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Follow the Cheese
Monday, November 29, 2004
Notes from my time in New Orleans:
I arrived in New Orleans on Sunday, and my initial plan is to show the VMGCS to one of the Neville Brothers or one of the Neville sisters or Neville children. I always imagined you couldn't swing a dead cat in this town without hitting a Neville.
Turns out they are harder to find than I thought.
So I drive instead to the French Quarter and Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo. Laveau was born in 1783 and was a renowned practitioner of Voodoo in New Orleans for decades, until her passing in 1881 at the age of 98.
I take the VMGCS to the very room in her house where she died. A young woman with a nose ring and purple and pink hair, takes $35 from me for the deluxe package -- psychic impressions, palm reading and Tarot cards.
After a few minutes I am greeted by Reese who leads me to a private back room. I tell Reese only my name. I do not tell him I am a reporter or what I have in the briefcase.
"I'd like you to tell me about the journey I'm on," I say before we begin.
"Let me have your right hand," he says.
He cups my hand in his. Then he turns on his tape recorder so that I will have a permanent record of our session. It is included in the deluxe package price.
"Good afternoon Jim and welcome to Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo, way down yonder in old New Orleans. My name is Reese and I am going to read for you today. I'm picking up that you are a very analytical person. You are a people watching person. You get a big kick out of it. They never cease to amaze you, what they are going to do next. You have a lot of fun with that. The crazier they are, the more bizarre they are, the more you get out of it."
I try to remain impassive as he continues.
"You like to gather news, facts and information. It is very important for you to gather news facts and information. If the television is on you will look at the news, you will read the newspaper, you will pick up a book. Your mind is like a steel trap. It is forever trying to pick up facts.
"Also you are very intuitive and you are a very old soul," he continues. "This is not the first time you have been on the planet. This is another one of your lifetime journeys. But you know all that already don't you?"
I nod yes.
"I'm picking up that you don't take too many people too close to you very often. You test them out very well. They don't even know they are going through it half the time. When you decide they are okay you take them into your life."
"Also, you are a bit of a crusader," he says. "You will help anybody for a good cause, especially the underdog. The person who people think are not worthwhile, you will jump in and help them. If people don't like what you are doing, you don't care about that either. You are going to do what you want to do. God has blessed you with the ability to always see the big picture in life where other people can't."
"Okay, now let's see what we got," he says, turning my hand over to examine my palm. "Have you ever had your palm read before?"
He starts pointing out lines in my hand. "This right there," he says, "that's called the Girdle of Venus. That means you should always be lucky in love. When one person leaves another person enters. Has that been so already?"
"Well, I do see that you will be lucky in love. You have a very good sex drive."
Now, he's onto something.
"You are very powerful. You are very powerful in your own way, but you're subtle."
Wow, this is spooky.
"You go around the back way to get things done, but you know how to work it. You know how to get things done."
At this point I'm not sure if he is still talking about my sex drive or my nature at work, but either way I'm okay with it.
"You like the theater, you like the arts and you like good music," he says. "You feel like you need to be in service to the world. You are also very intuitive. You have some psychic ability about you your own self."
"You get feelings about things and if you don't second guess yourself, nine out of ten times you will be right on the money," he said. "You know that, don't you."
"Oh, yeah. Absolutely."
"Also you are very romantic. You love romance. You do a lot of thinking with your head, you do a lot of thinking with your heart. But ultimately your heart does get in the way. Also you do have a good head on your shoulders. You are very smart."
This guy is amazing. He predicts that when I am 45 I will reinvent myself ("You will come out stronger and better than you ever have been.") and travel ("I see you going to Europe.")
"Your life line is long and good. You should live to be pretty old if you take care of yourself."
The Tarot cards were more of the same.. ("In the past you've felt sorry for yourself, now get off the pity pot because it is just going to leave a ring around your backside.")
He asks me if I have any questions. I tell him I am on a journey, that I am driving cross country, and is there anything I should look out for or anything in particular I might encounter along the way.
"Is this your car or a rental car?"
"Okay, you have to watch out for tires. I see some tire trouble around you."
"But it's a Cadillac." I ask about people I might encounter.
"I don't see somebody bad around you, but don't be too trusting."
I then open the briefcase and show him what's inside. I ask what he feels or sees or can divine from it.
"Oh, there's a face in it. Right there."
I tell him about how Diana Duyser made the sandwich ten years ago and now sold it to an online casino, GoldenPalace.com.
"This is very interesting," Reese says. "I don’t know how that person got in there. But that truly is a face, that truly is a person. I don't understand it."
I've stumped the psychic.
"Do apparitions sometime appear in food?"
"I don't know about that, but it is something. Let me think about it." He closes his eyes and tilts his head back for at least 30 seconds.
"Did the woman who did this ever lose a child? The woman who made this -- what is it, it looks like a piece of toast."
"It's a grilled cheese sandwich."
"Did she ever lose a child?"
"No, not that I am aware of."
"This looks like a child who may have tried to come to her. The child doesn't look that happy, either." Pause. "It definitely is a child. It is trying to come through and tell her something. She might be worried about this. But that's what I am picking up that she may have lost a child at one time and that she has always been sad about that child. But that child is okay, that's what I am getting. It is definitely a child's face."
"She thought it was the Virgin Mary."
"No, I don’t think it is the Virgin Mary," Reese says. "You sure she never lost a child?"
I said I would have to double check.
"I just think it is someone from the other side letting her know she's okay," he says. "It is somebody who just wanted to get her attention."
"But you said the child has a sad face," I remind him.
"But it's okay now," he says.
I ask about the phenomenon of apparitions.
"Spirits will get your attention anyway they can," he says. "They want to get your attention. They want to be around you. They don't want to be forgotten."
He once again carefully studies the grilled cheese, moving his hand slowly over it.
"I think it is a child she always felt sad about it," he said. "It could also be somebody in her life who passed away around her and is trying to get her attention."
"So it may have been a child around her," I ask. "A sibling or someone?"
"She sold it for how much?"
"I love it."
My session ends. I call Diana to tell her about the psychic's impressions.
"He thinks it's a child," she says skeptically. "I don't think it looks like a child."
A silence ensues. After a few minutes, however, she confides something she hadn't told me before. Although she has always described herself as an only child, she did, in fact have a sister. Her name was Joyce, and she died when she was just nine days old.
Could this be Joyce trying to contact her from other side?
Diana said she doubted it. I told her I would give her more time to think about it.
Is this the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich or the Joyce Grilled Cheese Sandwich?
Clearly, I need a drink.
I head into the Krazy Korner Bar on Bourbon Street.
More on that later.
posted by Jim DeFede at 2:47 PM