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What do belly dancers, ghost hunters, tarot cards, and crystal from Brazil all have in common? They and much more were seen at the 25th Annual Metaphysical Fair (commonly known as the Psychic Fair) held last weekend at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

This annual events brought over 80 vendors and speakers. If you're a true believer, an open-minded skeptic like me, or just curious, this was the place to be.

I arrived about 11:45 and the closest parking lot was already full. I brought along my new camera (which died on the first picture) and a notebook for descriptions. A writer friend joined me later in the afternoon so I used her camera for the pictures this week.

My first experience was an odorous one as the first large table offered any type of incense you can imagine. I decided to walk each aisle starting on the far right. Directly up front was a man selling skins and furs and figurines and, as you can see, looking the part.

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Other vendors offered candles, crystals, jewelry, stones, statues, artwork (ranging from schlocky to halfway decent).

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There was a bathroom fitters exhibit, the connection of which I didn't make. Bathtubs and psychics?

Other tables offered a variety of honey, free spinal exams and acupuncture sessions, and one table with scores of books and at least fifty shades of gray...I mean types of tarot cards.

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The presenters in three different areas ranged from an Indian (okay, Native American for the politically correct) telling stories and singing songs, to the Iowa ghost hunters, to at least three troupes of belly dancers (sorry for the slightly out of focus picture).

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In the middle of the building, there was what I could only describe as a serenity garden. This was laid out very nicely.

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And of course, no fair of this type is without your 'psychics'. Psychics, clairvoyants, clair-sensitives, clair-audience, and Clairols as far as I know. The picture below shows one of those who used tarot cards for his readings.

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There was a pet psychic (in case you wanted to know what Fluffy thinks of you when you rub his belly or that Spot has passed over to a better place and is happily chasing cars). There was a 'holistic warrior' who could help you with those who are sabotaging your energy. There was a bouncy, caffeine infused woman who would create abstract paintings of your energy. (I sat and watched her for awhile just because she was good looking.)

So did I participate? Well, I had a half hour session with the acupuncturist. Yes, I've done this before and thoroughly enjoyed it. No, it doesn't hurt. Yes, it does have its benefits. Their office is West Des Moines and I will seriously think about visiting.

What? You mean did I have my palm read or my aura photographed or my future told? Well, as somebody who thinks most of these people are smoking their own sage bunches I still wanted the experience. So I looked through the offerings and chose one, for the most part, by the name alone. I mean who could resist somebody with the nickname Moonspinner. Anyway, despite the fact she sounded like the offspring of Frank Zappa, I paid my money and received both a...ahem, 'spiritual' reading and a reiki reading.

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For the first part, we sat on opposite sides of the little table laden with a variety of stone and she stared off over my right shoulder. Every now and then she'd say something along the lines of, “Well, they're telling me that you've handled the change in jobs very well and that you'll be overseeing others soon.” or “They're saying something about a young man. Possibly a son?”

Okay, first off, who are the 'they' to which she keeps referring? Second, I thought the part about the young boy was a little weird. No son, no nephews (unless my sister has been keeping a BIG secret about her three daughters). That area of discussion fell apart very quickly. Then she looked over my left shoulder to where, apparently, my paternal grandmother was. The psychic said that Grandma watched over me a lot even if she didn't make her presence known. (Which is bad that she watches because I wonder if she watches while I shower and brush my teeth every day. It's also good that she doesn't make her presence know because if she did, I'd probably crap my pants.) Grandma was concerned about my being alone (how about directing a girl my way then? Hmm? Maybe the abstract painter?) and was glad I hadn't picked up one of Dad's bad habits (Whatever that was. Apparently Grandma didn't share with Moonspinner).

Then she did a reiki reading. If you don't know what reiki is, basically it's energy transference. She stood behind me (the psychic, not grandma) and placed her hands on my shoulders, then the top of my head, then the sides of my neck for about five minutes and allowed her energy to flow from her to me.

What did I feel? Nothing but a woman standing behind me with her hands on me, NOT massaging my shoulders. She wanted energy transference, well, then start digging in.

Yeah, the entire experience was a waste of money. I could tell she was struggling with the minimal information I gave her. I could have done better with a package deal at another booth where they offered-for the same amount of money-a 15 minute massage, a 15 minute foot detox or cleansing, and a 15 minute 'candle flame reading' (whatever that was). At least my muscles would have felt good.

All in all, though, the fair was a fun experience. I saw a lot of interesting items and people. I may go next year and try someone different. Maybe the palm reader. Or the angel reader. Or have someone let me know what my other grandma has to say.

I mean, what's to lose except a few bucks?

Any of you had an experience with psychics?

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