Respectful Insolence

Adolf, can you hear me?

Since I started this blog, I’ve become aware of all sorts of weirdness and woo. One special category of woo that irritates me is psychics, particularly the ones who claim that they can contact the dead, like Sylvia Browne or John Edward. They are arguably the worst kind of “psychic,” usually using cold reading or some variation of it to take advantage on the hopes of people desperately missing their loved ones who died. Sometimes, however, I learn of a self-styled “psychic” who’s so off the wall that my revulsion wrestles with my bemusement, and it’s not clear which will win. This is one such psychic, and you’ll see why she piqued my interest in a moment.

Meet Sally Baldwin:

Sally Baldwin and her recently deceased sister, Annie Luther, have a message for humanity, and you might want to sit down for this one. They’re pleased to announce that Anne Frank has forgiven Adolf Hitler.

Apparently, Anne Frank is just that understanding.

Baldwin claims to communicate with the souls of the dead, including such luminaries as der Führer, Elvis Presley, Cleopatra, and Abraham Lincoln. Until just a few weeks ago, her sister was also part of the act, until she joined her interview subjects in the Great Beyond.

The sisters and Baldwin’s husband, Steve, all of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, founded the nonprofit Dying to Live Again Foundation in 1999 while training themselves to interpret messages from what they call “the Otherside.” They’ve worked together on self-published books, and one of those, Dying to Live Again, includes Anne Frank’s unlikely pardon.

“I feel no regret to have lived and died as I did,” Frank supposedly told Baldwin. “I do not condemn Adolf Hitler for his actions. I forgive him.”

Hoo boy. I wonder if Ms. Baldwin knows how to speak Dutch. Either that, or perhaps somehow Ann Frank learned how to speak perfect English in the 62 years since her death. It’s good to know, though, that Ann is so understanding, given the rather nasty manner of her death from typhus in the Bergen-Belsen camp a mere two months before the end of the war. Apparently Baldwin’s contacted Adolf Hitler, too, but she’s rather vague on what he said (presumably either Hitler has also learned to speak English since 1945 or she also speaks German):

After a few more visitations from the dead, a reporter asked how Adolf Hitler was doing and what we on Earth should think about his soul.

Baldwin spun her pendulum. “You cannot look on another as tromping on your life and bringing about things that you did not ask for, that you did not want,” Baldwin relayed. “Somewhere in your experience, there was an allowance and an ability for this to happen.”

Is she saying that Hitler didn’t want all that happened? I’m sure he didn’t want the fall of Germany and the utter destruction of many of Germany’s largest cities, but he certainly did want war. Of course, her comment about Hitler’s thoughts is maddeningly vague; maybe she’d get a better signal if she were locked in a room with the Hitler Zombie.

Of course, my bemusement disappeared when I found out that, until her recent death, Ms. Baldwin’s former partner in woo, her sister Annie Luther “channeled spirits” while working for a social services organization:

New Times also attempted to interview Annie Luther, but she was gravely ill and passed away on December 13. At least through conventional means, we would have no chance to ask her about complaints that she had channeled spirits while working for the Children’s Home Society of Florida, a private nonprofit that provides social services including child abuse prevention, group homes, foster care, adoption, and treatment for developmentally disabled children.

For more than three years beginning in 2001, Luther served as executive director of CHS’ Intercoastal Division in Broward County. She supervised about 100 employees and 200 volunteers and worked with an operating budget of nearly $5 million.

Employees who worked for Luther insist that she channeled in the office and that it offended some. But not many were apparently aware that the women believed Anne Frank had embraced her Holocaust experience. One who knew was Bruce Rosenberg, a caseworker, and it bothered him. “Here’s a woman who said she can talk to dead people and thinks Hitler can somehow make amends, and oh, by the way, she’s also dealing with parents who are abusing their children,” he says. “Why would you hire someone that openly advertises this?”

Ms. Baldwin also says some highly dubious things about Ann Frank:

Particularly disturbing to her former co-worker, Rosenberg, however, is the alleged interview with the soul of Anne Frank.

