Dead never means dead in Hollywood, which, I have discovered, is the Lazarus town of the west. The promise of connecting with loved ones on the Other Side is ever alive, and an enormous volume of programming is devoted to it.
They don't say the word "dead" here, though. Ever. It is a too-dramatic-sounding syllable; too final. They say "passed over", which is more in the spirit of "just nipped into the kitchen to put the kettle on".
And when you want to contact a loved one in said kitchen, you only have to talk to the right people – any number of psychics, whose speciality is conveying messages from the next room in order to comfort those left behind.
If you want to experience how the more glamorous corners of the other side operate, Psychic Hollywood is the show to watch and leads the field in its ability to contact the star-studded heavens.
Take Farrah Fawcett's best mate, Alana Stewart. She was worried Farrah might be feeling her friends had let her down and might be a bit stung about Michael Jackson's death taking the limelight away from her own. She was also writing a book and wasn't sure if it would meet with approval.
Well, not to worry, psychic James Van Praagh was able to to talk to Farrah directly and come back with answers.
No, she didn't feel let down, no she didn't mind about Michael Jackson, and she was thrilled about Alana's book. Lucky, that, because it reached the top of The New York Times' Best Seller list. I wonder what would have happened if Farrah had replied in the negative; something tells me that Alana would not have shelved the project, psychic or no psychic.
Just to be on the safe side, James took Alana to a quiet place, where her friend told her: "Just scream at me in the air like you've been doing." This she did. Loudly. "It was like being with her!" cried an excited Alana. Phew. I'm glad I was never at Farrah's place for a barbecue.
Psychic Hollywood also features Derek Ogilvie, who goes by the title "baby whisperer". A man called Ryan came to him because his two-year-old son Max was scribbling strange pictures and words. Derek sensed "strange energy around the genital area" and was able to ascertain that Ryan had "intimacy issues". Derek wondered if he had been molested, but it transpired that Ryan had once had a tumour in one of his testicles. Somehow, from this melee of information (and I'm still not sure how the connection was made), Derek and Ryan pinpointed the intimacy issues as having stemmed from Ryan's childhood, when the family dog had to be put down. I am now wondering whether any issues I have had might be traced back to when Sally our Chihuahua and Tara our poodle paid their last visit to the vet's. It might explain a lot. Or not.
Derek sent Ryan and Max off to the park, where they were to address the intimacy thing that might explain Max's drawings. After a group hug, Ryan tried to strike up a conversation. Max, however, had other ideas. "Plane!" he cried, pointing. For poor old Ryan, it was like pulling teeth. "I try to talk about the relationship issue ... you just wanna look at aeroplanes," he said, sorrowfully. "Plane!" said Max, pointing to the sky once more. Ryan reported back to Derek that he thought Max wasn't understanding what he was getting at. He's two, for goodness sake! I'm over 50 and I wasn't getting it, either.
Derek's speciality as a "baby whisperer" is helping people "use old knowledge for modern times", and one aspect of this is clearing away negative spirits to make room for new energy. Having failed with Ryan (who he claimed had not done what he asked him to), he moved on to Mark. "We're gonna start off by sageing you," he said, an operation that required calling forth the Archangel Michael, who would open Mark's mouth and push the jagwar spirit (whatever that is) through his body.
"Archangel Michael, push deeper into his body!" he cried. "Lock him down, angels! It's really time for you to be who you've come to be!" I don't know about Mark, but I was exhausted. Mark insisted that he felt an "emotional connection" and something leaving his body. Miracle of miracles, Mark suddenly felt his fears subside and able to face life head on.
Quite what Farrah and Michael in the next room think about it all is anybody's guess; but I suspect they are both in a safer place than a world inhabited by the likes of Derek and James.
To read Jaci Stephen's LA diary in full, go to lanotsoconfidential.blogspot.com