It appears that even those with supernatural powers could not predict the extent of the economic downturn.
Only five people visited a psychic fair at Forest Hill’s Railway Telegraph pub, when such events would formerly pull in 30 or more, according to organiser Chris Fauster.
The event, which takes place up in a different location up to four times a year, brought together clairvoyants, tarot readers and numerologists, each offering private readings for £30 per half hour.
Fauster blames the reduced numbers on the recession, explaining that while people may previously have come “for a laugh”, household budgets mean most are reluctant to spend £30 on a whim.
In addition, he said even those who are true believers are less likely to come because of the same economic restraints.
Fauster, a former accountant and auditor, started researching tarot in the early 90s to find out if it was a scam – but soon became an adherent.
Despite the poor turnout, Elaine Gough, 31, from Sydenham, did have her fortune told by tarot reader Lita, and was impressed with the result.
She said: “There are things she told me that she couldn’t possibly have known without talking to me beforehand.
“My son has been asking about doing ballet. I didn’t even tell her I had a child but she said ‘is he very quick on his feet and he likes to move around a lot?’ and mentioned ballet. I was totally taken aback. There’s no way she could have known about that.”
As for Lita herself, she encourages healthy scepticism when approaching psychics – a word she hates – and sent EastLondonLines on its way with some Shakespearian words of advice: “There are more things on heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”