Elizabeth Vargas’ Uncanny Fortune Teller Experience

Oct 25, 2012 12:18pm
gty arabic coffee nt 121025 wblog Elizabeth Vargas Uncanny Fortune Teller Experience

A fortune teller gave Elizabeth Vargas some startling predictions based on what she saw in the leftover coffee grounds in Vargas' cup. (Getty Images)

Years ago, I was in the Middle East shooting for an hour-long special I was doing on the Resurrection. It was one of several hours that Peter Jennings and I both did on religion, and I was in Jerusalem to interview several Jewish scholars who had devoted their entire lives to studying an event they didn’t believe happened (for the record, one such scholar told me “something happened” in the days and weeks after Jesus was executed, he just wasn’t sure what).

One night, my producer Jeanmarie Condon and her good friend Nadia convinced my assistant producer Jenna Millman and me to drive to an hour away to see a Palestinian fortune teller. We were wrapping up a long week of shooting and could all use a break, so we jumped in the car and went.

When we arrived, I had doubts: We walked into a tiny room, with green walls, fluorescent lights, and a fly strip hanging from the ceiling. The fortune teller spoke no English, and basically ignored us. We were each given a tiny cup of Arabic coffee and ordered to drink it. I drank mine too fast, apparently, and was told to drink a second cup more slowly.

I was sitting between Jenna and Jean, already dreading a long, caffeine-infused night ahead, when the fortune teller walked over, pointed at me, and then turned and went into a small room. I followed with Nadia who was there to translate, and the woman asked for my cup with the soggy grounds of coffee left inside. She stared into the cup, and without asking me a single question, began to talk.

She told me I would get pregnant again, and that I must see a doctor right away. Since I was 43, and already had one child, and wasn’t planning on another–I thought she was crazy. Then she told me my husband would survive a frightening attack or life-threatening event. That kind of rattled me, but I took comfort because she said he would be OK.

Then she said something at my job was going to change in a big way, and that the person making that decision would be named David. At that point, I nearly fell out of my chair, because I had two bosses, my executive producer and the president of the news division, both named David.

Now, this woman didn’t know me from Adam. She had never seen me on television, she spoke no English, and when she was finished reading my now cold coffee grounds, she simply got up and left, making it clear she was done for the night, and my two waiting friends were out of luck. No amount of pleading could persuade her to read Jenna’s coffee cup, so we all piled in the car and drove back to Jerusalem. Nadia and I repeated everything the fortune teller had said. I was laughing — there was no way any of this could come true!

Months later, my boss named me co-anchor of “World News” after Peter Jennings’ tragic death from cancer. My boss was named David Westin. Around that same time, my husband was shot in the head after appearing in concert in Denver during an attempted carjacking. He recovered so fully he doesn’t even have a scar today from the bullet wound. And four months after that, while I was covering the first democratic elections in Iraq, I found out I was pregnant. No one could believe it–as one of my friends said, “no one gets pregnant naturally at your age”. (Thanks a lot!) My second son was born, strapping and healthy, three weeks before my 44th birthday.

Coincidence? Perhaps… But it sure makes one heck of a story.

Learn more about premonitions on “20/20: The Sixth Sense” Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

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