Halloween 2017: Susy Smith’s Supernatural World

Book:  Susy Smith’s Supernatural World

Author: Susy Smith

Type of Book: Non-fiction, paranormal, supernatural, metaphysics

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd:  Most supernatural topics verge into the odd for me, but the real reason I am discussing this book is because of a talking cat.

Availability:  This is an old little pocket paperback.  Published in 1971 by McFadden-Bartell Corporation, you will likely find it difficult to find a copy but sometimes Amazon comes through.  Be aware that often times you will find her first name misspelled as “Suzy.”

Comments: When Mr OTC and I moved to Austin back in 1996, the old Half Price Books on Guadalupe had a quarter sale on old paperbacks and I scored this ridiculous gem.  And it is ridiculous.  Susy Smith, should she still be alive, which I cannot imagine she is – she was in her late fifties when this book was published – was not herself ridiculous.  She was indeed deeply interested in the paranormal, as were many in the 1960s and 1970s, and wrote compelling books, some of which are so nakedly and earnestly open about herself and her life that they almost break my heart.  You can more or less psychoanalyze her through the stories she tells about her own psychic and paranormal experiences, and I don’t want to go into it in depth here because I don’t want the pathos of Smith’s often sad life to steal the focus from the story I am about to discuss, but I think I wanted to show that Smith is (or maybe was, I should really look it up and see if she is still alive) a good writer with more gravitas than the story I plan to discuss would suggest.

There are over a dozen stories of interesting and unlikely paranormal experiences and events in this book.  Ghosts who tell the living who killed them.  Precognitive dreams about decapitations that later happen.  Psychics who find the body in the woods when all those careful police and search parties fail.  Nothing you’ve not heard before if you’ve spent more than ten minutes in the metaphysical section at a used book store.  The reason to seek out this book and own it is because it has one of the sweetest paranormal stories ever told, the story of Whitey the Cat.

Once upon a time, there was a magazine called FATE that covered stories about reincarnation and poltergeists and weird things that fell from the sky and Susy Smith wrote articles for them.  One of those articles was about her search in 1965 for a talking cat.  Smith, an honest writer, says that she cannot really say if she has laid the matter to rest as to whether or not a talking cat lived and spoke in Lake Hamilton, Florida.  However she did say:

…I interviewed several persons who attest that they have indeed heard a soft voice issue from a tomcat named Whitey, and that this voice spoke clear and sensible English.

Mr OTC and I speak to each other using voices we’ve assigned to the cats.  The best voice belonged to the late Cicero Cat.  He sounded a lot like Bill Clinton.  The voice we use for our elderly cat Gertie sounds a lot like my late mother.  So it would seem like we would be the sorts of people who would delight in the idea of talking cats, but really since we basically use the cat voices to annoy each other, we decide what the cats say and realize that a genuine talking cat would be a complete nightmare.  I don’t even want to know what they would talk about if they could talk.  I suspect that when they weren’t talking about the state of the boxes they crap in and complaining about Grendel eating their food, it would be hours and hours of them shouting, “HEY, HEY, HEY!” at each other and at us.  Because they’re cats.  It’s all poop and food and attention for them.  We would not be discussing literature, or even talking cats.  I reckon having a talking cat would suck.

But let’s see what Susy has to say about it.

Before we begin in earnest, it needs to be said that the Whitey tale was verified by a certain Bennett William Palmer, a retired minister, and therefore more trustworthy than the average Floridian who hears cats talking to them.  He vouched for Mr and Mrs James Deem (seriously, those were their names) so Susy flew to Florida, picked up the Good Reverend and drove on over to the Deem house.  Sadly, Whitey did not speak while Susy was in his house, and his owners seemed skittish as well, but after the humans in the house realized that Susy Smith was not going to mock them for claiming their enormous white cat could talk, they began to open up to her.

Mr Deem found Whitey when he was a tiny kitten.  Mrs Deem heard a pitiful meowing coming from near the house, and sent Mr Deem out into the rain to find Whitey, miserable and sick.  Mr and Mrs Deem spent 48 hours nursing the wee kitten until they restored him to health.  Whitey found his niche in the Deem household, a nice counter-balance to the Deems’ other cat, aptly named Blackie.  Then, when Whitey was six months old, he began to talk.

