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Debunk my OH's woo story please!

(36 Posts)
LadyShirazz Fri 08-Apr-16 15:30:36

So I am a life-long non-woo skeptic and atheist; my OH is a bit more of an "anything's possible" type, though with no strong views in any one particular direction.

Occasionally we get on the subject, and one time he's told me this story several times:

Back in the eighties, OH and first wife were walking down the Mile End road, which was not an area they lived in or frequented much, and had ended up in sort of randomly that day. They were passing a fishmongers and the wife on the spur of the moment wanted to pop in for crab, so in they went.

Cockney geez at the counter is talking to a man with a turban on - not a fellow staff member, but at the same time doesn't look exactly to be a paying customer either. Once fish is bought and paid for, the bloke at the counter gestures towards the turbaned man, and says that he can tell fortunes. Cockney guy then suggests OH put a fiver on the counter, and if the turbaned chap got their fortunes right, he would give it to him, and if he didn't, he would give it back to them again.

So alright, they are game. The man in a turban then picks up some of the brown paper for wrapping the fish, makes some scribblings and gives a scrap each to OH and wife saying that this would be the name of their mothers - and was right in both cases. He then hands OH another scrap saying that this was his current salary, and was correct - OH claims to the penny. He then turns to the wife and says that her last boyfriend was a bad man and had hit her, which was also true. There was some other stuff, but annoyingly OH muppet says he can't remember - but either way the man got the five pounds.

Now technically I know he didn't tell their future or fortunes, but just their "presents" - and even then only fairly random bits and pieces of that. On the future, all OH remembers is that he was predicted to live in a white house one day - and he hasn't yet.

AIBU to demand a rational explanation for this??

I'm hoping someone is going to come along and tell me this was some sort of con going on in the eighties East End - and explain all the details. I for one am struggling to explain how the chap could have produced such accurate (if piecemeal) information on the basis of a random encounter, and I've watched all of the Derren Brown series too!

Any thoughts....?

PS: Before you say it, OH definitely wasn't making the experience up. We've been together nearly ten years now, and I know for a fact he is entirely lacking in the necessary imagination, or moreso the ability to remain consistent over subsequent retellings, were he not telling the truth... smile

thecitydoc Fri 08-Apr-16 15:34:09

this happened c30 years ago - let it go as there are much more important things to worry about. Who do you think you can go to and DEMAND a rationale explanation from?

LadyShirazz Fri 08-Apr-16 15:36:05

With 99.9% of AIBU there are more important things in this life to worry about!

It's a turn of phrase smile

PPie10 Fri 08-Apr-16 15:36:54

Sounds like he's winding you up.

Newes Fri 08-Apr-16 15:37:07

I think if he read the fortunes of enough people in a day he would get lucky a few times, so a few £5s. Not bad for a day's work! But still based on coincidences.
We tend to edit out the Misses while the Hits stick in our minds.

Arkhamasylum Fri 08-Apr-16 15:39:09

"Predicted to live in a white house one day".

I'm really hoping the OH isn't Donald Trump shock

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Fri 08-Apr-16 15:39:47

Memory is not infallible.

Doesn't Derren Brown do this sort of thing?

Roseberrry Fri 08-Apr-16 15:42:56

I would think your dh has lost a few details along the way, 30 years is a long time to remember the exact conversation.
Most psychics go off body language. They ask a few questions, build a rapport and can tell whether your body is agreeing or disagreeing with them. Derren Brown did a programme on it once. It was very interesting.

LadyShirazz Fri 08-Apr-16 15:46:50

Yes, I love Derren Brown, but this was not a psychic reading as such, but two people buying fish and a series of exact facts written down and given to them (so not reflective of body language).

If it was "just" cold reading, then that would be much easier to dismiss.

wasonthelist Fri 08-Apr-16 15:47:00

Yes but I think I've seen Derren guess things that people are thinking about right then and there so isn't that kind of like guessing the 'present'? I dunno.

KatharinaRosalie Fri 08-Apr-16 15:50:38

I remember a story like that on MN. Someone's aunt(?) had her fortune told and kept going on and on about how accurate it all was. After her death, they found some notes she had made on the day of the forune telling - and predictably, what was actually said had very little resemblance to what aunt remembered.

