Dianne Salerni author Dianne Salerni author Dianne Salerni books Dianne Salerni blog Dianne Salerni Appearances Dianne Salerni contact Dianne Salerni teachers
Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Just Call Me Skeptic Lady

Just Call Me Skeptic Lady

Authors are full of useless information, which we’ll expound upon at length, given half a chance or a person who won’t run away.   Researching Maggie Fox and Elisha Kane turned me into an expert on 19th century spiritualism and Arctic exploration.  Research for a subsequent project immersed me in the history of famous psychic frauds, and I may have picked up a few de-bunking skills!

Last fall, my husband and I and our friends, Kelley and Eric, attended a paranormal show in Scranton, PA. The Psychic Theatre, tucked into one of the main streets of Scranton, shares a building with The Harry Houdini Museum. When you understand that the magicians who perform in the daytime are the same paranormalists who perform at night, you’ll realize that there’s more sleight-of-hand than spectral activity afoot here!

The paranormalists started the show by asking if anyone in the audience was a skeptic. I raised my hand, and then looked around to realize I was the only one with my hand up. Even my husband and my friends had left me hanging out to dry! Thus christened “The Skeptic Lady,” I was repeatedly called up to the stage to act as a “control.”

I’m not going to post any spoilers here, but I have a plausible explanation for all the things they did — except one. One of the performers gave me a paper bag and dropped in a normal fork. I peeked at it, then handed the bag to my husband, Bob. Bob took the fork out and examined it, then folded the bag shut. We passed it back and forth while the guy continued his act, “psychically” bending other forks, and eventually we put the bag on the floor beneath my feet. When the paranormalist asked us to open it later, the darned fork was bent like a pretzel!! Kelley and Eric were seated behind us and swore that nobody touched that bag!

Oh, well. It was a lot of fun, and I’m actually glad I couldn’t figure out everything! The show ended with a séance in the dark. The medium was tied up; the lights went out; and then all kinds of scary stuff happened. When the lights came back on, the medium was still bound to her chair.

Of course, this was The Harry Houdini Museum. I’m just sayin’.

If you’re ever in the Scranton area, this place is worth a visit — in either one of its fascinating guises! Both shows are highly entertaining, and the performers are top notch!

Psychic Theater website
Harry Houdini Museum website

6 Responses to Just Call Me Skeptic Lady

  1. KLM says:

    All I needed to read was “Scranton, PA” and “psychic” to get an extremely vivid picture of the audience. (We pass through Scranton on a semi-regular basis — always on the way to somewhere else, mind you. As fast as we can. A speeding ticket in Scranton is a sign of your intelligence.)

    Personally, had I been there, I would have been “hostile lady from the audience.” But good for you for being a gentle and respectful skeptic. 🙂


  2. Kristen,
    The other audience members seemed to be truly believers, and the guy sitting beside me seemed to be getting a little too much enjoyment out of holding my hand …

    One fellow had to go sit in his car during the seance b/c he was too scared. His girlfriend stayed, saying she was used to ghosts because she had 3 in her house.

  3. Candyland says:

    As an avid Office fan, I loved this because of the location alone!

  4. Considering Michael’s playful nature, I’m really surprised they haven’t shown him at the Harry Houdini Museum. I could imagine Dorothy and Dick (the performers) throwing him out when he tries to take over the show …

  5. Candyland says:

    That would be hilarious!

  6. Sun Singer says:

    I’ve always wondered about tricks like this. years ago, there was a guy named Kreskin who showed up on late night talk shows with this kind of slight of hand. The trick I wondered about was the one in which he asked somebody a question, they answered, and he cut into an orange to reveal a scrap of paper with the answer on it.

    Sounds like a good evening.