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A Memoir By Philip Smith

Running with Scissors meets Bewitched in Philip Smith’s hilarious and profound memoir about coming-of-age in 1960s Miami with a decorator father who discovers he has the power to talk to the dead and heal the sick.
Lew would constantly read Philip’s mind, including his most intimate thoughts. Believing that Philip also had psychic abilities, Lew would teach him secret healing skills. Philip, however, wanted none of this and truly longed for a father who would mow the lawn and fall asleep in front of the TV. As a teenager, Philip sought to escape his mystical household through sex, surfing and Scientology. 
In Walking Through Walls, an astonishing memoir, much of which is based on actual audiotapes and testimonial letters of his father’s incredible healings, Philip Smith, warmly recounts an often bizarre and always magical childhood that seemed more like the Addams Family than Father Knows Best.
After a full day of creating beautiful interiors for the rich and famous, as well as dictators and mobsters, Lew Smith would come home, take off his tie and get down to his real work as a psychic healer who miraculously cured thousands of people.
For his son, Philip, watching his father transform himself, at a moment’s notice, from gracious society decorator into a healer with supernatural powers, was a bit like living with Clark Kent and Superman. The strange Smith household was a cross between Lourdes and the set of Rosemary’s Baby, where séances, talking spirits and exorcisms were daily occurrences, and inexplicable psychic healings resulted in visitors suddenly discarding their wheel chairs or being cured from cancer


It was late July.

The summer mangoes had dropped from the trees and were lying rotting on the ground, ripped open by feasting bugs and birds. Their intoxicating sweet smell mixed with the heaviness of the night blooming jasmine. This languid perfume created a thick, rarefied atmosphere that at times made breathing difficult. In Miami, nature is often a mix of colorful abundance and dark decay.

This evening, I was walking home from a friend’s birthday party. We had listened to the new Rolling Stones’s album “Aftermath” then turned off the lights and pretended to make out with the nearest girl. Some party. But then again, this was 1966 and I was only fourteen.

It was long after eleven. I should have been home hours ago but was having too much fun to leave the party. As I approached my father’s house, I realized that I had forgotten my keys. The porch lights were on, my father’s car was parked out front but the house was completely dark. He must have gone to bed early.

Not wanting to startle him, I knocked somewhat timidly. A tornado of mosquitoes brought on by the summer rains swarmed around my head.

I knocked again, this time louder. “Pop, it’s me, open up.” No response. Not hearing any movement from inside, I became concerned that something was wrong. I decided to walk back to my friend’s house to use his phone to call my father. As I turned to leave, I heard the front door’s deadbolt click open. Relieved, I spin around ready to greet my father and apologize for coming home so late.

As I stood there, the front door remained closed. I was wondering if the sound I had heard was just a very loud cricket or a buffo toad looking for a mate. Then, ever so slowly, like in some black and white horror movie, the door began to creak open. From the shadows emerged a tall man with grayish skin. I had never seen this guy before; he had the stature and demeanor of Lurch. Without any introduction, he looked at me with a cool stare and said in a flat robot-like voice, “We are currently in communication with the master souls of the eleventh plane. Your father is deep in trance and cannot be disturbed.”

Lurch began to back away and close the door. He then paused and asked, “Why did you even bother to knock? After all, you are your father’s son. Haven’t you learned to walk through walls yet?”