The Durban boredom festival

As some of my readers may know, Durban played host to an “international” psychic festival last month. I realise that I’m possibly a little slow in writing this report on the psychic fair, the reason for my delay is that it took a month for my brain to recover from the boredom of the festival.

After paying a mere R20 entrance fee I felt as though I was ripped off. The psychic’s on display were neither interesting nor varied. The promised “mystics, psychics, astrologers, numerologists, clairvoyants, mediums and healers” advertised for the festival turned out to be housed in a small, dark tent, only slightly bigger than my open plan office (which holds 16 hard working souls) and filled to choking point with sickly sweet incense.

The first “psychic” my side-kick and awesome fiancé, Mike, spoke to claimed to be an ‘ordinary’ psychic
“As opposed to what?” I asked, wondering what exactly constitutes an ‘ordinary’ psychic.

The answer? She forgot her tarot cards at home.

To be honest, I was hoping for something a little nuttier, not just lots of “fortune tellers” and tarot card readers. They all charged over R100 per session, some as much as R300 (and a session ran for between 15 and 30 minutes). There was one person doing “soul paintings” for R200 and they were just ugly hippie art. I recently re-watched “The Enemies of Reason” by Richard Dawkins and the fair he went to looked much more interesting. There were people telling him about his guardian angels, he even got a head massage with something that looked like a very complicated spaghetti spoon. I didn’t even get a chance to speak to a psychic, not only because of the exorbitant fees they were charging, but also because most of them had a pseudo-bodyguard engaging the public and booking readings, someone little more than a bouncer who was well trained to dodge questions and press you to make an appointment with the psychic (and you’d better book quickly because she’s the best psychic here and if you don’t take the slot someone else will).

I did manage to get one free consultation with a lady who claims to be able to diagnose a person’s greatest health problem by feeling the pulse in his/her wrist. After a few moments of holding my arm she told me that my problem was insomnia and a lack of energy. I do not deny this, I struggle to sleep. But I think the shadows under my eyes and the few extra pounds on my hips are a good enough indication of that. My real health problem is not related to my insomnia at all. She totally missed it. But she did not miss the sales pitch, handing me a booklet and telling me to visit her sometime so that she could ‘fix’ me with acupuncture.

We sat in on about 20 minutes of a lecture by a Hari Krishna and he was talking absolute bolloks;

“Christianity and Hari Krishna are the same because of the Greek origin of the word ‘Kristos’ – ‘Christ’ – ‘Krishna’ – they are the same…” blah blah blah bolloks.
I got a bunch of flyers but I haven’t been bored enough to look at them yet.

We did go for a lovely cup of coffee with Anslyn afterwards – he’s a cosmologist and very interesting to talk to. Then Mike and I took a walk on the beach and found lots of pretty shells. The highlight of the psychic fair was leaving!


9 responses to “The Durban boredom festival

  1. I was also a sceptic until i joined my wife and joined her reading insted of waiting in the car. This psycic knew things about my family etc. That she could not have known. She predicted stuff that has happened even gave names of people at work who would try bring me down. I would love to see her again but she does not practice as she is ill. I have also neen to 2 others who were dissapointing. But i do beleive there are some with a real talent.

    • Unfortunately, Brad, nothing you have described sounds like evidence of psychic ability beyond the standard tricks of the trade.
      How long ago did you see this medium?
      Had your wife ever been to this medium before? How many things did she say that were wrong (I don’t expect you to remember, humans have a fantastic in-built mechanism whereby we remember the hits and forget the misses)? How much information did you give her, even subconsciously, during the reading?
      Cold reading, preparation and confirmation bias, unfortunately, can make con-artists look like the real thing very easily, take John Edward as a shining example of the human mind’s inability to see when it is being tricked.

  2. I missed the fair because of time, unfortunately. I do believe in spiritual readings since I have witnessed a few(palm and pyschic). I need to use the services and please may you lay it to me how does it cost, how long should I use, where will it lead me. Thank you

    • You have been fooled Nkululeko. There is absolutely no reason to believe that you have witnessed true psychic ability, the weight of evidence points to the possibility that you were conned by a fraudulent medium (they are all frauds and con men). I would suggest that you read a book called “The Psychic Mafia” by M. Lamar Keene, it is his first-hand account of being a psychic medium and he exposes many of the tricks of the trade. You can find it online in .pdf form, unfortunately South African bookstores do not stock it (that I have seen).
      I strongly reccomend that you do not use any psychic services what so ever. They will only be stealing your money. It will only lead you to having less money in your pocket. Please, don’t do it!

      • Angela, please indulge me by elaborating on who you think you are INSTRUCTING Nkululeko to not ever go to a psychic / medium / etc?? How dare you infringe on another’s free will? And are you qualified to make all of the assumptions you make? You are using your over-inflated egotistical OPINIONS to garner respect and attention from society.

        Given, there are many phony psychics out there, but there are also genuinely gifted people out there whose assignment is to help, uplift and inspire others.

        Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, this is in line with the law of Free Will. It is not your place to dictate to others on what they should or should not do.

        Brightest Blessings to you.

        • Perhaps you find my tone disturbing because my words cut a little too close to your personal beliefs?

          Please provide some links or names of psychics who you think are genuine and I will be happy to spend hours researching their body of work. If any one of them is genuine, I will recommend they apply for Randi’s Million dollar prize and the Nobel prize, because they would deserve it.

      • Predictably (ooooh maybe I’m psychic) you have dodged answering my questions, for obvious reasons. Angela, I happen to be a skeptic myself, however, I only pass judgement once I have proven to myself that whatever I have witnessed is indeed not the real deal.

        And to answer your question, no, your comments have not offended my beliefs in anyway, because I do not have any.

        What I find offensive is the manner in which you feel the need to infringe on the free will of others by dictating to them as to what they should or should not do, purely for the sake of garnering attention for yourself. Furthermore, kudos to you for having this blog, and same to James Randi, because your intention is to prove all psychics / mediums, etc to be wrong, purely for attention, ratings, and entertainment purposes. When yours and Randi’s intention is exactly that, then so it will be. That is how the universe works. This is what riles me about your blog and most religions, is the need to shove OPINIONS down Society’s throat. This smacks of double standards.

        I rest my case right there.

  3. i went to q fair recently and i also was very dissapointed, it was large yes, many people yes, all were talentless.
    everyone was charging big amounts, for what!

  4. Sounds like you might have picked the wrong psychic fair and that is the fault of the people who organized it. I was a reader at a psychic fair just a few weeks ago that and the people who had readings seemed genuinely pleased and satisfied. I have had several of those clients contact me for further readings.

    I don’t know you of course, but many people are disappointed because they are expecting some sort of bizarre or super exciting experience and that does not always happen. Psychic readings are serious business meant to give spiritual guidance.

    It seems by what you wrote that you were looking to be disappointed or to disprove their ability.

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