You didn’t know that I was into things psychic? That at twelve I spent the summer at camp trying with my tent mates to regress ourselves to a past life or two. That in college when we weren’t playing pinochle, we hovered over a Ouija board trying to rouse a long-dead spirit or two. That as a young bride living in England, I was a card-carrying member of the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain, attending monthly meetings in Arthur Conan Doyle’s old house. That I once spent a month travelling around California with a mentalist visiting psychics and seances, sent by New West magazine to replicate Harry Houdini’s 1924 expose, A Magician Among the Spirits.
All true. So when the Psychic Source asked to me do a sponsored post for them, I readily agreed. My reading, I was told, would be with “Psychic Arthur,” a name which fit the psychics I had known in the past, who were a rather dramatic lot, given to extravagant hairstyles and accents of indeterminable origin. Most of them, I would add, especially those in closest proximity to Hollywood, claimed a personal relationship with Marilyn Monroe. Both before and after her death.
We did not Skype our conversation; still, judging from what he sounds like, Psychic Arthur is just a regular guy. We start with the kind of desultory chitchat that happens when neither one of you is quite sure how to ease into the intended conversation gracefully. Who’s going to lead? Who’s going to follow? Do we skirt around the topic at hand or jump right into it. What, actually, will be the topic at hand?
We talk about what he does and does not do. “I’m not a medium,” Arthur says. “Mediums talk to the other side, and I don’t do that. “I’m an empath,” Arthur continues. “I feel people’s stuff. I’m clairaudient and I’m clairvoyant.”
My experience with things supernatural has made me both a skeptic and a believer. Added to that balance is that the research I’ve done over the years has given me tools to separate the truly psychic from the charlatan. However, most of my past experience was with mediums, or at least those who professed to be. Arthur not being a medium and this reading not being one where I can use the knowledge I have of the tricks to look out for, what to say, what not to say, and how to judge the veracity of the message you’re getting throws me a curve ball. I’m going to have to wing this whole judgment thing; I’ve got no guidebook to follow.
And so he begins:
“Let’s see what I’m getting from you, and we can take it from there. I get the sense around you that the past six years it seems like you have been letting go of the the past, getting rid of negativity. You’re thinking about letting people go out of your life. You want a lighter load and you also have a sense that you’re entitled to more than you’ve been getting.
“Your family weighs you down at times but you’ve learned not to allow them to get to you. You’ve heard of the black sheep of the family? Well, you’re the white sheep among black sheep. You’re the one that got it right.
“Last February in 2012, you started into a real money crunch. You realized you needed to put things in place to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.
“You are always putting your name and card out there. On April 2, people you’ll be working with will open doors for you and you’ll see results.
“You have a lot of creativity and being around creative people is what feeds you. That’s your nourishment–it enables you to tap into your higher self- -when you’re not around creative people, it’s like taking water away from flowers. And it affects your health.
“This is actually the first time in nine years you’re doing what you need to be doing. You’re saying, it’s my turn now. You are in a really good place because you’re in control because you told everyone to stick it. This is Jane 2.0; time to drive the car forward.”
As I’m listening to him, I’m thinking, “Has he been reading my blog?” because that’s how close to my reality that he is getting. As he continues on, talking about my health, my career, my relationships, I find his words, wherever they come from, are validating the choices I’ve made, the decisions I’ve taken, large and small, over the past six or so years.
It occurs to me that the only other person in my life that could validate me in that way was my mother, and she’s been gone for thirteen years now. But Psychic Arthur isn’t a medium and there’s nothing he’s said that is at all remniscent of my mother. It’s just the feeling he leaves me with. And that is all my own.
I think back to the article I wrote way back when. It ended with a quote from Louise E. Rhine, the wife and co-worker of J.B. Rhine, the father of parapsychology, that seems as apt today: “The formula for telling how to judge a new idea is fairly simple. A little like that for crossing a railroad track: ‘Stop, look and listen’ then proceed with caution and try to get the facts about it. Remember too that ‘I believe’ or ‘I don’t believe’ is an unnecessary end point.”