Friday, March 9, 2012


Death and Psychics

YEARS ago — panicked, on the cusp of 30, between jobs and wondering where life would take me — I consulted a psychic. I remember staring at the sea of green carpet in her home as she addressed the usual concerns.

She told me to marry Mark, the man I was living with, that I would have a son and a daughter, and that my future with them would not be in New York City, contrary to what I had long assumed.

Finally, I asked the question I really wanted answered: “When will I die?”

This weekend's Modern Love column is a lovely read, and starts off with a brush with a psychic. Any good brush-with-psychic stories? (If you're short on access to good psychics — and to take this down a dark and awkward path — Googling "when will I die" yields DeathTimer and DeathClock, among other things, and which, for instance, have me pegged for July 23, 2055, and October 30, 2073, respectively. DeathClock also has an interesting left-sidebar poll.)

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my british ex-husband's mother was a "psychic" - I put the term in quotes, because although her predictions for him (which were the only specific predictions she made) came true often enough, I think it was ultimately because that was their dynamic. As in, she couldn't communicate with him in a loving way about what she wanted (because he was a grown ass man) so she would tell him "ooohhh, i see in your future you will do x, y, and z" and he would be like "oh, ok" and then, sure as shit, those things would happen, but I think he subconsciously obeyed her, and that was her way of controlling him.

BUT, the BEST psychic thing she did was this: she came to stay with us when we lived in California. We'd always been a-ok, her and I. Never a problem. However during this visit things started to change. The mister and I had worked through a little aggravation/misunderstanding when I got home from work (nothing huge, just went to our room for 20 minutes or so to figure it out) and after this she pounds on the bedroom door to ask to speak with him. When he goes out, she starts yelling at him that we created a "black wave of karma" in the house and that he was miserable and needed to leave me. They get in a huge fight, I try to intervene, but she then just unloads on me that I'm the reason he's on antidepressants (nevermind the fact that he'd been out of work the previous 2 years, and started playing online games instead of job hunting) and that she always knew I was jealous of her connection with him. Eventually she gets packed onto a plane back to England by my former spouse, and he refuses to talk to her for the next few years.

The funny thing is: the previous day, she had done his "psychic reading" and had told him that he would soon be severing ties with a very important woman in his life. :-)

Vera Knoop

@teenie Wow and yikes and I'm so sorry. This makes me incredibly grateful for my MIL, who merely has trouble expressing her anxieties and claims she had a dream about whatever it is she's worried about happening.


@teenie That's the best modern "If you fight, a great kingdom will fall." prediction I've ever heard.


@teenie Is this Mr. Mad At You About Babies? Because if so, I predict that you won that break up. By which I mean, think, not predict.


@PistolPackinMama haha, yes, it's the same asshat who wanted to break up with me for someone who would give him a baby. and yes, i think i definitely won that breakup :-)


@teenie Yep you won. 100%. (I would predict that new fiance does NOT have a crazy psychic mother, and is therefore even more awesome?)


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher yes, the only type of mother he has is a slightly overbearing but well intentioned Italian mother, who I get along with very well (we bond over martinis on the reg). he also told me within 2 months or so of dating that he knew I was frightened he would also want to leave me for my possibly baby making issues, and told me "I love you, and I want to spend my life exploring the world with you - whether children happen or not, you're my love" and I was all **melt melt melt** so he wins in so many ways.


@teenie **swoon** I die.


this is such a good post @t

Vera Knoop

I hope it's the later date, not only because you'll live longer, but because it's probably fun to be a newbie ghost on Halloween.

Porn Peddler

My boss used to be a medium and is still involved in some of this...kind of thing (I don't know the correct terminology) and she has occasionally spooky things to say about the people around her. She thinks she knew I was coming based on a drawing she had done a few days before she hired me :O


@Third Wave Housewife Being a real psychic would have to be the pits. "Hi, hon. Just wanted to tell you to wear your seatbelt, because you're gonna be in a car crash tomorrow." "How do I not be in a car crash tomorrow?" "Oh, you can't avoid it. Just buckle up. Love you!" ":/, mom. :/ to the max."


@wharrgarbl Reminds me of the SNL skit about the psychic who predicted trivial things - "you will cross the street to get a coffee! THEY WILL BE OUT OF DECAF! (dun dun dunnnnnnn!)"

hamster baby

@Third Wave Housewife did you ask to see the drawing? i really hope you asked to see the drawing.

@tortietabbie yes! christopher walken!

Porn Peddler

@hamster baby it had my face in it. i remember little else but it totally had my face in it.


