Out at breakfast this morning, I came across a catalog for Learning Connections, which "offers a wide variety of short courses, trips, and seminars designed for adults in Rhode Island and the South Coast region of Massachusetts." At first glance through the courses they offer, it looked like the sort of stuff you find at a local community center - classes in cake decorating, introductory Spanish, ballroom dancing, etc. There were even some classes that looked intriguing to me - like the "Seasonal Italian Cooking Series" and "Scotch Whiskey: An Exploration into Malt". And then I flipped to the pages in the back and find "classes" such as:
Spirit Flame Pictures
Those in the spirit world communicate with us in various ways. In this fun, eye-opening class, use index cards and a candle and see what spirit wants to show you. Discover visual evidence from the spirit world; you may even get a picture of a loved one, an angel, or a family member who has passed into the spirit realm. Kathleen has pictures to show, and each person who attends will leave with their own spirit flame picture.
Healing Yourself through Past Life Regression
Why are people afraid of heights, water or speaking in public? Do you have a health issue that hasn't been helped any other way? Some people are simply curious about past lives while others want to know why they have so many challenges in their life. These issues are very often because of a past life experience. Topics discussed include meditation, connecting with your spirit guide, and the workshop includes a group past life regression.
and my personal favorite:
Divine Intervention: How to Pray and Get Results
Do you ever feel like you are having a one-way conversation with God? Are you hearing a lot about prayer in the media? Join this discussion and learn the 10 tips to getting your prayers answered. Talking and listening to God takes time, patience and faith; but the exchange is life-changing.
That's right folks, the reason your prayers are going unheard is because you're not doing it right. You need to spend $39 for a two and half hour class to learn how. It must be like taking candy from a baby.
The list goes on and on - "Meeting Your Spirit Guide", "How to Activate Your Ability to Become a Healer (with Eric Pearl)", "Crystal Healing", "Scrying: Seeing Though the Crystal Ball". Yes, you read that right - scrying! If you don't believe me (and I wouldn't blame you), go check it out yourself.
I'm pretty cynical when it comes to American intellect, but I have to say this left my jaw agape. Even though I get rather haughty about being from an area that is both intellectually and socially liberal/progressive (New England in general, and Massachusetts in particular), I knew that even we had our fair share of kooks (well, maybe not our fair share, but enough anyways). But these "classes" are taking place not 10 minutes from my own house. That's just too close for comfort.
On the one hand, I am tempted to check one of these things out - see what kind of person attends and just what sort of information is being given. A social experiment, if you will. On the other hand, I'm tempted to heed Mr. P.T. Barnum's wisdom and create my own ridiculous "class" and charge people 50 bucks to listen to a bunch of nonsense. There's surely a market for "Making Your Dreams Come True: How to Concentrate Really Really Hard and Make Gold Dubloons Appear Out of Thin Air", right?