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22 March 2010

Skeptical Investigations: The Psychic Fair, Part 1

On Saturday, Winnipeg played host to a small psychic fair. I was completely oblivious to its existence until a good friend of mine informed me that she'd seen a large, hand-scrawled sign at the corner of Portage and Arlington the day before the event. And how could I resist?

Silly psychics, that's not where chakras go! But seriously, I don't know what that swirl is.

Although there weren't any current web pages describing the fair, I used my mad googling skills to locate a cached version of a Kijiji page from January. I like everything about this post, from the low-light slow-shutter photo (creating what I can only guess is meant to be "psychic energy" from streaking lights) to the bizarrely-coloured text highlighting. They even mention that there is "spirity stuff to buy"! What's not to love?

It's in the Unity Truth Centre. How could I resist?

The missus, myself, and two of my friends arrived shortly after noon. The fair was hosted in a small church just around the corner, and we were charged a $2.00 cover.

Is the Unity Truth Centre a mosque in disguise? You decide!

Upon entering, our hands were stamped with a star and crescent, and I briefly considered remarking, "Oh! Does this mean that we have to remove our shoes?"—but I figured that no one would get the reference.

It was a small place, with psychic readings occurring upstairs and merchandising below. We headed up, first, as I'd decided that I wanted to be the subject of a cold reading. It was actually surprisingly busy, with a score or more of folks lining the walls waiting for readings, while folk with beads in their hair strolled around with small hand drums, "cleansing the energy", or burning sweet-grass.

I apologise for the photographic quality. The iPhone is many things, but excellent camera it is not.

Right away we spied something interesting: Rapid Eye Technology. With a cry of "I love technology!" or some such thing, I leapt to investigate. Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be much going on. The sign was large and, again, hand-scrawled. But alas, to my bewilderment and dismay, there seemed to be little to do with technology about it. I was hoping for some sort of iridological science, but instead it seems to be the same old self-help nonsense. Below and to the left of the sign was this hermeneutic display:

Their most egregious error is the missing Oxford comma.

If you continue to do the same pattern, you will get the same results.

Why Rapid Eye Technology (RET)?

RET works quickly when the client seeks stress relief and after a few sessions many clients have remarked that they were able to achieve goals that they had not been able to achieve before.

RET utilizes blinking, eye movements, breathing, Imagery and stress reduction energy work to facilitate release of stressful emotional, mental and physical patterns.

The sense of the sacred, the awareness that each person is in essence a perfect spiritual being, is at the heart of Rapid Eye Technology.

Rapid Eye Technology

I'm going to refrain from typing out the practitioner's biographical information, as inattentive readers may mistake it for some sort of ad hominem attack. I'll just mention that she was "ordained in 2004 in Metaphysical Teachings with the Alliance of Divine Love". Damn, but it sounds like I'm making fun of her. You know better, don't you?

I shivered, turned away in disgust, and went to examine the a booth purporting to foretell a person's future by kneading the face (at least that's what I gleaned from their poster). My wife tells me that after I left she witnessed a person receiving the treatment. Apparently it involved wearing dark goggles from which she witnessed bright, rapidly-flashing lights leak. Sounds traumatically terrific!

Well, that's it for now! Join us next time for more pseudoscience, nutritional hooliganry, and a glimpse into the shadowy recesses of my future! (Apparently I'll finally get a girlfriend and a job! Don't tell the missus!)

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