The Fortune Teller

Oda Mae Brown. She was the fortune teller so brilliantly portrayed by the Oscar winning Whoopi Goldberg in “Ghost”.  She was a fake, a charlatan, until she met up with recently- departed Sam Wheat.Psychic

Suddenly, things got real for Oda Mae. She believed she really had “the gift”.

But what about the others?  We’ve all seen them at carnivals, resorts, vacation spots; or my personal childhood favorite, on the Boardwalk at the Atlantic shore.

Fortunes Told. Tarot Cards. Spiritualist. Medium. Palms Read.

Some are drawn in for entertainment value, usually persuaded by friends or family.  Alcohol might be involved.

Some avoid them completely, citing personal or religious objection, or fear of the unknown.

Some take it seriously. I found a group like this years ago, in a small non-denominational church in rural Michigan.

They hosted a monthly spiritual conference. About 20 practitioners would be invited to consult with guests who paid a $10. admission fee. It was well known. Hundreds showed up.

I went on a dare.

It was quite a scene. Folks who were regulars would line up to see their favorites; the most  popular psychic, a native American with Chippewa roots. I moved along to a woman with no special affectations.crystal ball

She took my hands, palms up, paused and said simply, ” I see you on a beach with 2 small children. There is a husband, but he is not with you. You take great energy from the ocean, and will seek to return on many occasions. ” Exact words.

So odd that I remember those words.  I was in my mid 20’s, married, career, 2 small dogs,  no interest in motherhood. I was sure. And living in land-locked Michigan.

Fast forward about 10 years. We had moved to Maryland, close to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It was June. There were signs everywhere for Eastern Shore corn; I crossed the bridge to seek out the freshest stuff.


We had driven a while when I saw it.

Ocean City- 82 miles.

My kids were sound asleep in their car seats. I could do it. They would sleep through the whole trip.

So there we ended up… 2 small children and myself, a crazy mother pushing a stroller through the hot sand on a 95 degree day at the beach.

I never did get that corn.

On the trip home, I remembered the fortune teller from Michigan, and smiled.

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53 Responses to The Fortune Teller

  1. Amy says:

    Beautifully written. It sure does make you think. I’ve never been a huge believer in fortune tellers, psychics, etc, although my friends talked me into it twice. Your experience is pretty cool. BTW, I lived in Silver Spring, MD and I always loved the Bay area.

    • If I had a chance to go back…I would, in a flash. We were there for 4 years. ☺ It was an important time for the age of my kids, and proximity to my family. Thanks, Amy

  2. George says:

    Very cool story

  3. LadyPinkRose says:

    Goosebumps. I have one story like this that I remember to this day. All the other “stuff” I had been told, um, just stories. Great post, Van. Lucky you by the ocean. Love, Amy ❤

  4. I’m a believer in my ignorance, Van. How can I possibly know one way or another about what I don’t know. Three hundred years ago, the concept of a television would have been a sign of madness. I think the world is far more amazing than most of us can comprehend with our little, partially-used brains:) It’s fun to muse about.

  5. LaVagabonde says:

    Great story, Van. Not all of them are charlatans. I’ve been to two who had a gift. One of them was my grandmother who read tea leaves and playing cards. Her prediction was pretty banal, but it did happen.

    • I’m glad you mentioned that, Julie. My one aunt, whose early life was limited by severe polio, developed an interest. She charted astrology and read Tarot. Born in the 1930’s, she was ahead of her time with this, as was your grandmother. 💕

  6. dyane says:

    OMG – “Ghost” is one of my absolute favorite movies EVER – the scene when “Sam Wheat” appears at Oda’s table is hilarious and brilliant. You seriously have great taste!

    p.s. I believe that anything is possible when it comes to the supernatural and there are fakes and then there are those who really can connect…

  7. I think your story is a wonderful example of the small minority of special people who inhabit this world.

    Now – the more analytically-minded folk will say that – because you remembered the words of the fortune-teller, you went to the beach on that day to MAKE the prediction come to be.

    A self-fulfilling prophecy, they would say, is no proof of otherworldly powers.

    People like this have no imagination…and in the greater scheme of things, I feel sorry for people like this. Imagination and being able to think outside the narrow box of normal human perception is one of the more wonderful aspects of being a thinking, growing, evolving being.

    • Agreed, Peg. But the trip to the beach was spontaneous; I was out shopping for fresh corn and it evolved. LOL

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. ☺ Van (living outside that box)

  8. Erika Kind says:

    I have learned reading Tarot cards. But I can also read angel cards. In the end the cards or any tool is only a helper to open the channel. Also palm reading is nothing more than a medial reading, but the palm helps to hang in. The Tarot cards basically don’t say anything about the future. They give an insight about how things really are NOW and based on that how the future could look like. It is actually a way to show us the present situation without distortion in order to see clear.

  9. Oh, Van, I loved this so much. I do believe that somehow snatches of our destiny do appear to others in reading like that. I have heard it said that it plays like an old reel movie, just bits playing in their mind. You should market this piece to some women’s magazines. It is quite inspiring! ❤

  10. I always sat on the fence about Fortune Tellers until one told me that I was about to meet my future partner. She even told me about my past and got so much of it right without me uttering a word.
    That evening I bumped into John, my partner for the last 22 years and hopefully for many more to come.

    • Wow, Hugh. Testify !! And the same evening ? I think I’d be a believer for life. Did you ever go back, or to another one ? Congrats on 22 years. ☺ Van

      • Yes, that very evening. She recorded it all on tape which I still have. Problem is I no longer have a cassette tape recorder to play it back on.

        A long time ago I was taught to read Tarot cards, but I gave up on that soon after. It seems I didn’t have the knack. I still have the Tarot cards though.

      • Seems like you might pick one up at a flea market, yard sale somewhere…it might be worth it to resurrect that message. ☺

  11. I think there is infinitely more in this world that we don’t know than we do. So I try to keep an open mind. Fortune telling hasn’t ever held a particular attraction for me – no, my thing has always been the idea of time travel.

    • You’re not alone, Barbara, with the time travel fascination…it makes for some of the best science fiction. I’ve had this discussion often with my husband…he would go to the future; I would go back in time. 💕

  12. haha What a cool story Van! ❤
    Diana xo

    • Thanks, Diana. It was pretty cool to me looking back. I’ve never come across anything quite like that church gathering. I was skeptical, but apparently, paying attention. 💕

  13. What a great story! I lived 30 minutes from the beach when my two oldest children were small. I loved those impromptu trips to the beach! That church meeting sounds very interesting.

    • I went with 4 other women…nobody had a real memorable experience, at least not at the time. Same distance for me when we were near Charleston, S.C. It was odd to see beaches that were not commercial. Very open with occasional private residences. ☺

  14. Angie Mc says:

    I’ve had several personal encounters with a similar feel to what you describe. I don’t seek out such information but every so often it finds me! Well told, Van ❤

  15. lbeth1950 says:

    I had an encounter like this one time. I went with a friend for a card-reading and was killing time. I had a close family member who was in treatment for cancer. The reader told me she would have wonderful news in the next three months. I knew immediately, she would get pregnant in their post surgery period, even though she had been struggling with infertilty. Six weeks later, she was pregnant, after ten years of trying. Eleven years later, she and her child are healthy.

    • And there you have it…goose bumps ! One of the friends who went along to that “spirit” session was discouraged with the fertility issue. It took a while, she had given up and adopted 2 sons, and had her first pregnancy at 46 ! I lost touch, and never asked her what her fortune teller said 20 years prior.

  16. I love the way you paint your memories for us using words. Thank you for sharing these vignettes.

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