The world of clairvoyants and wizards

Source : Google photo

We have always been interested in knowing the future because we are always fascinated by the unknown. Throughout the history of mankind this fascination was found giving rise to clairvoyants and people who could predict the future.

A very famous clairvoyant comes to mind in the person of Nostradamus but there have been many others. Kings and Queens consulted them, rich people spent their fortunes on them to know if their ships will return home safely with riches, the tyrants and despots consulted them so that they could know how long they could hold on to their power.

The Mughal emperor Akbar always consulted his astrologer who could tell him if his projects and wars would succeed so they looked up to the stars to read what they could. Others looked into tea leaves and coffee mugs to see the future. Still others read the lines on the palm and could see the future.

Needless to say this fascination about the unknown has given rise to a veritable industry of palm reading and tea cup and coffee cup readings everywhere but I suspect they are out to make money from gullible people and are fakes. Often the uneducated and poor are the clients.

There was a woman in the village who could tell the farmer how many cows he had and how one was stolen but the farmer did not know that the woman was a charlatan and had spies in the audience who milked the farmer of all the information he could get and whisper into the ears of the old harridan.

I saw the same thing in Haiti where a woman who lost her money and typewriter went to a female houngan to find out who was the thief. A houngan is a voodoo priest. This woman was accompanied by another woman who went inside the shack of the houngan and came out after a few minutes.

Right there I could smell a rat. The houngan knew all about the story as if by her divine power and suggested a severe punishment for the thief if only a few bottles of rum and some money were produced.

This sort of thing goes on everywhere and some crooks make a decent living out of it because they are experts in their trade and know how to convince someone to part with his money.

One fellow was approached by an itinerant “holy man” called sadhus in India who took some dirt and rubbed it in his palm and offered a fellow to taste it. It tasted sweet like sugar. Now this fellow was an ex-military who was not easily conned so he said that he had a bit of savings that he could offer the sadhu if only he could teach him how to turn dirt into sugar. He would be a millionaire in no time. Now the fake sadhu was in big trouble and sought a way out of the mess so disappeared hastily. Another showed me his pen and squeezed Ganga water out of it but I was too crafty to fall for his trick so he went away to try his luck elsewhere.

So as long as people want to know what the future holds, they will always seek the answer somewhere because this fascination comes from the fear.

Will he pass the tough exam, will he get the promotion, will he find a beautiful wife, will he have sons instead of daughters that his wife always produces?

If you go to any railway station in India, you will find a fellow sitting with his parrot that promptly pulls out a card from a stack he holds and reads the answer written on it to anyone for a fee of course and the trained parrot gets some tid bits to eat each time.

Now it may be a parrot or a monkey or something else. The point is that there are people who will believe even a parrot to tell his future so desperate they are.

There are others looking into crystal balls and see all manners of things there while others prefer tarot cards but the aim of these crooks is to lighten your wallet so go to them with some skepticism and prepare to bargain a bit. You will be amazed how much money you can save.

Some people however, take palm reading very seriously indeed. I had an aunt who was known to read palms so one day she pulled out my hand and started looking at what was supposed to be written there. I was perhaps 19 years of age and not really a believer in such things but she told me that my wife will come from a far land and I will have two beautiful children, perhaps one boy and one girl someday.

I was just a student then and did not even have a girl friend so it all sounded so farfetched but she said that that is what she read in my palm. I let it pass but years later I ended up here in the Philippines where I met my wife and we now have two wonderful kids. Yes one boy and one girl but how my aunt knew these things, I have no idea. May be it was just a lucky guess but she did say that my wife will come from a far country.

Another fellow who had some notoriety in palm reading one day came to our house and abruptly pulled out my hand to read my palm lines. He peered at it for some time and then just as abruptly got up to leave without saying anything so I asked him what he saw that was so disturbing?

Was I somehow related to Stalin or Gengis Khan or what? He finally said that my hand showed that I was an unusual person with very strong fate lines and decisive mind. But I already knew that so what else he saw? He would not say so even today I wonder if I could have been a millionaire if only tried my luck at lottery or something. May be he did me a favor by not telling.

Now I come to the serious part of this blog.

There was a holy man in our home town who was a real saintly person and gave blessings to anyone who sought it. Every Sunday a huge crowd would gather in his house to seek his blessings so he sat there whole morning giving someone a talisman for his problems or a flower to others and still more people came.

I too went to him once to seek his blessings before going to Vietnam so he just placed his hand on my head and muttered a few mantras. He did not ask my name or who I was but I am sure he could not have remembered me out of hundreds.

