by Claus Larsen

Whenever I can, I like to visit the psychic fairs that pop up from time to time. It is always a journey into enlightenment, although not the kind I am promised. It is more an uplifting tale of just how vivid human fantasy and invention can be.

The set-up is usually the same: Tiny stalls crammed next to each other, with tantalizing signs, promising Heaven in this life, and sometimes the next few ones, too. Lots of incense, lots of velours in mystic colors, lots of tinfoil (used for hats, presumably), lots of handmade signs.

And lots and lots of pamphlets. If you ignore the atrocious spelling that usually mars these publications, you can learn a lot from them, because you have time to study the claims, instead of being drawn into the sale-pitches worthy of the snake-oil salesmen of yonder days.

Want to take a look at what can be expected, when entering these Dungeons of Credulence & Flatulence? Before we start, I have to make a solemn pledge to you:

I swear I am not making any of this up.

Old war-horses, new kids on the block…

Old war-horses like Kirlian photos (of blood corpuscles!), angels and Edgar Cayce are trotted out. Astrology is always popular, dowsers poke their sticks dangerously close to the eyesockets of the people passing by, and “ancient” potions and elixirs are sold in tiny bottles and jars. Kinesiology, this ancient practice (from 1964), chiropractic, chiromancy (a “telepathic figurative language”), the big motherships circling this planet, cures for diabetes (shamefully ignored by science), ear candling, cranio-sacral therapy and, of course, Atlantis.

But, like any growing market, there has to be something new for the eager buyer, and I usually find quite a lot of examples. Take essences of orchids from the Amazonas. These are given to us from the Amazon Indians with “the deepest respect”, and will help you take charge of your own decisions. Other flower “remedies” will help not only your own spiritual development, but also your dog’s. How does this work? The consciousness of the flower is transmitted “vibrationally” to you through the nervous system – either through swallowing drops of the concoction, by putting a few drops on your pillow, or simply let it radiate from the bottle to the surroundings.

I assure you, I’m not making this up.

Crystal herbs and chakra essences (derived from flowers and gems) can change your consciousness, and liberate the blocking of the etheric body through the chakras. Rest assured, the process is perfectly safe: It works just like homeopathy.

Your astral brain records and stores everything that happens to you during your Earthly life. You will need that when you become a fully trained, “certified” psychic after only 8 weekends. Such a gruelling drill will enable you to, among other things, distinguish between dead people, guides and guardian angels.

If you have a spare moment, why not read the account of the “Ancient Egyptian incarnation”, a litany of gibberish, channeled through clairaudience by medium Bettina? It is a gripping tale of love, deceit, a confused mixup of deities and lurid fornication with both Nubian girls “slender and dark as the night sky of Isis”, and Greek girls with “goldenlocks”. All that is needed are three bowls of porridge and three bears of increasing size.

The height of irony is “The Esoteric Radio”, a series of weekly radio programs. Available at 97,7 MHz on Sundays, but apparently not available via telepathy or any astral plane.

An interesting trend in the world of superstition is that the “disciplines” are mixed. A few years ago, you would see an astrologer, a dowser and a healer next to each other. Today, you can see numerology mixed with Feng Shui and Zen, chiromancy with astrology and anything with healing.

It pays to be observant

When reading the pamphlet from Henrik Due Jensen, a business clairvoyant and spiritual healer, we read this glowing endorsement from a “Pianna”, who works as a medical secretary:

“A clairvoyance session with Henrik has given me a clear and purposeful insight into my future possibilities, which I really want to carry out in life. Henrik’s respectful and solid handling of the information from the Tarot cards means that you have to regard them as authentic.”

A few stalls down, I came across a folder from “Run-Up Vision”, where you can learn all about reiki healing, aura drawings and spiritual alchemy. Owner? A medical secretary named Pianna Liv Larsen.

It’s easy to get endorsed that way!

Bad DNA?

One of the stranger claims I have come across is “DNA Activation”. If the usual maladies of a super-rich society bother you, the solution is easy.

First, awaken your archetype chromosomes – you know, the Youth and the Vitality ones, found in the etheric sphere. No, a little to the left. There you go.

Then, you must activate this DNA. As we know, there are male and female energies, which will help you achieve a divine balance of gender-consciousness. Your “inherited” duality will be replaced by a divine duality, and you will become more aware of your own divine nature.

You may take a deep breath now.

