Kenny Kingston -- psychic to the stars died. I was in Santa Barbara, speaking to a screenwriting group and meeting with investors on a project when I heard the news.
I met Kenny only once, but he ended up having an impact on my life that I never expected.
And to this day, I’m still not sure whether it was a good thing I met him, or the worse.
My meeting with him inspired a short story, Life Lines (which was included in my short story collection -- The Cake is a Lie).
I have to admit that there was a time I definitely bought into the world of the paranormal.
I had graduated from college two years before and my first marriage had already ended.
I was lost.
I needed guidance.
And along came Kenny Kingston.
It was 1980 something, and I was working at a local Television station in Southern California, writing screenplays in my spare time.
One of the programs at the TV station was a daily talk show shot live.
Kenny was booked as one of the guests. His reputation as a genuine pscyhic had everyone connected with the show excited about his first appearance.
He didn’t disappoint when it came time to broadcast the program. On air, Kenny was energetic, charming and straight forward with his “readings.”
But truth be told, even the viewers at home the day of the broadcast would not have known exactly how impressive Kenny actually was.
Part of the show was to take live phone calls from viewers who would ask Kenny something, and he would give the caller a reading on the air. Because the producers could never be sure if anyone would actually call in, they often pre-arranged to have a few employees call in first as if they were real viewers. This was the operating plan on Kenny’s first visit on the show because no one knew how he would come off. As it turns out, the phone lines lit up a few minutes after the show began, which was impressive (remember this was all happening pre-Internet).
Despite the phone lines being stacked with real callers, the producer of the show inadvertently went to our employee-ringer as one of the first calls.
Kenny’s response to the employee-ringer’s query was very specific, citing details of his personal life, how he had been recently behaving and what he could expect to have happen in the future as a result of his actions.
I was astounded by Kenny’s response. There was no way he could have known the person he was talking to was an employee at the TV station. And what Kenny spoke about was so detailed and spot on about this employee’s private life that it was chilling to hear the words come from his mouth on live TV. After the phone call, I watched as the employee rushed from where he had made the call… to the station’s restrooms… where he threw up in the toilet.
Yeah, I’m not kidding you, it was that eerie how close Kenny came to nailing this guy’s life.
After the show was broadcast, I met with Kenny.
I was working on a paranormal script and wanted to get some background info on his personality, his way of going about his business, etc.
But there was no doubt I was extremely curious about what he could “see” concerning my own life.
We talked for an hour. I learned a ton of things about his experiences, growing up, interacting with movie stars, and living the life of a psychic.
Only as I stood up to leave did the conversation eventually turn to me.
“Don’t you want to ask anything about yourself?”
I sat back down and admitted that I did want to know what he had to say about my life.
So how did he do?
Not too bad.
Two very important aspects of my past he was able to read with specific and accurate details. And when it came time to predicting my future, he ended up getting one thing right, but one thing wrong.
At the time, his reading was really impressive.
But as the years have gone by, the one thing he got wrong… ended up profoundly changing my life.
Which is the reason I don’t believe in psychics.
Of course, if Kenny had known about how he had inspired a short story and the way it ended... he would have had something to say while he was alive.
Now that he’s on the other side, I bet I’ll someday hear him whispering in my sleep -- “You’ll see. I’m going to end up being right.”
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