Friday, July 17, 2015

Wikipedia: Esther Hicks' PR Page

Esther Hicks 2009 / Flickr

Esther Hicks Versus Wikipedia

The trustworthiness of Wikipedia as a resource for objective information has been questioned, almost since the online encyclopedia's invention. Their page devoted to Esther Hicks is a yummy banquet for doubters of the online encyclopedia's reliability.

Recently, news stories exposed tactics used by some of Wikipedia's volunteer contributors that boost celebrity standings by messing with history as if rewriting a problematic novel.

None of the so-called volunteers were paid by Wikipedia. They were paid by the public relations firms the celebrities hired to spruce up their images.

When I read that story, I remembered how sad it was to see how badly the encyclopedia misrepresented Esther Hicks' story, skipping more facts than inserting untruths, but deliberately legitimizing her by anointing her claims as unquestioned facts.

Going back for a fresh look, I found a situation even worse than I remembered.

Some History

Struck by the extreme nature of "truths" claimed by Esther Hicks and her husband Jerry, who died in 2011 - but never on their website, I began researching their history, sharing with other skeptics and, more significant, talking with people who worked with them and knew them well.

Few public figures are in private what they seem in public. That's obvious. We all have our public and private faces. With celebrities like Esther and Jerry Hicks, the contrast can be considerable. In few such situations is the difference as great.

I followed a conversation thread on Wikipedia, at a time when Esther Hicks' popularity was soaring, where a representative from the Abraham-Hicks organization relentlessly argued for a positive portrayal of the couple. Her nearly religious zeal seems to have worked, the result being an encyclopedia page that isn't just inaccurate, but turned to a virtual ad for Abraham-Hicks Publications.

Inaccuracies are posted as truth and Esther Hicks' claim to channel "Abraham," a group of "nonphysical entities" is verified by Wikipedia with actual quotes from "Abraham," as if the editor actually spoke to the spirits personally.

The thrust of the encyclopedia page is straight out of the Abraham-Hicks playbook.

Forget for a moment the question of why a celebrity whose presentations are claimed to be enriched by "infinite intelligence" needs to fudge the records, but ask yourself what an encyclopedia is supposed to do.

I always believed that an encyclopedia is a reliable source of factual information on a topic or a person, objective and well-rounded. In this, Wikipedia fails, at least with Esther Hicks and other subjects diluted by public relations.


Wikipedia's Romance with Esther Hicks

I started out with an advantage. Having researched Abraham-Hicks over the years, the gaps in the stories, the contradictions and dubious claims are mostly well-known to me. Wikipedia takes the Info-romance to a new level of dishonesty.

To be clear, neither Esther Hicks nor anyone else in the Abraham-Hicks organization is responsible for what appears in the online encyclopedia. Wikipedia is. If the organization has insufficient controls to ensure accuracy and reliability, the flaws aren't confined to Esther Hicks. 

Let's start with the obvious untruth in the first sentence. Esther Hicks, Wikipedia tells us "...is an American inspirational speaker..." That she is not.

Rather than the Tony Robbins style presenter this makes her appear to be, Esther is much more like an medium presiding over a mass seance. After a brief prep before a live audience, she pauses to take deep breaths on stage that usher "Abraham" into her brain. She calls this, "letting them in." She no longer speaks as Esther Hicks, according to her, but as "Abraham."

The concept of Abraham is squishy and has changed over time, but Esther Hicks' claim is that this group of roughly one-hundred nonphysical entities (dead people, including Jesus) coalesce to deposit "blocks of thought" in her mind, which she then, faithfully if unwittingly, interprets live. 

That's not inspirational speaking. That's mediumship and spirit channeling. 

Since we are not concerned with Esther Hicks' credibility here, we will leave it at that. Wikipedia throws its own credibility in the gutter with a major misrepresentation in the first sentence.

Next up is a spurious claim that adds to its inaccuracy by what it leaves out. "In 1980," Wikipedia tells us, "she married Jerry Hicks, then a successful Amway distributor."

Jerry was certainly not "then a successful Amway distributor." That's a puff. The truth is that Jerry married into that success with his fourth admitted wife. With the end of that marriage, Jerry's Amway "success" went away. 

Shoring up Jerry Hicks' credibility, Wikipedia continues, "In his early life Jerry Hicks had been a circus acrobat for two years in Cuba, and then, beginning in 1948, had toured for 20 years as a musician, MC, and comedian." 

All this comes from claims made by Jerry and Esther Hicks in the few interviews they granted. No one has been able to independently verify them, and when the Independent followed up on a suggestion from Jerry about another celebrity with whom he'd been acquainted during his performing career, Rip Taylor said he'd never known Jerry Hicks. The comedian added that he remembered everybody he met.

A Conversation with Spirits, as Reported by Wikipedia

Probably the most startling section from Esther Hicks' Wikipedia page is this one:

"Jerry and Esther never used the word channeling," Abraham clarifies. "It is used when applied to them, but they have never used it, because it means many things of which they are not, you see." 
"You could leave the channeling out of it. Call it inspiration; that's all it is. You don't call the basketball player a channeler, but he is; he's an extension of Source Energy. You don't call the surgeon a channeler, but he is. You don't call the musician, the magnificent master musician, you don't call him a channeler, but he is. He's channeling the broader essence of who he is into the specifics of what he is about."
Note: There is no caveat here. Wikipedia is quoting directly from "Abraham," as if a conversation with spirits had actually taken place. In reality, these words were delivered by Esther Hicks, posing as the alleged channel for spirits she has named, collectively, "Abraham."

Wikipedia has verified Esther Hicks' claims without a shred of doubt or skepticism - or proof.

As a funny aside, you might find it useful to know that, early in her channeling career, Esther Hicks spoke with an eerie accent when performing as Abraham. That's a little strange, since she said she was interpreting blocks of thought delivered by the entity, not surrendering her vocal chords. She has since dropped the accent, no explanation offered.

Conclusion


There's more, including Wikipedia's casual claim that Esther Hicks has "...co-authored nine books with her husband Jerry Hicks," when she has said that at least the first law of attraction book was virtually forced on her by Abraham and Jerry insisted that no editing is allowed by their publisher, Hay House, is misleading at best. 

In explaining the dust up over Esther Hicks' being edited out of The Secret, Wikipedia happily accepts the Hicks' version of events without question, concluding the entire encyclopedia page as a marketing coup for the spirit channel.

Have you experiences with Wikipedia you can share, pro and con?

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