The Psychic Fair

Near my home in New Castle, Pennsylvania, is a place known as the
Haunted Hill View Manor.  The sign at the end of the driveway said, “Psychic Fair”  with another sign, “Free Admission.”

I’ve heard it was previously an old age home, but the promotional material makes it sound much more ominous than the locals I have talked to, but they are allowed.  It would be very boring without an interesting back story.

There were many psychics on hand to tell your fortune, read your aura, palm, tea leaves or whatever.  These people are the real deal.  You can tell they are real by the $30 to $40 charged for a reading.  The speakers were free, and we got there just as a man talking about how to access the astral plain was getting started.  As you may imagine, meditation is key, with the possible addition of mind altering substances.

There were also many vendors selling jewelry, symbols, candles etc. If you find my description lacking I must apologize.  I walked through, but could not linger.  The mold level inside the building was quite high.  I did complain to the person in charge and was referred to their waiver, which excludes them from any responsibility for any thing that may cause you injury or harm, up to and including death.  And what did I expect, “It’s an old building.”

Today, I sent this email:

Greetings,  I attended your Psychic Fair on Saturday, June 2.  I could not linger and had to quickly leave due to asthma and the mold in your facility.  I said something to the person in charge, who referred me to the Waiver, which basically says you are not responsible for anything at all, ever, under any circumstances. While I can see that is of great benefit to you, it does nothing to inform me of the dangers involved.  Any other attraction open to the public has large signs warning of dangers to specific people with a higher than average risk.  At the hotel hot tub, “Not recommended for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, pregnant, or children under the age of 10.”  Similar signs are found at amusement parks.  Even the TSA warns people with pacemakers to inform the agent.  Especially for events, open to the public, you need a warning posted that those with respiratory issues should not enter due to mold.  I believe your waiver still leaves you open to liability, but I am not a lawyer, so what do I really know.  Being an old building doesn’t let you off the hook, as many old building have had mold remediation. But once again, I am not a lawyer.                          I  wish I could have enjoyed your Psychic Fair, but I couldn’t and shall not return, nor recommend a visit to your facility.

So now all of you know what I expect.  Any lawyers who might be reading, perhaps you would like to weigh in on the level the waiver protects them.

I do apologize if you find my tone dismissive of the psychic realm.  I assure you, that is not the case, but when it comes to psychics, there is no licensing board.  I myself have toyed with the idea of hanging out my shingle, and quietly advertising.  Charlatan?  That depends on your beliefs.


Are Ya Feelin Lucky?

We all remember Ralphie Parks in The Christmas Story and his quest to get a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200 shot Range Model air rifle, and even Santa warns that “you’ll shoot your eye out.” And then the joy of Ralphie getting his wish on Christmas morning after he has given up all hope.

A Christmas Story - a-christmas-story Screencap

I know you are thinking, come on, it isn’t even Halloween yet! Why are we talking about Christmas? Well, we aren’t. Not really. We all want things that may have some danger that accompany them. I can imagine babies awaiting for conception telling the gatekeeper, just as they would tell their future parents a million times, “I know what I’m doing, I really want this.” There is risk. There are no guarantees. I am sure they are asked to sign a waiver that states they will not sue if they are terminated, miscarry, are premature or breach, have a heart murmur, born to a poor family, their parents fight and split up, they don’t get a dog or cat, they get a childhood illness, break something, and on and on. I think you get the drift.

Ralphie didn’t have to sign a waiver, but plenty of people told him about the danger. It did not change his mind. Boaters, sailors, rock climbers, mountain climbers, bungee jumpers, hang glider, hot air ballooners, and many others are told how their chosen activity is dangerous to them. They do not change their mind. The bit of adrenaline that pumps through your body while doing these things are part of what makes the experience fun. The testing of our abilities and limitations gives us a feeling of accomplishment, and a feeling that we can meet any of life’s challenges.

When we drink hot coffee, walk near or cross a busy street, use a knife, light a candle, start a fire, cook, mow a lawn and do a many other things each day we are taking a risk, but we trust our experience and feel the risk is minimal. Even with our experience, emergency rooms are flooded with people with burns, cuts, breaks and wounds of all kinds. In fact, people even die from their mishaps.

But sometimes we have to take a risk that isn’t within the normal everyday realm of our experience. Sometimes we have to put our lives into the hands of others. We sign waivers. Yes, we realize surgery is dangerous. Yes, we will have scars. Yes, we can have an unexpected reaction to medication. Yes, we realize we could die. We sign these waivers, and put our trust in our doctors, and we head into surgery.

Signing a waiver proves you have been informed of every possible risk. Signing a waiver does not protect anyone who does not act in good faith, or behaves recklessly, carelessly, or incompetently. So sign their waiver, but know you are not signing away any of your rights when you do.

And I will see you later in the week after my procedure has gone smoothly and the drugs are out of my system.

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