part one - three - four
Years after our first visit I saw Fred and he asked, "What? Have you become a Hindu?" I asked whyíd he say that and he said I had a bunch of spirits hovering around me.
"Oh," I said. "Thatís because Iíve been asking for help from higher beings Ė angels, my psyche, big mind, whatever there is Ė I donít know. Zen is so self-power oriented. I thought I'd appeal to a little other power."
"Yeah. Throw it all in. Doesnít hurt to try. I havenít noticed they can help out much but they seem to be trying. What are you asking for?"
"Anything that comes up. I say thanks a lot. Like youíve said, it doesnít matter if itís a big or small request. Help me find something, reduce a tooth ache, help me not get in a car wreck, relate to someone, wake up at a certain time, wake up to reality."
"I can enlighten you in a weekend," he said "Go to the top of a mountain and sit there all night facing east in an invocation. Youíll have visions like Christ on the cross and Buddha under that tree. You can stare at a flame for twenty-four hours. That can do it. You can astral travel around the earth or out beyond. But donít do that if youíre getting an operation or you might not come back. When I had general anesthesia to get my first pacemaker, I put in the request not to astral travel". Heíd also say, "Let me ordain you. People will support you, buy you a nice car."
"Iíd do that Fred, but I already have a car."
"Get a camper then."
Once I asked Fred about my father with "Tell me about Kelly." He took a minute and asked, "Is this person dead?" I nodded. "They donít like being bothered. Itís sort of like raping them."
"Oh Ė well donít do it then."
"Iíll do it if you want. Just telling you they donít like it." In a while Ė "He says he worked hard, took good care of his wife and children. Left them secure. Says he had a lot of fun when he was younger. Says he got too serious about religion. He asks if he can go now."
My father did take good care of us but not just with money. He left us with a solid spiritual foundation. He would come home and sit in the living room in his easy chair and read New Thought Christian literature like Mary Baker Eddy, Emmet Fox, Ernest Holmes, and finally William Walter Ė what I call mind only non theistic Christianity. Jesus as an awakened person, god as a word for cosmic consciousness. My mother was into that too but she was most interested in reincarnation, especially after my father died. She saw the famous medium Arthur Ford in Chicago. Fred knew Ford, had worked with him. He said Ford was a good medium but he kept telling women that theyíd been the Queen of Sheba. I said that Ford didnít tell my mother that. She said he brought her messages with details he could never have guessed.
I asked Fred what he thinks about the many people who dismiss all this psychic stuff, saying itís impossible, that all psychics are frauds, liars, con artists. Theyíll say itís all done with cold reading Ė leading one on cleverly to give them all they need to know to fool you.
"I donít know where it comes from," said Fred. "Maybe Iím making it all up somewhere in some hidden place. Maybe itís from something I ate. Anyway, this isnít for everyone and itís not necessary to believe any of it."
"I donít believe anything," I said. "Iím just listening and going, hmmm." I tell the so- called skeptics who say these things theyíre doing a reading on people theyíve never met, on events beyond their senses, telling me all about and condemning - not just individuals Ė but a whole class of strangers from afar. Itís their brand of remote viewing. If Randy, the psychic debunker had his way, he'd bring back the inquisition and they'd all be in prison.
Fred had no guile, no artifice. He wasnít of the educated moneyed class that most of my friends and I are from. He came from poverty, was a self-made man. He said things sometimes that struck me as ignorant.. He had enormous confidence but also humility. He talked tough but he was always kind. A con artist fakes sincerity to get something. Fred didnít want anything much, didnít want more than his share. He was inexpensive too - $25 an hour in the sixties and he didnít seem to keep up with the time or inflation. I only paid him the first few times. After a while I didnít ask him much, mainly brought him other people and said hello. I got to where I had an idea what he would say. Anyway, I like to rely on my own intuition.
My older son Kelly and I saw Fred in December of 91 at his home in Idyllwild way up above Palm Springs. "Youíve already lived about six lives in this incarnation," he said looking at me. Kelly was eighteen. Fred said heíd been ready to leave home since he was twelve. Heíd done that in a way - gotten himself into private schools and had been living in one in Nevada City, California. Fred said that Kelly had a bright blue light on the tip of his nose showing he was eager to live, discover, positive about the future.
