"Where do you
see it on a horse?"
"By the head.
There's a blooming, very hot, like heat. That horse wants to go."
The idea of
spectral flames shooting out of the horses' heads as they came down the stretch
was awe-inspiring. Personally, I could see no phosphorescent glow around any of
the animals and, in fact, hardly any signs of life in some. And yet the race
was a good one. As Harribance had predicted, Treble Hook took the lead. At the
half mile he was two lengths ahead of Right N' Bright, which had two lengths on
Vern's Destroyer. Until the last few strides it looked as if Harribance had
picked them one, two, three. But a beautiful little animal named Jerry's Song,
unraced in the past nine months, winner of two races in 30 starts, off at 35 to
1, closed determinedly and passed Vern's Destroyer and Right N' Bright, losing
to Treble Hook by a nose.
had done better than the handicappers. The horse he picked to win had won, his
second choice was third, and his third horse was fourth. But he had not bet on
his choices. "I changed my own arrangement," he said composedly. "I
went to buy Seven to win. I changed. I see Six to win. I said Seven to place.
But then I did not buy it."
According to Harribance, when he went to the window to place his bets, the
combined thoughts of other bettors, their silent self-arguments and doubts,
their concentration on the names of horses and calculations of odds had flowed
through the air like telepathic static. This, Harribance said, made him lose
confidence in what had seemed to be certain foreknowledge. "Besides, I am
not lucky," he said. "I can tell you, 'Look, that horse will win.' But
I will go buy something else. I am anxious to see if luck can beat extrasensory
In the second
race, a four-furlong $7,500 claiming race for maidens, Harribance had two $10
tickets on No. 5 to win and four $10 tickets on No. 9 to show. His insights
came numerically; he never mentioned a horse's name. No. 5 was Bitter Bubbles,
unplaced in five starts. Nine was Special Jason, fifth in his first and only
race a week earlier. The other eight horses did not interest him. He
tape-recorded his selections and went off to buy his tickets. This time he did
not change his mind. The ESP feeling must have been very strong, for he showed
no excitement when Bitter Bubbles, running second until mid-stretch, drew away
to win by two lengths (paying $8.20) over Special Jason, which paid $3.80 to
show. Harribance collected $158, giving Chris half of it.
he became aware of his psychic ability when he was a 12-year-old boy in his
native Trinidad. He tells of walking home from school one day when he suddenly
visualized a schoolmate's mother wearing a new red dress with green stripes.
When he announced this he was laughed at. They were all too poor for such
finery. But when the schoolmate got home his mother was wearing a dress like
the one Harribance described, an unexpected present from a visiting relative.
Harribance soon found himself doing similar tricks, though that is not a word
he would use, to become popular with other kids. For instance, somebody would
ask him to make a "prediction" and he would say, "You have 25� in
your left pocket." He was correct often enough to get a reputation.
brought up as a Hindu," he said between races at Jefferson Downs.
" America is a scientific community, but Hindus are a religious community.
As a very young child I sat with my grandfather and did yoga and meditated. We
were told that if you meditated you'd get the powers of yoga, walk on water,
operated a sawmill, a corn mill and a rice mill, and later a grocery store
where Sean worked when he was not playing cricket or beating the other kids at
cards. He was converted to Christianity, which upset his family, and he further
antagonized his parents when he refused to go through with a marriage that had
been arranged for him. He had left home and school and was working at the
ticket counter of a bus company when he began giving readings at a fee of 502
for five minutes at church benefits, usually telling girls about their future
marriages. These sessions became so popular that he went on a county-fair
circuit, where he imparted such information to hundreds of clients uncertain
about their future husbands. "I am 90% right on love lives," Harribance
William Roll of
the Psychical Research Foundation in Durham tested him, using hidden
photographs of men and women. From an adjoining room Harribance picked the sex
of persons from photographs he could not see. Given two choices, the law of
probability—formulated by Pascal and Pierre de Fermat in the 17th century—says
that if you keep on picking long enough you will be right 50% of the time.
According to the Foundation, Harribance got 677 right and 323 wrong in 1,000
trials. In another well-publicized instance in Trinidad, a person unknown to
him was brought into an adjoining room, out of his sight and hearing.
Harribance wrote down the person's height and other personal facts, adding that
the stranger played cricket well. The individual was Charles Davis, who is the
West Indies' best cricketer, and the measurements and characteristics were