Psychic fayre work of the devil
A Christian group disrupted a psychic gathering branding it ‘the Devil’s work’.
Police had to be called to the Fayre at the Electric Palace in Bridport after one leaflet-distributing protestor tried to block visitors entering.
Inside, at least three more members of the town’s Christian Fellowship held a religious demonstration, warning of the perils of the darker side, with some praying at the back of the auditorium.
Fayre organiser Susan Outhwaite was forced to call for police help after the street protestor’s behaviour became intimidating and obstructive.
The demonstration followed a protest letter from the Fellowship’s the Reverend Philip Jefferis of Bridport to cinema boss Gaby Hitchin calling for it to be banned.
In his letter Mr Jefferis said hosting the Fayre could undo the results of all the hard work bringing the cinema back to life and saying there was still time to cancel the event.
He wrote: ‘Psychic fayres promote questionable and evil practices and those who run and staff them have their own suspect spiritual agendas as well as merely wishing to separate the public from their money.
‘Apart from the most dubious background of this sort of enterprise, which for many ordinary people is a complete put-off, the venue where this takes place will become linked in people’s minds to this doubtful type of speculation.’
Bridport Police Inspector Alan Jenkins said: “We were contacted with a report of a gentleman causing a nuisance and disrupting visitors to the event at the entrance to the Psychic Fayre.”
“He was trying to dissuade people from going in and in some cases obstructing the entrance. He explained to me the potential dangers that existed in allowing this event to take place and how it could corrupt the morals of persons attending.”
“But that is nothing to do with us and he obviously has the right to protest but doesn’t have the right to enter the premises if requested to leave. Nor does he have the right to block the pavement of the free movement of persons coming and going.”
“He was advised as to his conduct twice and pointed out that obstruction of the highways was an offence for which he could be arrested.”
A PCSO remained for the rest of Saturday afternoon to monitor the situation.
There were at least three members of the Christian Fellowship at the event some of whom were reported to be praying at the back of the auditorium or telling stallholders theirs was the ‘Devil’s work’.
After the event Mr Jefferis refused to be drawn on the row only saying: “We have to pray and tell the truth in life wherever necessary. We were there because it is a spiritual danger.”
Miss Hitchin said the cinema hired out the auditorium to all sorts of people for whatever they wanted to put on.
“With our discretion we can put whatever we like on in the auditorium as long as its within the law. We take no judgement on what people wish to do. Everyone has different beliefs and faiths and it is entirely up to them,” she said.
Fayre organiser Susan Outhwaite vowed to carry on organising future events despite the protests.
She said: “It is not only psychic fayres that attract fanatics, anything can attract them.”
“I did have to call the police because this man was trying to stop people going into the Electric Palace without any legal right to do that or to stop them coming to the Fayre or to the cinema café to eat.”
“Some people came up to me about his behaviour and I had one lady who had to sit down, she was really shaken because she had been so intimidated by him.”
“I don’t stand outside their church and try and stop people going in. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and their own beliefs.”
“There is nothing evil about what we were doing.”
“People have different ways of expressing their spirituality.”
The leaflet being thrust into the hands of stallholders and visitors used quotes from the Bible to warn against consulting mediums.
It said: ‘God is clearly warning against such practices as palmistry, tarot readings, fortune-telling, astrology and all similar methods of obtaining esoteric knowledge.’
Some stallholders found being heckled and accused of working with the devil offensive and upsetting, they said.
Ms Outhwaite said: “We are looking forward to the next one and it will be bigger and better because we had such a huge response, there must have been 1,000 people there at the weekend.”
“The next one will be at the end of June and we hope to do them every three or four months in the West Dorset area.”
author: Rene Gerryts