Supernatural: The Mentalists
September 23, 2021 6:31 AM - Season 7, Episode 7 - Subscribe

An estranged Sam and Dean cross paths while working to solve a curious case in the most psychic town in America.


Radio announcer: Mediums are dying in Lily Dale, the most psychic town in America. So if you want to know your future, stick to that 900 line, 'cause is it me, or should those guys have seen it coming?

Waiter: We're 100% locally sourced, biodynamic, and you get a free affirmation with every order.
Dean: Think I'll source a taco joint.

Waiter: You are a virile manifestation of the divine.
Dean: [to Sam] What the hell did he say to me?

Chief Bramberg: As of 9:00, our tip line had 46 calls, all from clairvoyants that "know what really happened".
Dean: What's the popular theory?
Chief Bramberg: It's a toss-up between a ghost and some sort of ogre that only attacks Russians.
Dean: Policing Lily Dale sounds fun.
Chief Bramberg: It was either this or Los Angeles.

Jimmy Tomorrow: [the brothers are at his occult shop] You're looking for... something.
Dean: You're good.

Sam How many crystal balls do you figure there are in Lily Dale?
Dean: Somewhere between 50 and all of them.

Dean: [digging up a grave] I feel naked doing this in daylight.

Dean: There's, uh, fake whoo-whoo crap, and there's real whoo-whoo crap.

Dean: [about the ghost's bones] They were in the bed?
Sam: Yeah.
Dean: I can't believe he was boning her.
Sam: Dean.

Melanie Golden: I'm off the clock. Also not psychic.
Dean: ...
Melanie Golden: What? It's an honest living.
Dean: Interesting definition of "honest."


The title of this episode is from the TV crime show The Mentalist, starring Simon Baker.

The two ghosts are named after real people: Margaretta Fox and Katie Fox, also known, with their sister Leah, as the Fox Sisters. They are sometimes credited as the founders of America's 19th Century Spiritualism movement. Their home was moved to Lily Dale in 1927. Ironically, late in life, both Margaretta and Kate were outspoken critics and debunkers of Spiritualism.

Toward the end Melanie pretends to read Dean's palm and says, "Well, answer's hazy. Try again later." The Magic 8 Ball fortune telling toy (popular since 1950) had 20 possible answers, one was, "Reply hazy. Try again."

Upon finding that Margaret Fox's grave is empty, Dean says, "Geraldoed." In 1986 the TV tabloid journalist Geraldo Rivera shamelessly hyped his upcoming live TV special in which he would open a secret vault (actually a cement sealed room) in the basement of a hotel once owned by Al Capone. The highlight of the 2-hour live broadcast was not the discovery of dead bodies or fabulous riches but just an empty room.

At the end of the episode, Dean says, "Forget it, Sam. It's Lily Dale." It's a play on the line from the 1974 Jack Nicholson movie Chinatown, "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
posted by orange swan (6 comments total)
I liked the nuance of some of the psychics being actual psychics, and some being merely cold readers/con artists, and I love how stunned and horrified the fake "psychics" were when anything supernatural started happening to them.

Sam kills an ordinary human in this episode, and seems to have no compunction about it. Granted, the guy had used supernatural means to kill a number of people and was completely unremorseful about it and actively trying to kill more, then tried to kill Sam, so Sam was justified.
posted by orange swan at 6:38 AM on September 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm fascinated with psychics and cold readers. 'Shut Eye' was a great tv show about a criminal cold reader who started getting real visions. John Shiban (a writer and exec producer for Supernatural and TXF) ran season 2.

The bending spoon thing is a thing. Gallium spoons will just dissolve, but nitinol* spoons are cast pre-bent, and straightened. When warmed up, it'll resume it's bent shape. There's also just the straight-up illusion/ prestidigitation version.

*another thing that was discovered because of a nicotine smoking habit; cyclamate (an artificial sweetener) was discovered by a smoker not wearing gloves/ washing hands when working in the lab. Nitinol was developed for missile nose cones, some joker took a pipe lighter to it and discovered its shape memory property
posted by porpoise at 7:23 PM on September 23, 2021

Very cool, porpoise.

I'd love to be able to cold read. I think it would be a handy skill for general life, not for psychic reasons.
posted by sardonyx at 8:00 PM on September 23, 2021

Cold reading is like stage magic in that I don't believe in the thing it's sometimes pretending to be, but what it actually is is SO much more interesting anyway, and fantastic to watch done really well. Fanfare put me onto In & Of Itself earlier this year, and I enjoy having no idea how the hell anything in it worked.

I feel like Sam would have some sympathy for winding up with the white elephant version of psychic powers. But if you are a for real for real psychic and literally the only way you can imagine making money off it is a stage show in a town full of other professional performers, maybe the only plan B you can think of is capturing a ghost to kill your competitors one at a time until I guess your boring show is the only one people are left with.

Between Jo getting dragged into that Osiris nonsense and Ellen having enough visibility into the Winchester psychodrama du jour to noogie Dean from beyond the grave, the Harvelle afterlife does not seem all that restful.
posted by jameaterblues at 9:10 PM on September 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

The show probably just used camera tricks for the bent spoon thing (and some rando fake psychic wouldn't afford it on the chances of losing the prop).

I'd love to get my hands on some nitinol, but it's a bit pricey. Huh, there's some pretty affordable nitinol wire on ebay, but the cheap stuff looks super dodgy. Or are a nickel/titanium alloy but with no memory. And "cheap" is like a few bucks for a paperclip made of the stuff. The legit stuff looks like $20-40 for a paperclip or a (very small) spring. And those are all 45-50'C+ activation, not the formulation that will change back at 37'C (body temp) or below.

I'm not entirely sure how one "forges" the memory shape - it could be proprietary and even more expensive/ requires equipment - so wire is kind of useless since once you heat it, it'd just turn back into a straight-ish piece of wire. I'm thinking making (house/ lock) keys out of wire, set it, then bend it into a random shape so virtually no-one would suspect that tangle of wire is actually a key. Take a lighter to it, or stick it in your armpit et voila - key.

Oh, absolutely sardoynx. I'd love to learn to cold read but I'm pretty sure I don't have the knack of it - it seems like a very extrovert (who can pretend to be an introvert) skill even though I have a broader background than I look like which helps knowing what to ask/ what specific stuff to bs about in response - in a surprising manner. Similar to "code switching" but with a deceptive bent.

jameaterblues, yeah, there certainly the "real stuff" of cold reading and then the popular/ lazy conception of it.

Oh! That Ellen. Having brought her back in the imaginary/ alternate Bobby+Ellen ep cross my already addled wires and I thought that was referring to Dr. Eleanor in the mansion and I was all WTF?.
posted by porpoise at 9:36 PM on September 23, 2021

A while back, I found an online copy of a book called "Swami Gimmick by Corina: Thirteen Steps to Mentalism" (published in 1968) which addresses "Questions and Answers (Readings)" in Step Eleven, but I haven't actually gone through the book yet. One of these days, I'll get around to it, but even then, as you said porpoise, I can pretty much guarantee I don't have the knack to read people (as is evidenced by my entire life's history of interacting with people). I would just love to be able to get a better sense of how people are truly reacting to what I say. Like you, I've got a broad background and can talk about pretty much anything, and I have no problems asking people questions, but my ability to judge their reactions is a lot weaker than I'd like. That's where I think a skill like cold reading could come in handy.

Yeah, I have no idea why Ellen and Jo don't deserve a peaceful afterlife.

I'll have to check your recommendation. Just skimming over the FanFare discussion makes it sound interesting. Thanks.
posted by sardonyx at 8:05 AM on September 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

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