Psychic hotline develops a fault

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The Independent Online
IT IS relatively safe to predict that few clairvoyants are as hapless as Paloma Summer.

In a note to a prospective client, Ms Summer offers "hope, love, luck and money", a happy millennium and (for pounds 19) pendants with mystical powers. "If you get a letter from Paloma today, your happiness has come at last," she tells Glenda Barnes of Lancashire.

Unfortunately, Mrs Barnes died 17 months ago. Ms Summer, it should be noted, has received some corporeal help in finding this out; Lawrence Barnes, of Helmshore, near Rossendale, has written twice to convey the news of his wife's death. But despite Ms Summer's claims to be "hypno- telepathic" with "astral lunar magic", she has written to the Lawrence home from her base in Geneva, Switzerland, no fewer than seven times since Mrs Barnes's death.

For Mr Barnes, the correspondence has become a sick joke. "Whatever else these people are, they are obviously not very good at their jobs," he said yesterday. "You would have thought if they could read the future and have mystical powers, they would realise my Glenda has been passed on a long time now."

His wife wrote to a medium in 1994 asking for chart readings after seeing an advertisement. "She died very suddenly in July 1998 and the first letter arrived a few weeks later," said Mr Barnes. "Some people may have a genuine gift, but this is obviously not one of them. There's no telephone numberso I can't ring to tell them."

Ms Summers and her clairvoyant partner "Chris", who offer "secret predictions" for pounds 9.90, could not be reached by "psychic hotline" yesterday.