Many years later I was in Saigon when the offensive by the Vietnamese called Tet offensive started right at the airport where I went to catch a flight. The guns blazed away and bullets flew everywhere but we stayed on our belly for a long time and in the evening decided to go back home because there was no flight taking off.

I was with two other American friends so made it back safely home which was not very far. At this time the postal service was disrupted for many months due to the fighting so I could not send or receive any letter from India. My mother was very worried because she read in the news about the fighting in Saigon and did not get any letter from me so she decided to ask the holy man who had blessed me long ago about what he could tell.

He looked up with his big eyes and said to my Ma that I am safe and with two people. A letter will soon come.

Sometime later when I visited India, she asked me where I was on that day in Saigon when the fighting broke out. I told her that I was quite safe and with two American friends. How the holy man knew all this, I still do not know but obviously he was a clairvoyant who could see things into the future just like Nostradamus.

Nostradamus was known to be a clairvoyant because he wrote down his predictions in some 900 quatrains most of which have come to pass. He did so secretly because the Inquisition could have burned him at stake if they thought he was a sorcerer of sorts. They were quite liberal in their interpretation of who was a sorcerer so I am sure Nostradamus knew the danger he was in but still he wrote it all down 400 years ago.

His famous incident was when he kissed the hem of a poor itinerant padre in his village when the surprised padre asked him for the reason. Nostradamus answered that he was kissing the hem of the future Pope. That poor padre did become a Pope although at that time he did not know it at all.

Now I come to the wizards. I think the wizardry has something to do with magic, black or white. In India there was a time when people practiced what was called black magic to do harm to people. It is out of fashion now what with the education and prosperity but there are still rural isolated areas in the country where this practice persists.

First I will mention the Ojhas. They are found in many parts of the country and can save a person from a deadly snake bite. People who are bitten by venomous snakes in rural areas and often are unable to reach the medical facilities to get the anti-venom treatments because they are too remote. My own grandfather died of snake bite in a remote village late at night where no help was available.

Now I heard this story from my sister who is not particularly a reliable person when it comes to storytelling because she often embellishes the story with her own a bit but she said that this story was true.

A young girl in her small town was bit by a cobra in the kitchen where the snake had taken refuge so the girl fell down in a spasm and did not have much time to live but an Ojha came to her rescue and asked the snake why it had bit the girl? The snakes usually do not hang around to see the effect of their handi work but perhaps this one did.The snake answered that she had stepped on it so out of reflex it had bit. The ojha said that that girl was young and innocent so the snake should let her live and remove all the poison from her writhing body but the snake would not relent. Finally a deal was struck with the snake who said that she will convulse 36 times brutally and then she will live.

So the ojha asked four young men with no malice in their heart to come forward to hold the girl down because in the process she might rip her clothes. The rural girls do not wear panties you know.The four strong men then held her down while she convulsed violently but finally it was over and she became numb.

I have no idea how an Ojha talks to a snake and understands what the snake says so there must be a snakese language somewhere but the girl lived and the story of her miraculous recovery spread far and wide.

I met a gentleman in the Philippines who told me that the Ojhas know how to get rid of the poison but they take a terrible vow which they cannot break at the peril of their life. They vow to reach the victim at any time day or night, near or far if they hear of such an incident and they must never accept money for it. The ojha told the gentleman in question that he could teach him the secret on the condition that he must take such a vow that he can never break even he is sick in bed.

An American fellow who lived in West Africa told me that he saw a shaman take the poison of a scorpion from the arm of a fellow by simply tracing the poison out with his finger and out the finger tips while muttering something.

But what is most interesting is the story published in the National Geographic with beautiful colored photos of the shaman who can kill a chicken from a distance just by making the gesture of twisting its neck and the chicken drops dead. He then proceeds to cook the chicken in a hollowed out gourd without fire and the bird is nicely cooked. Just Google and you may find such photos.

In Mali there is a place where the shamans practice this sort of wizardry when they lift a grass roof they build on the ground and then lift it to the walls by magic only. You may believe such stories or not but there are people who know such things. If a chicken can be killed just by a hand gesture from a distance, imagine what they can do to you if you happen to cross swords with them.

If you read the story of King Arthur, you will know the wizardry of Merlin on whom the king always depended to give him good counsel.

There is a whole lot of things that can be considered paranormal and can’t be explained away by scientific reasoning. We know that ghosts and lost souls exist. I wrote a blog on it. What we do not know and perhaps do not want to know how much power such shamans and wizards have and how they use it.

It is an entirely different realm where no sane person ventures willingly. May be we are better off with tarot cards or the parrot. They seem to be harmless.