One neat thing that happened at my blog while I was on break is that I received an interesting anonymous comment on a post I had written over a year ago concerning widely known local psychic R. C. (Doc) Anderson. That post and new comment can be found here.
Doc Anderson was a fascinating man with a certain flair for generating publicity. He was a spiritual advisor to many, and was known for his willingness to help people. Jet magazine for June 3, 1971, carried a brief article about Anderson and his charitable spirit. The following is taken from that magazine:
A 26-year-old mother of seven children, Mrs. Beverly H. Jones of Chattanooga, Tenn., is "doing just fine" after citizens and groups in the city raised $24,000, $6,000 of it in a lump sum from well-known mentalist R. C. (Doc) Anderson so she can have a kidney operation without which she will die.
The article further stated:
Anderson, who told Jet he predicted "Dr. (Martin Luther) King's death and told some of his people about it but nobody apparently believed me," said he gave the money because, "I felt if she had been white there would have been no trouble raising it. This is the best gift of my life. I thank God that I am able to give that child her life back." His gift came after he learned, Anderson said, that the drive to riase funds for the stricken Mrs. Jones, whose kidney stopped functioning, was short $6,000 of a stated $10,000 goal.
I need not point out how much purchasing power $6,000 had back in 1971. And this was not an isolated incident. It would be fair to state that Anderson was a local legend back in the day.
Chattanooga television station WDEF TV 12 recently ran a report about Anderson. Go here to read that and to see three of their reports about his death from 1980. Collins Parker there takes somewhat the same approach I did in my original post, suggesting his death "called his psychic powers into question."
Here is where my anonymous reader's comment proved interesting. That commenter is related to one of Anderson's daughter and thought I might find interesting a little insight into the matter. Certainly I did appreciate that and wish I could hear more. Anonymous tells me that Anderson had evidently mentioned beforehand that his death would involve water and a mysterious red vehicle. Anonymous tells me the red vehicle turned out to be a Coca Cola truck that swept Anderson off the bridge and into the torrent. That is something I had never heard and don't recall having been mentioned in any of the reports at the time. I'm not saying it isn't so, just that I don't recall that. The eyewitness reports I recall suggested Anderson got out of his car and was attempting to wade through the water when he was swept away. My reader also adds that three days before Anderson's death he had summoned his children to his home in order to give them some possessions and money. The first video on the WDEF site also features an Anderson friend who gives his reason for thinking the famous seer had an inkling his end was near. So my anonymous friend, if you read this, I certainly would be interesting in hearing more.
I've shared with my readers here my fascination for things considered paranormal. Prophecy was always a subject of interest for me and my family as we were heavily involved in religion as I was growing up. In fact, my mother named me after the prophet Nathan in the Bible (that's my middle name, and the one she most often called me when I was young). She did this, she told me, because while she was pregnant with me she felt that God had his hand on me in a special way. I don't know about that. But I know I have had premonitions down through the years, even recently. Nothing earth shaking, but just enough to give me the creeps when I think about it. I have seen instances where my both of my parents displayed what some would call psychic ability - not often, just from time to time, and mostly my mom. They tended to see it through their religious prism. For that matter, lots of seers do this, as did Doc Anderson himself, who was a devout Catholic.
I said all that just to say this. It really isn't fair to say the manner of Anderson's demise proves he had no psychic ability. Even from a biblical viewpoint, seers and prophets weren't infallible and certainly weren't omniscient. There is no reason to believe that if somehow it is possible to tap into the future, all knowledge is therefore available in that way. If one accepts the possibility of prescience, it would be impossible to prove that Anderson didn't have premonitions or warning feelings before he stepped out of his car and into his waters of death. Perhaps he did have premonitions and ignored them.
Personally, I am very skeptical of fortune tellers and psychics, as well modern day Christians who claim to have the gift of prophecy. That isn't so much because I deny that prescience or psychic ability is theoretically possible. It's just the result of having studied so many of these folks and having found so many charlatans in their ranks. I've yet to be able to convince myself that some people have a certain "talent" for seeing the future. I've collected tales of premonitions from many folks in many situations, enough to make me take seriously the possibility of such things. On the other hand, I think there is something to be said for intuition. But that's another subject for another post.