All psyched up

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.

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About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
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13 Responses to All psyched up

  1. Brendano says:

    Good post, Jan. Did you see Derren Brown’s recent investigation of a Liverpool ‘psychic’? The psychic didn’t come out of it too well.

    These psychic shows are a strange phenomenon, and obviously quite lucrative. As a tarot card reader once said to me, ‘there are good and bad hairdressers’.

    I had my tarot cards read three times when I was younger; also, a Sri Lankan Tamil who lived upstairs from me more or less insisted on doing a numerological chart for me. All four, I thought, were revealing and ‘real’. I think there are patterns in the world at large that correspond to patterns in our lives … like fractals.

    • janh1 says:

      Hi Brendano. Yes I did see that programme. The woman from whom he divined the most impressive information lived next door to his own sister!! Funny, that! 🙂 I can’t resist watching Derren Brown – he proves how much you can “get” about people – or make them believe you can – without any kind of psychic phenomena at all! I’m fascinated by the power of suggestion. Such a strong tool to make people buy things and carry out actions they would never normally do.

      I’m not sure how the fractals thing could work but I have had two people tell me stuff that has impressively come true. One was a woman who drew up a proper birthchart – and forecast, three years before the event, to within four months, my mother’s death.

      The other was a psychic guy who lives in Somerset who described perfectly where I lived and what I did and made future predictions – most of which have come true.

  2. IsobelandCat says:

    I find myself being very sceptical about these things. But at the same time I think we can ‘read’ people and situations with an inarticulate part of ourselves which might come under the same heading.
    Have you read Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel?

    • janh1 says:

      You’re talking about unexplained vaguely neurological phenomena? Like suddenly thinking of them and the phone rings and it’s them? Or having a bad feeling about someone or a situation?

      No I haven’t. If it’s good I’ll put it on my GoodReads booklist!! 🙂

  3. My paternal grandparents were both spiritualist mediums, were heavily involved with the Spiritualist Church and travelled round the country to different churches to meetings before my grandfather died. I know that they were paid but it was quite a nominal amount to cover expenses and keep Nana in clothes for the ‘platform’. Nana was always quite sceptical of the charlatans in the business abusing their gift. My mother instilled in us a healthy disrespect of the whole business with Nana’s ‘Spooky Do’s’ and this went on for so many years that by the time I had grown up, Nana knew not to try to steer us onto the conversation. She was never particularly accurate with the rather oblique predictions she did make. Maybe she was better as a medium.

    I do believe that some people have a clairvoyant gift though. It may be that, as Isobel suggests, we all have the capability to read situations or our own instincts and, as your two ladies said, it’s just a matter of how we channel them.

    • janh1 says:

      Hi Sophie. I love that phrase “Nana’s Spooky Do’s”!

      Yes I think the amount of charlatans muddy the waters a bit but the real clairvoyants tend to gather clients by reputation and don’t necessarily advertise their services at all.

  4. IsobelandCat says:

    Beyond Black is darkly funny.
    No, I mean that sometimes it does seem possible to tune in to both people and places. Oh it’s too late to try to get this on paper. I think it’s more a remnant of ancient ancestry, something other animals still have, where your nose or something twitches and informs your without words or articulated reasons, which could be termed psychic. Is that any clearer?

    • janh1 says:

      Blog it in detail, Isobel? An uncle of mine thinks that ancient memories are somehow contained and passed on in our genes. It’s a theory. 🙂

      I have heard about “primitive” tribes where psychic connections seem to be an integral part of path-finding. There are are also psychic connnections between family members and others where someone “feels” something terrible has happened at the same time that a devastating event or death occurs.

      Trouble is, there is so much utter twaddle out there designed to induce the gullible to part with their money that it takes time to find the more genuinely interesting accounts.

  5. IsobelandCat says:

    I think there probably is something in what your uncle believes.

    I walked into a room yesterday thinking about sunshine on a peeling wooden door that I had seen earlier and jumped when someone, as an example of something one might imagine, used a door and went onto describe the one in my head. There is something about shared thoughts; working closely with people and seeing their images in your own head that I have experienced a number of times.

  6. janh1 says:

    Yes and how many times have you realised that someone is looking at you and caught their eye. Or had a feeling someone is behind you and there is?

    Or when you pick up the phone to ring someone and they are, at that very moment, trying to ring you? There’s lots of anecdotal evidence for this stuff but it can’t afaik, be explained.

    I came across Rupert Sheldrake when he published a book about dogs that know when their owners are coming home. He’s very bright and investigates telepathy etc.

  7. IsobelandCat says:

    The animal stuff is very well-documented though isn’t it. The day my aunt died, she had motor-neurone disease and the dog had been her shadow throughout her illness, Tubby (the dog) wouldn’t come out from under my aunt’s bed all day. She only emerged when my aunt died.
    I’ve heard of Sheldrake too.

  8. Ray says:

    Ever noticed how Sally and allother so-called mediums always use first names only when they are contacting the spirits?
    Wouldn’t it be easier if Sally asked the spirit stood next to her what their surname was?
    No it’s much easier to find a gullible audience member using only first names!

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