History Holocaust Paranormal Skepticism/critical thinking World War II

Adolf, can you hear me?

Since I started this blog, I’ve become aware of all sorts of weirdness and woo. One special category of woo that irritates me is psychics, particularly the ones who claim that they can contact the dead, like Sylvia Browne or John Edward. They are arguably the worst kind of “psychic,” usually using cold reading or some variation of it to take advantage on the hopes of people desperately missing their loved ones who died. Sometimes, however, I learn of a self-styled “psychic” who’s so off the wall that my revulsion wrestles with my bemusement, and it’s not clear which will win. This is one such psychic, and you’ll see why she piqued my interest in a moment.

Meet Sally Baldwin:

Sally Baldwin and her recently deceased sister, Annie Luther, have a message for humanity, and you might want to sit down for this one. They’re pleased to announce that Anne Frank has forgiven Adolf Hitler.

Apparently, Anne Frank is just that understanding.

Baldwin claims to communicate with the souls of the dead, including such luminaries as der Führer, Elvis Presley, Cleopatra, and Abraham Lincoln. Until just a few weeks ago, her sister was also part of the act, until she joined her interview subjects in the Great Beyond.

The sisters and Baldwin’s husband, Steve, all of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, founded the nonprofit Dying to Live Again Foundation in 1999 while training themselves to interpret messages from what they call “the Otherside.” They’ve worked together on self-published books, and one of those, Dying to Live Again, includes Anne Frank’s unlikely pardon.

“I feel no regret to have lived and died as I did,” Frank supposedly told Baldwin. “I do not condemn Adolf Hitler for his actions. I forgive him.”

Hoo boy. I wonder if Ms. Baldwin knows how to speak Dutch. Either that, or perhaps somehow Ann Frank learned how to speak perfect English in the 62 years since her death. It’s good to know, though, that Ann is so understanding, given the rather nasty manner of her death from typhus in the Bergen-Belsen camp a mere two months before the end of the war. Apparently Baldwin’s contacted Adolf Hitler, too, but she’s rather vague on what he said (presumably either Hitler has also learned to speak English since 1945 or she also speaks German):

After a few more visitations from the dead, a reporter asked how Adolf Hitler was doing and what we on Earth should think about his soul.

Baldwin spun her pendulum. “You cannot look on another as tromping on your life and bringing about things that you did not ask for, that you did not want,” Baldwin relayed. “Somewhere in your experience, there was an allowance and an ability for this to happen.”

Is she saying that Hitler didn’t want all that happened? I’m sure he didn’t want the fall of Germany and the utter destruction of many of Germany’s largest cities, but he certainly did want war. Of course, her comment about Hitler’s thoughts is maddeningly vague; maybe she’d get a better signal if she were locked in a room with the Hitler Zombie.

Of course, my bemusement disappeared when I found out that, until her recent death, Ms. Baldwin’s former partner in woo, her sister Annie Luther “channeled spirits” while working for a social services organization:

New Times also attempted to interview Annie Luther, but she was gravely ill and passed away on December 13. At least through conventional means, we would have no chance to ask her about complaints that she had channeled spirits while working for the Children’s Home Society of Florida, a private nonprofit that provides social services including child abuse prevention, group homes, foster care, adoption, and treatment for developmentally disabled children.

For more than three years beginning in 2001, Luther served as executive director of CHS’ Intercoastal Division in Broward County. She supervised about 100 employees and 200 volunteers and worked with an operating budget of nearly $5 million.

Employees who worked for Luther insist that she channeled in the office and that it offended some. But not many were apparently aware that the women believed Anne Frank had embraced her Holocaust experience. One who knew was Bruce Rosenberg, a caseworker, and it bothered him. “Here’s a woman who said she can talk to dead people and thinks Hitler can somehow make amends, and oh, by the way, she’s also dealing with parents who are abusing their children,” he says. “Why would you hire someone that openly advertises this?”

Ms. Baldwin also says some highly dubious things about Ann Frank:

Particularly disturbing to her former co-worker, Rosenberg, however, is the alleged interview with the soul of Anne Frank.

According to Frank as quoted by Baldwin, the famous Jewish girl from Amsterdam and Hitler have had many soul-to-soul contacts in the afterlife. The interview also disclosed that Frank does not really consider herself Jewish but kept quiet about it to avoid being rejected by her family. She also supposedly recognizes that Hitler’s deeds were part of his mind, body, and ego but not his soul.

“I want to make it clear again that I feel no regret to have lived and died as I did,” Frank supposedly said, via Baldwin. “My soul was directing my life, and it wanted those experiences. I do not lay blame on the people who imprisoned me and contributed to my dying.”

“Soul-to-soul contacts” with Hitler? Lovely. (This observation by Baldwin reminds me creepily of what is the most offensive thing I’ve ever seen about about Ann Frank and Hitler.) Ann Frank doesn’t consider herself “Jewish”? Lovely.

My bemusement is at an end. Excuse me while I look for a bucket to barf in.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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