I have a psychic Korean aunt, who makes her living travelling around the country dispensing advice about peoples’ futures and occasionally cleansing evil spirits using a special dance, along with her spirit guides – an old man and a small boy. I always liked Psychic Aunt because like me she’s clearly slightly unhinged, but I didn’t much care for her younger spirit guide – while we were back in England he insisted on taking a stuffed toy from our office that we’d been saving for our child. When you’re having difficulty having a baby, and someone takes something you’d been saving for if it finally happens, it has an unhappy subtext, especially when that someone is supposed to be able to foretell the future. Perhaps you’re entitled to be a bit of an ass when you’re dead, but personally I think the dead should hold themselves up to higher standards.
Despite foretelling that I would live an extremely long life and become quite wealthy, neither of which seem very likely at this point, apparently Psychic Aunt is quite well known and very good at what she does. I suppose you’d say she has ‘the gift’ if you believe in such things. A lot of people in Korea do, and it supposedly runs in my wife’s family, so Korean Mother and Korean Brother are both ‘seers’ too, but they didn’t accept the calling when it came to them in an ancestral dream, as it does. I had an ancestral dream once when I was 14. It involved some recently deceased ancestors dressed as death chasing me round a running track, and while I gradually tired they didn’t. So I suppose I saw my own future, but they didn’t indicate whether it meant I could see other people’s.
Their failure to take up the calling hasn’t stopped the dreams and premonitions within my immediate Korean family. And to be fair, after about a year of trying, Korean Mother finally had a baby boy dream about two weeks before my wife became pregnant with our son. My background is in science, so while I’m generally dismissive of apparently superstitious nonsense I also try to remain somewhat open minded, and recent psychological research and developments in rather frightening reality-challenging cutting-edge theoretical physics suggest that in actual fact, foreseeing the future might not be quite as ridiculous as it first appears.
I have to admit to being slightly unnerved by some predictions which have been made within my Korean family, and things that have consequently happened over the years. Enough that I’ve become more open-minded than polite-cynicism would normally dictate. Perhaps it helps that along the way I developed Meniere’s Disease, which has given me a more reality-challenging relationship with the concepts of space, time and gravity anyway.
That said, I am not so open-minded that when a conversation begins ‘Mother has had a dream’, that I don’t feel a slight sinking feeling in my stomach at what will come next. Although sometimes that could be the Meniere’s – you can never really tell. At the weekend the dream in question was fortuitous money dream which apparently ranked quite highly on the spooky-scale. So my wife bought lottery tickets. Now to me that seems like a leap of faith – who’s to say that the dream wasn’t telling us to rob an armoured car instead? After all, it wasn’t specific about how this money would fortuitously come to us. But lottery tickets it was.
So it was with great faux-excitement that I read the numbers to my wife when she woke up Sunday morning and entered my office brandishing the tickets. But as I read out the first three numbers, and she ticked them off on one of her two tickets, I began to get that unnerving feeling again. And indeed, we’d won the lottery – a prize of 5,000 won. Does this keep Korean Mother’s psychic track-record? Perhaps, but the tickets cost 10,000 won.
Apparently she had another dream overnight…