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Opinon: Science or religion

All Hallow’s Eve has finally arrived. Legends and myths would have us believe the veil between our world and that of the spirit is the thinnest during the witching hour of Halloween.

Also remember daylight savings time ends, so fall back and observe the one-hour time change on Saturday night.

Seances and nighttime visits to cemeteries are popular, if illegal, adventures for Halloween night. It should be noted that graveyards are surrounded by fences to keep things in as well to keep them out.

I’m not sure if the COVID-19 will keep the children from trick-or-treating this year. I’ll be ready with candy, just in case!

When I was in high school, there were a few area AM radio stations that were our favorites. As the 1960s transitioned into the 1970s rock-and-roll eventually morphed into the era of the disco. We listened to KYNO, KARM and Madera’s own K-HOT radio stations. My mom, QuoVada, enjoyed listening to K-HOT, too.

One day, while listening to disc jockey Ross Thornton, I heard him attempt to call a famous astrologist for an on-air interview.

When he was unsuccessful, my mom called him. In those days the station phone was 674-8888. They broadcast the number to be used for requests, dedications and on air games the channel hosted. She told him she was a local astrologer and if he would provide her with a few vital statistics she would give him a thumbnail sketch of his personality based on his sun sign.

He gave her his birthday and year. During the next segment she did some quick calculations and then presented him with an on-air personality profile.

Thornton enjoyed the experience so much, they worked it into a regular weekend radio show titled “Astro Analysis by Quo Vada!” This intro, with spooky background noises, is still remembered by fans of her show. I often hear it when I meet somebody who was a fan of the show.

Her show consisted of 12 segments where she gave a brief outline of the week ahead based on the monthly Sun signs. One more thing she added to her report, announced the name of a local “celebrity,” whose birth sign was the current month. By celebrity, I mean notable locals like former football coach and then Madera High School Principal Bob Warner.

Gathering the sign suns of notable people was the most difficult part of preparing the scripts for her show. During this time, asking a person “What’s your sign?” served as a classic pickup line. It still is for many cheesy, low rent Lotharios. As a conversation starter, that’s not too bad an opening line. If the person you are trying to converse with is interested, they might answer with one of the 12 Sun Signs. Other answers might include, “Stop, Yield,” or my personal favorite, “Slippery When Wet!” This response will indicate the level of interest for getting to know the Enquirer.

My gang of girls and I spent a lot of time collecting birthdays and Sun Signs for almost everyone we met. Alluding that my mom might announce their name on the radio helped to increase weekend listenership.

I also got to hang around the K-HOT studios while my mom taped her show. Meeting local radio DJs such as Chuck B. Wesley, future judge Charles Wieland, and of course Ross Thornton was pretty heady stuff for a high school kid.

The down-side of my mom’s new notoriety was the way the local clergy reacted to her show. Raised in the Church of Christ on Central and North B streets, she found the pastor of her church less than pleased when a member of its congregation appeared to be trafficking in the paranormal.

“Things like astrology, numerology and even playing with a Ouija Board is a science to be studied, not a religion to be believed,” she said.

She and a group of like minded friends also had a Theosophy group that met once a week. This group explored various doctrines with a knowledge of God achieved through spiritual ecstasy, direct intuition or special individual relations, especially a movement founded in 1895 by Helen Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott 1832 -1907, according to Google.

She also received private requests for more detailed Star Charts from fans of the show. She would chart the position of the planets based on the date, year and the exact time a person was born. Using the ephemeris of position of the heavens at the moment a person was born, she gleaned precise personality traits and a possible glimpse of what life path that person should pursue.

I never knew what these personality profiles contained, as she maintained strict client anonymity. One of my greatest regrets is that my mother passed from this life before the advent of the personal computer.

Between tracing family trees and her work with astrology, she would have loved the Internet.

Be safe this Halloween, and may you have long days and pleasant nights. Have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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