Every single person who lives in New York has probably wondered at least once why there are so many signs offering esoteric and mystical services spread around the city.
The little Keano flyer, which you can see in the corner of many advertisements’ frames in most subway trains, was the starting point of my journey within the community of New York’s psychics. I met about thirty psychics – after my first researches and encounters on that topic, I found so much articles about fake practises in psychic shops that I intentionally decided to avoid these ones – from Midtown to the Bronx going through Queens. They are Tarot card readers, mediums, palm readers, healers, etc. I found them via Google, Yelp and word of mouth. Eventually I portrayed half of the ones I met.
This project aims to give an intimate look at those interesting characters and their personal world while offering the audience the opportunity to have a glance at New York from a psychic’s perspective.
About Thomas Freteur
Years ago, Thomas received from his Grand-Pa the Hasselblad that he had kept through out his photographer career, stretching back to the early 50’s. Was it this Hasselblad, more than his diploma in social media, that convinced Thomas he had to live from, or rather through, photo-documentary and portray? Or was it the inspiring exchanges amongst the award-winning Belgian collective “Out-of-Focus” he had put together with his former schoolmates? Most probably Thomas doesn’t know himself, and he keep seeking the answer in those side-topics he covers with a disturbing curiosity. Those real life stories he gathered from Carpathian suburbs or Haitian sacred graves, to the post-industrial Belgian wastes or the ever-spinning Brooklyn nights, all shared a point in common. Those are the stories of men and women. Those are stories that can be sketched with words but that only well-pictured face expressions may tell with precision. [
— Marina “The New York medium”: 61 West 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023 “It took me a long time to call myself a medium, but I no longer apologize for being a medium. Believing in myself was a long challenge! Method: I do speak with clients. I need to tune in to who is there… Spirit work is like an old transistor: I need to tune in the right vibration. It’s just a matter of being open. After that, you can receive. I don’t believe in ghosts! For me a ghost is a residual energy. Some spirits are really stuck to New York. I am a diehard New Yorker. I feel the energy of New York; sometimes, it feels like a person…”
— Paul Beaudet’s Bedroom: “I always thought that Jesus was adopted by Mary and Joseph. I used to be invited to Christmas at Buffalo Academy, but when they realized I became a psychic, they rejected me!”
— Paul Beaudet “Paul the Palmist” : Broadway and West 148th, New York, NY 10031 In my past lives, I was a pastor at Notre Dame in Paris and I lived a horrible life in India. When my partner Bruce died, a friend offered me 3 books (about Palm reading) and the light came down. I am at present a medium, palm reader and intuitive consultant. Before I became a spiritual minister, I used to be a teacher of geography in Buffalo. My second career is spiritual minister and a palm reader in New York. I am a certified Psychic/Medium/animal communicator and I do “seance spirit message circles.”
— Stephen Robinson, founder of The Institute of Holistic Studies and the Spiritualist church of New York – 263 West 86th Street, New York NY “Psychic is one of the oldest jobs/practices in the world—in the Old Testament, people went to psychics (prophets, medium, witch, herbal remedies, etc.). It’s a challenge now to become a psychic; there is so much competition. My parents were believers. My mother is a medium; she communicates with the dead. My father believes in reincarnation. I do have a very open family. At 13 years old, I had a vision, a prediction about my future: it told me to go to NY to help people and communicate with the dead. At 19 years old, beside school, I went to a Spiritualist church and medium classes. At 20 years old, I went to a trance development circle and had a conversation with someone in a different language (an old dialect from Argentina). That convinced me that trance mediumship is real. At 25 years old, I was already giving readings.”
— The Spiritualist Church of New York city ; 263 West 86th Street, New York NY The Phenomena of Spiritualism consists of prophecy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, the gift of tongues, the laying on of hands, energy healing, visions, trance, automatic and independent writings and paintings, voice, materialization, photography, psychometry and any other manifestations proving the continuity of Spirit via the physical and spiritual senses and faculties of human beings.