@tortietabbie Hahahahaha! We routinely quote the "you will find your car keys..." line, as we can NEVER find the car keys where we left them :)


Lately, I have been seeing Eagles at fortuitous moments. Like, high anxiety, did I make the right choice moments. And when Eagle shows up, it's a good omen. So I guess there are a lot of psychic, reassuring eagles in my world?

That or the DDT is finally out of our water system and they are surviving past the eaglet stage.


@PistolPackinMama haha, as a skeptic who is also an environmentalist, I think it's the latter!!!


@PistolPackinMama Good omens aside, this reminds me that "eaglet" is one of my favorite words ever.

Vera Knoop

@PistolPackinMama But what quadrant of the sky were they in? And flying in which direction? This is essential in interpreting the omen properly! Uh, so I've heard.


@PistolPackinMama I always see Monarch butterflies, but sometimes it's a warning rather than a good omen. Like, one time, I had one land on my windshield while I was on the highway (how many butterflies are chillin' on the highway?!) and then my brakes gave out immediately afterward. But sometimes, like you said, in moments of high anxiety or sometimes when I'm feeling down, a monarch butterfly will just flutter on by.


@teenie Either way, I think its a big win. I am on vacation at the North Shore of Lake Superior (well, writing at the...) and yesterday a massive adult bald eagle went flapping past the picture window of my cabin out over the water. Like, la la la la, NBD, here I am, being Eagle.

And I was a funeral recently and while waiting for the casket to be brought from the church, a juvenile bald or mature golden was cruising the air currents over the gathered crowd. Just, circling, circling. It waited for the last people to leave the church, and then coasted off to do its Eagle Business. For that particular funeral, it was especially appropriate.

Kind of awesome. And also becoming more and more every-day. So the every-day majesty of the whole thing is very heartwarming.


@Vera Knoop Um... usually moving across one's range of vision, actually. Yesterday's eagle was going from East to West, out over the water.

And another one, also going across the visual range of my windshield, higher up, from NW to SE.

And another one just hanging out in a tree directly in front of me.

There are a lot of eagles, or one very sociable eagle, in my neighborhood.

Vera Knoop

@PistolPackinMama The quadrants was an ancient Greek thing; I've just always thought it was cool that they had a whole system.
We don't get eagles where I live, but we get lots of hawks here at the northern tip of Manhattan, and it always gives me a thrill to see them.


@klemay The monarch wasn't an omen. It cut your brakes.


@PistolPackinMama Are you sure you're not seeing a Party Falcon?


@Ophelia That's a whole different kind of omen.

A Party Hangover Omen.


@PistolPackinMama I think the eagle thing means you are the secret queen of... Rome?

For me, it's weiner dogs. I'm always seeing portentous weiner dogs.


@PistolPackinMama You are an ASSASSIN. Time to go into hiding!

hamster baby

a psychic once told me that i would fall intensely, passionately, head over heels in love, but that my lover would die unexpectedly at a young age. i did and then eventually went on to wish him dead so close enough, i guess.

but! she also said i'd get a second go-round. any day now...


My aunt is a professional psychic.

Death Timer says 1 October 1945 which seems like an unreasonably short life (58 years?) and Death Clock says December 14, 1976 which seems more reasonable (91 years) because that's how old my grandmother was when she died. When I change it to "nonsmoker" though it gets unreasonably long (104 years . . . but you never know I guess). I think Death Clock has a randomizer though because I did it four times and only got 1976 twice.

Edith Zimmerman

@Ellie Are you ... from the past?


@Edith Zimmerman Or a zombie?

hamster baby

@Ellie you were standing on your toilet, and you were hanging a clock, and you fell, and you hit your head on the sink ... ?


Welp, clearly it's too early to remember that it is the 21st century. How embarrassing!

Atheist Watermelon

@hamster baby ... and conceived the FLUX CAPACITOR!!! win.


I've always wanted to go to a psychic, but I never have. Partly because I'm sort of embarrassed that I want to do it. And also partly because I don't want to be told things I don't want to hear.


A psychic told me about 5 years ago that nothing much would happen to me really, and she was right as nothing much really has.
Although she was right, I feel a bit let down.


@teaandcakeordeath That is... that is so great but also I'm sorry?


@tortietabbie I went to a psychic with my high school best friend. Friend went in first (while I waited outside) and was with the psychic for 45 minutes. When she came out, she hinted that they'd gotten into some pretty deep things. She also mentioned that the psychic basically told her that she and I would soon "have coldness between us".

When it was my turn, the psychic gave me about 5 minutes of the standard, "There's a guy who likes you? And he's got dark, no, uh, light hair?"

Interestingly, within a month or so of the psychic visit, high school friend and I ceased being friends. So, either the psychic nailed it with my former friend (and totally ripped me off) or I just repelled the both of them to the point that neither really wanted to spend much time with me.