Elin was visiting family and pregnant. She and I were in the US on vacation from Japan where we were living. I asked Fred about the boy on the way. Fred said you canít get much from fetuses.
"A fetus," I said, "canít be harder than reading sperm." Fred had told me heíd tried to read sperm and ended up swimming along and feeling how painful it was when their tails broke off.
"He says heís coming in to work," Fred said.
Fred would try to read anything. I handed him a cane and he said it came from near a lake. I handed him an envelope with a massive letter to Elin when she was in Taiwan early in our relationship and he said, "Lot a trouble."
Fred said heíd asked some earthworms in a jar where they were from and they said over by the faucet. I told this to a friend who went berzerk and said earthworms donít speak English and donít know what a faucet is and I said thereís nothing in what Fred said to contradict that. The words came out of Fredís mouth, not the earthwormsí. When he reads people he doesnít talk with them to get what he gets. Heís reading a mentality in a sphere we share Ė images, shadows, scratches, auras, words floating by, who knows what? Oh unimaginative literalism!
Fred was not like a normal person in some ways. Iíd look at him and wonder. Maybe like some of the Shamans Iíve met. I wrote a song about him called The Dead Man. He did not always share the values of the subcultures Iím usually around. Heíd show prejudice like, "The white race is committing suicide." Iíd tell him not to say things like that, that people wonít like it. Muriel would wholeheartedly concur from behind the kitchen counter. He told me heíd gone out of his way to attend a Death by a Thousand Cuts in China, getting himself to the front "by pushing and knocking those little guys out of the way." He said that not hunting animals or not eating them is robbing them of their role in life.
Fred said snakes tend not to care so much if they live or die, that they commit suicide by breaking their own spines or poisoning themselves. I wondered about this. Fred and Muriel went camping a lot. He said he opened the door to their camper one morning in the Southern California dessert and a rattlesnake was coiled up at the bottom of the steps. He said they often come in pairs so he asked it if there was another and the snake said yes, not far away. "I told it youíd better join it now or Iíll kill you. The snake said it didnít care, go ahead and kill me. So I killed it."
Fred encouraged having a lot of sex, maybe because he hadnít had much till he married at sixty. He said that when a ship hit harbor, all the crew would go out drinking and whoring whereas he would go looking for the holy people. He said the ones he found with the biggest auras were in India and Egypt. But he urged a sex life closer to what the sailors had. Heíd say find someone to have sex with and when you find a better one, dump the first one. "No, Fred," I insisted, "You canít treat people like that." Muriel concurred shaking her head.
Another thing weíd scold him about was spending so much time doing readings for people betting on races. He had some regular customers whoíd call him up and get his hit on race horses or dogs. The calls would only last half a minute. I asked how he got paid for that and he said heíd get checks in the mail and admitted he didnít keep track. I suggested he get a 900 number to automatically charge them and he said it all evens out. Muriel said he just loves reading animals. Thatís what he was famous for. Heíd be on national call-in radio shows doing it. I chanced on one of them once Ė people calling in mainly about cats and dogs. When Kelly and I were there in December of 91, Fred walked us over in the snow to a charming motel near his home and while I was signing in Fred started telling the couple who ran the place about their dog who was lying on a rug near a fireplace. Whatever he said got their attention. The wife asked with incredulity how he knew something heíd said. "She told me. She says itís alright now, that youíre doing her right." As we walked out of the office they still looked fairly stunned.
I read a report by a woman who contacted Fred to do a reading on a dog that had witnessed a murder. She wrote that Fred got a description of the murderer from the dog and that a detective got a confession from a suspect that fit the description by telling him he had an eye witness. The killer didnít know it was an eye witness whose testimony would not have held up in court.[from Primary Perception Interview Excerpt 2, Editor Franci Prowse and Cleve Backster
I didnít pay Fred anything on that trip but I took him and Muriel out to dinner with Kelly and me at a fancy Idyllwild restaurant. When the food came I stopped asking him what he could sense about the waitress and some of the other customers. I told him he was just like what he said the psyche, angels, and the whole cosmos are like Ė ask and it will be answered.