Last year, my foodie pal, Jolene Mannina, rang me up to tell me about Dinner with the Dead, and by the time the call had ended, I knew I was in.
Here’s the skinny… Thomas John is a psychic medium who’s been seen on such shows as Dr. Phil and the Real Housewives of New York, and been profiled in publications including the Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair; as a result of his accurate readings and celebrity following. Just as a frame of reference, a one-hour private reading with Thomas will run you upwards of $1,000; and the wait for such an appointment is longer than a year.
A few years back, he created Dinner with the Dead – an intimate (10-12 couples) dinner party, hosted by Thomas. Since 2013 he has hosted hundreds of these dinners, all across the United States; and now, he’s brought them to Las Vegas, thanks to a residency he’s established with the Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay – which, given the Foundation Room’s unique décor (baroque-n-roll by way of India, with lots of outsider art); it’s an ideal setting for Dinner with the Dead
There, guests are escorted down a long hallway to the private dining room (better known to longtime denizens of Las Vegas nightlife as the “Hip Hop Room” at Michael Fuller’s long-running Monday night party, Godspeed), that is lit only by a chandelier and candlelight, with ethereal music playing in the background.
At the first such dinner, in Las Vegas (last Friday night), I was led to the room, and immediately bumped into my darling Kay Maddox (literally… Bumped right into her. I mentioned the room was lit by candles, right?). Kay was there with her husband, Matt, and our friends Jayne and Tom Kelly; and the five of us took over the far end of the long table. Places had been reserved at four places around the table, for Thomas to stand among his guests – including both heads of the table, and a space on either side, at the middle.
I’ll admit, while open to spirituality, the occult, witchy things, etc., I don’t necessarily buy everything I see or hear, and am familiar with the methods of chicanery, cons, and cold-readings that such things usually entail. Consider me a skeptic who’s willing to be persuaded into believing. So, while I walked-in thinking I’d come and check it out, I left thinking either this guy was legit, or he’d done an insane amount of legwork about my background, in preparation for the night.
And while many of the guests cried at one point or another, I did not. I was hoping to (I love a good cry), but alas – it wasn’t to be; mostly because my reading was totally positive. Here’s what happened. He came to the part of the table where my group was, and said “Who’s Margee?” Now, my grandmother’s name was Marjorie; but everyone called her Margee. So I said “Uh, that’s my grandmother.” “Your mother’s mother.” “Yes.”
"And you two were particularly close. You had a very strong bond." "Yes, we did."
So now, I’m in.
“She’s with someone whose name starts with J.” “Yes. Her husband, Jay.”
“And they lived somewhere surrounded by water?” “Yes, in Seattle.”
“It wasn’t her first marriage… Or his… But they were each other’s true love.” “Actually, yes; they were.”
“She wants you to know that they are very proud of you.” “Thank you. I know.”
And that was that, until a few minutes later, when he’d moved around the table to the next group, and looked back at me and said “Breast cancer?” “Yes.”
Now, your typical charlatan does a cold-reading, and says something like “I’m getting an M. Do you know anyone whose name starts with an M, or an mmmm-sound?” Odds are, everyone knows someone whose name starts with an M. But Marjorie is not a particularly common name; and Margee even less so. Likewise the letter J (although, seeing as his name was Jay Jacobs, he was like J-squared). The thing about water was 50/50 (they spent their time between homes in Seattle and Rancho Mirage; but identified as being from Seattle); but the breast cancer was spot-on. Not sick, not cancer, not even posed as a question. Just “breast cancer,” as a statement. So, yeah - he kinda nailed it.
A few notes about the evening. Thomas, when communing with the spirits, often concentrates by closing his eyes. Unfortunately, many of the guests get so emotional that they can only nod their answers, and a guest seated nearby will have to say “His eyes are closed. He can’t see you. Speak up!” I found myself in this role, a few times throughout the night.
Know too, that the five-course meal was lovely – especially the Sundried Tomato Scampi and the Pumpkin Crème Brûlée – and that everyone left, having experienced something. What that something was varied for each of us. Me? I definitely wanna do it, again!
Thomas John’s Dinner with the Dead will be returning to Las Vegas, in February, to continue the residency with the Foundation Room; so, if you’re into such things, I highly recommend going. At the very least, it’s a good meal in a setting with a very flattering lighting story; and that’s something that we can all appreciate.
Dinner with the Dead | Thomas John
Foundation Room | Mandalay Bay
Click HERE for info
Get into it!