Ha my life sounds so disappointingly lame. Ticking along has actually not been so bad but now Im kind of tempted to do something ker-ker-ker-azy.
(I think spelling crazy like that validates my point)


@teaandcakeordeath It will probably all come to naught, and you'll have the must mundane adventure of all times. Like, you'll go on vacation and try hitchhiking, and you will get picked up by a retired British conversation librarian and her historian husband (area of expertise: the non-naval use of citrus fruit in the UK), who are on their way to the local museum of non-creepy dolls and office supplies for a good look-see.


Oooh! For me that's like running away from boulders with Indiana Jones.


whoa, i got 23 extra years of life simply from being an optimist vs. being "normal." same height, weight, everything else.

robert anton wilson was right.


@madge But on Deathtimer, I lose 10 years by drinking 3 alcoholic beverages/week? When did 3 drinks/week become "heavy drinking"?


@themegnapkin yeah, that's weird. especially since everyone says that ONE AND ONLY ONE cocktail/glass of wine per day is optimal for women.

Atheist Watermelon

@madge Apparently I will only live to the age of 60 because I'm a pessimist... Just because they didn't have a "realist" button. sheesh.


My mom is slightly psychic. She gets hunches and feelings, mostly. She's also very superstitious. I don't know, it's one of those things that I don't really question because she's my mother and I love her and it's harmless.

She also feels persistently like she has cheated death, but I'm with her on that one. There was something about a misdiagnosis of cancer and liver biopsies and a lot of time in hospitals when I was a kid, and she's fine now, but she didn't expect to live this long. And one of the things that was actually great about moving back in with my parents was just getting to spend time with her as an adult and hear stories and learn things. Something I didn't expect to be able to do.

oh no now I'm tearing up at work SEND HELP


My dad's mother (who I called Memere) was a psychic, but she didn't charge people money for it or anything. I think it was really just that she was more in tune with her intuition than most people, but she would sometimes meet my friends and already know weirdly personal things about them (that I couldn't have told her because I didn't know myself). She could also tell what you were thinking/feeling, so if you were upset, there was no use trying to hide it from her.

She always refused to make predictions about peoples' futures, though. Something about not wanting to make people think they can't change their fate, etc.

Anyway, she was a great lady. My "brush with a psychic" was "having an awesome grandmother" is what I'm trying to say.

Lily Rowan

@klemay I have a Memere! But she is not psychic, just awesome. French Canadian?

Daisy Razor

@Lily Rowan Yay, French Canadians! I had a Memere, but my mother refuses to let her grandkids call her that because it makes her feel old.

Lily Rowan

@Daisy Razor Aw! I think my mother would be a Memere, but I am a failure as a daughter.


@Lily Rowan @Daisy Razor Yay, French Canadians indeed! My mother also sadly refuses to be a Memere, and I don't know if I'm quite awesome enough to hold the title of Memere if I have children who have children. :(

Lily Rowan

@klemay Of course you are! And/or will be.



Through work I've had the opportunity to meet a variety of psychics, mediums, intuitives, astrologers, etc. It's amazing how many different approaches there are to giving readings, since I rarely get the same prediction twice. But I'm also not really interested in the future (I'd prefer to make it myself) so usually I ask about what's happening in the present. During the best reading I ever had, the psychic guessed that I'd recently contacted an old friend (which I had), and cautioned me not to pursue that relationship because "when you put out cake, the rats come." She then proceeded to break down every aspect of our friendship. It was really creepy, and it kept me from ever reaching out to this person again--it was mostly that the psychic telling me I had a friend who was toxic made me realize that I'd been thinking it myself. It's kind of like anticipatory therapy.

Vera Knoop

@twolle This is how I (used to, maybe still should) use tarot cards.


@twolle FANCY MEETING YOU HERE. (Unless you're not the Twolle I know, in which case: sorry!)

My great-aunt did astrological charts as a hobby but I have no idea where mine is.


@anachronistique Toooottally saw you here earlier and was like whaaaat. Haha, hi!


@twolle SMALL INTERNETS. Hello! <3


@twolle Anticipatory therapy is such a good description of how I perceive psychic readings -- good psychics are like good therapists, they aren't reading the future so much as they are reading YOU. Which is almost just as creepy. (or maybe that's just me because I am a very, very closed-off person.) I don't know how many times my therapist has just listened quietly to what I'm saying, and then opens her mouth and blows my mind by making a connection I didn't even perceive.


@twolle Yes yes yes to the anticipatory therapy thing, and @Bitterblue, I am also a closed-off person so my mind gets blown similiarly by it. And @Vera Knoop I also use tarot card sometimes this way. The interpretations are vague, but specific enough, that they usually hit on something I was already thinking about my own life.