…he jumped on the bed one morning and said, “I’m hungry.”  Mrs. Deem was not asleep, but she knew she must have been dreaming.  “I thought I was hearing things,” she told me.  “A cat can’t talk.”  She turned over and looked at her pet.  Whitey spoke again.  “Mama, I’m hungry,” he said.

After verifying that Whitey had indeed said he was hungry, she did what any sane person would do.  She got up and fed the cat.

Whitey also showed his skills to Mr Deem.

Two or three days later James Deem was lying down when Whitey jumped up beside him.  Stroking the animal, Mr. Deem said, “Whitey, you’re a bad cat.”

“I am not a bad cat,” replied Whitey, then added, “I want to go out.”

After consulting his wife and determining that the cat was indeed talking, one presumes that Mr Deem let Whitey out.  Luckily, Whitey was not a loquacious cat.

Once he started speaking he was rather fluent for over a year, I was told.  While the more striking incidents occurred very infrequently, over a period of many months he is reported to have said some human word or sentence every day.

As irritating as having a talking cat must be in reality, Whitey’s story sounds rather charming.  He liked grocery shopping day.

When Mrs. Deem went to the grocery, she told me, she often returned with some chocolate.  Whitey is particularly fond of chocolate and he would say, “What did you bring me?”  She would counter with, “Do you love me, Whitey?” And he’d reply, “I love you, Mama, what did you bring me?”

Cute and obsessed with food, tinged with complete self-absorption.  And don’t feed your cats chocolate.  The vets say it’s poisonous but I’m beginning to think that perhaps chocolate triggers the capacity for cats to speak.  But still, don’t let them eat it.

Whitey’s speech at times involved topics other than food.

Once Ruth says she heard the cat say, “Come!  Come!”  She went out and saw him sitting, looking steadily at something under the house.  He said, “He’s a big one!”  She stooped to see what he was looking at, and a big black snake crawled out.  Mrs. Deem screamed, and then, she swears, the cat said, “Mama’s a coward.”

Television seemed to be an upsetting and baffling experience for Whitey.

Whitey likes to watch television and the set often is left on just for his benefit.  Once he saw a man shot on TV and asked, “Is he hurt?” Mrs. Deem said, “No, he isn’t hurt.”  Whitey then said, “Mama, don’t tell a lie.” He also is reported to have said of a dog he saw on television, “He’s not real.”  Ruth says she thinks she once heard him say, “Thanks,” but she is not positive of this.

Our late cat Adolph used to watch Spanish language television all the time.  I swear he knew how to operate the old television and remote system and would watch telenovellas at night when we were asleep.

Whitey also was a little tattletale.  Once the Deems left their house and cats in the care of a neighbor, taking a week’s vacation.  When they came back home, the house sitter came over for a visit and Whitey followed Mrs Deem into the bedroom and informed her that her guest, sipping coffee in the kitchen, had hit him.  She asked him what he hit him with and Whitey said he had smacked him with a newspaper.  Mrs Deem ferreted information out of her visitor.  Evidently Blackie and Whitey had gotten into a fight and the house sitter rolled up a newspaper and swatted wildly to get them to stop.

…he did a double take, wondering how she knew about it.  Then he remarked to me, “There is only one way she could have known.  That darn cat told her.”

Can you imagine what your cats could tell people about you?  “He farted twice during dinner.”  “She ate a pint of ice cream in the bathtub.”  “My mama said your pants make your butt look big.”

He may have been a little snitch but I tend to think Whitey was a good judge of character.  A traveling preacher heard about Whitey and showed up to see the cat.  Mrs Deem, far nicer than I am, let the preacher inside.

After some conversation, they were startled to hear Whitey say to the preacher, “Why don’t you go home?”  And then they were horrified when he added, “He’s a stinker.”  Mrs. Deem quickly said, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?”  But Whitey stoutly denied it.  “I am not.”

Whitey had a very melodramatic flair, remembering back to his sorry beginnings as a lost kitten in the rain.  He frequently lamented about being hungry and feeling unloved.

If one subjects Whitey’s supposed conversation to psychological scrutiny it seems at times almost embarrassingly human – and Freudian.  Here is a cat that apparently was abandoned to die when it was a kitten.  Today, even though rescued and loved by the Deems, it still is reported to complain that “No one loves me.”  It most frequently uses human words of love and rejection: “Hungry,” “Mad,” “I want to go home,” “He’s bad” (often said about Blackie), “Love,” “I love Mama, ” and “Why no one love me?”

