Faced with the reality, the clairvoyant realises where the truth lies.
Derbyshire, a landlocked county, in historic England. A country where myths and legends abound. Gypsies would wander into the towns, old horses towing brightly painted caravans and, without a by-your-leave, set up camp down by a river for a few weeks.
“Mind the gypsies, children.” Mothers would warn their offspring to steer clear. Yet, conversely, if one of the gypsy women came to a door offering clothes pegs and such for sale, people would buy, fearful of a curse being placed if they refused to purchase.
Even in the year of 2022, Derbyshire folks are still, overall, a superstitious community. Most of the population, including myself, were born of ancestors who had lived and worked there for centuries. Coal mining and cotton mills bred superstitious folk, perhaps because of the many dangers which surrounded the workers. Each day they would be thankful to have survived the day’s work. With such a background of superstition and wariness, the art of fortune-telling was readily believed by many.
This is the story of my involvement in the art of clairvoyancy. It all began when I was only nineteen.
“What rubbish are you reading now, Leanne?” My father took the book, I’d just picked up from the library, out of my hands.
"Dad. Be careful, it’s a library book!”
“Positive Magic? An instruction book for witches! There’s no such thing, darlin’. Hard work, that’s the only thing that will get you what you want in this world.”
I grabbed the book and went to my room to read in peace.
The book, besides containing a few spells, also had instructions for using Tarot cards. I spent weeks practicing, wanting to use them with an apparent air of authority.
One day, I decided to take the cards to work, just for a bit of fun. I was in the lunchroom, chatting to a friend, when she asked if I’d read the cards for her. This would be my first time and nervously I opened my handbag and took out the pack, from which my colleague pulled the pregnancy card.
“Good news, Sally, seems you'll be having another baby, soon,” I told her confidently.
“I’m sorry to tell you, Hon, but you need to keep practicing. That is one forecast that's never going to happen. I had my tubes tied last month.”
A week went by until Sally came to work waving an ultrasound image of a ten-week pregnancy. I was officially psychic!
Soon I began to believe I really could see the future. My work in the supermarket was boring, and the thought I may have a special gift excited me.
The local church fete put the call out for a clairvoyant to run a fortune telling booth at the local fundraising fair. I volunteered. No one actually expected me to be psychic, it was just for fun. I dressed in what I thought people expected to see, headscarf, big earrings and a boho dress I’d borrowed from my hippy cousin.
I’d learned, from studying books, how to read people. There are signs everywhere and I needed to trust my initial thoughts. First thoughts are the most psychic, before the rational mind kicks in.
At the fete I requested people bring in a flower, and just by looking at their choice, I’d tell them the future or at least something about them I couldn’t possibly know.
My very first ‘customer’ brought in a flower which was so battered and bruised I was unsure if it was a rose or a daisy. My first thoughts were of domestic violence. I told her I thought she may be in a bad relationship. To my amazement she revealed her husband had a really bad temper and had hit her on occasion.
Next a young man came into my tent. I figured he wanted to know about a girl he fancied, the reason being it wouldn’t have been something he’d ask his mates about.
“Let her go, she’s not worth it.” I said to him, even before he’d opened his mouth. I must have hit the nail on the head because he simply said, “My God! How did you know?”
The more I practiced the skill, the more I became convinced I really was psychic. I enrolled to do a one-year course at the Astrology Centre to sharpen my craft. Before long, I was earning money from readings and my reputation grew, as well as my cash flow. I discovered how easy it was to tell people what they wanted to hear. In fact, sometimes I could hardly get a word in. It seems many folks just want to talk and unload for an hour. The topics were usually the same. It would be either troubles at work or mustering up enough courage to make a change. But most often they wanted answers about romance.
When people began to claim I’d made very specific predictions, which I’d never actually made, it made me realise the readings were collaborative. I would tell a story and later the customer’s memory would add new elements using their imagination. Yet sometimes I could be very accurate. Didn’t that mean I was psychic? No, it didn’t. I was just very empathetic. I studied people’s faces and body language when they spoke. The lessons I’d learned were correct. I was picking up signals before the conscious awareness came to the fore. These signals can be valuable and also accurate.