According to Frank as quoted by Baldwin, the famous Jewish girl from Amsterdam and Hitler have had many soul-to-soul contacts in the afterlife. The interview also disclosed that Frank does not really consider herself Jewish but kept quiet about it to avoid being rejected by her family. She also supposedly recognizes that Hitler’s deeds were part of his mind, body, and ego but not his soul.

“I want to make it clear again that I feel no regret to have lived and died as I did,” Frank supposedly said, via Baldwin. “My soul was directing my life, and it wanted those experiences. I do not lay blame on the people who imprisoned me and contributed to my dying.”

“Soul-to-soul contacts” with Hitler? Lovely. (This observation by Baldwin reminds me creepily of what is the most offensive thing I’ve ever seen about about Ann Frank and Hitler.) Ann Frank doesn’t consider herself “Jewish”? Lovely.

My bemusement is at an end. Excuse me while I look for a bucket to barf in.

Comments

  1. #1 amk
    January 11, 2007

    My interpretation of “You cannot look on another as tromping on your life and bringing about things that you did not ask for” is even creepier, because IMHO it sounds like she’s saying not to blame Hitler for the bad things that happened; Frank brought them upon herself in some vague spiritual way.

    This is borne out by the later channeled comment “My soul was directing my life, and it wanted those experiences.” Talk about blaming the victim. And someone who believed this was in charge of child abuse cases?

  2. #2 G Barnett
    January 11, 2007

    *twitch*
    Ummm….errr, that is….ahhhh. Crap. There goes another mental fuse. Pardon me whilst I go assume the fetal position in a corner….

  3. #3 J-Dog
    January 11, 2007

    The Ghost of Anne Frank just called me, and she says “bullshit”. She actually wants to stick an ice-pick into Adolf’s eye, and twist it around. Then she wants him doctored, and recovered, so she can take out his other eye. When he recovers from that, then she will start chopping off body parts. Without anesthetic. Nothing too major, right away. This could be kept up for quite a while, and in keeping with the bible’s axiom of an eye for an eye, this should be repeated @ 6 million times.

    And if Sally Baldwin doesn’t get it straight the next
    time Anne talks to her, she’s losing some skin.

  4. #4 horrobin
    January 11, 2007

    IMHO it sounds like she’s saying not to blame Hitler for the bad things that happened; Frank brought them upon herself in some vague spiritual way.

    That’s exactly what she is saying. This is SOP for many in the New Age/Channeling crowd…Somebody didn’t murder you, you and your murderer somehow agreed on some karmic level to experience the murder. Or some such repellent nonsense.

  5. #5 Sastra
    January 11, 2007

    I was about to point out the same thing horrobin just did — that there is currently a popular belief that, when we are between lives or acting on the spiritual level, our souls deliberately choose the events which happen to our bodies so that we may work through the lessons we must experience while incarnated on earth. Through her specific form of suffering, Anne Frank either learned something she needed to learn, or helped someone else learn something they needed to learn.

    This is supposed to be soothing, since the upshot is that “everything happens for the best.” Relax. It’s all good. Let go of anger and fear. Nothing bad ever really happens. Although associated with New Age, it’s really just an updated version of “God works everything for the best, if we only knew all.” This variation just puts a self-determined spin on it.

  6. #6 The Ridger
    January 11, 2007

    That is the most repellent doctrine I know of. Not only does it take “blame the victim” and “they asked for it” to the ultimate level, it actually instructs you not to help anyone because you’re just sabotaging their lesson, or whatever the hell it is. You know, if you stop this little kid from starving, he’ll just have to be born starving all over again. How cruel can you get?

  7. #7 Sastra
    January 11, 2007

    That is the most repellent doctrine I know of. Not only does it take “blame the victim” and “they asked for it” to the ultimate level, it actually instructs you not to help anyone because you’re just sabotaging their lesson, or whatever the hell it is.

    Ah, but perhaps the lesson that needs to be learned is going to be learned by the *helper*! It was important for the development of their karma that the people who hid Anne Frank make that choice! And so on…

    While I also find it distasteful and annoying, I think the truth is that, in practice, this doctrine doesn’t necessarily lead to actual apathy or indifference to harm any more than the belief that “God allows us to suffer for a good, important reason that we’ll understand later” leads people to not help the sick or poor. It’s all interpreted as exactly what needed to happen for the best — but only after the fact. Only when you know what *has* happened. While it’s actually happening and you’ve got to make a decision you’ve no idea of “what’s meant to be” or what you or some other person “chose” while in their all-wise spirit state.

