Take A Break’s Fame & Fortune magazine promises a lot just from the cover. “This boy came back as a teddy bear,” it bleats, under the ironic caption Spooky True Life. “Angel signs: How to spot them” and “Be Your Own Shaman” are particularly enticing because we can play along at home. And! If all that wasn’t enough for one magazine, they promise to reveal Britain’s most psychic pet. We just assumed that all pets were equally psychic, i.e. not at all, so this is going to be EXCITING.
To give you an idea of just how ABSOLUTELY MENTAL this magazine is, here’s a list of facts that they assert are absolutely true. As real as hats or toenails. Actually real.
As you can see, absolute madness!
The country’s most psychic pet is apparently a cat called Molly, owned by a tragic elderly lady from Northamptonshire. But what did Molly do that was so unnatural? So bloody psychic? It predicted a fire! Not so much predicted as noticed, but still – it noticed a fire! Before its owner!
That’s the whole story: A small fire broke out in a different room, and the cat, with its cat-senses, miaowed and kicked up a fuss over it. Because cats don’t like fire, and not because it’s psychic.
What we find most tragic is the desperate lengths people have gone to, to find out more from the “spirit world”. There are about 300 separate problem pages, each one written (ghost written!) by a television fraud medium. They invite questions from upset or bored readers, wanting to find out more about their past or future. Some of the questions are inane:
“Dear Jayne, I recently bought this fairy ornament. Does it tell you anything about me?”
To which the reply should have been: Yes, plenty.
Some, like Colin Fry’s Spirit Counsel, feature people who are more vulnerable, upset and worried. Their letters come with a hint of sadness:
“My stepdad took his own life … we felt guilty for not realising something was wrong. My mum recently passed from cancer. A message from either of them would be a comfort.”
Colin, who is definitely capable of talking to dead people, replies by making up a story about the stepdad having a hidden, deep depression and that was probably why he killed himself. While most of the magazine is fluffy bullshit, these are actual, proper lies, giving vulnerable people a false hope that their relatives are fine. Tasteless, to say the least.
Others, like Philip Permutt’s “Crystal Clinic” are just wonderful: “I suffer from flatulence. It’s really difficult and embarrassing. Are there any crystals that could stop this happening?” To be honest, doesn’t matter which crystal you use, just wedge it in nice and tight.
The best of these is Craig Hamilton-Parker’s column, “Phantoms on Film”, in which he discusses ghosts and ghouls that readers have managed to take a photograph of. Except, nobody has told him how the magazine works. His replies include:
Craig! Craig! Oh, Craig! You’re supposed to say something like “Yes, the energy chakra from your dead nan is clearly manifesting as a murky stain on the curtain. Definitely a ghost!” It’s such a departure from the rest of the magazine that he’s allowed to, er, tell the truth.
We don’t know for sure if Fate & Fortune is put together by a team that genuinely believes every word they print, but we can hazard a guess. Certainly, professional liars like ColinFry and Sally Morgan know that they are pulling things out of their arse (or the local paper), and are intentionally misleading people. Pretending that there’s life after death in exchange for money. And that’s just really, REALLY weird.