We barely managed to remember to write this Magpie Tale.
The highlight of each year’s San Franpsychics Convention was the arrival of Hedda Grass who walked in from Larkspur across the bridge. Dubbed the “Forgetful Psychic of Marin County”, she had no recollection of predicting in 1923 that there would be a big orange bridge spanning the Bay or having a vision in 1918 that in Bavaria a funny little man with a tiny mustache would give up painting and start working on a much larger canvas.
“I only look forward, not back,” Hedda said. “Once those visions come to my head I release them like doves for others to enjoy and nurture.”
Actually her vision of the bridge was said to have been first suggested in 1871 by the founder of San Franpsychics, Emperor Norton. He created the event in 1872 and credited his dogs Bummer and Lazuras whom he credited for most of this prophecies. Most people suggested that he established it for the bountiful he and the dogs consumed from the buffet at the Palace Hotel where it was always held. The conference was established in 1862 when there was much interest in the outcome of the American Civil War and how it would impact the new state of California.
Closing his eyes, holding a yellow index card over his brow, Emperor Norton Massaged Bummer’s neck to gain a vision.”Bummer say: War will go until 1883. Slaves freed but sent to Greenland. Chinese railroad worker will replace them. Lazarus and Napoleon IV will be installed as the Co-Emperors of the Confederate States of America.”
The sometimes inaccurate predictions of several of the psychics led founding in 1907 of the establishment of the San Franpsychics Board of Governors, an independent review board that rated the voracity of each psychic’s predictions. This followed the great fire and quake which no psychic predicted, though seven predicted the 1989 quake in explicit detail, including the made-for-tv movie and half of Rue McClanahan’s lines.
Hedda had an 89% voracity rating, putting her in the top 3% of the psychics. The other 97% had an accuracy rating of 10% or lower. Thus, she was in great demand that November morning in 1941 as she crossed the bridge and down Lombard on her way to the Palace Hotel. People scoffed as she pointed at various women’s pearls and said, “Next month. Great danger. From the sky, ships sinking. Pineapples, palm trees and humans on fire!”
Later at the conference, people asked Hedda to try to explain her prediction that they took as gibberish, but she had already forgotten it. She was more concerned about finding her way home. “Marin County? Is it west? Just past the Farallons?