It was on March 13, 2010, a middle-aged internet radio novice made his first timid steps to do a show called Dimland Radio.
It was me!
At the time, Z Talk Radio was filled with paranormal promoting programs and the online chat rooms were filled with people ready to believe. There was one skeptical listener and commenter in the chat rooms.
It was me!
I became somewhat of a skeptical gadfly, but a likeable one. Soon it was suggested that I do a show on the network. That I become Z Talk’s resident skeptic. It took some time and some convincing, but I decided to do it. And now it’s been 11 years! And Dimland Radio is Z Talk’s longest running show. By far.
I’m just that stubborn.
Dimland Radio’s Very First Topic
The first topic on that first show, after I did all my acknowledgements and thank you’s, was the children’s Saturday morning cartoon show that first aired in 1969: Scooby Doo, Where Are You!
It was a good place to start because, for most of the many incarnations of the show following the exploits of Scoob and the gang, the main lesson was that the answer to all those mysteries was never magic. The scary monster or fiend always turned out to be something mundane. Most often it was just someone in a costume trying to scare people off some property. One mystery it was a robot run amok, but, advanced though it was, the robot wasn’t magic.
Even through the blight of the annoying character of Scrappy Doo, the show remained a primer for skepticism. There was a stumble or two in the later years when the g-g-g-ghosts were real, but for the most part Scooby Doo remained a beacon of skepticism.
Not Just Dimland Radio’s Anniversary
This week in March marks other less auspicious anniversaries.
It’s been a year since the World Health Organization declared there to be a world-wide pandemic.
It’s been a year since the NBA announced it was suspending its season due to the pandemic.
It’s been a year since the Minnesota Skeptics have held an in-person meet-up. We’ve been rocking the Zoom ever since.
It’s been a year since I’ve hugged my mother.
It’s been a long year, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The Clash Of Skeptics And Believers
Some professional skeptical investigators are liked by believers. The believers think those skeptics have open minds, are respectful, kind, understanding, and always willing to get to the bottom of a mystery. I strive to be the same way, except I’m strictly amateur.
Sometimes, and one might say inevitably, the kind and respectful skeptics run afoul of the believers.
It’s an old skeptical saw to ask why we never see headlines proclaiming: “Psychic Wins Lottery… Again!” The believers’ response is often, “Oh. It doesn’t work that way.”
How unfortunate for the psychics.
Sometimes, especially after tragic events, skeptics wonder aloud, “Why didn’t the psychics warn about this? Why didn’t they prevent this from happening? What good are they?!”
“Oh. It doesn’t work that way.”
Close, but it would be more accurate to say, “Oh. It doesn’t work.”
And then the believers get upset.
The Clash Of A Z Talk Psychic And A Z Talk Skeptic
I haven’t talked about this encounter since it happened. But, with the passing of time, I thought I would talk about the incident on its nearly 11 year anniversary.
First, I will state this unequivocally: I believe the psychic in this story, who shall remain unnamed, believed in her claimed abilities. She was sincere about them. I do not think she was putting on an act in order to gain fame, money, or importance. She really thought she was psychic. She was a funny, tough as nails, call it like she sees it sort. She didn’t give a damn about what anyone thought about her. She was a bit of a hoot actually and she was quite popular on Z Talk.
However, I do not believe she really was psychic. I’m a skeptic. And there has yet to be anyone to show that ESP or clairvoyance or psychic abilities are real.
The incident began the night before my second show. I took part in a group hang-out on the program that was on Z Talk on Friday nights in those days: Paradigm Shift with Dave and Christy. It was meant to be just a bit of spontaneous fun conversation since the guest for that show was unavailable. A few Z Talkers called in, among them was the psychic and the skeptic.
During the hang-out, the psychic tried to read me. She wanted to know what happened to me when I was 32 years old. Her spirit guides were telling her something important happened to me at that age. I didn’t play along. I didn’t give an answer. I told her that she kept asking me questions. She’s the psychic. Give me answers, not questions.
Not much more came of it that night, but I thought this might be good for my show. I got permission from Dave to use a few audio clips from the conversation, but he didn’t ask what I planned to do and I didn’t tell him. I should have. It might have saved me some grief.
Dimland Radio was done live on Saturday nights in those days with a far more active chat room. I played the clips and suggested that what the psychic was doing looked an awful lot like cold reading to me. That went over… not so well.
When I went off the air and into he chat room for the post show chat, the place was on fire. I had started a whole shitstorm! “Dim! Why are you attacking her?! We thought you were one of the good skeptics!”
The chat room was filled with friends of the psychic, all accusing me of attacking her. She was in there as well, demanding I be disciplined in some way or she would sue. So much for not caring what others thought of her.
I hadn’t thought I was attacking her, but in effect I was. When I realized that, I apologized profusely. The owners of Z Talk went easy on me since I was new to the network and didn’t know the policy of not being critical of fellow Z Talkers without giving them the heads up and opportunity to rebut.
I apologized on the next show and assured everyone that second episode was gone. Erased. Never would it be heard again. I learned and moved on. The psychic left the network a year or so later and, I recently found out, died four years ago.
The St. Patrick’s Day Car Crash Of 2015
In just a few days it will be the anniversary of another event.
It was in the very early hours of the day after St. Patrick’s Day when my family was awakened by the sound of a car crashing into a tree on our boulevard right next to our house. The car narrowly missed hitting our old van that we used to park on the street.
It is a the tale of three very frightened young people, an angry yet apologetic man with a sawed off shotgun, a crashed car, the police, and me in my pajamas.
Be patient. Wash your hands. Stay home. Stay safe. WEAR A MASK!
Dimland Radio opening theme song: Ram by The Yoleus
First ad break bumpers: You Took by The Church and Entre Nous by Rush
Second ad break bumpers: Ashes To Ashes by David Bowie and Heat Of The Moment by Asia
Closing song: Angler’s Treble Hook by $5 Fiddle
That’s it! See you next Saturday night for Dimland Radio 11 Central, midnight Eastern on www.ztalkradio.com you can also download my show from the z talk show archives page. You can email your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Images used under Fair Use.