— Marion Hedger “The British Psychic” : Blackfield offices suite, 1 LLC / 708 3rd Avenue, NYC 10017 Psychic Medium and Tarot card reader “I have been a psychic since I was a little girl. Around 1899/1900, my great grandmother used to bring people to her home and lead seances. In England, where I come from, it’s the Fox sisters who began with Spiritualism, but there were a lot of charlatans. Psychics in the 80/90’s were more genuine. Now, people attend a six course workshop and say they are psychics! This causes trouble for clients and harms the image of our profession! I’d rather do face to face with my clients but I also do skype calls. I also have celebrities who come at night disguised.”
— Mary the virgin: 901 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206
— Michael Kim : 80-29 64th, Middle Village, NY 11379 “One night one year and half ago, I heard weird noises on the basement—doors opening, etc. I believed it was my grandpa, but he was sick and unable to move… When I was in the basement, I felt like I was being observed; my ears were ringing… Later, I went to see a doctor. “Am I crazy?” “No,” said the doc. I went to see a psychic (through Yelp) and the psychic told me I have the potential to be clairvoyant. That gift changed my perception about my life, my friends, religions…I started to develop and train my ability through exercises such as “psychic pictionary.” I was thinking about doing this part time, but I stopped because I was busy (as an actor and teacher). It’s still a side job that I keep secret.”
— Stefanie Wild: Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd & W 116th St & 7th Ave, New York, NY 10026 “At 7 years old, I knew things from history, but one of our neighbour called me a witch so I kept it to myself. I knew stuff but I thought it was normal. After two divorces, I decided to know more about my soul, so in my 30s, I took a class on development and intuition. I discovered I’ve had 8 past lives, though I only remember a few. I start with tarot card readings. People either come to my place or I do them through video conferences. I have clients in the UK, Canada, Australia, Greece, NY…First, I meditate to clear my thoughts away and then I rise my vibrations (tune in). I have more clients who are in a time of uncertainty. I help them both with their body and soul.
— Great grandmother of Stefanie Wild “My stage name comes from my great-grandmother. She would connect to me when I was a little child: it was like feeling a warm presence, but I never met her. She used to prepare potions with herbs and remedies, but this wasn’t really known, as it was taboo!”
— Books “We serve spirits! We can’t demand that spirits come to us. We give messages from those who have passed over. All medium are psychics, but not the opposite. Every single person is born psychic.”
— Janet Herington: 160 East 38th street New York, NY 10016 “We serve spirits! We can’t demand that spirits come to us. We give messages from those who have passed over. My auntie was an wonderful medium and healer in Michigan. I once saw her healing a paraplegic who then walked again. I have been a medium since I was 4, but my husband & some part of my family were not supportive. When my husband died, I took holistic studies and got ordained. The first time I got a message by spirit, my earrings were moving and it was a man who wanted to send a message to his daughter (a friend of my stepson) who was a shrink. This opened the gate.”
— Zoltar: Coney Island In New York, there is a fortune teller statute [law]: 165.35, an very old statute. You could easily be arrested for telling fortunes. But if you are an ordained minister from an official Church, you have a different statute.
— Barbara Dominick “Sanctuary of Divine Light” : Wallace Avenue, Bronx, NY 10462 / Reiki, spiritual healer “Jesus Christ at his time was the only healer we knew of—now, there are so many! I grew up in New York. ‘Rose,’ my grandmother’s sister, was a healer and did readings with a regular deck of cards. Throughout my life, I have been always intuitive; I could sense things as a little girl and I always respected my spirituality. I am half Jamaican, half from Saint Thomas: Obia and Pentecotiste. In 1970, I foresaw the death of a friend and everything happened exactly the way I saw it…I used to have have a regular job in an education department till 2007, although I started practising Reiki in 2003. I used to do healing circles in the Edgar Cayce center, but now I do them at home. I do speak the ‘light language’ which is the language of the soul, coming from the heart.” — Catland, Witch shop : 987 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206 “I [Melissa] started out studying Robot engineering, but I quit and went to India for a couple of months and worked in a tea shop next to the Dalai Lama’s house. After that, I became a French pastry chef, but it took too much away from my life. I decided to take back the lease of Catland four years ago. My mother and aunties were witches and medicine woman. I do tarot card readings as well as readings of crystals and water surfaces.”