I don’t even want to tell you how sad it makes me to realize that perhaps these animals we love so much remember too clearly their hard times before they were rescued.  I guess people who buy cossetted expensive cats from reputable breeders never have to wonder about the bad times their animals faced but those of us who find abandoned and injured cats, hungry and miserable, would be so stricken to know that our cats remember starkly and sadly all the times they felt forsaken.  Poor Whitey.

Susy verified with neighbors that the cat had been heard speaking, and she respected how reluctant the Deems were initially to talk about it, since publicity-seeking can point to a certain lack of veracity.  The neighbors seemed sane and the sorts of people unlikely to perpetrate a hoax.  Plus there was the minister verifying their story.  The Deems seemed like stand-up folks. They mostly just wanted to be left alone with their black cat and their white cat.  They even moved when a story in the local news caused people to come and literally stalk their cats.  It was 1965.  Exploiting pets for base humor and fleeting fame had not yet become common and democratized.

Susy explores the potential reasons behind a talking cat – hoax, delusion, reincarnation, poltergeist, ventriloquist.  She also brings up another excellent story of a talking animal: Gef, the talking mongoose on the Isle of Man.  Gef was investigated far more than the story of Whitey and of course it was a fraud.  It also had more sinister overtones than Whitey’s tale, but there’s still something very endearing about a weird bushy rat thing that talked.

Yeah, I know.  None of this is scary. But Halloween doesn’t always have to be creepy or horrible – sometimes it’s just inexplicable.  For every gory murder or horrible monster there’s an emo talking cat who wants a treat on grocery day. Whitey is the cutely paranormal and while I’m glad my cats cannot speak English I also like the idea of Whitey so much that I held onto this brittle, worn-out paperback I bought for a quarter over two decades ago.  And yes, I call Mr OTC “a stinker” using my dead mother’s voice channeled through an elderly cat.  You may find this unseemly but if anyone understood using pets to irritate people, it was my mom.

I hope that Whitey’s afterlife is free of newspapers, black snakes, and creepy traveling carny preachers, and that he gets all the chocolate he wants.

Darkness Walks by Jason Offutt

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Book: Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us

Author: Jason Offutt

Type of Book: Non-fiction, paranormal, paranormal squick

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: I tend to think most examinations of the paranormal are odd, and this one was no exception.

Availability: Published by 2009 by Anomalist Press, you can get a copy here:

Comments: Oh, lord help me, I love books like this. I love reading people’s accounts of the bizarre and how they filter their experiences through their own beliefs and fears. This book satisfied several book urges of mine at once. Paranormal tales, people telling their own stories, high pathos and low humor. Despite the fact that I had to create a category for this book called “Paranormal Squick,” that is not the fault of the author. Offutt structures this book in a manner wherein he categorizes the stories people have to tell. This book is not an advocacy – it is mostly Offutt’s attempts to sort and label people’s experiences. At no point does Jason Offutt attempt to say that he has a line on an explanation of Shadow People and since he does not have a specific advocacy, the at times horribleness that can come from books about paranormal were not his fault – but more laternon why I got a definite squick from a few of these stories, squick that could be avoided with a judicious application of science and reason.

According to this book, Shadow People are not really ghosts. They are a phenomenon that have occurred in various cultures yet are hard to pin down, definition-wise, as they manifest in various ways and impact people differently. In America, they’ve only really started being discussed in earnest in the last couple of decades but parapsychologists like Brad Steiger believe that Shadow People have always been around. They generally appear as black, opaque, and two-dimensional. Many report having seen Shadow People with red, glowing eyes. Most reports of these entities are negative, as in the person who saw the Shadow Person was scared or felt dread. There were some reports of the Shadow People as a sort of Watcher element, looking over people but not in an evil or negative manner, but the vast majority of Shadow People are reported to be negative entities.

Offutt, who got lots of examples of people’s experiences with Shadow People via his website, divided the stories he was told as best he could, categorizing them in obvious ways, like benign Shadow People and negative or demonic Shadow People. But he also has less obvious categories, like Shadow People wearing hats and Shadow Animals. In the face of the amorphous quality of the experiences and the varied details, Offutt does a pretty good job sorting it all out.

