’

They also claimed my father acknowledged the various signs that he’d sent my way – including the phantom telephone call on the day after he died and the butterflies chasing each other in front of my windshield on the day after my uncle died.

For a split second,I was like, ‘Wow! This is incredible!’ The next second, I was rolling my eyes at how bloody awful the author of the anonymous email was at trying to trick me. Everything in the email was stuff from their obituaries or details you can find out about me online. My dog’s name is Milane. You can find that on my website, in columns and on my publicly accessible ‘Brian ‍Cormier‍’‍s Readers’ Facebook page. These were hardly state secrets embedded on a computer chip and swallowed by a CIA agent before jumping into a volcano to be instantly cremated.

So I kept note of the email address. And, like other odd emails I get, I Googled the address and found out some information about them through comments they’ve left online in the past. I could probably be knocking on their door within an hour just by making a few phone calls and searching a few things online. It’s not difficult, but I won’t.

It just goes to say that being open-minded about something doesn’t mean being gullible. Yeah, I’m open-minded about psychics, but don’t walk up to me on the street and tell me I’m balding and expect me to hand you over my life savings for being so incredibly gifted as a psychic. My intuition for hoaxes is pretty much like a laser beam. I can smell a ruse a mile away, so before you try to pull one over on me, you’ll have to do better than that you Amazing Kreskin wannabe. Don’t quit your day job.

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