I can’t remember another occasion when I have been in a crowd of 1,000 people and felt the atmosphere so heavy with emotion and expectation.
Looking around, the crowd in Chelters town hall was ordinary enough. More than your average number of tattoos perhaps and distinct mother-and-daughter and women-together-in-sisterhood, groups with men in the minority – about ten percent, I guessed. Ages ranged from around ten to 80.
It wasn’t the sort of event I would have paid £21 a ticket for, but they all had. I had the chance of a freebie as a pal couldn’t make it, so I thought it would be interesting to see a stage psychic in full flow.
Sally Morgan had the merchandising spot on. Copies of “My Psychic Life” were available to buy and the show was being filmed for her ITV programme (never watched it so no idea on that).
There was a “legal requirements” preliminary announcement broadcast: “I am required to inform you that tonight’s performance is intended for entertainment purposes and has not been scientifically proven – but as Sally would say, it has not been scientifically disproven either.”
Sally herself is blonde, a tad dumpy and middle-aged with specs and a sparkly tunic over black trousers. A bit like the woman next door on a night out.
She told the audience about the filming “We have about a thousand people here tonight and another three million will be able to see you.” Great.
“It can be jawdropping,” she warned. “I have yet to be let down by spirit.” Note “spirit” singular in the way that birdwatchers refer to “500 starling.” “Spirit” and “passed” both became familiar terms.
Sally is one of the most successful psychics in the UK.
“I’m complete in awe of what happens in my head. It’s the thought that drops in my head and bang – there’s a message there.”
There’s some incoming. Sally asks for a Diane to make herself known. A woman in the audience stands up.
“I have a Marilyn here,” says Sally. Turns out it is Diane’s aunty Marilyn who died three years ago.
“I am happy where I am because everyone is here,” is the message.
Sally knows Diane’s brother died. “Was it the 14th?”
“No but he had the brain haemorrhage on the 14th.”
“They are both here,” Sally tells her. “Julie. Who’s Julie?”
Diane says “Julie’s my niece.. but she’s not passed.” Ah. Moving swiftly on…
Another Julie was told it was her dad, Don who’d come through for her.
“No” said the other Julie “That’s Donna. My sister. We all called her Don.”
Sally was confused for a bit after that. She’d picked up mention of some police activity at a house belonging to a member of Julie’s family. No confirmation of that at all. Well, even if there had been, I doubt Julie would have fessed up in front of 4,000 people (remember the viewers!).
People were finding it very emotional. The woman next to me was in tears already. This was a room where many were seeking answers, still grieving, still traumatised by losing their loved ones. So many tragedies and sadnesses and guilt.
Sally picked up a young man called Andrew crying out “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
A woman in the centre of the hall let out a cry of anguish and rose to her feet in floods of tears, incapable of speech.
“He wants to show me how he died,” said Sally. “He cant stop shaking. He’s saying ‘I called you. I left you a message.”
“He did,” sobbed the woman.
Sally thought Andrew had been found dead two days after taking an overdose but the woman – his mother – said he was found soon after the overdose but died two days later.
“You know I feel so guilty. If I’d gone to see him the night before, he wouldn’t have done it,” said Andrew’s mother.
“No, no,” said Sally. “It was going to happen. He would have done it. He will give you a sign. You will see him in the hallway soon.”
Everyone is moved. This is powerful, rivetting stuff. Entertainment, though? Oh please, not entertainment. That must the wrong word mustn’t it?
John comes through to Sally, calling out for Maureen or Mo. An elderly woman stands with a younger woman beside her.
“He comes and kisses your cheek when you are in bed. You had a fantastic marriage. You had this incredible relationship with your husband. He’s telling me “She was the only woman for me.” He loves you, darling.”
“I know. I know” says the woman, weeping.
Sally got that the younger woman was Maureen’s daughter Tina (also in tears).
Sally: “He’s saying something about changing the tyre.”
The women looked at each other and started to laugh, plainly delighted and astonished.
“You recognise that?”
“Yes” said Mo. “He was putting the car away in the garage and in the course of putting it away, he hit the garage wall and burst the tyre.”
Gasps around hall.
“Oh he wants to make you laugh, Mo. I think that’s lovely.”
Sally moved on to others who came through including a dodgy-sounding young man who had taken the wrap for a burglary and met a violent death. No-one owned up to being the Sean he wanted to contact.
The second half of the show was in similar vein. My pal recognised one of the women who stood up and was given a message.
“She lives in the same village as me, so she can’t have been planted,” she hissed. My pal has been to these shows before but wasn’t particularly impressed with this one.
“I’ve seen her get more right before. I wouldn’t come to a show like this again. I think she’s better one to one, talking about the future.”
The main message I got was that psychic communications – assuming that’s what they were – are very haphazard. Sally would be giving one person information, and another person two seats away would stand up and say “Hang on, that’s me he wants.”
Is it really “entertainment” listening to heart-wrenching personal guts being spilled in public?
It made me feel uncomfortable. It also occurred to me that approximately 985 people who paid £21 for their seat and didn’t get any messages probably went away feeling a little disappointed.