Thursday, September 27, 2018

"Extreme Witchcraft?"

A number of news outlets are reporting on claims by Kimberly Thompson, a former drummer for singer Beyonce Knowles, has accused her former employer of tormenting her with "extreme witchcraft." According to this article from the British tabloid Metro, Thompson made these claims while trying to file a restraining order against the singer. The judge threw out her request, because, quite frankly, her charges are utterly bizarre.

Kimberly was part of Beyonce’s all-girl backing band but has claimed that her breaking point came a year ago when two psychics told her that Beyonce had cast a spell on Kimberley’s kitten, who had been regularly attacking her. ‘I was getting abused. Every time I came home from work to rest, I was just being abused to the point where I’m still healing from a scratch on my rib cage. It drew blood, it was awful. It was so manic and gnarly that I ended up calling two psychics. I got the word from the first psychic and I didn’t want to believe it,’ she told DailyMailTV.

‘So I called later to get a confirmation to make sure, because I didn’t want to believe. They were like the cat has a spell on it. I said what about [Beyoncé] and they were like yes, [Beyoncé] put a spell on the cat and you need to get rid of it right away, otherwise you’ll be in really, really, huge trouble.’ She also claimed that Beyoncé used witchcraft that allowed her to be ‘manipulated sexually’, alleging that the Formation star did this by ‘jumping into other bodies’ to watch her be intimate with partners.

If Thompson hasn't figured it out yet, she's still being abused by these two psychics. When you call up a fake psychic and tell them you're having trouble with a pet, the first thing out of their mouths is almost always "the pet is cursed." Then you say something like "I'm having problems with person x in my professional life. Could they have done it?" and the fake psychic always answers "yes." Then you call up another fake psychic and say "I was told person x cast a spell on my cat. Is that true?" Fake psychic #2 will also always answer "yes" unless they have some other angle. This is super basic cold-reading stuff. I could whip up a version of the old Eliza program on my computer that could do it at least as well.

To apply a little more critical thinking - I've posted here on numerous occasions that in order to become a super-successful artist and musician you have to focus so exclusively on your career that there's very little time to actually learn and practice magick. Even if you have an interest, which most people don't, you have to put in the practice time to get good enough to do much of anything. So the odds that a top-tier singer like Beyonce is a practicing magician are pretty close to zero. And on top of that, a little critical thinking needs to be applied even if we start out assuming that she's a practitioner. What would she have to gain by hexing a kitten?

It is a fundamentalist Christian delusion that magicians cast spells "just to be evil." Literally no magician does that. Many magicians focus on spiritual development rather than practical operations, and nothing like that would hex a pet. Magicians like me who focus on practical work in addition to spiritual work cast practical spells to accomplish our goals. "Being evil" is a bunch of nonsense as a goal. Spells like those the fundies think we cast are high-risk, zero-reward. I do spells that are just the opposite, and let me tell you, hexing somebody's kitten is pretty low on that list. You need at least intermediate-level magick skills to do it, and it's really pointless compared to other things you can do at that level of skill.

The "jumping into other bodies" thing is potentially a little more useful, but it requires advanced-level skills to pull it off which generally means a decade or more of devoted practice plus some natural talent to boot. Beyonce's life has been under a microscope for longer than that, and there's no evidence that she actually engages in magical practices. Getting to an advanced level requires enough work that somebody would have said something credible. So far the only evidence we have is from years ago when she was accused of being "in the Illuminati" because she made a triangle with her hands once during a show. To provide context, the logo of her husband's music production company is also a triangle.

Fake psychics do a lot of damage to gullible clients, and it sounds like this is one more case where James Randi or somebody like him should be put on the case. To be clear, I find Randi to be a smug, dismissive asshole and for the most part can't stand the capital-S Skeptic movement, but it's also true that they have done a lot of good work exposing frauds who would have continued to hurt and defraud clients if left unchecked.

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jmagus007 said...

Aw come on. Everybody knows that Jay-Z and Beyonce are high level magicians in the Illuminati! LOL! I think they let people believe that hoax because it sells records and adds an air of mystery to them. And like most of the planet; this disgruntled ex-employee knows about those rumors:especially after working for her. She's just selling a story to make a couple of bucks. Or she's just bat-shit crazy.

Scott Stenwick said...

I still do think there is a possibility that she is not strictly crazy, but rather really gullible. A lot of people fall for cold-reading - if it was that obvious to people who are not familiar with psychics or the occult, all of the phony psychics would be out of a job.

As for the Illuminati thing, at this point it's all a big joke in the music industry. Everybody involved knows there's nothing to it, but if they can get some breathless media coverage from time to time it kicks up their sales.

You never know, though. This could also be a calculated scheme to make a few bucks, with Thompson laughing all the way to the bank. It certainly gets her name out there - though I'm not sure it's in a good way.