Offutt, who clearly has a belief in the paranormal, does his level best in one chapter to discuss the science of Shadow People, though the science chapter invokes quantum physics, which never fails to evoke a serious eye roll from me because it is, no matter what any True Believer says, a theory attempting to explain a theory and as such is not doing anyone much good as a solution (and Richard Feynman admitted that no one really understands quantum mechanics, so take it to the bank that all those people using quantum anything to explain ghosts, psychics and prosperity theology likely have no friggin’ idea what they are talking about). And to be frank, the other science sources Offutt uses generally back my guffaws but it is interesting to think about string theory and how it could explain seeing Shadow People.

In those ten pages of science, Offutt discusses the most likely explanation for the vast majority of Shadow People sightings: sleep paralysis, which in my mind also edges into the hypnagogic tendency to see and hear things that are not there when one is in a state where one is not entirely awake. But then Offutt starts to discuss archetypes, which is not really a hard science, but rather a soft science, as psychology is a very uneven science at best. So don’t put a whole lot of faith into any of the science in this other than people see things and experience things when they are asleep and just waking up.

And, without belaboring the point too much, it is my assertion that 99.75% of everyone who experiences a paranormal event in the middle of the night says immediately and without any hesitation that what they experienced was not sleep paralysis or hypnagogia. It was too real, the terror too palpable, the vision too clear. But it is my belief that almost all the Shadow People and Animals discussed in this book can be explained via sleep paralysis, hypnagogia and the often overlooked alcohol. In fact, the book contains perfect examples of people refusing to entertain the idea of sleep paralysis or hypnagogia (the latter is not a topic Offutt discusses in depth in the book, just to be clear). Here’s one example from a woman who claims she was attacked by a Shadow Person:

One possible explanation for her experiences is sleep paralysis, but Cathy quickly dismissed this possibility. “I know that sleep paralysis is something that many people would think happened,” she said. “All I can say to those is, unless you have actually been attacked in this way, I wouldn’t chalk other people’s experience up to that. Having experienced this, I know that I was attacked by something.”

So yeah, know that as you read this, Offutt doesn’t really try to force people into a reasonable frame of reference – and I don’t think he should have as letting people’s stories tell themselves is a fine approach – and that seldom does anyone who experiences Shadow People want to consider the idea that these things could have happened for any reason that is not supernatural. (And if there is a heaven, I wish it would preserve me from ever again reading this argument, that until one experiences something one cannot judge the experience. It is a plea in earnest from people that we take them at their word and I am sympathetic to a point but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. “Take my word for it because you haven’t experienced it” isn’t extraordinary evidence.)

Only a handful of sightings reported in this book were positive. Most of the people who saw the Shadow People were scared, but not terrified. But a few were outright terrified, felt the shadows were demonic entities, or that their safety was in peril. And this is where I come to my sense of Paranormal Squick, because any point of view that rejects outright reasonable explanations and embraces a frame of mind that causes them terror and fear is squicky. As I said above, Offutt does not advocate this position. He simply relates the tales but in these tales lies the squicky sense that if people would embrace notions other than an evil presence out to hurt them, their minds, hearts and lives would improve.

Take this disturbing example from Anne Williams from Australia, who was “roused at 3:00 a.m. one day” by a Shadow Person. She felt a presence standing over her, saw a figure that sounds a lot like descriptions of the Grim Reaper. Suddenly Anne felt pinned to the bed, locked down in fact. Then it gets really bad for Anne:

Anne lay on her back, trying to scream as the figure leaned into her. “I felt that it shoved its arm down my neck and was choking me, as nothing came out of my mouth,” she said. “Like no noise. I could not even hear myself scream, but I was.”

Tears ran down her face, soaking her pillow as she tried to scream but couldn’t. “I was trying to get up, which I could not,” she said. “I felt that it was trying to scare me to death.”

Anne invoked the name of God and drove the Shadow away for the night but it returned the next night. She prayed again and again it left. It returned again much later but finally disappeared. Though this woman was eventually rid of her Shadow Person, she was absolutely terrified when she experienced what she experienced and felt she was in peril. The belief that there is a shadowy, not entirely definable presence out to hurt you, rather than accepting that sleep paralysis combined with hypnogogia was likely the best explanation for this experience, left this woman in a state in which she was terrified.

Then take the case of Pat. He has seen Shadow People his entire life and sees them during the day as well as at night.

