Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Tallahassee Miss Cleo aka A Fraud Named Sister Fay



Here is another one from the archives. Written in 2002, it's a story about my trip to a local Tallahassee psychic and palm reader.

“Who’s the father of the baby?”

“Call me now.”

Everyone who watches late night TV knows the hysterics of Miss Cleo, the pseudo-Jamaican fortuneteller.  Few people realize Tallahassee has its own psychic friend, Sister Faye.  Sister Fay owns and operates her own psychic consultation service located on 1729 Mahan Drive.  She has been in the business for 48 years.

On Monday, I called Sister Fay to make an appointment for an interview.  I was greeted across the line by nothing but a meek hello.  I asked if the number was indeed Sister Fay’s and the voice assured me it was.  I then explained to the voice my interviewing intention and asked when I may conduct the interview.  3 pm Tuesday, the voice said.

That evening I wrote approximately 20 questions to ask Sister Fay.  These questions ranged from the practical (What is the difference between a palm, crystal, or psychic reading?) to the idealistic (What are your dreams for the world?).  I also included questions of a random nature, such as her thoughts on September 11th and her thoughts on the upcoming Seminole football season.

Tuesday arrived and I drove to Sister Fay’s.  When I got there, I joined a group of four other people waiting to see the psychic reader.  I was a bit early so I sat quietly and waited my turn.  At approximately 3:30, the office door opened and a small voice beckoned me to enter.  I sat down before an elderly woman who had a very puzzled look on her face.

Trouble raised its ugly head as I discussed my interviewing intentions with Sister Fay.  She opposed the idea of my interview, claiming it was not she who I had talked to on the phone the day earlier.  When I asked who it might have been, Sister Fay responded, “My ten year old granddaughter answers my phone sometimes.  It must have been her.”  I guess her psychic abilities couldn’t tell I knew the difference between the voice of an old woman and a ten-year-old girl.

Knowing I could not argue with her, I asked when a better time would be.  She told me 5 pm.

Again I drove to Sister Fay’s, this time at 5:00 as she had directed.  I stood outside patiently, 5:05, 5:10, 5:15.  At 5:20, Sister Fay finally opened the door to her office.  She ordered me to enter her office and sit in the seat directly in front of her.

“I can tell you everything you want to know,” she promised.  “Just put 25 dollars in your hand and tell me if you believe in God.”  When I said yes, she pulled out the tarot cards and started to give me a reading.  I went through with it because I figured it would add to the interview process.

Sister Fay’s reading was nothing short of a complete fraud.  She opened by asking me my age.  After I answered 24, she told me about her youth and how her older sister would not let her tag along.  She then asked me if I had the same problem when I was growing up.  I told her I didn’t have any older brothers or sisters so I couldn’t relate.

She then started to flip over the tarot cards.  On the 3rd card she told me I had been a lonely little boy during my youth and I always wished I had brothers or sisters.  This was a lie.  I did have two younger brothers and was never lonely growing up.

By about the 15th card she told me I needed to curtail my money spending habit.  I had spent too much on material things in my life and I needed to learn how to save money.  This too was a lie.  If anything, I am the exact opposite.  I saved quite a bit of money while I was in the Army in order to pay for college and only in the last year have I started to buy good clothes, etc for work and other needed occasions.

Sister Fay attempted to help out my love life as well.  According to the cards, I recently broke up with a commanding, over-bearing girl who was no good for me.  Sister Fay reassured me breaking up with her was the right thing to do.  This was one hundred percent fabricated.

She continued on with her story of my life.  Apparently, I have had leg and lower back problems.  This was nothing to worry about, she advised me.  I also needed to communicate more with my father.  It was all the typical psychic rhetoric.

When she finished with the cards, she told me to look at my list of questions and asked if any were not answered.  Of course none of them were answered, but I did not let her know that.  I told her it was amazing that she knew what was on the list.  “The cards always knew the right answers,” she concluded.

Like that the reading was over.  She had told me nothing about my personal life and answered none of my questions.  I left thinking the interview was a complete failure and I was out 25 bucks.  But looking back, I did get a first hand experience with the Tallahassee Miss Cleo, a fraud by the name of Sister Fay.

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