Monday, 12 December 2011

Two Unusual Fortune Tellers

     As a lark, my brother, then in his late teens, visited a fortune teller. After hearing the usual run-of-the-mill predictions such an exercise entails, he asked how he was going to die. The fortune teller replied that she would prefer not to deal with such a subject, but Warren insisted. So she told him he would die at the age of 25 (or 22, I forget which) in the armed forces of a foreign country, and would leave behind a widow and two children. Warren laughed as he told that story, but what happened? He lived to be 52 years old, he had only one child, and he never got near any armed forces. So much for the lousy prediction!
    Seriously, you would have to be pretty stupid to listen to a fortune teller. Even if you accept the possibility of clairvoyance, the question still remains: how do you know this fortune teller is any good? Does she (it is most often a she) have a certificate from the Psychics Academy, guaranteeing that she had an 80% success rate for periods up to twelve months, when face to face with the subject, or handling one of his possessions? The field is wide open; anybody can call herself or himself a psychic. The best that can be said of most of them is that they are adept at cold reading, and when the client wants to believe, their performance can be impressive.
    Just the same, one occasionally comes across something unusual.