“I have seen these things in various places and they seem to have been following me around everywhere,” Pat said. “The feeling of pure evil is what scared the crap out of me because there were other instances in my life growing up where my mother or I also felt that strong feeling of pure evil. They have followed me most of my life.”

Although Pat tries not to think about these Shadows, he can’t truly stop. “I’m still curious to what exactly they are and why they are following me around.”

This is utterly heartbreaking to be sure, to spend one’s life feeling as if one is being tracked and stalked by Shadow People with evil intent. And maybe Pat has undergone all kinds of processes before he immediately settled on the notion that he is being stalked by evil supernatural entities. But if so, that wasn’t presented in his story. I really want to know if Pat or his mother ever underwent cognitive tests to see if they process visual stimuli in a manner that might cause them to see Shadow People. Have either undergone psychiatric testing to see if there is some sort of disorder that would cause them to feel a sense of paranoia that evil is stalking them. I wonder if both were exposed to some element in their homes together that could have permanently altered their cognitive processes. There are a lot of questions people should ask before settling on the idea that events are paranormal but often, those questions get pushed aside in the horror of the moment and you end up with a young man like Pat who has spent a life feeling as if true evil was just over his shoulder. Maybe Pat has done all of this. Maybe the paranormal is the only option left to explain these events but I wish I knew more about him.

This book is full of examples of people who are scared, terrified, uneasy and sure that evil lurks and no real sense that much was done to explain those terrible feelings without immediately focusing on the paranormal. That is squicky to me, the idea of people suffering when there could be a very reasonable explanation of what happened to them.

Then, in the midst of all the terror, there was this inadvertently hilarious gem from the chapter on Shadow Cats and other animals.

Max and his cousin sat in the darkness on the back steps of the house. The sounds of laughter poured from inside the house, a party for Max’s uncle nearing full crescendo. As they sat in the tungsten glow from windows that bathed the yard in a dissipating yellow, they could make out the fence that lined the property.

But Max and his cousin wished they hadn’t. “We noticed a Shadow creeping along the fence,” Max said. “I guess it noticed it was being watched and stopped. It was hunched over like it was trying to be covert.”

The boys stared at a black, cat-shaped Shadow in curiosity, but the curiosity quickly faded into terror. “It turned its head to look at us,” Max said. “It had bright yellow eyes. As soon as it looked at us, it turned and ran into the shadows.” They ran inside.

What was the creeping Shadow in the back yard? Max didn’t know…

I’m gonna venture a guess that the creeping Shadow was a neighborhood cat stalking small bugs attracted by the yellow light. The slinking cat noticed there were humans on the back porch and the yellow light reflected off the cat’s already amber colored eyes and made the eyes seem like they were glowing yellow. The cat, realizing there were drunk humans nearby (no one said they were drinking but the idea of a raucous party lends well to the idea that a beer or two may have been consumed), slunk off into the shadows. So… two paranormal-impressionable young men who may or may not have been drinking saw a cat-shape hunched over near a fence line late in the evening, illuminated by yellowish light and immediately assumed it was a terrifying visage of a Shadow Cat. Oh my…

Despite moments of low humor, or maybe because of it, this book is well-worth reading. I appreciate that Offutt wasn’t pushing an agenda, that he let people tell their stories as they interpreted them, and while I was troubled by the fact that people lived in terror rather than examining the ideas of sleep-paralysis or investigating to see if there was a carbon monoxide leak in their rooms, none of that was Offutt’s fault and is an unavoidable by-product of almost all paranormal examinations. All in all, as a skeptic I got to recreate in my head explanations for some of the tales and as a person drawn to tales of the paranormal, I got to wallow in the weirdness. A win-win.

And how can I be both a skeptic and a lover of the paranormal? Though I am a skeptic in all matters paranormal, my mind is still strangely open. Mr. Oddbooks and I had a sustained paranormal experience that lasted for several years and still, from time to time, manifests. We tore each experience apart and could never find any explanation that did not venture into the realm of the paranormal. Mr. Oddbooks is a computer programmer. He is a man ruled by the rational. And I am an atheist who to this day cannot really reconcile the idea that a spirit might have attached herself to us. For if I don’t believe in god, souls, or the afterlife, how could a benevolent soul have come into my life? I am to this day challenged theologically by what happened to us.

