HYANNIS – Susan Engstrom, a psychic, moved to the town of Brewster after her home in Brooklyn was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
“A month before the storm, I had a horrible feeling. I knew something was going to happen and there was no way to stop it,” she said.
She said, she lost 99% of her belongings, and she explained the storm simply in the parlance of her profession.
“What happened, it was meant to be,” she said.
Engstrom was one of 15 local psychics at a Psychic Fair that took place on the Hyannis Village Green on June 29.
It was the first of its kind, but the organizers said it was such a success, they are hoping to have another one, maybe as soon as next month.
An unscientific analysis of typical psychic clients based on those browsing through the fair revealed only one common denominator. They are mostly women.
One of those clients, Tara O’Keefe of Cotuit had Susan Lavaille, an organizer of the fair, do an Akashic records reading for her.
After the reading, O’Keefe looked pensive. “It’s a lot to think about,” she said.
She said she decided to get the reading at the spur of the moment.
Engstrom said, of her typical clients, “There are people you wouldn’t expect who go for a reading, like for instance, people who are religious.”
An Inherited Skill?
Like several of the other psychics at the fair, Engstrom said her gift ran in the family. She said her mother and grandmother both did Tarot card readings.
“They didn’t want to teach me. My mother was very hesitant,” Engstrom said.
That was in contrast to another psychic at the fair, Gina Mitlo, whose business is Hudson Psychic, located in Hudson, MA.
Mitlo said she was born with clairvoyance, a skill that members of her family have had for five generations.
“Early in life, my grandmother noticed, so she coached me to channel my abilities to help people,” she said.
Sitting among her props, including a crystal ball, Mitlo said she provides various services, including Tarot card readings, palm readings, chakra, and what she called, “clearings.”
Occasionally she spoke to her sister in a language she said was a combination of Russian, Greek and Italian. She added that her family has been in America for five generations.
Kellie Roy of Sandwich, who calls herself a holistic healer and stress reduction therapist, also said she has always known she was psychic.
“Since I was a child, I always had the gift,” she said.
It took her awhile to realize not everyone had the same gift she did. But by the time she was a teenager, she knew she was different and her gift became entertainment for her friends. She would tell them ghost stories about the things that she “saw.”
“They loved it. They were thrilled,” she said.
Specializing in “readings and energy work,” Roy said that while she has been using her psychic abilities informally since she was 18, she has only been in the business professionally for the past four years.
Having The ‘Gift’
While Roy noted how her powers set her apart, Engstrom said psychic energy is really something that everyone possesses.
Engstrom said, “I’ve always experienced paranormal stuff,” but, she added, so does everyone else. “There are so many ways of being psychic. Most people don’t realize they are,” Engstrom said.
She offered an unexpected comparison of psychic powers and athletics.
“It’s like sports. Some people are better than others. Some people see. Some people feel. You just know,” Engstrom said.
Lataille of DiscoverYou Events in Rhode Island, said she felt she had an “intuitiveness” for many years but it was just a year ago when she acted on it by taking a class to study the Akashic records, a reading of a person’s life book that includes past and future lives.
Lataille said Akashic readings show, “a place where all the records are stored for each soul’s memories.”
“It brings forth some good information,” she said.
She said she learned how to give the readings from a woman in Amherst, who teaches classes to certify people in the method. The readings open with a prayer that incorporates the name of the person who is getting the reading.
“Once the records open, I relay images, feelings, thoughts. Each individual, their soul has its own record,” she said. “Whatever the records tell me, I relay.”
Lev Poplow, creative director at DiscoverYou, was not doing readings, but said he does have what he called “intuitive” powers.
“I feel into the energy of what I’m seeing. I have the ability of seeing where you are in this moment in time,” Poplow said.
Mitlo was one psychic who was not convinced when told about the theory of the universality of psychic energy and of those who had come late to discovering their gift.
She said she believes there is a difference between those who have an inherited ability to be a psychic and others who do not have deep roots of psychic energy.
“It’s not the same gift as far as I’m concerned,” Mitlo said.
Engstrom said being a psychic is a little bit like counseling.
“You’re basically confirming what they’re seeing but they are denying themselves,” she said.
As an example, Engstrom said during the day’s readings in Hyannis, she spoke to several women “dealing with their exes, people who they loved in the past.”
She might say to a client, “Do you realize this person still cares about you?”
At the suggestion of getting back in touch with the old flame, “sometimes they start to break down crying.”
Engstrom said that while Tarot readings can give people a look into their future, that, in itself, is a moving target.
“You can always change your future,” Engstrom said. Sometimes people are on the right path—sometimes not.
For instance, she might see someone is married and then caution them not to have that affair they are considering.
“They won’t listen to a family member but a total stranger is objective,” she said.
Like the psychiatrist on the HBO series The Sopranos, she has found herself at times giving advice to someone who may be involved in illegal activities.
“I tell them, ‘This is not a good choice. It’s not a good end if you keep it up.’ They listen to you. They won’t listen to families and friends.”
She said her goal is to be as objective as possible. Sometimes she has even given clients referrals to a counselor or a minister.
Mitlo’s services to clients also sounded a bit like therapy. “I tell them about their hopes, dreams, ambitions, which roads to take. I try to give them a little bit of enlightenment, to help them make sense of life and what is the next challenge,” she said.
The Business Side
With a couple hours left until the end of the event, Poplow estimated about 1,000 people had come through the fair during the day.
Individually, business varied for the psychics at the fair, but Poplow said he believed they all did quite well.
As an example, he said one psychic, who could only stay for five hours of the eight-hour event, did 18 readings during that time, which means she was fully booked.
Readings were regulated at 15 minutes long, giving the psychic five minutes in between appointments.
A 15-minute reading cost $30 with the fair organizers taking a cut of the fee.
While the cost was probably less than most of the psychics charge on their own, Poplow said, it could generate future business.
He said he sought out local psychics for the event by researching online, finding there are “hundreds” of psychics in the area.
He said, those who opted not to participate in the first Psychic Fair may well want to be at the second.
Based on the enthusiasm of the organizers, it was meant to be.
– Laura M. Reckford