@fabel YES @ all of you! This is TOtally how I read tarot. Lots of my friends come to me for readings, and no one is asking bonkers questions like "when will I die?" or "will I be rich and famous someday?" Not that those are unreasonable questions, or that tarot readers can't answer them... I'm digressing...

It's a mirror. And while you can ignore stuff that you aren't staring straight at, it's hard to ignore that big zit in the middle of your forehead when you're looking into a brightly lit mirror. Tarot is more of a dimly lit mirror, I guess, but no matter what the cards' images show, you can't look at them without seeing reflections of your own life.

And yeah, I totally think of my reading for friends as a sort of local-economy talk therapy :)


I've never been one for predicting-the-future type stuff (I can never remember my astrology sign even) but lately I've been kind of feeling like the internet is trying to Tell Me Things.

Like I've always been idly interested in making a cross-country trip by train, and in the past month I've come across 4 different articles/blog posts about people who did it and how great it was. So maybe it's Time? Or maybe Amtrak has a really great stealth marketing campaign going on right now. I don't know.


@cuminafterall I think what you have there is a brain cookie with targeted advertising.


@cuminafterall Even if you DO have a particularly refined targeted-cookie-advertising browser, the fact remains that your gut is reacting to what you see. Messages come sometimes from outside of us, but intuition, at a basic level, is just how we react to the world. And in this case, it sounds like your own gut is the one sending the message. Trust it!

I see why a lot of people are skeptical of psychics - lots of people are manipulative jerks who want your money. But we ALL have intuition, and our own selves are the first people we should be trusting in this crazy world. Take a trip! Sounds like you're really primed to have an awesome, enjoyable time :)

Lee Van Queef

When I had just graduated high school, during the summer before I went off to college, some friends and I were out, having dinner and then going dancing. For some reason, the restaurant we were at was letting this lady set up a table to do tarot readings while people waited for their tables. She spent A LOT of time telling me that I was a very sexual being who had not yet met her match, and that there was a dark, passionate man waiting for me. As generic and goofy a reading as it was, it was so hilariously untrue at that moment (I had never even seen a penis before and was still pretty frightened at the thought of doing so). It ended up "coming true" a couple years down the line, not super surprisingly.

It does make me wonder what my fashion choices were like back in that day, though. Fortunately, there aren't enough pictures to remember them by.

Edited to add that now I really, really want to go see a psychic, in the hopes of being told, "Your purpose is power, money. Great acclaim."

Elvis Costello's Spectacles

Well, it's 3pm here and I'm already half way through a bottle of wine, so I don't need a psychic to tell me that this is going to be a good weekend. That DeathTimer was annoyingly pessimistic, though.


@Elvis Costello's Spectacles Yeah, one of them knocked 10 years off for drinking 3 or more drinks per week. Um, really? I mean, that's 3 glasses of wine, spread over a WEEK. Seriously???

Elvis Costello's Spectacles

@Ophelia I think the ensuing stress from NOT drinking that much would knock at least 10 years off my life.

oh, disaster

My best friend begged me to give her $5 at a Backstreet Boys concert so she could ask a psychic about some guy she liked. The psychic pretty much told her he was a juicebox, which I could have told her for free if 15-year-old me was at all confrontational.


OK so a few years ago I was walking from my then-boyfriend's house to the train station. When I was about a block away, an old woman called to me from her porch: "Young lady! Come here." She was seriously OLD, like the kind of old where she could potentially belong to any ethnic group at all, and pretty frail-looking, so I guess I assumed she wanted me to help me move the chairs on her porch, and I went up her stairs. But once I was up there, she just made me sit down with her and took my hand, without any explanation. Our conversation went pretty much like this.
Old Lady (running her finger over my palm): You live around here, yes?
Me: Uh, no.
OL: But I see you around, you are here a lot, yes?
Me: Yeah I guess so.
OL: Mmm. (pause) I can see you are a very strong woman. You don't let a man tell you what to do!
Me: Okay.
OL: Yes, you are very strong, independent woman.
Me: Thank you?
OL: Mmm. But! There is a man that you love.
Me: Yes.
OL: But! He don't love you as much as you love him!
Me: No?
OL: No he does not!
Me: No, like, I don't think that's true?
OL: You will see. You love him more than he loves you.
Me: Okay...
OL: I will tell you what you do.
Me: Uh...
OL: This week is our special prayer week. One special week of the whole year. I will pray for you and for him.
Me: Uh, okay, thank you?
OL: I will light a prayer candle for each of you.
Me: Okay.
OL: You just give me $10 for each candle.
Me: Oh, um, I don't have any money.
OL: You bring me $20.
Me: I have to go.
OL (shouting after me as I take off): You bring me $20! I see you! You're around here all the time, I see you!