After reading this in the pamphlet, I stroke up a conversation with the two persons in the stall, Peter Rasch and Karen Hylander. First, I spoke at length with Peter, who at first was very eager to tell me all about this DNA activation. In the pamphlet, there was a claim of over 12,000 people receiving this treatment along with testimonials from four unidentifiable people, so I asked how we could verify these stories. Were these data recorded somewhere? At first, he didn’t seem to understand what I meant, but after what turned out to be a quick introduction to the benefits of scientific data recording, he claimed that, yes, these case stories were being recorded. Where? In a place in the United States. Where, exactly? He didn’t know. But it definitely was in a database – once I had explained to him what a database was.

Not impressed, I asked whether it was possible to gain access to these data, if someone was interested in doing a more scientific study. The answer was no.

When I pointed out the futility of recording data without doing anything with them, he gave up on me, and Karen took over. She was clearly much more in charge, but failed utterly to convince me that these case stories had any value at all. She had obviously not listened in on my conversation with Peter, because suddenly she said that there was no such database. When I pointed out that Peter had claimed the exact opposite a few moments ago, she dropped all pretense and started accusing me of sending out bad vibes. Why didn’t I go solve world hunger, or bring on world peace, instead of going after someone as insignificant as her? A small gathering had formed around us during this, much to their chagrin, and it was clear to both of them that it was time to end the conversation. I thanked them for their time, and moved on.

The Bagua Chart revisited

Often at these fairs, there are small lectures on any subject of the day, and this was no exception. Interior design is a favorite pastime of the Danes, and when you combine it with superstitious thinking, you got a winner. Feng Shui has been increasingly popular, so I looked forward to a lecture on this “ancient Chinese practice” with great anticipation.

The audience consisted almost entirely of women between 40 and 60. There were exactly 2 men among the 30-odd people, and it was clear that they were merely accompanying their wives. The speaker, Anne-Marie Elgkjær, is a locally-known Feng Shui expert, so we were in for a treat.

Her presentation was the usual mumbo-jumbo of New Age fluff, and I have to admit it was hard work maintaining a vigil ear. Quite a few bloopers kept me awake, though. One was that mountains are generally hollow! Yes, they are hollow, because of all the energy they possess! This will, no doubt, come as a big surprise to geologist
s, but apparently not to the audience. Nobody spoke up. None. The object of presentations like these are not to convey information, but to instil a trance-like state in the audience. We are not to think, but to take it all in, uncritically.

After 45 minutes of this offal, it was finally time for the questions, and I was prepared. My hand shot up. I got the first question. It almost became the last question, too.

I started by pointing out that the Bagua chart she used was fundamentally different from others I had found on the Internet. My question was, naturally, which chart we should use. They couldn’t all be the right one.

At first, she denied that there were different charts at all. Unfortunately (for her), I could show her a list of charts that did differ. She then changed her tune: The “school” where she had learned her metiér was “well respected”. That may be, I said, but pointed out that the schools that used the other charts also claimed respectability. So, the question still stood: Which chart should we trust?

I insisted that she answered the question, because it went to the heart of the whole idea of Feng Shui, but it became more and more obvious that she couldn’t. When she had to admit that she actually never went back to her clients to see if her predictions had come true, thereby completely destroying her own claim that her “experience” was superior, it became so embarrassing for her, that she began to get supportive shouts from the audience – or rather, shouts aimed at me. I should sit down, I should shut up. What impertinence! At that point, the mood had shifted from a love-fest to one of deep confusion and resentment, so after establishing that she had not given an answer, and since I’m a reasonable fellow, feeling the “love” that was flowing around, I willingly obliged.

But not for long. When the lecture was breaking up after a string of softball questions, I managed to squeeze in a final question. In Feng Shui, you start from the bottom of the Bagua chart and go clockwise, following the sun’s progress during the day. That’s how Mother Nature works, you know. Which means that the top middle field must be to the South.

All fine and dandy, as long as you stay on the Northern Hemisphere. There was considerable tension when I posed my question: Would Australians use an upside-down Bagua chart, since the sun moves from the East to the North at midday to the West, or perhaps flip it and go counter-clockwise? Her answer? I had to ask the Australians! Pressed a bit more, she had to admit that this had never even struck her mind. Her answers were clearly not satisfactory at all, but still, not a single person in the audience questioned her version of the story.

In the aftermath, when people filed out, I got a lot of angry stares and some harsh comments, but there was one comment from a woman that really struck home:

“You have ruined the experience with your questions!”

I wasn’t a bad guy for posing critical questions, I was a bad guy for asking questions at all!

All’s fair at psychic fairs – except questions.