Come One, Come All… A Day at the Psychic Fair

January 20-22, 2012. Chimo Hotel, Ottawa.

A penny for your thoughts?

Better yet, what’s the price tag of your future? A recent trip to the psychic fair at the Chimo Hotel got me thinking. Whether you believe in it or not, whether you are enticed or disgusted by the idea, we cannot deny the fact that the industry of fortune telling is booming. Why is this so? We can discuss the possible reasons in detail, or I can tell you this: somewhere, probably in the face of an economic recession, a group of people came to the enlightened realization that the one thing humanity will always love to no end, is itself.

Fortune telling

Palm reading

Crystal balls

Tarot cards



Past lives

Spiritual paths

Eyeball reading? Well, that’s new.

And a lucrative business emerged. Genius, isn’t it? Who cares if there is science behind it? Who cares if it doesn’t even turn out to be accurate? We are all fascinated by it, nonetheless. Notice, I said “all.” Dare I be so inclusive? We do all love ourselves, at least a little bit. Admit it. Yes, even you. That’s right, you know who you are—the skeptic who laughs at these things in public but secretly turns to the Horoscope page of The Citizen when nobody’s looking.

My point is this business sells, if not out of belief, then at least out of sheer curiosity and fun.

Am I in Vegas?


I only had to pay $5 to get in.

And there are no flashing lights. Where are the flashing lights? Where is the va-va-voom? Psychic FAIR? I’m in the Chimo Hotel’s basement. How… alluring. The only flashing I can spot is emanating from the eyes of the vultures sitting on the other sides of their booths, waiting for me to reach into my purse and surrender my wallet. Thank goodness there’s an ATM conveniently located just outside the room. I was getting worried for a moment. I walk by the booths and take in what everyone has to offer, as I’ve been advised to “shop around first, and then make your decision once you’ve seen everything that’s out there.” I didn’t know the $5 entry fee also bought you excellent life advice. “Take the time to first check out all your options before you make your final decision.” Hmm… I think that’s the last reason I gave to my previous boyfriend while I was having “the breakup talk.”

The signs, printed (some with colorful font!), folded, torn, used up and taped heedlessly wherever tape will stick, seem to be attacking me from every angle, much like the beautiful bright lights of Vegas:

$80 for an hour-long reading of your tarot cards. FREE CD RECORDING OF YOUR READING INCLUDED!!! Ohmygosh. Should I keep going or just forfeit right here, right now?

$60 dollars for 45 minutes with the critically-acclaimed, world-renowned psychic. A celebrity in Toronto! I forget his name. Point is, he’s like, the Uma Thurman of the psychic world. Bow down, and back away slowly.

This is interesting. $50 to put a bunch of playing cards in an organized fashion in front of me, and talk about how the Ace of Spades is going to affect my love life. “90% ACCURATE!” How is that even proven?

Are you a really angry person? $15 will tell you that’s because you were a warrior in your past life. For another $10, you’ll receive a mapped-out version of your future spiritual journey based on the numbers of your birthday and the time you were born.

So, do I believe in this stuff? After reading my entry, you tell me. I’ll tell you this, though. Apparently in a past life I had a very strong connection to the earth—I used to garden and own land and eat the fruit that I cared for. This explains why, when faced with hardship in my current life, I turn to food to comfort me. (Yeah, me and the rest of the population).

Regardless of whether or not I believe it, what this industry truly cares about is whether or not money changes hands from my pocket to theirs. And it did. I had to pay $5 to get in to a place where everything beyond that door had to be purchased. Whether the intentions behind it are fun, curiosity, superstition, or sheer and utter belief, the point is: this is an industry, much like any other. Anyone who attends university, collects comic books, has a Chapters PlumRewards card, played with Barbie or Power Rangers as a child (or still does), has a favorite makeup brand, has a favorite shoe brand—sorry, getting caught up in my pop culture references here—anyone who partakes in any of these or any similar activities understands how an industry appeals to our human nature.

Now, I’m sorry to leave you but my February 2012 issue of Flare Magazine just arrived. Since nobody’s looking, I’m going to flip to the horoscope section. Please excuse me.

This month’s horoscope for Scorpio:

“Although you’re competitive and active with groups, your attention now turns to domestic matters. Home repairs and improvements are increasingly important, but you’re also focused on spending more time with family—perhaps a parent. (Home renovations might cause this as well). New romance will be a fun escape.”

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One Response to Come One, Come All… A Day at the Psychic Fair

  1. emmagrae says:


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