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For many years, Kathleen Lorna Middleton lived at 69 Carlton Terrace, in the North London suburb of Edmonton. The house, which faced one of the main roads leading out of the city, had a small plaque to the left of the front door: “Miss Lorna Middleton, Teacher of Pianoforte and Ballet.” Middleton was born in Brockton, Massachusetts, in 1914. She was a talented dancer as a child and had friends who went to Hollywood, but, during the Depression, Middleton’s parents, who were English, lost everything and moved back to London. Middleton, who had small hands, buck teeth, and a pronounced New England accent, opened a school for dance and music in the front room of No. 69 and called her students the Merrie Carltons.

Middleton played the piano, swivelling on her stool, while six girls at a time practiced port de bras using the bookcases for balance. The next class waited on the stairs. The house was crowded with dark furniture and programs from Middleton’s childhood performances with the dates erased. “There was always something—not exactly exotic, but she was totally different,” Christine Williams, who started taking classes with Middleton when she was four, told me recently. “Whatever she did, she posed. She never just stood.”

On a winter’s day, when she was seven years old, Middleton watched her mother, Annie, frying eggs on the stove. “After about two minutes, and without warning the egg lifted itself up. It rose up and up until it almost touched the ceiling,” Middleton wrote, in a self-published memoir. Middleton giggled, but her mother was concerned. She consulted a fortune-teller, who told her that an egg that flew out of the pan often symbolized a death. A few weeks later, one of Annie’s best friends, who had recently married, died and was buried in her wedding dress.

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John Barker recruited a group of people whose predictions were uncannily prescient. Then one foresaw Barker’s death.

Illustration by Matthieu Bourel

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/03/04/the-psychiatrist-who-believed-people-could-tell-the-future

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