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Blog : Posts tagged with 'psychic'

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Crystal balls

In which Mario Reading tries to predict the future, and fails


Today, author Mario Reading is in the news. Lucky for Mario Reading, because it gives him a chance to plug advertise his new book, a new translation and interpretation of Nostradamus. It’s the book, in fact, that’s newsworthy. It claims that in a couple of years’ time, someone will try to assassinate George Bush, and if they are successful he will be succeeded by his brother, who will take revenge with terrible results. Reading’s American distributors are rather upset about the prophecy – you’d think he would have seen the fuss coming.*

Reading himself seems very concerned that people should realise that you can’t blame him for what Nostradamus wrote. Interviewed on More4 News about the death of George Bush, he said:

This is Nostradamus predicting this, not me, I hasten to add.

See, I can spot a possible flaw here right away. I haven’t read his book,** but there’s a long, proud history of reinterpreting Nostradamus. Most could be summarised as:

This is me predicting this, based on a wild reinterpretation of a rather vague stanza of verse.

Given that many people have gone before him and failed, I’m rather doubtful as to what Reading’s prediction hit rate will be. However, given the timescale here, we don’t have to wait too long. In three years’ time, hopefully I’ll remember writing this. And if nobody’s tried to kill George Bush by then, I’ll try to remember to post an update. A rather sardonic one.

* Sorry, that joke is compulsary in any piece of writing that mentions Nostradamus. If I hadn’t made it, I would have been tied down and spanked.

** Well, obviously: it hasn’t been published yet

Update, three years later: hah, when I wrote this, I almost certainly didn’t realise that the next presidential inauguration ceremony would be three years later to the day.

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Ghost story non-update

In which we try to double-check a psychic’s work


If you’re not just a regular reader, but the sort of regular reader who reads all the comments too, then you’ll have noticed that Colleague M dropped by the site the other day to let me know that her sister Lydia* had been asking for its address. “I think she’ll be upset,” said M, though, “to find you haven’t written about her for some time.”

Well, I originally wrote about Lydia because of her haunting problems, and as they seem to have gone away recently, I haven’t written about them for a month or so. I forgot to mention, though, that I did have a Plan.

As I’ve mentioned before, The Mother has been heavily into genealogy recently, and as part of that she has subscriptions to all sorts of websites, including ones which let you search 19th-century census data. Lydia’s friendly psychic investigator had told her that her ghosts were from the 19th century.** Furthermore, she’d also told Lydia their first names. So, my cunning plan was: get The Mother to look up who actually lived in Lydia’s house back then, to see if we had a match. If not, well, censuses are only held once per decade, so it doesn’t necessarily mean the psychic was wrong; but if we did have a match then that would be very impressive.

Unfortunately, the plan fell through, when Mother found that back in those days, the houses in Lydia’s street weren’t actually numbered. Bugger. Given that I only had a couple of first names to go on, she didn’t really fancy trawling through census returns for the whole street. After all, it’s a fairly long street. And, if we did find a match, it wouldn’t really be particularly good evidence anyway, given that we couldn’t firmly link them to Lydia’s house. All-in-all, I was a bit disappointed, which is why I haven’t mentioned it earlier. But I thought I would. Just in case you’re reading, Lydia.

* not actually her real name, incidentally.

** they couldn’t really be any older if they’d actually lived in her Victorian-built house

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If I told you what you were thinking, would you believe me?

In which FP considers being evil


The other day, Tim Boucher linked to Colleague M’s ghost story, in which M’s sister Lydia had a bit of trouble with a pair of argumentative ghosts apparently haunting her house. When I first heard about the ghosts, I was hoping I’d be able to post regular updates on the story; but there don’t seem to have been any updates recently. I asked M if anything had happened, and was told that everything has settled down quietly again. No more ghostly voices on the phone, no more things going missing, no more possibly-possessed cats. So, Lydia is able to sleep at night again.

It did get me thinking, though. There’s something I’m tempted to try, but it would be rather evil. I want to try to be a psychic myself.