I don't know how exactly they do it, Derren Brown does and he states no magic is involved. But if I keep guessing that mum's name is Mary, I will be right eventually.

kittentits Fri 08-Apr-16 15:52:02

I'd be inclined to think his memory is failing him. People can remember events utterly differently, and details can be changed, added or removed without deliberate exaggeration! Lucky guesses, which your OH's mind has turned into perfect predictions.

iwouldgoouttonight Fri 08-Apr-16 15:58:16

I agree with Newes for a fiver it's worth the risk for the man to get some things wrong. If he worked like 'psychics' and magicians do he'll probably have asked them some questions and got some things wrong but your OH would probably only remember the things he guessed correctly. If he only got one thing right, people then want to believe the rest and often remember the events not quite as they happened, even directly afterwards, let alone 30 years later.

It's interesting though, I always want to know how things are done. I don't find watching magicians very interesting but I love finding out how they do things.

As an aside, I'd have no idea what my salary is to the penny grin

DryShampoo Fri 08-Apr-16 15:58:25

Honestly, there's nothing to debunk, OP. What you have is a half-remembered account of an event from decades ago at which you weren't present, and which your OP clearly decided a long time ago was amazing and inexplicable and has retold and retold over and over again, possibly with unconscious omissions and elaborations.

You've only his word for the accuracy of the 'psychic', and memory is very fallible, even if he's not consciously being untruthful.

I've told this on here before, but my mother always used to talk in hushed tones about an incredibly accurate 'white witch' who had seemed to know all about her when she saw her in the 1970s - she used to repeat things the woman 'couldn't possibly have known' etc etc etc. When my siblings and I were adults, she found a transcript of the 'reading' my aunt had written down at the time hidden at the bottom of an old handbag. Not surprisingly, a few accurate guesses (it would have been entirely obvious from her accent, appearance and wedding ring that my mother was from the west of the county, working-class and married with children) were buried under a huge amount of stabs in the dark and vague waffle.

Yet my mother thought she was remembering accurately that this 'white witch' had been astonishing. Memory lies. It's possible the ex-wife remembers the event entirely differently.

Anyway, it sounds incredibly unlikely. Not the 'psychic' part, but putting up a fiver as a bet in a random East End fishmongers, and the Cockney Geezer and the Mysterious Man in a Turban... Who would do that, really? And would a Londoner ever think of another Londoner as a Cockney, or find a man in a turban worthy of note?

DryShampoo Fri 08-Apr-16 15:59:40

X-post with Katharina!

That was me! Or my mother, really...

Salmotrutta Fri 08-Apr-16 15:59:55

I only once went to a fortune teller back when I was 18 and a bit giddy.

It was all quite general really (she said someone called Keith would figure in my life)

I don't know any Keiths grin

She also said I'd have two children - true but a pretty good guess since lots of people have 2.

She said she saw an ambulance outside a house I the future - well, again a pretty good guess as once you have elderly relatives the chances increase.

She said a dark haired man would come back to me - no idea what dark haired man has left me!

KatharinaRosalie Fri 08-Apr-16 16:01:17

See, and my memory failed already, it was a mum, not aunt! grin

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 08-Apr-16 16:02:24

I had a Palm reading wen I was about 23/24 (I'm now nearly 50) and I remember practically every detail.
(Because most of it, I though Nah! )

But a load of it came true (not telling you all, you'll scoff wink )

And it was London, a man in a turban but not a fish shop (no idea how near Mile End)

Queenie73 Fri 08-Apr-16 16:03:30

I've met people who knew a lot about me, even though I didn't know them. Usually they turned out to be either people I'd met through work but not remembered, or friends of distant relatives.
in this case, I'd wonder if the wife had set him up.

DryShampoo Fri 08-Apr-16 16:07:46

I had a Palm reading wen I was about 23/24 (I'm now nearly 50) and I remember practically every detail. (Because most of it, I though Nah! )

The thing is, though, my mother also thought she remembered details from the reading because they 'came true', like the initials, sex and number of her children (not all of us had been born yet) - and she 'remembered' that the 'witch' had got them all right, but the rediscovered transcript disproved that.

BillBrysonsBeard Fri 08-Apr-16 16:09:44

I'm quite cynical about these things being woo but do think Derren Brown is very clever and this feels similar. It's pretty cool if he got both mums names and salary to the penny! Even if it was a lucky guess, well that's extremely lucky that he got both names and still interesting how he deducted that.

BillBrysonsBeard Fri 08-Apr-16 16:10:21


BoatyMcBoat Fri 08-Apr-16 16:14:32

Well, he wasn't all right was he? Your dh has never lived in a white house. I bet there were loads of things which were wrong, but which he has forgotten, and that on balance he was more wrong than right. It's more memorable that a stranger makes accurate guesses, so your h remembers those better. It's quite likely too, that those right guesses may not have been as right as he remembers,mie, mother's name guessed as Mary when it's actually Marianne, but it's close enough that it gets remembered as being right, and then over time is amended to actually be right.

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