I do believe that there are people who have certain gifts that the rest of us don’t have, or at least don’t recognize. I had a friend I worked with at one time who, several times, said he believed something was going to happen to somebody else in our circle, and it did. Two occasions come to mind: Three mutual friends were going fishing on Lake Roosevelt in Arizona, and he told one of them, “I really wish you wouldn’t do that. I’ve got a bad feeling about you being out on the water today.” Unfortunately, that same friend stood up in the boat to reel in a fish and fell overboard and drowned.
The other time I remember, when we both got to work, he asked me in the parking lot if I had seen a female coworker that day. I said no, but I had not even clocked in yet. He said he had a really bad feeling about her. An hour later, when she still hadn’t come to work, he kept insisting that someone go check on her. One of the staff did, and it turned out she had had a heart attack. Fortunately, she survived. Were these just coincidences? I don’t know. Maybe so. Or maybe he did have some kind of special ability, although he never talked about it.
But I have always had a problem with people who run around calling themselves psychics. I put them in the same category as those who have to tell me how religious they are, or what tough guys they are. Are they trying to convince themselves or me? I’m sure there are some of them who really are gifted, but the vast majority I have run into have just been flakes.
Another friend of mine claimed he could predict things with Tarot cards. Every year, in early January, he would call to tell me all of the things that were going to happen to me or someone in our group of friends that year, and he would write it all down for future reference. Usually, two or three, sometimes four of the things would happen. Like somebody would move, or change jobs, or meet a new lover, and Mike would be so proud because this “proved” his ability. But when I pointed out to him that his other fifty or sixty predictions never happened, he would say that nobody’s perfect.
When I was publishing my small town newspaper in Arizona’s White Mountains, an outfit opened up claiming they were the “Psychic Headquarters of Arizona.” They had half a dozen different psychics, Tarot card readers, and such on hand. As it so happened, their storefront was part of a duplex commercial building and a pet store occupied the other side. The pet store advertised with me, so every week, when I went to get their ad, I would see the psychics doing their thing.
They kept insisting I come over and do a story about them but I told them I wasn’t interested. A couple of times I did wander over to their side of the building, just to see what was going on. All it did was reinforce my belief that while there might be some real psychics in the world, these guys were all flakes and fakes. And, being the smart alec I am, sometimes I couldn’t resist jerking their chains.
I made it a point that every time one of them asked how I was doing, I would respond, “I don’t know. You’re the psychic, you tell me.” Other times I was more of a jerk. For example, I was there one day when one of them was going across the street to a fast food joint to pick up lunch for everybody. He asked one of the other psychics what he wanted to eat, and I couldn’t help but respond, “Why does he have to tell you? Can’t you just read his mind?” Another time, one of them didn’t show up for his schedule and the manager said, “I wonder what’s going on with him?” You know I just had to ask, “Can’t you channel him or something to find out?”
I had to laugh out loud when they had a Psychic Fair scheduled one weekend, and it got canceled at the last minute because they had not paid the electric bill and the power company shut off their juice. The next time they were open, I poked my head in to say that I’m no psychic, but even I can predict that if I don’t pay the electric bill, they shut it off.
I have known several professional hypnotherapists, and my favorite cousin is one and she does a lot of good for her clients. But as in everything, there are plenty of charlatans. The “Psychic Headquarters of Arizona” had a hypnotist who specialized in past life regressions. Why do people who do these past life things always discover that they were once an Indian princess or some kind of royalty? What about the streetwalkers and beggars? How come nobody every revisits a past life and finds out they were one of them?
It’s the same with “spirit guides.” Why is it always an Indian named White Feather or Gray Eagle or some such? If I have a spirit guide, I think he’s a drunk named Ernie, who drove a taxicab in Pittsburgh.
Another member of the psychic crowd was a palm reader who called herself Madame Celeste. She wore garish makeup, had her hair piled up high and wrapped in a turban, and wore hoop earrings big enough that I could have put my arm through them up to the elbow. One day as I was going into the pet store next door, she saw me and insisted that she had to give me a palm reading. I told her I wasn’t interested, but she said it was free, and she had a need to do so. I figured what the hell, and I let her look at my right hand. She traced one line in my palm and said, “This line says you will have a prosperous life.” Then she traced another one and said, “This shows that you are going to have misfortune in marriage twice before you get it right.” (I will concede that she got that one right.) Then she looked at two long lines on my palm and frowned and said, “I don’t know what these mean.” I told her they were not lines, they were scars, and they meant I should stay away from landmines because that’s where they came from. My palm reading ended shortly thereafter.
Thought For The Day – Underestimate me. That’ll be fun.