He called himself ‘Ted’ – half-blind, his milky white eye stared at me while his gnarled hands plucked a tarot card from the deck.
“Interesting,” he muttered, flipping over the card to reveal…well, I can’t remember exactly. I think it had a guy with a sword sticking out of his chest on it.
See, this was back in January. I found myself at a psychic expo sitting opposite an elderly gent with a cheeky grin, trying to impress a girl who asked me to tag along with her.
Ted later assured me the bloke-impaled-with-a-sword-card didn’t mean death; in fact, he managed to convince me I’d win a competition in June instead. Well, June came and went and I won bugger all.
Refusing to believe Ted’s prediction was wrong, I sought out the man who promised me untold riches. I found him at the Burnside Ballroom psychic expo giving a reading to a pair of young women, who were hanging onto his every word.
For 35 bucks a session, I didn’t blame them.
Once Ted lost his connection with the spirits (they only work for 30 minutes at a time), the reading was over and the girls left with puzzled expressions on their faces.
What mysteries Ted divulged I don’t know, but it didn’t matter, I was seeking my own answers.
Unfortunately, my introduction was met with a blank stare – Ted had no idea who I was (insert psychic pun here).Remembering a prediction he made seven months ago seemed out of the question.
No matter, I guess I ‘won’ a few things in June, sport matches and the like, so I was willing to give ol’ Ted the benefit of the doubt.
Besides, with more than 50 years’ experience, I figured he could enlighten me in the ways of the clairvoyant.
“I’ve been doing this for half a century,” Ted began, “I’m pretty straightforward – I call a spade a spade, I don’t do airy fairy stuff.”
Ted saw his first spirit when he was 18, six weeks after his father died.
“My dad appeared to me as clear as you do now, scared the shit out of me,” he laughed,” Dad said ‘You’re doing a good job Ted’ and whoosh! Off he went.”
When his mother passed away, Ted joined local psychic groups and honed his technique before creating the ‘Psychic Exploration Association’ in the early 80s, which held the first psychic day in Adelaide.
However, rival spiritualist churches shunned the group: “Our first speaker was the initiated high priest of witchcraft, Tim Hartridge, and the church didn’t like that but we told them to go hell,” Ted explained.
“We had UFO groups, Orange People and Hare Krishina who gave talks that went against what the church taught.”
When the association finished a decade later, Ted left his tarot behind and travelled around Australia, working in motels.
“But I got fed up with that because I put on too much weight, so I came back here doing private readings,” he said.
Today, Ted is a regular fixture at the fortnightly psychic expos held locally, with a loyal group of followers who keep coming back.
“I believe I give them the truth, but a lot of what I say they already know themselves, they just want somebody to confirm it.”
Ted doesn’t just flip cards for a living, though. Much like our very own Ghostbuster, Ted goes out to people’s homes and clears them of ‘lost souls’.
“I went out to one house where a couple had a young daughter who they thought was possessed because she heard voices,” he said. “I had a good talk to the girl and her family, played one of my CDs, put them in a circle and cleared the place of energy.”
While Ted wouldn’t reveal what the CD contained, he told me he only asks for petrol money when clearing houses of spirits. Ted paused momentarily, perhaps sensing my scepticism.
“Look, everybody’s psychic. You’re a psychic – it’s just a matter of getting used to it. You probably put it down to intuition or coincidence, I’ve just been lucky enough to develop my psychic ability.”
When I asked him if he considered himself Adelaide’s top psychic, he quickly shook his head.
“I don’t think so, how do you gauge it? Is someone who writes ‘Psychic of the Year’ the best psychic, or someone who’s booked six months in advance? I just do what I do.”
Despite his popularity, Ted isn’t afraid to point out his flaws; he can’t predict death, for example. “I haven’t got the ability, no clairvoyant does. There’s only one person who has that knowledge and he’s not here on earth, he’s up there somewhere.”
Ted pointed to the sky, and smiled broadly. I don’t think he can predict the future, but it’s definitely been an entertaining day.
Check out adelaidespsychicexpo.com for upcoming expo dates. Ted will be expecting you.