I was 13 when my mom dragged my brother and me to a "psychic." We were visiting family in Malaysia and somewhere amongst a few palm oil plantations was the house of an old woman who claimed to be able to channel Buddha. My mother was enthralled during the hour-long ordeal, during which the woman basically rolled her eyes often so the whites were showing, dropped her voice a few octaves, and made astonishingly mundane statements that could've applied to anyone (examples: our house had ants out front; my grandma was old and having some health problems). Combined with my love of Harry Houdini (who spent the last few years of his life debunking psychics and mediums) and teen angst that made me hate everything my parents liked, the experience left me convinced that psychics were con artists who separated vulnerable and desperate people from their cash in exchange for poor acting.
Have a paper and pen handy. Whenever I get a psychic or tarot reading, I tell myself that I’m going to remember everything and then… I don’t. So grab a piece of paper and a pen (preferably a glittery one – because life is more fun with glitter) and write down important stuff so you don’t forget anything. If something doesn’t make sense right now, it might later.
My first reading was via phone call—the ad said the psychic was offering free mini-readings. She asked for my full name and birthday and Emily's. I gave her the details and almost instantly, she told me Emily wanted me to know that she's in a good place and that she's watching over the family. She also wanted me to be happy too, but my happiness only seems to last temporarily (note: aren't all emotions temporary though?).
I don't think any of these women intentionally bullshitted me. I'm sure they believe they possess abilities to communicate with the dead and tap into people's lives. But, again, out of four psychics—people who claim to have special powers to know greater truths—not one noticed that the very premise I approached them on was phoney. Maybe it's because I sprung for the cheaper ones. Maybe it's because I found them on Kijiji. Maybe I'm fantastic enough of a liar that, like Psychic Three said, I managed to conjure up enough spiritual energy to bring Emily into existence. (I guess there's also the possibility that they all knew I was lying but didn't care because I was paying them.) Or maybe psychic powers don't really exist.
When she mentioned that there had been abuse, I decided I didn’t care if every love card in the deck turned up—the answer was going to be that the relationship was over. Fortunately, the reading was stink-o except for the last card, the ace of disks. That card meant the beginning of good fortune, usually related to finance or work. I told her that Tom was going to bring her nothing but misery, that she had to completely free herself from this relationship because there was a happier future for her if she did. After 10 minutes, we got the signal that her time was almost up, so Claudia re-upped for another 10. After I finished putting a stake into Tom, she asked about someone at work, “Phil,” who seemed smitten with her. That could explain the ace of disks, I realized! But I was worried that Claudia would hop into the sack with Phil if I told her things looked promising. I just said I couldn’t tell if Phil was the one, but that freeing herself from Tom would allow her to slowly find someone better.
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Then I got a call from “Denise,” wanting to know if she is going to get enough money from the insurance company for being rear-ended because she needs the money desperately. I wanted to say, “In that case, hang up the phone!” as well as explain to her that I was an expert on love, not claims adjustment. I laid out the cards anyway. I realized I really didn’t want to give this woman advice, so I hemmed and hawed, and she let her time run out at five minutes.