When I reached my early twenties, I began to get interested in other things, and stopped doing readings altogether. I no longer had the time; I’d started a music degree, and also fell in love. My new boyfriend, Troy, and I, had been going out seriously for about a year. In fact I half expected him to ask me to marry him.
“There’s a music festival in the country on at the weekend, Leanne.” Troy passed me his phone, which showed the details, "There are some great bands playing."
“Camping, though? It’s going to be extremely muddy after all the rain we’ve had.” I wasn’t enamoured with being wet and cold in a field.
“It’d be fun. We can snuggle up together in our tent. We could make a campfire and toast marshmallows. Mm?” He wheedled.
“Okay, I'll give up my creature comforts. Just for you." I gave him a kiss and thought that perhaps this weekend would be when he would pop the question.
The music was great and a few of our friends were also there, which made it even more fun. We’d gone into town from the campsite. Music poured out of every venue onto the street. We walked along hand in hand. I could feel Troy was waiting for just the right moment to ask me to marry him. Those few years of reading people hadn’t been wasted.
“Look, Leanne, there's even a clairvoyant’s tent here. Shall we see if we’re going to live happily ever after?” Troy grinned. I was sure there was something going on, which I hadn’t picked up on. He looked like a little boy who couldn’t wait for Christmas. I went along with it. Perhaps he had a surprise in store for me? We ducked into the darkened tent. As my eyes got used to the gloom, I saw a woman attired in the usual garb. A crystal ball sat in the middle of a small table. That impressed me because I knew the price of crystal balls and could never afford one when I was doing readings.
“Welcome. Please sit down.” The woman said softly.
We sat, holding hands. The woman began to speak, gazing intently into a mist which spiralled from the ball. She mumbled some words I couldn’t decipher before saying, “It seems as if this young man has something he wants to ask you, Leanne.”
I wondered how she knew my name, but then realised Troy must have spoken to the woman before. He’d known all about my foray into the fortune telling business and perhaps was using her to help him propose. However, Troy appeared surprised, and simply said, “Maybe.”
The clairvoyant gave a nod of her head and stared into the glass orb at words which had appeared. The woman studied them intently. Her eyes lifted from the crystal ball and bored into mine before she spoke. “It seems you are no stranger to this craft, Leanne. You have attempted to dupe people into believing things you couldn’t possibly know.”
I tried to make light of what she was inferring. I thought Troy must have told her of my time as a clairvoyant. I turned my head to say something to him, but he seemed as confused as I was. He met my gaze and gave a slight shake of the head.
“No, Troy and I haven’t met before.” She looked again at the words only she could decipher before she spoke again. “You should know, Leanne, this art is not to be fooled with or be used flippantly.”
I felt a rush of adrenaline, my face flushed as if I was a naughty child caught doing something wrong and rose from my chair. “Come on Troy, let’s go.” I grabbed his hand.
“You will not be together for much longer, so enjoy the time you have left.” She called after us.
Despite the animosity I felt toward the woman, I turned back and asked, “What do you mean?”
She simply shook her head. Her mouth curled slightly before she answered, “You don’t believe, anyway. Do you, Leanne?”
We left the tent, and I breathed deeply. I’d experienced malevolence for the first time in my life.
“That woman’s evil, Troy.” I turned to him and asked, “Had you talked to her before? Told her anything about me?”
“No, of course not. Don’t let her upset you. You’ve told me often enough, it’s all intuition.” He paused before saying, She must have seen this.” He pulled a ring box out of his pocket and knelt down on one knee, right there in the crowded street. “Will you marry me, Leanne?”
To rid myself of the build up of anxiety the woman's words had instilled, I took big breath and expelled it before I smiled at him and answered, “I thought you’d never ask. Yes, of course I’ll marry you.”
He got up off his knee and kissed me gently. “We’ll prove her wrong, darling. We’ll be together forever,” he whispered.
“Hey, guys!” a voice from across the street called. We both looked to see who it was and saw a group of our friends beckoning us to join them at their table outside the pub. We began to cross the road when a sudden gust of wind whipped off my hat. Troy made a dash to grab it. He never even saw the cattle truck before it hit him.
Write a story about a "fake" magician (stage magician, illusionist, fortune teller, etc.)
encountering some kind of "real" magic for the first time.