@ranran One night, after a few drinks and ending up in Times Square, I stupidly paid a psychic $15 to hear that the reason I couldn't find love was that someone had put a curse on my family for something my grandmother did. The right guy was looking for me, but couldn't find me because of the curse! Which she could remove for one low payment of $200!

Passion Fruit

@ranran "She was seriously OLD, like the kind of old where she could potentially belong to any ethnic group at all, and pretty frail-looking,"

This is a great description; so old that she belonged not to "her people" but TO ALL HUMANITY.


Hmm. I'm good to go either until July 21, 2053 or August 29, 2060. That said, I was born in 1981, and my family has a tendency to live well into their 90s, so I think I'm going to beat those odds.


@Ophelia Yup, same here. My family medical history is veeery short, which is to say, almost everyone is still alive and kicking, even my great-grandparents. If poverty, war, and an abusive husband couldn't kill my Korean grandma (87, going strong) then I don't think those 3 glasses of wine are going to do me in at 63.

Daisy Razor

Do I ever have a brush with a psychic! Nine years ago, I was walking down the main shopping drag in Boston, sipping an iced tea and enjoying the spring sun when a woman pushing a baby carriage and smoking a cigarette tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t usually stop people on the street. I’m a psychic and I see something in your aura.” Thinking she’s going to tell me that my family is going to be eaten by alligators, I looked horrified. “Oh no, it’s not bad,” she says. “It’s just… you have a lot of change that’s about to happen.” Well, I'd just gotten a new job, new apartment, and was dating a new guy, so...okay. Then she said “And I can tell that you’re looking for love. But that’s not what you should be focusing on right now. You have a lot of confusion.” Then she offered to give me a reading, but I had spent my last two bucks on the iced tea.

And that was it. The new guy turned out to be gay, so it's entirely possible that was the disturbance in my aura that stopped her. But I managed to figure that out on my own, so it's probably for the best that I didn't get the full reading.


A palm reader once told me, "You're nervous and you think too much." Can't say he was wrong about that one!


I lived in a former Soviet republic for two years, and I spent lots and lots of time drinking Turkish coffee with various women. Many of them would offer to read my coffee grounds. When only the dregs were left, you swirled them around in the tiny cup, then tipped it over and placed it upside down on the saucer. Once the grounds were dry, they would look in the cup for numbers, letters, and various shapes in the grounds (dogs and birds seemed to show up a lot). These all meant something based on what they saw and where in the cup it was located. I never received any particularly insightful or startling predictions, but it remains a nice memory of my experience there.


@SuperGogo ahh my mom is persian and our elderly azerbaijani neighbor would always insist on reading my mom this way whenever we came over for a visit! she never said anything of huge significance to my mother, but allegedly one time when my mom brought a friend with her, our neighbor totally (inadvertently) outed the friend on some private tragedy she had experienced!

i won't say anything about the validity of the method, but it's also a nice memory (of childhood) for me too!


@mezzanine Yay for cool Persian customs! My favorite thing was that whoever was reading the cup always seemed to see a "road," which was mostly just a spot where the grounds were a little runnier and had created a streak as they dripped down.


@mezzanine Oh, I just remembered! Did your mom or neighbor make you create a thumbprint in the very bottom of the cup to predict how many kids you would have? Also, did they dangle jewelry over pregnant women's bellies to determine if it was a boy or girl? Did they ever yell at you for sitting at the corner of a table--because you wouldn't get married--or on cold stone--because you'd freeze your ovaries?? So many fascinating traditions/superstitions from that part of the world! (Most having to do with making sure women got married and started popping out lots of kids, apparently)


@SuperGogo They used to read my coffee cup when I lived in the Levant (Jordan/Lebanon). Somehow the predictions were always of my future Jordannian or Palestinian husband. At one party, two of the women started arguing about whether I would marry a Jordanian or a Palestinian.


@SuperGogo i sit on cold stone floors and the corners of tables all the time, oh no!

i actually never had my own fortune told because my mom claimed coffee made you short (she's full of that health/bad luck superstitions, not baby/marriage kinds – i think that's more "village" lore? or just not part of the persian folk repertoire?) but our neighbor would always be telling my mom about how she would have a little boy, just like she wanted, because of X thing that showed up. and my mom would always smile and go oh okay! even though she a. never wanted any boys, just 2 girls (which she had!) and b. totally had her tubes tied after i was born because "the baby factory was closed" hahaha!

but hey, no one is right 100% of the time, so i'll still give our neighbor the benefit of the doubt! (plus she had a puppy and a pool)!


