Sunday, October 21, 2007


"Did you hear that? I think it came from within the wall..."

The kids had finally gone down, and I was slowly sliding toward an early bed. The TV was on, but I was only paying half attention. My chanel-flipping fingers had stopped on a horrible "supernatural" expose on the Travel Channel, called "Most Haunted."

A team of "experts" were gathered with a television crew, and were connected via satellite to a live studio anchor. Spooky graphics and expectant music set the scene. The cameras, set in night vision mode, filmed in eerie green darkness, and cast an unnatural glint off the eyes of the medium-in-charge.

She was a shrewish woman with a Hackney accent, her glinting green eyes darted back and forth as she made wild and unsubstantiated declarations about the "spirit activity" in the room.

She would suggest that she felt a sudden chill, and the others would instantly agree. She claimed that a particular corner of the room felt "spinney." Suddenly, everyone else felt "spinney" too. In silence, she would ask if "anyone heard that?"

"Oh yes," they would all say, though no one could pinpoint the direction of the noise.

Then came the Ouija table. Of course, once every one's hands were on the table it started to tilt, but for some reason it would not levitate. Likewise, the glass on the table would not move until everyone cast a finger upon it. Then, voila, the spirits moved it...

Essentially, there was a group of normal folks standing around an empty room in which nothing happened. However, through the powerful force of suggestion one woman was able to conjure up an spooky expectation of paranormal activity. Of course, the modern high-tech set dressings helped, but really, it was all about her.

Watching with my jaded skeptic's eye, it was fun to deconstruct the gimmickry and showmanship. But still and all, sitting here in the dark under house two days later, writing about and thinking about the show, I admit that I'm a little creeped out.

"Did you hear that noise?"

Now, I try to be resistant to suggestion. Living in 21st century America, you have to have a certain filter against the marketing masses. But still, sometimes, it seeps in.

Then, just yesterday, the girl and I were watching an informative documentary about the origins of canned food. One of the featured canners was James Dole, the founder of Dole Pineapple. The documentary went on to demonstrate the development of pineapple canning technology, and presented the current processing system.

Can by can of sweet fruit rolled by...

By the time we reached the end of the pineapple line, I was salivating. I immediately went to the pantry and pulled out a large can of Dole pineapple. I popped the lid, and devoured the golden yellow bits inside, with the help of the girl, of course...

Suggestion indeed.


  1. Sounds like you discovered the secret to my litigation strategory.

  2. Im sorry, I cant make a comment today. Im just too distraught that Dumbledore is gay. Oh the humanity!!

    You know theres a problem in the world when that is a featured story on AOL news.

  3. Ivan Pavlov would have been so proud of Dole.

  4. Anonymous6:58 PM

    I had to start a bunch of fires down here in cali so B.S. can have some news.


Be compelling.

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