But it must be said that when we experienced paranormal activities, we did everything we could to explain them rationally. First, we determined we were still sane (relatively speaking). Then we checked air vents, made sure there was no gas leak, tested sound, determined if there was anything in our environment that could create specific odors. We determined whether or not neighbors were home when certain events occurred. We wondered if our home was accessible to a prankster. We even grilled each other. We mulled every possibility. We could never find an active cause for the activity. But more importantly, we never determined a passive cause for the activity. We never once felt the activities at night. We did not hear voices or smell odors as we were about to fall asleep. We did not waken in the night to be confronted by phenomena. All the events and things we experienced happened during the day, when we were awake and active. The events occurred in multiple dwellings. One of my experiences happened when I was surfing the web and I could have been in a borderline hypnagogic state. Other than that, we were always clear minded, awake, alert and physically active when the events occurred.

But because the experience was overwhelmingly positive, I don’t worry too much. The feeling we had after the events was of comfort, that the Universe is largely benevolent and that there was a force we could not understand that was looking out for us. This is a huge stretch, I know that, to assign such feelings to something we cannot explain, and this is a gray area for us. We ultimately decided that the sense that there was maybe a spirit looking out for us in no way affected our common sense or provoked us into to feeling anything but a warm sense of kindness. The experience did not lead us to think we are bulletproof nor did it cause us to alter our behavior so settling on the idea of a benevolent spirit in no way harms us but also in no way makes us feel powerful. Perhaps one could argue that false comfort is a bad thing but in this case I tend to disagree. So in a sense, it is easier for me than the people who feel they have been attacked or stalked by evil because it seems as if it may be less important to explain lovely experiences than those that terrify you. But having been in a position wherein I could not then (nor can I now) explain what happened, I have a decided preference for looking at all options and exhausting all possibilities before settling on the paranormal. I don’t think I’ll ever have an answer but I keep hoping I will one day and I think that desire to find some explanation is why I continue to read books like this, even when I suspect they will end up worrying me or making me laugh.

So if you have an interest in this sort of thing, you can do much worse than reading Offutt’s work. I think I will be checking out other titles from him. Here’s hoping your holidays are calm and free of malignant spirits, unless you are a Scrooge and need a Marley to come and set you right.

Calls to Mystic Alice by Alice Rose Morgan

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Book: Calls to Mystic Alice: A Psychic and Her “Spooks” Explain Karma, Reincarnation, and Everything Else You Forgot on Your Way to Earth

Author: Alice Rose Morgan

Why I Consider This Book Odd:
This is one I declared odd based solely on the title and subtitle and my instincts were correct. New Age Fluff for the win.

Type of Book
: New Age, New Age Fluff

Availability: Published by Llewellyn, that bastion of alternative religious ideas, in 2006, this book is still available. You can get a copy here:

Comments: I am not one to suffer New Age Squick lightly, though I love New Age Fluff. The difference between Squick and Fluff can be a hard line to see for some of my readers, but I define it thusly: If a book features endless accounts of people putting themselves in hardcore danger because us Westerners are too arrogant to see things correctly, it is Squick. Think back to Aunt Ruth in People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead and how she refused all medical treatment for her cancer and tried to treat it with crystals on pendulums and what amounted to self-affirmations? The woman who very likely died in extraordinary pain because she rejected the evils of Western medicine. That, my friends, is New Age Squick.

Now, if a book seems like it was written by your sweet granny, and includes a mish mash of world religion presented in a respectful, though at times baffling way, and the person writing it seems more like they have your best interests at heart rather than pushing a bizarre agenda that involves but is not limited to dead scientists on the planet Marduk telling us how to live, then you are dealing with New Age Fluff. Calls to Mystic Alice is New Age Fluff, and fun Fluff at that, the sort of Fluff that doesn’t leave you feeling greasy and smelling of cigarette smoke the way reading Sylvia Browne does.

Evidently, Alice Rose Morgan hails from and procreated her own family of people with odd abilities. Without even an ounce of awareness that Phillip Roth wrote The Human Stain, Alice Rose insists that “Spooks” reveal to her knowledge, knowledge that not only helps her discover the truth in her own life, but leads her to be able to tell others how to find their own answers. Alice claims she never advertised her business, the whole phone call thing being from word of mouth, people sending her checks after the readings, and I sort of believe that was the case before this book was written. Still, I managed to find a website for Mystic Alice with a contact page at www.callstomysticalice.com. However, the server seems to be down as of this writing. Perhaps Alice’s spooks worried that she was becoming too commercial.