“My trip to the psychic fair” (Undercover at a paranormal expo)

BROKEN CYRSTAL BALL
Today, I attended a Paranormal and Psychic Fair. Purveyors of otherworldly abilities plied their wares to those seeking answers. My body was in no need of healing, Shamanic or otherwise. My aura dislikes being photographed. My essential oil supplies are adequate. So I focused on a medium.

She was a pleasant enough lady, bespectacled with shoulder length, curling brown hair, probably in her late 50s. I watched her do a couple of 15-minute readings of the persons in front of me. Then it was my turn.

“Would you like a reading?” she asked. For a psychic, her vision of the near future seemed cloudy.

“Well, how does this work?”

“I see, hear, and feel guides and I go in the direction they take me.”

“Do you actually hear a voice?”

“No, it’s more of a presence. It’s sort of a hiss, but it varies in intensity. It’s free-flowing, I just go where it takes me.”

“Who are these guides?”

“They are those who have gone before us.” I’m guessing she meant the dead, not the guys she had just done readings for.

“I’ve seen things like this before, but it seems they lack specifics. Why wouldn’t the dead just come out and say who they are?”

“They say what they want to. They only have certain information they want to impart to us.”

On the two readings I saw, what they wanted to impart were extremely vague superficialities delivered in white noise gibberish.

“Oh, I see. Since you’re not actually hearing a voice or seeing anything, how do you know it’s real?”

“Because they are thoughts that I’m not thinking. They belong to someone else.”

“What percentage of the stuff is right? Do you ever miss anything or misinterpret it?”

“I always tell my clients not to worry about what I get right or wrong.” (That makes for an interesting business strategy. I have yet to hear a mechanic tell me, “Don’t worry about the days your car won’t start.”)

“How long have you had this ability?”

“Since I was a child. I didn’t say anything about it because I assumed everyone could do it. As I got older, I realized it was a gift. People would ask me, ‘Why are you always talking to yourself?’”

“How often do you have these feelings?”

“The senses just come over me, it’s like something that wells up from within. It’s not something I have much control over.”

“What does it feel like?”

“Well, it’s really hard to explain.” Certainly, I had heard nothing that would dissuade me from that accepting that description. Then she added, “It’s all in my head.”

I think we just found common ground.

Her previous reading was on a man contacting his grandmother. I was amazed at the coincidence of a deceased person speaking to her only on the day that the grandson showed up.

She said she could do my grandmother, too. Goodness, two dead grandmothers showing up on the day their grandsons came to the medium!

“That is because you are here to direct her. Without having the focus your presence provides, I would have no ability to pull her from the ether. You serve as the channel.”

And here I was, thinking I had no talent as an ether-snatching conduit.

Piecing this together, the gist seems to be that she filters through static, grabs hold of a mystic middle man, then does what the voices in her head aren’t telling her.

Besides speaking to the dead, she also claimed to be proficient in fortune telling, mind-reading, and general clairvoyance.

“Well, it all sounds good. But I’m still uncertain. I want to be sure this is real before I spend money on it.”

“I understand that, but you will leave here a satisfied customer.”

“Do you take Visa?”

“I do.”

“OK. If you can give me my credit card number I’ll know this is real and that I’m spending my money wisely.”

“Oh, it doesn’t work like that. I can’t control what comes. I just filter and interpret it when it does.”

I knew she was going to say that.

Well, gosh darn it, I came for a reading and that’s what we’re going to get. So I decided to do a reading on her. I didn’t say it to her. I just projected it to her telepathically. As she was psychic, that was sufficient. It went thusly:

“I’m overcome by a strong sense that you are excellent at tossing out generalities that apply to anyone. You are resilient and can gloss over your many misses. When I look inside of you, I see a woman who has significant abilities in using the Forer Effect to her advantage. You have a strong ability to impact those around you, filling them with subjective validation and guiding them toward self-fulfilling prophecies. It’s becoming even stronger. It is clear to me that cold reading is a big part of your past, present, and future. You are decisive, as you will reject the James Randi Million Dollar Challenge paperwork I will offer you at the end of this in-body experience.“

She was a nice enough person, but nothing I saw indicated any kind of paranormal ability. If she has these powers, neither she nor her fellow psychics have employed them when buying lottery tickets. None of the powers were of any use on Sept. 10, 2001.

In terms of seeing psychic ability, the day was a wash. There was, however, one correct vision of the future. She declined the James Randi challenge.

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