I once had an astrological chart drawn up and a mini tarot reading by a semi-famous I suppose, psychic/witch who has written a few popular books of spells. At one point, she seemed pretty baffled when I told her I was not involved in the law in any way, neither through work nor schooling. It stuck out to me because if you disagree with something, psychics are supposed to turn it around smoothly and make you ignore the discrepancy, no? But she was genuinely like "Gurl, that makes no sense."

I promptly forgot about it, but ten years later I'm working towards a degree in Criminology and do research for crime novelists. Sooo, either she was on point, or I'm very slowly susceptible to suggestion?

nevernude cutoffs

@JessicaLovejoy I had a highly regarded psychic/witch give me a reading when I was in high school, just about to go to college. She asked who the writer in my family was, who always kept journals (which was me). And then she was like, oh- but you're a graphic designer. Which is what I was going to school for. She got a lot of career stuff right, about my friends too.

She also told me "Do you know a Brian? He's a nice guy." I'm still on the look out for that dude...

Vera Knoop

@nevernude cutoffs Maybe she was just a huge fan of My So-Called Life?


@Vera Knoop Brian WAS nice, but, come to think of it, also a little passive aggressive?

nevernude cutoffs

@Vera Knoop She must have been, since I was heavily into Jordan Catalno at the time. But every Brian I've known since then has been full of juice, so she couldn't have been talking about all of them. (ugh especially Bryan)


My grandma went to a psychic and asked her when I (her only single grandchild) was going to get married. The psychic started at some cards for a while and eventually said... She's picky...

Stacy Worst

I have two stories, but here is one:

When my mother was pregnant with me, a psychic told her to "beware of Michaels" (different name). This stuck in her mind enough for her to repeat it to me as part of her narrative while I was growing up.

Years ago, I became involved in an unfortunate relationship with a seriously messed up boy with that name while almost but not quite broken up with my adolescent love, who was also troubled. Around that time, childhood sweatheart committed suicide. He had attempted a few times, but his real breaking point was not unrelated to my sudden distance and what was going on with Michael.

I later found out that Michael had encouraged him, in an almost lascivious way, having read chat logs that Michael sent me much later. The event was probably inevitable but I will never forgive that piece of shit.

Since then I have always felt that the warning was meant more for in-utero me than my mother...


I have never gone to a psychic, but holy shit $150 for a reading is a SCAAAAAM.


My mom went to a psychic when she was young and the psychic basically spent the whole time saying she didn't want to talk to my mom, and my mom should bring her sister in. Nevertheless, I still kind of want to go see one?

Lee Van Queef

@MilesofMountains That is so weird. Did her sister go?


@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas I can't remember, actually. I'll have to ask. I don't think my mom told my aunt. Maybe the psychic really did know something, though, because my mom is pretty no-nonsense and was definitely just doing it as a one-time thing, but my aunt would have been all over the idea of a psychic asking for her in particular.


Does going on a journey to find your spirit animal count?

My bff took me to this gallery in the Gowanus where a shaman (also a marketing director!) took us on a journey to meet our spirit guides and he was drumming this creepy drum at a certain bpm and I was very skeptical until I was zonked out in a spiritual journey trance.

ANYWAYS, my spirit animal is a snake, which was surprising, because I was hoping for something cool like a ~lion~ but I am OK with a snake too. Apparently it means I am super powerful and connected to the universe and capable of great transmutation and I'd like to see this work in the job market?

Most of the other people in the room/on the journey were horses or dogs, so there's that.

Atheist Watermelon

Ok, so I don't believe in psychic phenomena, but I do think that very weird things happen... My mother and I used to call each other at the same time ALL THE TIME (in land line days)- one of us would pick up the phone, and miraculously, there the other one would be. It didn't matter if it had been a day or several weeks since the last call. It used to freak us out! Also the time she came to hear me play at my college senior recital- I had gone to the mall to try on dresses (I was expecting her to arrive in a couple of hours). My mother got there two hours early, and instead of going straight to my place, pulls into the mall parking lot. I usually walked home via a different way, but for some reason felt the urge to walk through the parking lot (I have no idea why)- and saw her car coming from that direction. Both of us stopped and gaped at each other pretty comically.

The best weirdly (creepy) prophetic story I've heard was from my grandparents. During the Depression, my grandfather's cousin had a nervous breakdown and was in a facility, and my grandparents went to go visit her. Apparently she said a lot of unintelligible stuff, but in a moment of clarity, looks at my grandfather and asks how he lost his leg. My grandparents thought it was creepy, but just put it down to her being mentally out of it at the time. A few years later, my grandfather fought in the war- and lost his leg. !!!

Weeeeeird stuff happens sometimes.


@LittleBookofCalm The leg story just gave me the biggest chills!

