Truth Is Plain To See

Don’t scroll down! First of all, go back in the archives to Saturday the thirtieth of September. Don’t bother doing this on your phone: you won’t be able to see the photos properly. On your laptop screen, look at the first photo. If you peer through the latticework, what you see should tell you where we are. Then read the rest of the entry; how many of those faces from the dim and distant past do you recognise?

Now read on! As you looked through that latticework, you should have seen some decorative wrought iron, then an expanse of sand, and then the outline of a pier. Yes, we’re on one pier, looking across at another. It’s got to be Blackpool, hasn’t it?

Let’s pull back from the first view, and see more of that seaside resort. It’s a dull day, isn’t it?


The rest of the family have gone to the Sea Life Centre, just a few hundred yards from the Tower. I didn’t go with them, because I don’t want to see any ghosts. Instead, I’ve strolled down the promenade and onto the Central Pier. It’s a long time since I was here last, but everything looks very familiar. It’s beginning to rain, and while groups of young people try to amuse themselves in the arcades, a few older folk are walking further up the pier, presumably in search of fresh air and fun. There is plenty of the former, bearing with it a light rain and the salt sea spray.

There are kiosks and rides and stalls and snack bars, but the patrons are few and far between. I have my camera, so I take some photographs, trying to shield it from the elements as best I can. I pause outside a colourful booth: Old Blackpool in every way, but still open for business, after all these years. I scrutinise the faded photographs, some of which you’ve just seen. So, who were they?

Starting from the top: Pat Phoenix, Tyrone Power, Morecambe and Wise, Harry H. Corbett, Les Dawson, Cliff Richard, Bruce Forsyth, and Tommy Cooper. Most of you will have recognised most of them, I dare say.

Perhaps Tyrone Power, the only American film star to be found here, would be unfamiliar to some. “A smouldering heart throb in the pre-war years, he came to Blackpool, aged 43, to star in a production of Bernard Shaw’s play The Devil’s Disciple, at the Grand Theatre in March, 1956.” (Blackpool Gazette.)

He died in 1958. He should have seen it coming, shouldn’t he? Or rather, the woman with him and with all of the other celebrities should have seen it coming and warned him about it. Why so? Well, here is her booth on the Central Pier.


The sign says that she is a “True Romany Palmist”, and that “It is well known only a true born Romany can look in your hands and predict your future”. I notice that there is no price list on display. I am told that it works on a sliding scale: the more you want to know, the more you have to pay.

Can she really predict the future? Of course she can - in the same way that I can read tea leaves, read minds, stop my pulse, and speak in tongues. Here’s an interesting extract from a recent interview in the local press with another fortune teller, one of the many who work in and around Blackpool.

But like winning Lottery numbers she can’t predict what the future for Blackpool (or Blackpool Football Club) is going to be. “I’d have to have someone very important involved in them to do a reading for, it would have to be channelled through an individual. It’s like the question ‘didn’t you see that coming?’ which I get every day. All I can say is that at least 50 per cent of my business is repeats - which is very, very nice.” But what is it about fortune telling and the seaside? Something spiritual perhaps? “It’s tourists - holiday makers,” she says. “We go where the business is - and it’s here.” 

I suppose there’s always a profit to be made, wherever you find gullibility combined in quantity with cupidity and crass stupidity.

“Oh, come on, surely it’s just a bit of harmless fun on holiday, for amusement only?” No, not really. The bible is clear in its complete condemnation of all attempts to gain knowledge, and to discern and/or affect the future through fortune tellers, spiritism, psychics, or any other kind of occult practice. Each and every attempt to do so is sin of a very serious nature; since it seeks help from powers, persons, spirits or influences outside of and opposed to the living God, it is a form of idol worship. If this has somehow slipped past you, it’s time to stop reading this blog right now and get back to your bible.

An old friend of ours was in touch with my wife this afternoon, asking about guidance from God. One day she thinks God tells her one thing, the next day another, and why can’t she be told exactly what she wants to hear, and, indeed, why can’t she get exactly what she wants, when she wants it? I didn’t hear the end of the conversation; but, in case anyone else is wondering what to do in such circumstances - how does God want us to discern His will for our lives?

How about this for a sound and simple plan, with the weight of God’s word behind it? Study the bible (2 Timothy 3.16-17) - and pray for wisdom (James 1.5). It might not be the easy way, and it won’t necessarily give you instant answers; but you will be told the truth, and you won’t be wasting your precious time on what will never work.