Sunday, April 23, 2006

"A pay-per-view seance was never his style"

Well, I don't know about that, but a spokesman for Yoko Ono decries "The Spirit of John Lennon", a controversial pay-per-view program set to air tomorrow night on In Demand.

The special, being carried on pay-TV service In Demand, was organized by the producers of a 2003 attempt to channel the late Princess Diana. That show failed to find Diana and received reviews that could have sunk the Titanic but it is estimated to have grossed close to $8 million.

Sight unseen, the Lennon effort has been attacked by the late Beatle's friends and fans as a tasteless effort to profit from his assassination 25 years ago. But producers say they are hoping to lure an audience that now loves such prime-time network TV shows as "Ghost Whisperer" and "Medium."

The program features what is described as an Electronic Voice Phenomenon, or EVP, that a psychic on the show claims is the disembodied voice of Lennon speaking at a seance in one of his favorite New York restaurants, La Fortuna.

EVP is based on a belief that spirit voices communicate through radio and TV broadcast signals.

Well, break out the Ouija board, somebody!

What a weird idea. Do people still hold seances? Who believes that John Lennon is really going to be speaking to us tomorrow night? (Well, not to "us"--I wouldn't be caught dead purchasing that program. Apart from the obvious, it does indeed strike me as both tacky and exploitive.) Here's at least one person who buys it:

Producer Paul Sharratt, who heads Starcast Productions and who calls himself a skeptic, said hearing the voice has made him a believer.

In what? That the bucks will roll in and he'll get to keep a bunch of them?


(And no, I'm not decrying psychic phenomena or psychics wholesale: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio" and all that, of course. But dollars to doughnuts, this ain't an example.)