What Would John Wayne Do?

We go to a famous psychic in the bedroom of the Dukes yacht for answers in these troubled times

If you're anything like me, God help you. But while some of what's recounted above might be fascinating—or, more accurately, might have been fascinating 30 years ago—there is one glaring omission: NO JOHN FREAKING WAYNE!

Let me refer you back to that Learning Light invitation that got me on that tub in the first place: "Kenny will give interviews in the bedroom of the yacht and bring through messages from the Duke."

Kingston was gracious, enthusiastic and clearly getting off on the attention. But I—and, as I'd later find out, that camera crew—was there to hear from John Wayne, to hear what America's favorite fictional hero made of these anything-but-fictional times in which we find ourselves.

Kingston finally started to head in the Duke's direction. He said that when he went to pick up that Wednesday morning's Los Angeles Times, the page facing up had a photo of John Wayne staring back at him. The story turned out to be an obituary for Frank Gasparro, the chief engraver at the U.S. Mint, who designed the best-selling John Wayne commemorative medal. When I went to look that story up later, I found out it had appeared in Tuesday's edition. Obviously, the "Psychic to the Stars" has the uncanny ability to conjure up day-old newspapers on his driveway.

Kingston said he met Wayne twice in elevators. The first time was in San Francisco; the second several years later in Malibu. During the second encounter, Wayne enlisted the psychic for personal readings, something Kingston says he did 10 to 15 times. He added that when the dying Wayne made his final appearance at the Oscars in 1979 to present the Best Picture Award, his tuxedo was padded to hide the fact that he'd shriveled.

He was now talking about the Duke at death's door. That special message that put four media types in this tiny cabin was surely coming next.

So Kenny, I asked, can we hear from John Wayne now? Pretty please?

"I don't think I can because of the noise," he said amid chatter conveniently going on outside the cabin door. With that, the Brit camerawoman lunged toward the door, flung it open and shouted, "We're going to need a bit of quiet in here." Some of the book-fair schmoozers, by now heavily sauced, apparently told her to piss off—in slightly less vulgar terms.

Kingston went on to explain that he didn't want to fraudulently put words in the dead Duke's mouth for our sakes. Then he launched into a spirited criticism of some of his younger colleagues, whom he wouldn't name, but let's just say the spirits were shouting the name of Sci-Fi Channel phenom John Edwards into my head.

"I've done psychic readings my whole life," Kingston said. "What disturbs me the most about the current crop of psychics on television is every one of them lets audience members ask the questions. So all they have to do is give answers. Anyone can do that. Asking questions is ridiculous."

Kingston is different because he only asks his subjects to repeat their names three times before he supplies details about their pasts, presents and futures.

"A spirit cannot be churned up," he said—despite the Learning Light invitation that stated he'd "bring through messages from the Duke." "You have to bide your time with spirits."

I tried a different tack. I asked, "If you were in a place a spirit had inhabited while he was a mortal—say, John Wayne in his yacht's bedroom, for example—would it be easier to contact him?"

Kingston's answer: "I've never been in a room with six people where I've felt more comfortable."

Then he lashed out at his psychic colleagues again.

"Psychics do make mistakes," he said. "One problem I have with a certain psychic I won't name who appears on late-night television is that person is supposedly never wrong."

Since it was increasingly clear we would not be hearing from John Wayne tonight, I asked if a spirit—any spirit; it did not have to be John Wayne—had warned him in advance about Sept. 11. Kingston said he does private readings out of his Studio City apartment. He reached into that stack of three-by-five cards and pulled out a snapshot he said was taken during a Sept. 1 séance. He pointed to a blurry image on the photo and said it was Quan Lee, a spirit who's constantly at his residence. Kingston claimed he can produce 12 people who were at that séance who can confirm that while in his trance, he—channeling Quan Lee—said, "bombing, bombing, bombing!" However, the séance participants, who no doubt paid good money to be there, did not press Quan Lee for details. They were more interested in who they'd be sleeping with next, where their careers were going, and what Dwight D. Eisenhower's least favorite word was.

"We are a world that refuses to listen," shrugged Kingston, who added that he predicted in 1999 that really bad things would happen in 2001—the real millennium year.

As for the present, Kingston believes Colin Powell is not being allowed to do what he wants to do to combat terrorism. "I personally feel the administration is putting thumbs on him," the psychic said. "He wants to go faster than they'll let him."

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