Two-Headed Girl

I have never been to a psychic! I think it's because I'm more superstitious than I claim, and don't want to be told things I don't want to hear.

BUT! Someone I know once tried to see a psychic for the lols, and got shut down because he had a "disbelieving aura" about him. (I would wager that they took his money anyways, however.)


My mom went to a psychic once who told her two great, true things. The first was that 1968 had been a very big year for her -- the year she graduated from college and got married. (Lest you think that was simple math based on birthdate, my mom went to college when she was 16, not 18.) She also told my mom that there was a huge wedding in her future. "It's so big," she said, perplexed. "I can't figure out why it's so big." It was "so big" because my parents were invited to two major weddings happening on the same day, and had been all in a tizzy figuring out how to handle it.

OK, that was boring? Fun thing? My awesome bachelorette party idea: HOT MALE PSYCHIC WHO AFTER TELLING FORTUNES IS ALSO A STRIPPER.


@C_Webb "I see penis in your future"


My great aunt always claimed she could predict the future. She said three men in the family would die within a year and the last one would be the worst. At the end of the year, my mam called them saying only two had died, to be told that her five year cousin had just gone under the wheel of the tractor.

Mind you, at this great aunt's funeral, my grandmother followed the coffin up the aisle and dropped dead halfway up and no one saw that coming!


I've never been to a reading, as such, but when I was 15 at the Gaeltacht (summer camp to go learn/speak Irish), the woman whose house we were living in predicted (with a crystal on a string) how many children I and my friends were going to have. I was the most fertile out of my friends, and am going to have 3 boys and 2 girls god help us all.


I had my one-and-only reading with a psychic out in Jersey because one of my girlfriends was all, "No, seriously, this woman is MAGIC". And it was... odd. She was adamant that I must be in some kind of profession devoted to helping people (my primary job is as an advice columnist) (although nowhere near as awesome as "Ask a Lady) and that Chicago was somehow significant to me (I was, unbeknownst to anyone, seriously considering moving there at the time.) Possibly just lucky guesses but I still left feeling kind of rattled.


I actually had an eerily accurate encounter with a psychic in the Mission when I was a teenager. It's been about 15 years since I saw her but in that time, about 90 percent of what she said would happen, has happened.


My aunt is an astrologer & tarot card reader. She's gotten a LOT of stuff right for me over the years (even though I'm kind of a skeptic)! Her daughter (my cousin) & I were roomates for a couple of years and I learned reading tarot from her. I used to bring them in to work and read people's cards. Apparently my predictions were freakishly accurate and people started getting a little nuts with it. "READ MINE NOW!" Settle down, people, it's just for fun! I didn't know what the hell I was doing! (if I couldn't remember a card, I'd make something up)
I went to a psychic party almost 15 years ago, and the woman was FREAKY accurate. She told me what I did for a living, that I was unemployed (I was) but that I'd had 2 job interviews & I'd get one of the jobs (I did), that I needed to get rid of my car ASAP (I did and it broke down in the car rental lot as I was driving away in my "new" car), that my mom was healthy but having trouble with her knees (didn't know that and found out later), etc... the only thing she got wrong was that she said my dad (who I didn't/don't talk to) was going to die in October, that I would inherit a little bit of money, and that I shouldn't feel bad about it (getting the money) because I deserved it. He's still alive as far as I know.
With other people at the party (we each went up one-by-one) she actually named names AND outed a pregnancy! It was a seriously bizarre experience, and I've always wanted to go to a psychic again, but it's so hard to know who's legit and who's all Patrick Jane.


@Gilgongo did the mailman die in october?



Library Ghost

I once paid too much to get a reading from a psychic that a few famous people have used (stupid). When the woman finally sensed that nothing she was telling me connected with my actual life in any way, she pulled the old "I've never told anyone this before, but I'm getting a very strong sensation that YOU have psychic powers, too!" She was the worst.


damn. i just hit 'sadistic' on the death clock thingy and it says i'm going to die in ten years. i always thought i'd have a short life...rats.


2028 or 2068....??? So if I make it past 57 I know I've got another good 41 to go...? I don't know that I can trust these results. hhmph.


According to Death Clock, I don't really need to quit smoking (only adds a year) but I DO need to change my attitude from 'normal' to 'optimistic'? (adds 20 years) Okay!


So... I generally don't participate much in online comments because they get so angry and hostile so fast, but the Hairpin is singularly not full of bullshit so I actually feel comfortable diving into this. (Thank YOU everyone who's reading this, for making this awesome webspace!)

I have become a tarot reader in the last year or so, and I've been doing a lot of spiritual work that's been awakening me to my relationship with my intuition. This process is dismantling anything I had previously thought about "psychic" powers or whatever we mean by that.

