If there is one seasonal tradition on this blog, it is an annual visit to the New Year’s predictions of a certain self-styled psychic, prophet, and man of spirit—in fact, “Spiritman” Joseph Tittel. As psychics go, he’s nothing out of the ordinary; his predictions are typically vague, elastic, and generic; like all the others, he lights with glad cries on anything that could even remotely be construed as a hit, while ignoring the vastly more numerous misses. The 2015 predictions, the fourth set I’ve looked at, are just as pathetic as the first three.
Here’s how his predictions work, according to him. A few weeks before the end of the year, he lets the universe know he’s ready for action, and the universe obliges with intuitions, dreams, and headlines for the coming year. Yes, headlines. He jots all these down, podcasts them on New Year’s Day, and then puts the written version up on his blog; in 2015, the written version of about a hundred predictions went up in late January. And, to be brutally honest, he’s terrible at it. When podcasting, he rambles, witters, loses his place, repeats himself, fumbles for words, and occasionally rants. The written version is functionally illiterate. As for the content—well, its chief virtue is that it so beautifully illustrates the fatuous vacuity of psychic forecasts.
It would be repetitive to go through the predictions in detail this time, as I have in previous years; I leave it to the masochistic to go through and spot the ones he will claim as hits. I will point out that the most dramatic development of 2015, the astonishing refugee crisis, did not rate a mention. For variety, however, here is an informal taxonomy of Spiritman’s effusions, with comments:
Category One: generic , unsurprising predictions about the bleeding obvious: earthquakes in California, trouble in the Middle East, nasty weather in Texas. These are safe predictions, and also totally without value. One yearns for a psychic who could produce the sort of prophetic warning that might actually save lives, like in the movies.
Category Two: vague and elastic predictions about dramatic events: somewhere in the world, a bridge will fail, a plane will crash, a flood, fire, or tsunami will hit the news. These are also safe predictions, because such events—however dramatic—are guaranteed to happen several times annually, somewhere in the world. Occasionally, the prediction will include details like month, general location, or death toll, which never match the claimed fulfillment; those details, however, are conveniently forgotten.
Category Three: “predictions” that are actually projections of events or trends at the beginning of the year, at the time the predictions were made. These can be especially entertaining if they echo pundits who get it wrong: for example, those who predicted in December 2014 that the price of gas would shoot back up by the end of 2015; or the gossip mags who spent all year confidently expecting Beyoncé’s second baby, unlike Beyoncé herself. The other danger for the psychic is that such “predictions” do not take unanticipated factors that might arise during the year into account—exactly the sort of factors that psychics, if they actually had any real powers, should foresee.
Category Four: highly specific, novel, and falsifiable predictions: a fire in the White House, a triple-asteroid strike, a worldwide broadcast by hackers cutting into regular programming, the death of two ex-presidents and up to three singing stars of Bob Dylan’s calibre. When falsified, these are also conveniently forgotten.
Category Five: shots in the dark that are basically content-free. Example: “Switzerland kept coming to me but I GOT NO CLARITY ON THIS WHATSOEVER.” Therefore, anything that happened in Switzerland over the year could potentially be claimed as a hit.
Category Six: predictions based on New Age memes along the lines of spiritual awakening, energy shifts, conspiracy theories, karma, etc. This last year, for example, was foretold to be a great year of awakening, with peace breaking out all over, the truth being revealed, and a huge energetic shift around the spring solstice as we head towards the Golden Dawn—what does that even mean? A fair number of Spiritman’s “predictions” last year were simply content-free bafflegab.
There were a few developments in Spiritman’s 2015 style, though. Far more than previously, he weaselled his bets by making his predictions more open-ended: 2015 and into 2016, over the next two years, between now and 2020. A much larger proportion of his considerable wordage consisted of rants about the Illuminati, governmental dirty tricks and oppression, large corporations, and hackers. It seems his belief system comfortably accommodates aliens (both friendly and unfriendly), Atlantis and other ancient civilizations, the Illuminati, crop circles, chemtrails, the fluoride conspiracy, the bloodline of Jesus, God, and Noah’s flood. Indeed, I learned all sorts of interesting facts from listening to the podcast.
For example, the US government is covering up information about the disappearance of Flight 370, is in control of Facebook, is using fluoride and chemtrails to poison the populace, and has built a huge network of secret underground cities where it stores the flying saucers found over the years. Some new mountains in Nevada are actually spoil heaps from the excavation of those secret underground cities. The Illuminati fixed the election of George W. Bush, killed JFK, arranged 9/11 and the wars in the Middle East, arranged for North Korea to be falsely accused of hacking, and are generally behind every sneaky thing happening on Earth except those being done by the US government. (Of course, they overlap.) Hitler used fluoride on Jews in the concentration camps. Tesla was murdered—by Benjamin Franklin, apparently—so his discovery of black-box free energy could be suppressed. Scientists who rediscover free energy or the cure for cancer are always murdered, and their labs burnt down. The new pope is called Benedict. Contrails did not exist in Spiritman’s childhood. All of which suggests that this psychic’s view of the past and present is about as reliable as his view of the future.
Happy New Year, everybody. Even you, Joseph.