    Which makes it a worthless guide to behavior, but an effective palliative for worry, resentment, grief, or carrying grudges.

  8. #8 James
    January 12, 2007

    While I’m normally against them, is anyone interested in forming an anrgy mob against this … person.

    I think I know where we can get a good deal on pitchforks.

  9. #9 JP
    January 12, 2007

    ‘She also supposedly recognizes that Hitler’s deeds were part of his mind, body, and ego but not his soul.’

    Then what good is a soul? None at all. Glad to see even psychic evidence supports it.

    De-lurkingly yours,

    JP

  10. #10 valhar2000
    January 12, 2007

    While I’m normally against them, is anyone interested in forming an anrgy mob against this … person.

    FUCK YES! LET’S DO IT!

  11. #11 Amy Alkon
    January 12, 2007

    In addition to the obvious irrationality of believing in an afterlife, combined with outright fraud, what these people say is always so implausible. It’s never “Ann Frank ran into Adolph Hitler up there and took the opportunity to shove a white-hot poker up his ass.”

  12. #12 Dunc
    January 12, 2007

    Ah yes – the “everything that happens in your life is your own karmic choice” bullshit. Whenever I hear that, I always get the urge to punch the proponent repeatedly, very hard, in the face, and then ask them why they chose for that to happen and what they learned from it.

    Not only is it vile, it’s also either vacuous or solispistic – the only way it can actually make sense if you think about it is if there’s only one real person in the world, and everyone else is just a collection of props in their “karmic unfolding”.

  13. #13 stogoe
    January 12, 2007

    Is the title of this post supposed to remind me of Yentl?

  14. #14 Badger3k
    January 12, 2007

    Dunc – I agree with you on that – I ranted on this subject a while back, and came to the same conclusion. Such thinking always seems to make others out to be tools. Of course, they never think that whatever happens to themselves is not for their benefit – maybe they got dumped by someone because that other person “had to learn” something, and the dumpee was just the means to an end? It’s really a dehumanizing way of looking at people, while trying to provide some rationalization of things as a “higher purpose” (which always seems to be mysterious and unknowable).

    Anyway, why do I get the feeling that if we looked at this woman’s bookcase, we’d find a bunch of denier writings?

  15. #15 llewelly
    January 12, 2007

    … perhaps somehow Ann Frank learned how to speak perfect English in the 62 years since her death …

    No, no, no. Why is that you skeptics never understand? The Quantum Woo Energy Field provides perfect translations of messages from the OtherSide, which, after all, do not come as words, but as Vibrations in the Mind Field. You are like someone who complains that ballet aficionados who do not know Russian cannot possibly appreciate Nijinsky.

  16. #16 Porlock Junior
    January 13, 2007

    We owe leewelly a debt of gratitude for the simple and compelling explanation of everyone’s communicating in English from the Other Side. There is, however, another side to this.

    In the 1920s somebody channeled Longfellow and published a new poem by him. A. A. Milne commented that among all the odd claims of Spritualists, one of the most incredible was that Longfellow, after 60 years (?) of afterlife in unearthly bliss and beauty and wisdom, was still writing in the Hiawatha meter. One doesn’t, he said. One simply doesn’t.

    There’s probably a moral here about communications from the Beyond.

  17. #17 sophia8
    January 15, 2007

    Reminds me of the time I was talking to a medium, who was telling me about when she witnessed another medium channelling Confucius.
    Me: “That’s interesting. So what was he saying?”
    Medium: “I don’t know – he was speaking Chinese.”
    Me: “Oh – which language?”
    Medium: “I told you – CHINESE.”
    So I explained about all the different languages they have in China.
    Medium: “Hmmph – well, whatever, I don’t know anything about that!”
    Me: “So how did you know it was Chinese?”
    Medium: “Because my guide SAID so! And anyway, it SOUNDED Chinese!!!”
    Exit one very angry medium…..

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