TW – death| Because October is a time for everything spooky, and I wanted an excuse to hang out with the ladies in my family, I agreed to push the boat out and go to a spirit medium night at a local bar. My mum, my aunt, and my nan had all been to at least one before, but it was to be a completely new experience for me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Related: My paranormal experience
Was it going to be a ‘Most Haunted’ style affair, where the medium would become possessed by the spirit? Were we all about to do a séance? If so, I’d have to make sure I was wearing dark bottoms! Or was it just going to be us being talked at for a couple of hours?
Turns out, it was the latter.
We arrived at the bar and sat in our designated booth, distanced from the other guests and also the medium – let’s call her Shelly. Drinking was encouraged, and I was bitterly disappointed to look at a cocktail menu on the table waving at me. God, I could do with a Pornstar Martini! Instead, I settled on a Diet Coke and waited for Shelly to start.
Across the night, Shelly came into contact with eight spirits. She worked most of the room, sometimes targeting individual tables, sometimes describing what she could see and hear, and waiting for people to reach out to her. She requested that people respond to her statements and interpretations with yes, no, or not sure.
I went in with an open mind – I can’t communicate with spirits, so I don’t know if it’s real or not – but after only about 20 minutes, I’d decided that her spirit medium night was a hoax, and Shelly was chatting utter sh*t.
She didn’t come to our table at all in the first section of the night, so it meant I could listen objectively to what she was saying. Quickly, I noticed that at the beginning of ‘communication’, she spoke incredibly quickly, listing very generic information that could apply to almost everyone in the room:
‘I’ve got a male here. His passing was quite quick towards the end. Someone didn’t make it to the deathbed. I sense constriction in his chest, so I’m thinking a lung condition? A heart condition? He’s shrinking you, so you must have been younger when he passed.’
‘I’ve got another male. His death was an accident. I’m sensing a concoction of things, overdose? No? Oh, maybe he just took drugs. Name like Aaron, or Darren? He’s standing here, near you.’
‘There’s a rose? Maybe it’s a name, like Rosina? She was an old lady but liked to dress well. Are you going through a change in your life right now? Your life is a little disrupted.’
No shit! She literally gave a vague description of someone that could be dead, and waited for people to acknowledge it. She listed generic information that anyone and everyone could apply to themselves. Yes, my life is a little disrupted: I’m pregnant and there’s a pandemic. I had a great, great, grandmother called Rosa. I know of three men who have taken their own lives. My maternal grandfather’s condition deteriorated over two days and he passed. My mum wasn’t present at my paternal grandfather’s death as she was driving to the hospital to meet my dad and to see him.
Sometimes, people pushed back, making her work a little harder, but others absolutely bit her hand off. I felt a little sorry for them – they must have been so desperate for a message from loved ones that they would ignore the total performance that was happening before us.
Related: Grief: you’re never alone
Then Shelly came to us. Bless my aunt, trying to help her get somewhere, but everything she directed at us seemed to be going nowhere. I certainly didn’t know any men who had something to do with Gemini, and wore a beige cardigan. Suddenly, the group behind us stood and shouted out ‘It’s us. It’s us!’
Who did they think it was? Some lady’s husband’s grandfather, who she met once for half an hour.
Overall, a spirit medium night was certainly an experience. However, not one that I would repeat any time soon. Perhaps it’s an unpopular opinion, but I thought the whole night was a way for someone to exploit the grief of others for a quick buck.