Wiccan Chefs and Ghost tours, why woo makes anything more marketable

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May 30, 2013 by kittynh

Paranormal is popular.  It’s why a group of men videotaping in a dark building will have higher TV ratings than a group of academics in good lighting telling us the history of a building.  The men videotaping in the dark are looking for ghosts.  The viewer will also gets a short history of whatever building or area is being investigated, but most people tune in for the chance of a cheap thrill along with their history lesson.

Better hope I'm not having  PMS when I make your meal.

Better hope I’m not having PMS when I make your meal.

Dawn Hunt is a kitchen witch.  No, not the kind  your grandmother used to hang in her kitchen for good luck.  She’s a real witch.  She has a restaurant in, where else, Salem Massachusetts.  She was picked to be on the Gordon Ramsey show “MasterChef”.  While I don’t mean to be critical of her cooking abilities, I’m guessing since it’s reality TV, maybe her being a Kitchen Witch  in Salem had something to do with her being picked.  Hunt was recruited to be on “MasterChef” as they show was looking for someone to represent the “pagan community”.  Salem Wiccan chef is as pagan as it gets!

Hunt believes that the emotion of the chef permeates the food prepared.  When speaking about preparing chicken soup for yourself when ill she says “As you are stirring that soup, your intention is that soup is going to make  you feel better.  That’s what you’re thinking and the energy that you’re putting in.  That energy comes out of you and goes into whatever your’re doing.”  Of course a soup made by say Campbell’s can’t have the same healing power as a soup made by loving hands with healing thoughts.

Hunt sells oils and dips, all prepared with only happy thoughts I hope!  I can’t imagine the trouble that could be brewed if an employee comes in with a hangover or in a bad mood!  The problem with this “pagan chef” is that her food mojo can work both ways!  I might rather have my dipping oil prepared by an emotionless factory in Sicily than take a chance on a witch having a bad day.

Let's face it, if she wasn't an angel, no one would even listen to her play the cello...(Beardsley)

Let’s face it, if she wasn’t an angel, no one would even listen to her play the cello…(Beardsley)

I have a friend, Jeff Wagg, that gives incredible tours of the world and also hosts the “College of Curiosity” each year.  Read a review here.  I don’t know who made the suggestion, but Jeff was encouraged to do a tour of the area where the conference was held this year.  It’s the beautiful South Loop area of Chicago, filled with history from Chess Records to the Fort Dearborn massacre.  I suggested “make it a ghost tour!”.  Ethically that rather leaves a skeptic in a bind.  Does one support superstition, or can one give a ghost tour in a way that promotes history and learning?

I’ve been on a lot of ghost tours.  I’m a skeptic and the words “Historic walking tour” makes me go “Oh I can do that on my own”. The words “ghost tour” makes me sign up in a minute.  The best ghost tours are mostly history, with ghosts as fable and myth thrown in.  Truly boring ghost tours are just ghost stories badly told.  Most ghost tours are a lot of fun, and honestly, fun and history wins out over just history even for this die hard skeptic.

The chance of coming face to face with a ghost makes anything more exciting! (or me just shaking out a sheet trying to make dust orbs for Travis Roy)

The chance of coming face to face with a ghost makes anything more exciting! (or me just shaking out a sheet trying to make dust orbs for Travis Roy)

A good ghost tour brings up things like what makes a place spooky?  Richard Wiseman covers this in his book “Paranormality“.  A ghost tour is a great time for educating people.  Why is an 1890’s mansion spooky and a brand new glass high rise not? Why are we scared of the dark, and poorly lit places, and not bright places?

One of the best ghost tours I went on had everyone pull out their camera’s to take photographs of orbs.  Everyone captured an orb or two, and the guide explained why the orbs everyone photographed were not ghosts.  These days the most professional of the ghost hunters agree orbs in digital photographs are only proof of dust, rain and snow.  Orbs are not proof of anything paranormal.  The tour group had a great time, most of whom for a moment or two believed they had a digital contact with the afterlife.  Everyone took it in stride when they found out they hadn’t, and talked about going home to tell someone that “believed” the truth about orbs.

"Ghost adds the sexy to history!"

“Ghost adds the sexy to history!”

So why does the paranormal sell?  Is it that elusive chill you get when you think there just might be something to wiccan cookery or ghostly stories?  I think that skeptics sometimes lose the chance to promote skepticism via the public’s interest in the paranormal.  Ghost tour or skeptic tour?  It’s all in the name, a witch in Salem is going to make it onto TV and a ghost tour just sounds like more fun than a “Historic Walk”.

Any chance for education should be embraced, even if it’s educating using popular paranormal as the bait.

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