Saturday, 5 January 2013

My Third Eye is Blocked (Fnar Fnar)

A few weeks ago, I went to see a psychic.

The atheist in me wants to immediately follow that statement up with an assurance that I don’t actually believe in spiritualism, of course, I was just researching for a script.

On the one hand, there are so many stories from over the years that it’s hard to dismiss it outright. On the other hand, it’s obviously a load of old bollocks, isn’t it?

Spiritualism (or fortune telling/clairvoyance/mediumism, whatever you want to call it) is so ingrained in British culture that it’s hard for us to shrug it off entirely. It’s in our collective conscience. When people say something is ‘on the cards’, they ain’t talking about blackjack. Brits believe in ghosts and psychics in the same way that Americans believe in aliens and Jedis (not that I’m saying that I don’t believe in Jedis – I’ve seen my brother play Call of Duty, that boy’s midichlorians are through the roof).

I headed off to see the psychic with as open a mind as possible – ready to be impressed by either some sort of magic or some impressive Sherlock-style cold reading. I was also determined to play the whole thing with a poker face in place – I wasn’t going to make things easy for her.

We started 45 minutes late (what sort of psychic can’t foretell bad traffic? You get those sort of ‘vibes’ just by watching BBC Breakfast, for Christ’s sake) and my poker face met its first challenge: not giggling at the repeated use of the phrase ‘third eye’. Apparently my Third Eye is blocked. If I learn to unblock it (some sort of PH-balancing wipe, perhaps?) I could be just as psychic as her. I’m a natural ‘sensitive’. No matter how sceptical you are, everyone secretly wants to hear that they have vast psychic potential. I refuse to be taken in by this blatant flattery.

The next challenge was to not look at her with utter disdain as she attempted to call forth spirits of my departed loved-ones (“I’m seeing someone very stern, with their hair pulled back. Very stern. Stern but loving. Really quite loving, actually...?”) After a minute or so of furtive guessing, I put her out of her misery as kindly as I could. I didn’t want to psych the poor woman out too early on in the reading.

Things lumbered on in a relatively disappointing fashion and I began to realise that, secretly, I really wanted to believe and she was spoiling it for me. She dealt Tarot cards for my past, looked at them blankly and eventually remarked “there’s really not much here” (she had a point there – I had the happiest and most uneventful childhood known to man). My future cards just told me what she expects all young women want to hear from a psychic: I’ll meet a handsome man, everyone will fancy him but he only has eyes for me, blah blah offensive-cliche blah.

With every ounce of my supposed psychic ability I projected “I AM A WRITER” at her. That’s all I wanted, some show of real psychic skill by identifying what I consider to be my defining feature. “AT LEAST PICK UP ON SOME CREATIVE ENERGIES!” I projected furiously. “I MADE IT EASY FOR YOU, I’M WEARING A BRIGHT RED COAT! I AM CREATIVE!” But sadly, that one passed her by. Perhaps the message got caught up in that blockage round my Third Eye.

I was going to come out of this session with even less belief that I’d gone in with. But then, just before I left, something happened. “There’s something wrong with your throat,” she said, looking at me quizzically. This was the last straw. Assuming someone has a sore throat just because they’re wearing a scarf indoors is the easiest type of cold reading there is – and also wrong. I was just chilly. Nowt wrong with my throat. I was about to spoil my poker face altogether with an expression Maggie Smith would be proud of, when she continued. “You feel things very strongly, down here (she grabbed her gut), but when you try to say them they get stuck in your throat and you can’t make them come out.”

That shut me the fuck up. That is, word for word, how I have described my inability to have emotionally honest conversations. I have said those exact words, complete with the same hand gestures, in conversations with people. How did she know that? How?!

I’m sure, if you analyse it, there could be an excuse. Perhaps my expert poker face tipped her off to my emotional coldness. Perhaps it’s something she says to all her clients – after all, we Brits aren’t known for our effusive emotions. Or maybe she really can see people’s chakras (whatever they are).

But it means that I got to leave with some sort of tentative belief, or the hope of a belief, that there’s something else going on. Hell, I’m a writer. It’s far more interesting to semi-believe in impossible things than to live in the real world. And that’s why there’ll always be a business for psychics.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog! I too would just love to believe in this stuff, almost as much as I wish magic, the Loch Ness Monster and Unicorns were real! You should look up some of Derren Browns views on this, it will help trample on your hopes (did for me!) That said, their are enough 'real' miracles to go round. The mere fact you and I are here to say all this is pretty bloody amazing if you really think about it! (and the other few billion of course)
    Just started my own blog recently - link below - it's not what I want yet, but determined to develop it. As part of that, thought I should start perusing others work. Yours happened to be the first I looked at following a comment on tweeter. Anyway, good luck with yours and look after your Chakras!