Call me crazy, or if you’re generous of heart, just call me ridiculous.
I spent the weekend visiting psychics. Yep, mediums, portals to the other world, fortune tellers, mystics, – however you want to describe them – I visited two of these mysterious beings over the course of two days.
Before you turn to judge, let me give you my terrific justifications for spending good money and time to hear the thoughts of self-proclaimed witches.
Firstly, I’ve been investigating a murder for a documentary I’ve been working on, and I’m planning a trip to a dangerous part of Africa to continue my fact-finding mission. I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask someone who says she sees the future if it would be worth the risk to travel.
And after all, these ‘white witches’ have existed in Ireland for centuries; they’re remnants of an Ireland long passed, one full of superstition and mysticism. So in a way, to talk to a fortune teller is to have a taste of old Irish culture.
Pretty good excuses, eh? When it comes down it to it, I guess, when we’re not fully employed, bored, and really want to hear good news, we’ll go to great lengths to do so.
With that in mind, my sister, my cousin and I ventured to sneak a peek at what lies ahead.
Here’s an account of our experiences with the other worldly.
Day 1: We’re in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick. We’ve heard there are two psychics worth visiting: the “White Witch of Croom” in Limerick, and the “White Witch of Cobh”, in Cork.
We start with the psychic that requires the least amount of driving. So after a forty minute drive, we land upon the home of The White Witch of Croom. Oddly, her house is the only one on the block with dozens of butterflies floating around the front garden. Perched on religious statues, trinkets and rocks scattered around the lawn, they bat their wings unhurriedly, pausing occasionally to gaze at our lowly (non-psychic) human forms.
On to the readings! A white-haired woman with gold teeth and a warm, but often gruff, demeanor asks each of us to sit in her car for our individual readings.
When I sit in the car, she has me unfold a deck of cards, sifts through them, and then launches a rapid-fire fact-attack about my family history. I say attack because if I reject any of her assertions, she turns to me accusingly and repeatedly asks, “Are you sure, are you sure?” or says, “I’m telling you it’s true,” even if it’s not. I’d give her about a 60% accuracy rate.
She matter-of-factly tells me that I will “marry a man as Irish as the green grass outside.” Then she leans in, rather intimidatingly, and asks, “Do you understand?”
“Yes m’am. Irish. Got it.” I respond.
“And would you like to know his name?”
“Um... you can do that?”
“I’ll tell you. It’s Patrick. He’ll be very handsome with lovely black hair and brown eyes. Do you like brown eyes?”
“Uh, sure.” I try to picture my future husband, and evaluate his imaginary brown eyes. The ones I’ve invented seem pretty nice. Nevermind.
“What about my career path? You know, job-wise, do you see anything on the horizon for me?”
“Yes, you’ll be fine. Be patient. Do you want to know how many kids you have?”
“Well, not really.”
I take out a magazine with a photo of the man whose life and death I have been piecing together for a documentary.
I’m surprised to see that she immediately knows what kind of a person he was (funny, hardworking), she knows how he was killed(multiple stab wounds), and she identifies specifics that only someone who had read his autopsy report would know.
So, should I travel to a potentially volatile location to investigate what happened to him?
A resounding yes!
Not only does she say I will find out what happened to him, and that my trip abroad will be a safe one, but most importantly, she says, “You will make a lot of people very happy with what you find out.”
Excellent news! Worth the hefty price of her time.
On to witch number two!
Day 2: Still high from our Croom-readings, we venture 2 ½ hours to visit the White Witch of Cobh. This time, we each receive private palm readings at a table in her house. She’s a young woman who immediately gives off one of those spooky auras – but that could be because she looks ever the part of a witch with exceedingly long black hair and a loose, floor-length black dress.
She tells each of us privately that either we or our children will be famous, we’ll all have children in the military(which, for our family of pacifists and artists, is highly unlikely), we’ll all soon live in mansions(also unlikely for a documentary filmmaker, a musician, and a full-time student), and that we’ll all live happy, successful lives until we pass away quietly in our late eighties.
She tells me I’ll marry a man with a C or an O or an M name, or maybe a someone with a bad leg.
What about my brown-eyed Pat? I was growing fond of him! Choosing between imagined future husbands is more difficult than finding a partner in real life.
She’s not sure who it’ll be, but I definitely won’t marry him until I’m at least 27. I’ll have 5 kids, but if I only have two or three, the others will come to me as grandchildren. She doesn’t mention my future career prospects. Nothing at all? Just kids? In that case I better become an awesome mom. Maybe I should stop by the baby book section next time I’m at Eason’s...
Then, it’s time for my question. I start to ask her about the man who was murdered, and she immediately cuts me off. She doesn’t offer me any information about him or the project, just says, “Stop right there. Stop.” Dramatic silence.
“I’m telling you right now, walk away from this project.”
“What? No way! I’ve spent 8 months of my life on this! I can’t-“
“Stop! Listen to me, walk away from it. And set up a dating agency.”
“Wha?! Dating? Trust me m’am, I am not one to give dating advice- wait, why?”
“Look at this loop around your lifeline between ages 24 and 27, do you see that?”
I look down. My hand is full of intersecting lines and loops. It’s got more stars and stripes than the American flag.
“Your lifeline doesn’t lead to success until you’re 27, so you could potentially go to that foreign country now, at 24, start asking questions about a man who was murdered, and end up spending the next three years of your life in a prison over there. Tell me, do you want that?”
“No.” My head starts to hurt. Jail? Three years of my life... is it worth it? How will I cope when I return? At least I’ll have a bunch of kids around me... wait a second!
This isn’t a BBC news report about my absolute destiny, it’s a reading of the lines on my fingers by a lady who also told me that she died once as a child and scolded her guarding angels for letting her die. She even says to me, before I leave, “I’m just one person giving you my advice, after all.”
But if I don’t listen, and something terrible does happen, I could become one of those idiots on tv who talks about how she met a fortune teller and ignored her advice just before something awful happened.
Again, my head hurts. I pay the lady and get out of there, unable to make sense of anything I’ve heard.
My sister and cousin and I compare notes; we’ve heard some absolute malarkey, but we’ve also heard these women tell us things about ourselves and people close to us that they simply could not have found out about. Even if they had asked around for secrets, they wouldn’t have heard what they told us.
All in all, I’m pretty sure I’ve had enough psychic ‘advice’ for one lifetime.
Day 3: Dublin. My sister sees a sign for a psychic. One more? Do we have it in us? My answer is a wholehearted “No!” I’m more confused and worried about the things I had on my mind than I was three days ago.
My advice for people who are thinking about seeing psychics? Sit down, make two cups of tea, and have a chat with a loved one. Acknowledge your problems, verbalize your fears, dig deep and try to find a way to go about starting to remedy them. If you’re worried about a trip that might be dangerous, do everything you possibly can to ensure your safety. If you’re wondering whether you’ll end up helping to save the world someday, begin by helping out in little ways- talk to your lonely neighbors, recycle, keep informed about human rights issues around the globe; contribute whatever you can, whenever you can.
You don’t need supernatural powers to know how to be the best version of you that you can be.
That’s the thing about the future. We may have any idea where it may lead us, but you and I are the ones who have the power to steer it in the right direction, through the choices we make in the here and now. Let’s try.