Lizzie & Clara at the Psychic Fair

The clientele at psychic fairs is overwhelmingly female. They come in a range of ages, and often in pairs (bring a friend for half price is a common special). You pay an entrance fee (usually $5) for the privilege of shopping! The better fairs will have short lectures for attendees by the star attractions, as well as a broad selection of vendor booths (jewelry, books, tapes, clothing, candles, herbs, etc.). I got a silver snake pinkie ring and a cool crescent moon combination brooch and pendulum; Clara got some scented candles and a cool angel statuette with a quartz crystal.

comes with the territory
new age music
tie dye
silver jewelry
semi-precious stones
wind chimes
Booths are set up around the perimeter of the ballroom. In the center are evenly spaced small tables for the psychics (excuse me, "intuitive counselors"). When you decide which wizard you want to patronize, you buy a "reading ticket" from the ticket table and then put your name by a time on that psychic's signup sheet (most run chronically late at these shows). The good psychics run late because they get engrossed in what they are telling the client. The businesslike ones run late because they are doing a teaser sales pitch for follow-on private readings (trying to hook a long-term client).

There are some classic types you'll see at any gathering of psychics:

true believers
me too's
The attendees are NOT all true believers. Many are skeptics or cynics, there to "test" the psychics. The most common means is to provide minimal or misleading information. I've found that altering your attire is also very effective at assessing which ones are just going with visual and behavioral clues. Samplers go to as many different readers as they can afford, asking the same questions of all. In comparing results, a sampler may become a convert. It's not unusual to see a client having an extreme emotional reaction in the midst of a reading. A smaller, but consistent and persistent group of attendees are the me too's--people who believe themselves to be psychic. They may be exploring the idea of setting up shop as a psychic, or just looking for guidance on how to deal with their symptoms (hearing voices, vivid dreams, prescient visions).

The real fun came later, when we retired to a restaurant to compare notes (and aura photographs). As I was relating what the magician/palmist told me about the meaning of various lines, our waiter arrived and asked what we were doing. We told him we'd been to the psychic fair and he assumed WE were psychic readers. We ended up reading palms for him, the hostess, and one of her friends. We read his fortune using beer coasters as tarot cards! It was a hoot (and we got really great service!)

Best part of the fair: Unusual jewelry and stones.

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