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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth McCafferty


Lockdown left psychics booked out for the next 24 months and struggling to cope with requests for readings.

By Elizabeth McCafferty

Let’s face it, the horrors of 2020 will forever be etched on our minds. If I haven’t already lost you to its mention, I’d like to drag you back to July. I’m living with my parents, taking huge offence to being ghosted by the guy I’ve been painfully Zoom dating, battled food thrown at me and watched men pissing themselves whilst working as a tube station Covid officer. I’ve almost given up on the idea that my creative career can survive this pandemic and was prepared to do anything to be told it was going to be okay. Who could possibly give me solid, instant assurance needed to push through this global/existential crisis? No one I knew. But what about looking outside the ‘norm’; connecting to people with the gift of extrasensory perception? Cue the psychics. Surely, they’d be guaranteed to give immediate answers to end my worries?

“Hi Elizabeth, thank you for your message… we’re currently booking clients in for June/July 2021-please let me know if you’d like me to send you a date for this time.”

Had I been naïve to assume it would be easy to book in a psychic reading? Evidently, yes.

“Within three weeks of the pandemic, I had 150 readings requests.” explained Martin Hopgood from Eastbourne. “I’ve really had to step up to the whole Zoom thing. I’ve got a two-year waiting list because there’s so many requests but it’s difficult because people want answers to their worries now. A gentleman recently came to visit, looked me straight in the eye and said: ‘I’ve got one question: will I catch covid?’ I told him no and he left straight away”.

Psychic Susan is based in Kent. She’s warm, friendly, and almost immediately informed me that the guy I’d been zoom dating would never work out. “I’ve had a bookings increase of about 50%. I was getting influxes of panicked health queries; everything from dental worries to whether they needed antibiotics. I’m not medically trained, yet people were turning to psychics unable to get appointments with their GP or as a counselling alternative. Things were shifting to darker places around 3 months in, with people trying to contact loved ones lost to Covid or lockdown related suicides. It was incredibly sad and difficult to process. I had to refuse some who kept repeatedly booking and getting addicted to readings. You have to take responsibility and tell them when to stop”.

I feel this could be deemed as a dangerous slope, asking non-medical professionals for advice on mental and physical health. I imagine some people, especially in a vulnerable mind state would cling onto advice without investigation or disregard for inaccuracy. What accountability do psychics have for these people?

Under UK law, psychic readings are classed as entertainment only, no one can sue a psychic. I’m a clinical aromatherapist, bach flower practitioner and reiki master. My training teaches me that we can suggest but cannot diagnose, I adhere to that in my readings.” Susan explains. Martin too reflects the same views.

“Some people wanted readings instantlyadds Tracey, a psychic based in central London. “If I was fully booked on that day, people would get put off. I wouldn’t be worried though when they didn’t try and rebook, it made me feel that they maybe weren’t as in need as others.” I was going to ask Tracey for a second opinion on my Zoom date but held my tongue after she mentioned she felt relationship queries are shallow. I felt a pang of shame that despite being in a pandemic, my dating life was still a top priority.

But if they were able to predict my doomed relationship, why weren’t psychics able to pre-warn us about this catastrophic global crisis too; surely, they could have seen it coming and helped us to prepare?

“I’m sure psychics who look at world events can… but I usually just focus on delivering messages to individuals.” explained Susan. “I could see lots of major changes, like hold ups or personal health problems throughout readings”.

Tracey echoed this: “Our spiritual guides hinted things were going to be changing on a major level. We expected something, although we didn't know quite what it was. If they had told us, we would have panicked. They kind of rule you in soft and gentle ways- you know, something's coming but don’t always know to what scale.”

Even more than a year on, the psychics are seemingly still inundated as Martin explained: “I’ve sold out 3 venues within a week. They have a capacity of 120 per night, but I’ve still had to book out new venues to cater to how quick events are selling.”

“When the vaccine’s started rolling out, I had a string of conspiracy queries; like whether people were injecting microchips or whether it was safe! I noticed an increase of nurses calling, a lot with PTSD from working on Covid wards; all seeking answers as to whether they did the right thing.” Susan explained. Martin spoke of a similar rise in nurses seeking advice too.

Again, this poses questions regarding duty of care and moral responsibilities. Are psychics qualified to give advice on vaccines and console the vulnerable suffering with PTSD?

“You do have to be careful what you deliver.” says Martin, again adhering to rules on ‘not diagnosing’. “I do know likely outcomes to things, but I will only give an outline of the issue that that client, even if I know the eventual outcome.”

“There are psychics out there who are not honest and unethical, it gives genuine psychics a bad reputation,” adds Susan.

So where does this all leave us, will we ever be able to ‘pop in’ to seek psychic wisdom? Or do we have to accept the lengthy waiting lists as the new normality?

“I started doing 10-minute single question readings to get through everyone. People were starting to break boundaries as they got desperate; ringing at midnight, or 2am, thinking you’re available 24/7. I didn’t want to quality of my readings to drop by trying to cram people in and I felt exhausted.” sighs Susan. “Things will never be as they were pre pandemic. The effects to the NHS were devastating. Psychics will remain busy for the comfort and guidance people seek from them in times of death”.

I asked Tracey for her thoughts. “I’ll always prefer face to face, but the rise in technology has helped us connect to new people; I’ve been able to see more people than usual.” Her advice for coping with the fallout of lockdown? “You need to step up move with the vibrational changes, otherwise you’ll get left behind.”

“There’s a lot of blaggers out there and lots jumped on the opportunity to make money doing ‘mediumship’ and ‘tarot’ during Covid. I think only certain people will remain busy… i.e., the ones who deliver! I do have to ask you though… From a journalist’s perspective… there must be a big part of you that thinks this is a load of old sh*t right?” laughed Martin “Just you wait though,” he continued: “You’ve got some filming coming up in a few months… make a note of these dates…”

I think often about what Martin said- do I think it’s a load of old sh*t? I guess I lost faith in reality during Covid, pushing me to branch out to something I wouldn’t normally have faith in. Maybe failure in the norm is the reason everyone else is trying to book readings too? As for Martins prediction, it came true…to the exact dates he gave me. Do I need another reading to fully answer whether it was a fluke? Yes maybe. But I guess you’ll have to wait another two years to find out, as he makes his way down the waiting list.

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