Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Neither Rare, Nor Well-Done

I don’t know where to start with this, Enthusiasts, so let’s begin by stating that we all love Phil Lesh. Let’s get that out of the way. Phil, and his family and friends and Friends, and all of his business concerns are tops in all of our books. Terrapin Crossroads is a classy establishment that provides quality food and reasonable prices, and also has a bocce court that hasn’t been pooped on in months.

And as with all people that we love, peculiarities are forgiven. Oversight is overlooked. Bobby keeps showing up at award shows in sandals, and Billy punches dicks, and Garcia’s dead; we forgive them their trespasses, because without these quirks of personality, they wouldn’t be the men they were and are, and make the music they did and do. Phil’s into the occult: so what?

(Now, Phil’s into a Californian/syncretic/cafeteria-style occult, but the right hand smiley path is just as occult as the left hand spooky path. If Phil were British rock star, he would have a haunted castle and produced a failed musical based on the life of Alastair Crowley. It rains a lot in England, so their occultism is all misery and basement orgies; California, as you know, is California, so even the goth kids have tans and everything’s a little more optimistic.)

Phil’s love of the new age (or New Age: I don’t know if it’s capitalized) led directly to the Egypt shows; he championed the trip from the beginning and you know Phil thinks aliens built those pyramids. Phil was also responsible for the side trip to Stonehenge during the ’72 tour, in which most of the band stood agoggle at the ancient monoliths, and Billy dogged a slag from Essex. (The British Enthusiasts will understand that.)

And now Phil’s enjoyment of the esoteric can be shared and celebrated at TXR. On December 11th, Phil’s hosting An Evening With The Dead, which will feature music and a visit with Thomas John, who is an internationally acclaimed psychic medium.

This is Thomas John, displaying the ludicrous plain-tie-on-checked-shirt fashion that has for some reason infected otherwise normal men’s closets.


That guy looks pretty psychic. I’m psychic about these things: I have a sixth sense about who has a sixth sense, and that guy? That guy’s a…well, hell: let him tell you.

Thomas John is a global psychic sensation who has wowed audiences across the world with his impressively accurate messages from ‘the other side’. Hosting sold-out events such as A Night with Spirit and Dinner with the Dead, Thomas John is one of the nation’s most coveted psychic mediums. Bi-Coastally based, his gifts continue to be in high demand with influencers, A-list celebrities, and those at crossroads in life from coast to coast and around the globe.

That’s from his site, and there’s a lot of clues in this paragraph that Thomas John is an actual psychic. First off: psychics hate grammar. Psychics deal with the realm above us, not the petty drudgery of properly placing modifiers. Second: he told us he was, and when has anyone ever said they were a psychic and lied about it? Influencers love him!

Shall we learn more about Thomas John? Straight from the horse’s mouth:

Thomas John, gifted since birth, connected with the spirit of his late paternal grandfather at the tender age of four and correctly described to his parents the location of a missing wrist watch that had haunted the family for years (Grandpa’s best friend Jack had it!). From that point forward, Thomas and his family knew he had prodigious abilities, unlike any they had experienced before. Though born with the spiritual skills to communicate with the dead, he didn’t always embrace them. At the age of 18, Thomas began his studies at the University of Chicago.  Graduating with a degree in Psychology and Human Development, with departmental honors, Thomas pursued research internships at Yale University and The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he was a lead research assistant on studies related to psychopathology and personality. During these internships, Thomas John was the author of three peer-reviewed publications. He was accepted into graduate school programs in medical research, but through the guidance of several of his own deceased loved ones, decided at the last minute to further develop his abilities as an intuitive, and began his metaphysical studies in New York City.

I’m confident that all of this is true. It certainly doesn’t sound like puffed-up half-truths, complete bullshit, and baldfaced lies mixed together and sprinkled with commas. And, sure, the University of Chicago offers a program in “Comparative Human Development,” and not “Psychology and Human Development,” but I’m sure that’s just an oversight.

Oh, Thomas John sells coffee:


How did Thomas John know I yearned to connect with my imagination and creative intelligence AND drink coffee? Well, he’s a psychic, that’s how.

Hey, wanna meet another guy? Sure ya do. This is Tommy Flanagan:


That’s his mugshot from when he got busted scamming people out of apartment deposits on Craigslist. Tommy Flanagan ain’t no psychic: how do you not know you’re getting caught pulling nonsense on Craigslist? That’s like calling in a bomb threat to your high school from your parent’s phone. Anyway, that’s Tommy Flanagan, and like I said: he’s clearly no psychic. I don’t even know why we’re talking about him. Let’s get back to Thomas John, who looks like this:


Much better. Far more psychic. Definitely not a Flanagan, not with those eyebrows.

Besides teaming up with Phil, Thomas John has three main avenues of revenue it seems: speeches, readings, and “Dinner with the Dead,” which is a five-course meal combined with…hell, let him tell you about it:


Now here’s what I would do, Enthusiasts, because I’m not a psychic. I would make everyone pay up front with their credit cards or via Paypal; that way, I’d have their names. Out of 30 people–people with enough money to be going to five-course meals with psychics–I would bet at least half have a Facebook page under their real names, maybe a few Twitter accounts or blogs.

Then, I’d have my Event Coordinator seat the room right: those guests on either side of me that I start the evening off with? I’d know things about them their spouses didn’t know, and I’d start off with a big WOW for the night, so if I fuck up a couple times after that, people won’t remember. There’s going to be a few folks I couldn’t get any info on, so I would try a little cold reading on them, but mostly I would make sure they were sat in between people about whom I knew juicy stuff. Bracket the failure with success, and the failure gets forgotten.

Oh, plus I would have a ringer or two inserted into the dinner, people who work for me and mingle with everyone beforehand and try to get stuff out of them. A lot of times before they meet psychics, people will say–out loud–things like “I hope I get to talk to my father. I miss him so much.” Because I’m not a psychic, I know that people are trusting at heart and want to believe that their loved ones are still safe and being taken care even in the afterlife, that they miss the souls departed with an intensity that makes them do foolish things sometimes, and believe foolish things other times. It’s easy to prey on people’s sadness, and that’s what I’d be doing by pretending to be a psychic.

Luckily, Thomas John is a psychic, so he doesn’t have to do any of the treacherous bullshit I mentioned, but if there were no such thing as psychics, then that’s how it would be done. I would also use that strategy for readings: find out who you are beforehand and then pretend like your grandpa is telling me stuff you posted about on Instagram. I wonder how Thomas John accepts payment for readings?


That’s how I would do it! Just like that! But, of course, Thomas John is a psychic, so I’m sure that this method of payment is simply for tax purposes or another perfectly believable reason.

Do you wanna meet one more person? (It’s getting so you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, but it’s actually a lot easier than it seems at first.) Okay, this is Lady Vera Parker:


Who is not a psychic, or she would not be wearing those shoes. Lady Vera was a popular drag queen in Chicago, an award-winning one.  Again: not a psychic.

Kelly Jacobs, Ricky Botega, and Doug Mennin are not psychics, either. They seem to be aliases. I don’t know what they have to do with anything, so let’s just ignore them and move on.

Thomas John, who is a psychic, has nothing to do with any of those people he used to be, who were not psychics. He can talk to the dead, and–apparently–to the Dead. Luckily, the Grateful Dead’s track record with hucksters and bullshit artists is sterling: it’s not like he comes bearing Ford Cortinas, after all.

Thomas John is a psychic. Just ask him. Or him. Or her.


  1. Your Pulitzer nomination is in the mail.

  2. …he’s aged well.

  3. amazing! both the writing and the txr event. i kind of want to go.

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