Freethought Arizona is composed of Atheists, Agnostics, and Skeptics even though it seems that the organization is all about anti-religion. This month was our first SIG (Special Interest Group) meeting on Skepticism. We’re listening to a lecture series put out by Michael Shermer and our first meeting on the 8th of September included “The Virtues of Skepticism” and “Skepticism and Science.” Immediately after that session, I attended the psychic fair held normally on the first Sunday of the month at the Windmill Suites.
This was my first experience at a psychic fair. I felt alone and a bit out of place. The fair started at 9 AM and ran until 4 PM. I arrived around 2 PM which was well passed the peak of the activity. The fair was held in a room just off the lobby of the Windmill Suites and there was no admission fee. It was a small room and jam packed with a wide variety of “spiritual” practitioners. There were intuitive readers, Tarot card readers, palm readers, and in the corner there was a Reiki Master waving his hands over a woman lying on a high table. If you’re interested in attending the next fair, it will be held on the 6th of October at the Windmill Suites from 9 AM till 4 PM. While the admission is free, the readings cost $20 for 15 minutes. Bear in mind I’m not recommending it. My first experience will probably be my last. I fully expected to shell out $20 for a reading but as luck would have it there was a “Certified Grapphologist” [sic] that offered to give me a free mini-analysis. Her flyer offered to “Change Your Psyche and Change Your Life.” She was prepared to help me: Lose weight, Have better sex, Improve relationships, and Get more control of my life. Free is a great price so I sat down for a “Free mini-analysis.” She asked me to write a couple of lines on a piece of unlined paper and sign my name. I wrote, “Today I visited the psychic fair in Tucson. I wanted to see what it was all about” and signed my name. Her “mini-analysis” involved laying a piece of Plexiglas over the paper and telling me that something had happened about three years ago to me that I’m not yet over. Her free gift to me was to advise me to write within one inch margins so that I would get over that thing that happened three years ago. I went further and told her that the “perfect storm” of devastating events that happened in my life occurred in 2003 which was about 10 years ago. However, she was convinced, based on the way I used the margins on the paper, that there was a major event within 3 to 5 years that was still bothering me. She was unconvincing but I tipped her $5 for the “free” mini-analysis and told her that I couldn’t think of anything that happened in the last three years that was significant enough to cause me great concern and that’s where we left it.
At this point, I was feeling pretty good. I thought that I’d be shelling out $20 for a reading but so far I was only out $5. I saw a lady standing in the doorway. She was waiting to take the place of the lady on the table under the waving hands of the Reiki master. She had nowhere to go and I wasn’t interested in throwing away any more money so I struck up a conversation to get an idea about what this psychic fair was all about. Her name was Rosa and she was willing to chat while she waited her turn. She told me that she attends all the psychic fairs but only for the Reiki treatments. She wasn’t a fan of the readers but she did get her palm read on one occasion and was amazed about the accuracy of the reading. She said the reader was 100% correct. Even so, she felt that the only reason she came back was because of the Reiki treatment.
I left that day with new experiences. There were folks there that believed in the psychics and psychics that believed that they were truly helping people with their problems. As far as I could tell, there was no one getting hurt in the exchange. However there are plenty of people that have been taken by charlatans and sometimes the criminals set their hooks during seemingly harmless “readings.”