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Dinner with the Dead’ can unnerve even the strongest skeptic

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Thomas John leads some spooky conversations at the Foundation Room.
Photo: Spencer Burton

I don’t believe in life after death. I don’t believe in ghosts or the “spirit world.” If I may paraphrase Dickens, my skepticism in this matter must be distinctly understood, or nothing interesting can come of the story I’m about to tell. You see, last weekend I had dinner with psychic medium Thomas John. And I’ve got some questions.

The event is called Dinner With the Dead, and it returns to the Foundation Room on February 17 (watch for details at dinnerwiththedeadllc.com). It’s a five-course dinner party for about 20 people, presided over by John, who genially works the entire room. He doesn’t begin by asking anyone’s name or singling out individual diners (and you don’t furnish any information to him beforehand), but in short order, he’s sensing vibes from certain sections of the table (“I feel like I’m over here,” he says) and naming off deceased friends and relatives with uncanny accuracy.

At first, it’s easy to shrug him off: He does a lot of fishing (“Does someone at this table have a father who’s an inventor?”), and people talking about their loved ones don’t bother with poker faces; even a layperson could read those nonverbal cues. But then, John turns his attention to me, and things get weird.

“There’s a woman coming through,” he says. With minimal acknowledgement from me, he volunteers that she was a smoker (“I felt like it was kind of her trademark”) and that we were close friends. He even gives me the first letter of her name and adds that she has a sardonic edge: “She says you ‘don’t believe in this sh*t anyways, ha ha.’” Anyone in the room could deduce that last part for themselves, but the tone of the comment strikes me: John rarely swears during the dinner, but my late friend swore colorfully and often.

Then he says she’d done a lot for other people (she had) but didn’t let many people get close to her (also true). He comes fairly close to using her nickname for me … and most chillingly, he says she’d passed on about 10 years ago. It will be 10 years this August. So, yeah. Weird.

Dinner With the Dead didn’t make me a believer. It would take nothing short of a fully visible, chain-smoking, shade-throwing apparition to do that. But I was terrifically entertained, and I’m curious to know how John knew all that stuff. I may not want to believe, but I’d love to understand.

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