Thursday, October 30, 2008

Studies in Crap: Do Cats Have ESP?

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 6:00 AM

By ALAN SCHERSTUHL

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Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from area basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.

Do Cats Have ESP?

Author: Jeane Dixon

Publisher: Aaron Publishing Group

Date: 1998

Discovered at: Salvation Army, 1223 Santa Fe, Olathe

The Cover Promises: If you own this book, you own no others.

Representative Quote:

page 55, “I spoke to the cat the way one does when meeting an attractive stranger. 'Hello,' I said. 'Where did you come from? You are very beautiful. Do you understand me?' ”

For 108 pages, America's most famous psychic who is not Sylvester Stallone's mom belabors the answer to a question that deserves no more than two letters. She's up against the First Rule of Crap, which is phrased, like all the crappiest things in this world, a la Foxworthy:

Your book might be crap if ... the title poses a question that any sensible person will dismiss with “No. Of course not. Why would you ask such a thing?”

Dixon's impossible goal: to demonstrate that cats do have ESP, that they can predict the future and that they often speak to her about all of this. She even brags that second-guessing a psychic puss like her beloved “Mike the Magicat” might jack you up:

“A young boy of twelve years asked Mike to help him choose between attending school here in the states or abroad . . . Mike's answer, through me, was: 'Go to school in the United States. Europe is not advisable -- you'll have a bad accident!'

The boy shrugged off Mike's warning and went to school abroad. Sure enough, he had a terrible skiing accident.”

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More about "MagiCat," the rich-kid-hating toast of Pennsylvania Avenue:

  • “Mike came home, riding like a little king in a White House limousine with a chauffer and two bodyguards! They had found him strolling majestically across the White House lawn.”

  • “People sent him clothes and soon he had a large wardrobe. Sometimes he wore farmer's overalls with a big straw hat; sometimes a dinner jacket with a high hat.”

  • "The volume of letters to Mike became so large that he had his own secretary, Lorene Melton, to help answer his mail."

The White House! Is this "plump, furry feline" one of those Washington fat cats we always hear about?

In other chapters, she alludes vaguely to the ancient Egyptians' love of cats, reports on some inconclusive (but promising!) research into “psi-bonding” and feline telepathy at Duke University's Parapsychology Institute and cuts and pastes heroic cat stories (“One of my favorite tales about a cat protecting its master comes from fifteenth-century England”).

Not on her agenda: explaining how you might get your cat to stop sniffing its own puke and work some oracular magic.

Shocking Detail:

Dixon does provide insight into the complexity of international cross-species extrasensory communication:

"I had forgotten that the cat in my lap was accustomed to hearing Japanese. As I waited expectantly for answers, the cat looked at me with similar questions written all over its face. 'Who are you? Why do you speak so strangely?' it asked."

This is miraculous: somehow, the cat asks why it doesn't understand English ... in English!

Highlight:

She pads the volume out with “Catscopes”:

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“The secret the Leo cat doesn't want everyone to know is that it is shy.”

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“Its ESP allows the Sagitarius to see the big picture. It knows who its friends are and is usually frank and candid with its opinions.”

BONUS CRAP!

Animal Adoption Postcards

Author: Kids whose names I'm kind enough to omit

Publisher: North Shore Animal League of Port Washington, New York

Discovered at: Maj-R Thrift, 2842 West 47th Street

This one takes little explanation. For this fundraising publication, the North Shore Animal League talked children into painting animals. You probably didn't have to be an all-seeing Magicat to know that aesthetic violations were sure to result.

Here, Kitty Moses glowers at the worshipers of Baal.

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True animal lovers take the time to groom their jellyfish.

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I don't know what this monkey's up to, but it probably won't help get him adopted.

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Click for more exciting "Studies in Crap!"

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