Not a real one, you understand. However, it should be very easy to pretend to be one, if I want. I’ve still not met Lydia herself, but I do know rather a lot about her, and her family, from M. Secondly, Lydia’s job includes shifts on an enquiry-desk type of place. In other words, it’s easy to get to talk to her – all you have to do is think of a question. All I would then have to do is start telling her the things my intuition was telling me. “You seem to be a mother – I can see a lot of love in your household – but there’s a lot of strain too. Are you a single mother?” And all that sort of thing. The question is: how far would I be able to push this before she starts smelling something fishy? How much would I have to prove I know about her? Or would she just assume I could genuinely sense things about her?

Should I try this? Or would it just be too evil of me?

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Ghost story (again)

In which the story continues…


Colleague M has passed on the latest news on her sister Lydia’s ghosts. The start of the story is here.

Lydia was still worried about the argumentative ghosts that are haunting her house, according to the psychic she brought in last week. She was settling down, though, and her sleep was getting easier again. Until the other night, that is.

Her daughter – who hasn’t been told about the possible ghosts – had gone away for a couple of days to visit her grandparents, and was phoning home before bedtime. They were chatting away as normal, when the daughter said:

“Who’s that talking with you?”

Lydia had the telly on; she turned the sound off. “There’s noone here,” she said, “it must have been the TV. Can you still hear them?”

“I can still hear them, Mummy,” she said.

Lydia looked around: she definitely couldn’t hear anything herself. “What do they sound like?”

“It sounds like a man and a woman, arguing.”

So now, of course, Lydia is terrified again.

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Ghost Story

In which we discover a real-life ghost story in progress


Colleague M’s sister Lydia is having trouble with ghosts.

No, really. I’m not making it up, and I don’t think M is either. I don’t know her sister, and I think that a lot of this story sounds a little unlikely. But Lydia’s scared, because she’s having trouble with ghosts.

The first M or I heard about it was a couple of weeks ago, when we were visiting M’s mum, and Lydia phoned up in a great panic. She’d gone to bed early, and had been drifting off to sleep, when a man whispered something in her ear. She awoke, startled and panicking; you can’t blame her, because her small daughter was the only other person in the house. Lydia was convinced – for no apparent reason – that this meant her father was dangerously ill and didn’t have long to live.

Anyway, leading up to this, Lydia and her daughter had been having a lot of trouble with things going missing. The sort of problems, in fact, that might be blamed on poltergeists. Little things would disappear, be unfindable, then mysteriously pop up in somewhere they’d only just looked in. Things would vanish from Lydia’s makeup bag, for example – and then would reappear impossibly, on top of it, even though it definitely hadn’t been there just before.* Secondly, just recently, Lydia got a kitten. Most of the time the kitten was happy, sleepy, purry, the way kittens usually are. Surprisingly often, though, it would start hissing and yowling, the way cats do at things they don’t like – but when there was nothing at all there. After thinking about the mysterious voice for a few days, Lydia started to wonder if all these things were connected; so, she went out and found a psychic.

The psychic she brought in was, I’m told, a very experienced psychic who is an expert at sorting out This Sort Of Thing. I’m not sure how you tell, or how you find psychics – is there a psychics category in the Yellow Pages? – but anyway, the Expert Psychic came in, sniffed around the house, and told Lydia that the house was very much haunted; which was why things kept going missing, and why the cat kept hissing at empty spaces. In fact, there were two ghosts living in Lydia’s house; they had quarrelled when they were alive, and they were quarrelling now. One of them – a man – was a nice friendly ghost; the other – a woman – was not. The friendly ghost was trying to protect Lydia from the other one, which was why she’d suddenly heard a man whispering in her ear: he was trying to warn her. The non-friendly ghost, on the other hand, kept stealing things and trying to possess the cat.** The psychic said: “I’m going to take them both away with me now – but be careful, because after a while they’ll probably come back.”

Lydia, then, is terrified. Her house has apparently been occupied by two warring ghosts who could return at any moment. At any moment, one of them might try to possess her cat, or even her daughter. Even worse, her mascara keeps going missing. As fas as she can tell, anything might happen. If anything does, I’ll try to let you know.

* I was sceptical about the significance of disappearing makeup in a house where a young girl lived; but M assures me that it wasn’t her niece doing the disappearing.

** Seriously, I’m not making any of this up. The psychic might have been, but I’m not.

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