How to Become a Fortune-teller
Another twelve-step programme from the author of:
‘How to Start Your Own Religion’
Fortune-teller, psychic, mystic – they all have one thing in common: they all claim to predict the future. There are many reasons why a person would choose this ancient and noble profession. There are many reasons why most people who choose this profession are women. These reasons are –
- You can work from home.
- Clients can be fitted in around the children.
- There is no limit to what you can charge.
- The money you earn is tax-free.
To be a good fortune-teller you do not need any of the Clairs – clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience – but what you do need is some knowledge of body language and astrology.
Throughout each of the following steps, the pronoun ‘they’ refers mainly to women, as generally men do not visit psychics. When questioned, eight out of ten men admitted to finding the whole business unnerving; thus contributing to the belief that women are the braver sex.
Step 1: Speculate to Accumulate
Visit the mystics in your area. Some will be free, others not. Try them all and study their methods. Do they work alone or use props – the crystal ball, cards, incense? Do they make eye contact or hold your hand? Take no notice of what they tell you, but try to remember what they ask you. Write these questions down – they will be important later on. Here are some examples:
a. Do you work with your hands?
b. Do you do a lot for others?
c. Have you been feeling a bit down lately?
d. Do you know someone who has passed on?
e. Do you know someone with the initial M?
Don’t know any mystics? Stop any woman, in any bingo hall, and ask – the grapevine is a fortune-teller’s friend.
Step 2: Knowledge is Power
There are many books on the subject of body language. Beg, steal or borrow one – it will become your faithful companion and will help you get to know your clients before they have chance to get to know you. Do this by making conversation before the reading starts.
Some people are under the impression it is wrong to ‘feed’ the fortune-teller and will not speak during a reading. If your client refuses to answer reform your questions as statements.
Obtain a decent astrology book too and learn the character traits of each zodiac sign. If all this reading seems too much like hard work you can always take the riskier option – forget the books and play it by ear, but this is not recommended for those that would like to make fortune-telling a life-long career: remember a master craftsman takes time to learn his trade.
Step 3: It’s What’s on the Outside that Counts
Decide on an image. You can opt for the Romany look, complete with long flowery skirt, fake tan and too much mascara. Or would you prefer the more sophisticated attire of suit and high heels? Make the decision based on the type of clientele you hope to attract. If in doubt, take the middle ground – a jumper with picture of a cat or a counterfeit Reebok top, and jogging bottoms (this outfit works well when accessorized with a tabard or apron). Cigarette in corner of mouth is discretionary.
Step 4: Mind Your Language
Learn the fortunetellers’ vocabulary and practice your spiel. People love spiel as much as they like to categorise. By talking the talk, clients will consider you in the same league as Financial Advisors and Pharmacists. Throwing around such words as ‘symbolic resonance’ and ‘residual energy’ will baffle your client and impress upon them that reading the future is a science, not an art.
Step 5: A Rose by Any Other Name
You need a pseudonym. Avoid Gypsy Rose – there’s one in every coastal town – in fact forget Gypsy anything. Go for something exotic such as Madame Zara or Zelda, or Estelle de la Roche; a foreign-sounding name will enhance your credibility.
Step 6: Practice Makes Perfect
Use your friends. The fact that you know everything about them is good. The more info you find out about your clients beforehand the better as this leads to a successful reading and a satisfied client who will be only too eager to recommend you to their friends.
Step 7: Spread the Word
Don’t waste money on costly advertising – self-promotion works just as well. Strike up conversations in bus queues and doctor’s surgeries. Talk about the great mystic you went to see. By the time word gets around, no one will remember it was you that spread it. Don’t forget to suggest that the mystic has done readings for celebrities; this is not lying – didn’t you once tell the singer at your local club she’d never win a raffle let alone X Factor?
Step 8: Now you’re Ready – Reel ’em in!
The first reading: if it’s Ethel from the next street, you’re laughing – especially if you spoke to her husband that morning and found out she has a hospital appointment on Tuesday. If you haven’t had a chance to do any research, tell Ethel she has a hospital appointment coming soon; chances are she will – even if it’s in ten year’s time no one can say you were wrong. If Ethel flatly denies she will have an appointment – it’s against her religion – tell her it will be for someone close to her.
If your client is a stranger, look for weak spots – the flicker of recognition in the eyes or the way they perk up when you mention certain subjects such as love or marriage.
When effecting a reading it is important to remember the six M’s:
a. Most single people want to know if they will get married.
b. Most married people want to know if they will have children or if their partner is faithful.
c. Most old people want to know about their grandchildren.
d. Most people know someone called John.
e. Most people know someone with E in their name or a birthday in June so throw out letters and dates more or less at random.
f. Most people – unless they’ve lived on a remote island in the Pacific entirely alone for at least ten years – will know someone who is having a baby, an operation or dental appointment.
There are of course people who have lived on a remote island for ten years or more – they are called recluses and they don’t often visit psychics.
Step 9: Money Makes the World Go Round
Arrange your fees on a sliding scale. Poor Ethel lives on her pension so ask for a donation. If your next client works at the Tax Office charge anything from £20 up. Not getting enough business? Imply that you have been in contact with Lady Diana or Albert Einstein. Or that John Lennon has written a song through you. This will be of interest to the tabloid press who will pay cash for your story and give you free advertising.
Step 10: Baubles, Bangles and Beads.
Utilise your props. Jewellery will distract the client and therefore allow you valuable stalling time. Wear at least one large ring and as many chains as your neck can hold – remember most people over the age of thirty watched The A Team and loved Mr T. and under dim lighting, gold-plated jewellery looks like the real thing. Younger clients will think you are an incredible mystic having made so much money to buy so much bling.
Offer the client optional extras such as palmistry (the holding of their upturned hand), crystal ball (place in-between yourself and your client and stare at occasionally) or cards (deal face down in any formation and turn over at random). Add a surcharge of at least 20% to the cost of the reading.
Step 11: The Three R’s – Relax, Remember and Repeat.
Once you’ve built up a database of regular clients, keep notes and tape recordings of what you have predicted so you can repeat yourself on their next visit. As your confidence increases you can sell these tapes to your clients to boost your earnings. By this time you should know your regular clients so well you will not need to fall back on stored information.
Step 12: Call My Bluff
If, at the end of a reading, you hold out your hand for your fee only to have the client shriek, ‘You’ve got to be joking!’ you know you’ve been foiled. There are several tactics you can employ in this situation.
a. Insist that you are right and advise the client to go home and give the reading time to ‘sink in’.
b. Use gentle persuasion (with tea or coffee) to show the client how they have misinterpreted your words. If a and b fail:
c. Blag sympathy by saying you’ve been up all night with a sick budgie. Or
d. You must have been susceptible to the vibrations of the previous client. Always:
e. Offer a free reading.
f. If word gets out that you are a charlatan, spend a month living off your earnings in a foreign retreat where you can rejuvenate your powers. On your return, repeat Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7.