I saw a few comments above along these lines: psychic sensitivity = intuition, and everyone has intuition (it's your "gut") and some people are just better practiced at listening than others. This is basically my take. And that's what tarot is for me - practice at listening.

I find there are two common sentiments regarding "psychics": "maybe it was a lucky guess but damn that's on" or something to that effect... And at the other end of that same spectrum is: "Tarot cards [astrology/palm readers/etc.] are so vague! Of course you'll say something that people agree with, cause you just say vague things!" And... it makes sense, obviously, because of our culture of skepticism. (I'm not down on skepticism, for real! Separates the wheat from the chaff! Philosophy majors 4evah! Actually the most obnoxious skeptics have always been fellow philosophy majors: "well how do we know our senses aren't /always/ deceiving us? We might not exist at all." ::facedesk:: ANYWAY sorry)

What kills me is that this approach cuts through what I think the actual value of intuitive messages is. Of COURSE it's vague. OBviously tarot cards are vague. Humans tend to be more similar to each other in the important ways than different from each other, so the big issues will always tend to fall into the same set of wide categories. (Like in the Modern Love column cited above, the bit about "your purpose is love.") But! just because it's vague, or it "could apply to anyone!" doesn't mean it /doesn't/ apply to the person getting the reading.

I guess this is, at bottom, a general lament on openness... If anyone goes to a psychic in the first place, it's from a place of openness, however guarded, right? It's just a bummer to watch people doubt it so deeply that they end up writing it off. Or worse, outwardly dismissing it, but inwardly fearing it, and letting it grow beyond reasonable proportions. I guess I just wish that there were cultural space for us to take messages from Spirit in an everyday way, instead of treating them as either nonsense or frightening/threatening.

But as stated in my opening sentence, 'Pinners are pretty open in general, and there's been so much sentiment here that's neither fear nor total disbelief, which is SO NICE to see! Thank you all for sharing it!

And if any Philadelphia 'Pinners want a reading, lemme know :)

Minx Whatmore

@kfizz I am commenting under a different username because I am not as brave as you and also get sick of the skepticism.

My experience/beliefs are pretty similar to yours. It's about intuition and an ability that everyone has, just some have it more developed than others.

Things I do and things other people I know do... I see auras, (a friend sees light around people), I've had a few different psychic/tarot/palm readings over the years and with no prompting have had similar predictions from people in very different places, one particular prediction which has just come true. I feel my spirit guides around me, and loved ones who have passed on. My mum, my uncle, my aunt, two of my cousins and I - and these are just the people I've talked to about it, I have a large extended family so who knows what else happens - all get feelings or thoughts or funny dreams that come to us that then later happen or make sense. In addition I'm an empath so I pick up on what others are feeling or thinking very directly.

If you knew me in real life you would never guess that I (or my family) do this stuff. I'm pretty practical, organised and straightforward in particular. I wouldn't believe any of it except it happens to me so...

'I wish that there were cultural space for us to take messages from Spirit in an everyday way' - 100 x YES.

Be open people :) sure there are some dodgy people out there telling lies, but you know - the trick is finding someone word of mouth and whether you get a good or bad feeling about the person.

Minx Whatmore

@Minx Whatmore Should clarify, a number of things that people have predicted in tarot readings for me were true about me or were events that have happened. A particular event has just happened that was predicted, that's what I meant to say.


The only paid psychic I ever went to told me my life was cursed, but that for 300 dollars she could light some candles etc and, you know, uncurse it. :/

But my husband and I once had our palms read by a new friend. She said he was a musician, a child of divorce, and was very attached to his family. All true, fine. Then she looked at my hand, pointed to a line and said, "Something happened here, there was break from your family, when you were about 12 maybe? Something happened and you became very independent."

And age 12 was when my dad died and I reacted by becoming super independent, so! Hands and stuff. FTW


According to these Death Clocks, I'm already deceased. Thanks, Edith!


I've been to a psychic three times:

When I was 14 my mom took me to have my tarot cards read as a New Year's present. The lady said I would marry a republican lawyer, which seemed weird to me because I was (and still am) as liberal as the day is long and, anyway, marriage was so far off my radar. She even told me his first, middle, and last initials, and that he'd have light brown hair. Thirteen years later, wouldn't you know it, I married my husband, who is indeed a republican, and a lawyer. His hair is light brown, and even his initials are what she said they'd be. Weird.

When my mom took me to have my tarot cards read the following year, the psychic told me I'd die in a car accident before my 25th birthday, but that didn't happen. I was very careful to look both ways that whole year.

When I was in college my cousin had psychics instead of strippers at her bachelorette party, and the one who did my reading saw in her cards that I should go out on a date with her shy nephew. She spent the whole night trying to convince me that he was my destiny.

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