A bonus free psychic reading

Posted: August 12, 2013 in McBride family madness
Tags: , , ,

Something strange happened to me recently. I had to think carefully about whether or not to relate this experience on my blog, as it was of such a personal nature and I was rather shaken afterwards – although now, a day and a half later, I am having trouble recalling that sense of unease. You’re reading these words now, so you know what I decided; writing is how I make sense of the world, or more accurately, how I embrace the no-sense of the world.

On the weekend I attended an interview session in the city with a market research company. I’ve attended these panels before; they pay well for one’s time, and it’s a mildly interesting diversion from my usual weekend routine. But this is not the strange thing that happened, nor is is relevant to the story. It could have taken place in a doctor’s office, a supermarket queue – anywhere where strangers interact.

My husband drove me in, and that’s usually part of the fun; without the kids in tow, and with a 45 minute drive ahead of us, it gave us an opportunity to just talk, about anything and everything. For no particular reason, my father came up in conversation.

On arrival at the address provided, we joked about a lot of things – the dodgy-looking location (backing onto train tracks and plastered with graffiti, with a makeshift sign taped to a warehouse door to indicate I was in the right place), the completely off-his-face middle-aged man on the adjacent train platform who was singing and dancing to Eminem like his life depended on it, my husband parking under a tree and narrowly dodging a bird-shit bullet. I went into the interview in a relaxed and buoyant mood.

I can remember few concrete details about the woman who interviewed me. She was about my age at a guess, professionally friendly, casually dressed in black jeans and impressively well-worn Doc Martens. There were a few technical hitches with the computer programme she was using to record my responses, and at one point she gently mocked my choice of vocabulary (“you’re challenging my spelling ability, you know – ‘it gives an impression of longevity’?!?”), but for the most part, our conversation was limited to the script she had been provided and from which she read.

We got to the end of the interview, and I was about to stand to leave, when she said, “This might sound like an unusual question, but…have you had someone close to you pass away recently?”

“How recent?” I had no idea where this had come from, nor where it was going, but if possible, I was going to have at least one hand on the steering wheel.

She shrugged and pulled a face. “Last year?”

“Yes,” I said. “My father.”

“He’s here with you,” she said. “I saw him in the mirror.” She nodded at the wall behind me. I turned and saw nothing but the room and its two living occupants reflected back.

“He’s on your left side,” she said. “I’m sorry if I’ve upset you, but when I see it, I call it.”

Not knowing what else to say, I thanked her, and held it together just long enough to collect my $50 and get out the door before bursting into tears.

So to you, dear reader, I ask – what the hell happened there? I’m happy to hear from believers and skeptics alike.

  1. seantheblogonaut says:

    I also note that she didn’t know the sex of the “spirit” before you informed her that your Dad had passed away. Why would she concluded that it was your father, on what grounds does she base that assumption. It seems to me you have provided all the information.

    • In unexpected situations such as this, I’m not very good at thinking on my feet. And I do so like to please people – my default reaction is to obediently answer questions when they’re put to me. An astute observer of human behaviour would very easily have figured that out about me during a half hour interview, I’m guessing.

  2. John Irvine says:

    Late in 1997, 10 months or so after returning to live in NZ after 29 years, I walked into a shop in Auckland’s northern beach suburbs. It was one of those places that sold everything from chocolate to some very interesting crystals. I’d never been there before and after selecting a block of Lindt’s chocolate I went to the counter. The attractive middle aged woman behind the counter smiled and asked, “Have you recently lost a companion?” I must have looked puzzled because she went on, “A dog? Small, black and white and very hairy?” Then I must have looked shocked. “He’s sitting at your feet on the left side. He wants you to know he’s happy.” A month or so earlier I had lost my border collie cross to an idiot driving a 4WD… he and I had been together constantly for 13 years, and he’d travelled to NZ with me on the same plane. It took me days to get over it… but do I believe what the lady said? How could I not? She described my Mr Mo to a T…

  3. I’m surrounded by people who do this kind of work but I’ve always held a healthy skepticism for it – if only because I don’t like to appear gullible. That said, I know that many people who do this work truly believe in what they do. From the limited knowledge I have of your situation, it feels like this woman truly believes what she’s saying. I’m assuming she didn’t follow her comments up with an invitation to find out more by making an appointment? The thing I’ve never been able to decide is whether psychics are communicating with spirit beings or if they are intuitively picking up something from the living person they are with!

    • Generally, I lean towards your interpretation – most psychics believe what they say, but I suspect many of them are merely extremely intuitive and good at reading people. And no, she didn’t invite me to make an appointment, which does suggest honest intentions.
      Seeing spirits, though…that has me stumped!

      • seantheblogonaut says:

        A couple of things I think come into play. Our own memory of what happened in the situation the exact thing that was said, how we process what was said and how we make sense of it, how it fits into our own narrative.

        For example you writing it down may have already altered what actually happened (or not). But going on what was said above, she’s not being really specific. Have you had someone pass away recently? Fairly open question which you attempted to make specific, she responds with a tentative response. And your brain is already attempting to connect the dots, going how can I complete this pattern? Then she tells you he’s standing there but then she hasn’t verified what he looks like etc, which she could obtain by cold reading (consciously or not).

        Or maybe this was the real point of the market research 🙂 a sneaky side experiment.

        She sounds genuine in that she believes, I have come across people before that think they receive psychic messages. They could do but I think it’s unlikely. Maybe she was practicing?

        I think it was a bit callous though thinking she had the right to tell you that your father was beside you without indicating why. If she was good natured psychic surely she would have said something only if it was important to do so. What would you reasonably expect a person to do if you told them a spirit was beside them with no other explanation? And what if the person they have guessed isn’t someone that the living person thought highly of or was comfortable being around.

        I call it as I see it sounds like – I am going to inflict my beliefs/visions on you whether you like it or not because hey . . . I’m psychic.

        Very odd situation, sounds like she doesn’t particularly care about your feelings though.

      • Yes, I do suspect that most, if not all, successful psychic readings are the result of the subject trying to make it fit – complete the pattern, as you said.

        And now you have me thinking about psychological experiments and hidden cameras, and ohmygod, I hope there isn’t some Youtube video out there already showing me getting completely sucked in by a bogus psychic…

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