Jaci Stephen: 'A crystal ball reader said I'd marry a man with the initial W. Never happened'

Way Out West
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The Independent Online

The prospect of running out of money and possibly having to return to the British winter is already depressing me; hence my decision to drop in on one of LA's thousands of psychics, to find out exactly when I would have to make room on my mantelpiece for my Oscar.

The recession had clearly hit the psychic market hard (hadn't they seen it coming?), because special offers were everywhere. The Psychic Centre, on La Brea in West Hollywood, was offering a bargain $10 dollar reading, and I entered to find four women tucking into their Subway takeaway lunch around a crystal ball and a pile of Tarot cards with crumbs on them.

Through a full mouth, the fattest one asked whether I was looking for a reading, and pretty much splattered me with the contents of said mouth when I said Yes. My allotted psychic was a scruffy girl of about 18, who looked pretty annoyed at having her lunch break interrupted.

"Which d'you want? Tarot, palm, crystal ball, eye?"

I had had my eyeball read once before, when I was doing a health programme for Channel 4, and I hadn't been very convinced.

I also thought that an eye reading might not be helped by the fact that I was suffering an allergic reaction to some new mineral make-up and had been rubbing my eyes to wipe away the constant torrent of water pouring from them.

"Have you had any of them before?"

"All of them," I said. A Tarot reader had once told me that I would have twins. Never happened. A crystal ball reader told me I would marry someone whose name began with W. Never happened. The only W I ever dated told me in a Paris café that I was the most intelligent, funny, fantastic woman he had ever met – he just didn't fancy me. Stuff Paris as the City of Love.

Last year, passing through Turkey on a cruise, I had my Turkish coffee cup read, in the same way that people read tea-leaves. I was told that I spend money on big things (tell me about it – I spent 12,000 euros on a Chloe dress after one too many white wines a couple of years ago), that I would be very rich within three years (one down, two to go), and that a man whose name began with S was going to help my career big-time. I tell you, if Simon Cowell doesn't shift his backside quickly, I'm going to be on Skid Row.

My LA psychic was clearly having an off day and seemed highly irritated that I had even deigned to enter the room, let alone demand anything once inside. "Is it all right if I tape it?" I asked, producing my Blackberry. That was a definite no-no. "Can I take notes?"

"No. We don't like that. It's private. Why would you want to?"

Honestly, this was like pulling teeth. I could have finished this life, gone to an after one, AND returned as a sub-species in the time it was taking her to predict the next . . . Well, how many years? Heck, I only wanted to know as far as September. At this rate, I would be lucky to know what I was going to have for dinner.

"So what d'you want?"

"Okay, I'll have the eye."

"You want me to read your eyeball?"

"Yes, let's go for that."

"That's $45."

"But your sign outside says that you're doing a special deal for $10."

"Yeah, that's a palm reading."

"Okay, I'll have one of those."

"To be honest, it's not very accurate."

Oh, for heaven's sake. I read my friends' palms all the time and am deadly accurate. I read my own. I'm going to be very successful, but there is going to be a clean break of some sorts before I achieve that ultimate success (could this 6000 miles across the Atlantic be it, I have wondered?). I'm going to live a long life and I won't have any kids (my 50-year-old body fills in the gaps that my palm has left out on that one). I have told friends about things in their pasts that they have not even shared with those closest to them.

Clearly, there was going to be no such insight here, so I walked out of the centre without having spent a dollar and muttering something about it all being a bit of a con.

In fact, given my own skills in this area – certainly, compared to hers - I think I could open up a psychic centre in LA and do very well out of it.

The way the money is going, together with Mr Cowell's ongoing silence, it looks as if it might be my only option. Dollar for your thoughts, everyone. You know where I am.

To read more of Jaci Stephen's blog LA Not So Confidential, go to Lanotsoconfidential.blogspot.com