Strangers Say the Darnedest Things

This was originally posted on January 16, 2013 to my divination experiment blog Not in the Cards which has since been shut down. All future divination experiments will be posted here at The Crow and the Hound.

When I first started this project, I had many grand ideas. After Monday’s experiment, I’m going to have to downsize a bit.

Because let me tell you: divination is exhausting.

For my first experiment here, I decided on clamancy, the method of divination done by interpreting cries in a crowd. When I first heard of this particular technique, I thought “I’ve done that. I think everyone’s done that.” Sometimes, when you’re walking in a crowd of people, you hear something that seems out of place and it gives you a bad feeling – or a good one, what do I know. It seems like someone, somewhere, is trying to tell you something. From what I’ve seen, that’s basic clamancy.

But I didn’t want basic clamancy, not for my inaugural experiment. No sir, ma’am, and variations thereof. And, to be frank, it wasn’t good for direct questions. It felt more like a random act than an intensive divination, such as Tarot or even bibliomancy. You couldn’t ask a specific question with clamancy. Or so I initially thought.

So I developed a technique. I decided that I would go to the mall down the road a bit and ask for volunteers to send me questions for this experiment on tumblr. I got five responses, but only three will receive answers today. Apparently the mall was as tuckered out as I was by then. Once there, I had two choices: I could ask the question my querent posed and walk around, noting what I heard that stood out from the crowd; or I could sit in one place, ask the question, and wait to hear what I heard. I decided to do both.

You might be wondering “Why the mall, of all places?” Well, from my experiences at malls over the years, I know there’s a lot of “white noise” you hear while walking through the corridors: music playing, children laughing or crying, the dull roar of hundreds of people talking. I knew that if I wanted to be in a crowd, the acoustics of the mall would be perfect. Unrelated answers would be background noise; related answers would be heard distinctly over the background noise. Also, all that white noise could help put me in a trance-state of sorts, which I’m pleased to say I actually managed. (Considering the difficulties I have clearing my mind and focusing, it’s a pretty wicked achievement. To me, at least.)

And so I began.


Question: Is there anything missing in her spiritual life that’s trying to get ahold of her?

  • Guy dancing the Playstation game said “That’s not fair!” as I passed
  • Woman passing me said something about “best in council”
  • Woman said “stop” to the man she was with about something to do with his hands (they were at a standing cart looking at something, I think she was telling him not to touch)
  • Small group of teenagers/20-somethings, one asked “What do you think, girl?”
  • Worker at the swatch store and I almost ran into one another as they left the store, exchanged excuse mes
  • Woman at a standing cart tried to get my attention, asked “Can I ask you something, gorgeous?”

This was the walking version of clamancy that I did. I walked the mall, both floors, keeping an ear out for answers to the question Dusken proposed. Only a short time passed before I had gotten a sort of “trance” experience going, picking up bits and pieces of conversations here and there. These are what I took as answers to the question I was asked.

In general, the responses seem like Dusken should already have some idea of what’s going on, what she may be missing. She’s been told already but it may have slipped her mind. I get the feeling Dusken needs to stop and take another look at her surroundings. Something is trying to get her attention, but she’s been ignoring it, either consciously or unconsciously, and/or it has slipped her mind. Might be something she didn’t take notice of at the time, either, and just thought of as coincidence. Whatever it is, it might be a strong force. The “best in council” thing makes my ears perk, but it seems pretty straightforward.


Question: Will my book get published?

  • Woman near me “Oh, in Pennsylvania?”
  • Man coming down escalator “stopped in the middle”
  • Guy passing behind me “Because, like, we were dropping a bomb”
  • Woman passing me “let out a bloodcurdling scream”

I did this one sitting down on the first floor of the mall, outside the Barnes and Noble. The first response was immediately after I posed the question and, honestly, I started laughing. Why? Because her book takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After that, though, my laughter stopped.

These results don’t seem good. They are actually growing in extremes, originally “stop” then “bomb” then “screaming.” I view the screaming as worse than a bomb because the person doing the screaming is obviously still alive. It’s a chilling moment, rather than the moreorless instantaneous stop that a bomb lets of, at least in the center. (I don’t want to get into a debate here over how bombs work, so let’s not go there, okay? Okay.) By the end of this reading, I had to stop and take a break because I was so stressed over the answer. It just does not seem good. I told Cannibal about the severity of her readings and I am crossing my fingers in hopes that this was a false reading. I’m actually hoping for a loophole here, which I want to verify with her soon.


First Question: What will happen if she keeps traveling to the Faelands?

  • Girl behind me “She was, like, three or four”
  • Girl “Married!” Guy with her “Whoa!”
  • Girl “Well!” and incomprehensible after that

This was another sitting reading on the second floor just outside the Barnes and Noble. Lizzy asked two questions, the first above and the second listed below, but both related to her travelings and the Faelands. Her second reading had only one very unique response, but we’re not there yet.

I get the feeling there are some dramatic changes in store for Lizzy. The fact that “marriage” and a child are mentioned are significant. In all honesty, I don’t know how to interpret these readings, but my gut instinct says that she’ll be attached to another individual and a child in the Faelands soon. It might come as a shock to her (hence the “Whoa!”) but in the end, I think it’ll be okay (the “Well!” that the reading concludes with.

Second Question: What does the continued drama of the Shadow Court hold for her?

Now, I mentioned above that this had a single, very unique response. As I sat there, listening for an answer, it was quiet for a time. I sat, I waited, but nothing seemed to be coming. And then, just as I was about to get up and possibly move spots, maybe do another walking reading, I heard it. A very loud, very distinct “witch cackle.”

I’ll leave it to Lizzy to interpret.

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