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|21st April 2006, 11:06 PM||#1|
Join Date: Mar 2006
"Accurate" readings? Durango CO, LOL
A more apt headline might be "Local media of Durango manipulated for PR purposes!"
The Durango Herald (Durango, Colorado)
Site allows people aim of exposing the unqualified
March 27, 2006By Alex Ritzenberg | Herald Staff Writer
Beverly Anderson, a psychic counselor in Durango, is sick to death of fake psychics
"It just drives me insane," she said. "There are a lot of con artists who are only after money.
"There's a certain segment of society that is extremely vulnerable to being preyed on by these con artists - older people; people in distress, pain."
Anderson, who has been reading tarot cards since she was 5, says she doesn't need to seek publicity. She doesn't want lots of people calling her, asking her "squirrelly" questions. And she works by referral only, booked about a month in advance.
She considers herself among the "upper echelon" of psychics worldwide.
But members of the psychic community are concerned about unqualified readers posing as psychics. They are taking action to determine, on their own, who is legitimate and who is not.
A flier posted locally at natural food markets and New Age shops asks for help separating the accurate from the inaccurate psychics.
Users, directed to a Web site - groups.yahoo.com/group/durangocoloradopsychics <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/durangocoloradopsychics> - can post ratings. The site is meant to save community members from costly and discouraging experiences.
Local tarot readers, spiritual intuitives and healing arts practitioners did not know who created the Web site. While they agreed their reputations are crucial to repeat business, Web sites asking for customer feedback are usually the sign of a customer who carries false expectations of what psychics actually do.
"When people come in and expect a very glitzy, 'Madame Helga' type of reader and that's not what they get, sometimes they're startled," said Anderson, who has been targeted on the site by a frustrated former customer. "We live in a world filled with great distress, and people always want quick fixes."
New Mexico astrologer and tarot reader Steve Prager discounted the online survey completely, saying complaints are louder than compliments.
"It's not really professional," he said of the Web site. "Anyone with a complaint is more likely to call and complain than somebody who's had a positive experience. It's not necessarily what I call a realistic picture of who's good and who's bad."
Besides, he said, much of the time clients just don't want to accept the truth.
According to Bloomfield's Chi'na Marie, a life coach - a term that she uses to encompass specialties including Bach Flower work, dowsing and healing with psychic abilities - the issue of fraud takes care of itself in a small community.
"In a small town like Durango or Aztec, word gets around, so if someone came to town and professed to be a great psychic and were truly a charlatan, they wouldn't last three months," Marie said. "It's the same thing as if a dentist did that."
Psychics, according to Prager, are merely those people who have learned to trust their innately human ability to feel data out of the present. During his $30 question-specific readings, a customer asks questions, shuffles a pack of tarot cards, and hands them back to Prager. He then arranges the cards in such a away as to enable communication between the higher selves of the customer and reader, Prager said. His job is to relay the dialogue to the customer, who can then gain a heightened perspective of self, he said.
Data from a person's birth-specific astrological chart can reveal aspects of a personality that take professionals in the traditional mental health industry years to detect, Prager said.
Whatever the practice, Prager emphasized the importance of client participation and a drive to help themselves.
"When I run into people who have issues, I can point them out, but ultimately I'm not a psychologist or a psychiatrist," he said. "So I give them all the information I can and then direct them to a specialist in the area.
"People are responsible for their own reality, and they're the only ones who can fix it."
Prager allowed that there exists a small margin of "gypsy readers," or corrupt people posing as psychics and offering hoaxes like cures to curses. Still, he maintained, most psychics are sincere in their efforts.
"I firmly believe that everyone has intuition and is psychic to a degree," he said. "There are just some people who are better than others, like in any field."
Paul David Forshey, who studied at the Berkeley Psychic Institute in Marin County, Calif., and practices healing arts in Bayfield and Durango, said that he tries to find a person's truth by listening to intuition and practicing a higher awareness of human feeling.
"I believe that 80 or 90 percent of healing is awareness," he said.
Although Forshey doesn't label himself a psychic, he said he is able to help people by seeing "the essence behind the picture," or a field-like aura around a person that helps him feel what his client is feeling.
Forshey, who briefly worked for a dial-a-psychic phone line in San Francisco, said that some psychics who appear to be insincere may merely be victims of a corrupt employer.
"It was not a pleasant experience for me," he said of his work for the company.
The company, which charged at a fixed rate per minute, would pressure Forshey to keep customers on the phone for at least 15 minutes. Forshey said he would sometimes turn customers away if he didn't think he could help them. Eventually, his manager gave him an ultimatum.
"They said, 'You either keep 'em on (the phone), or we're no longer going to send calls your way,'" Forshey said.
Forshey, however, cautions that even self-employed individuals can create a false label for all people in the business of healing.
"Don't label every person in a particular group just because you had a bad experience with one," he said. "Don't assume that everyone who seemingly does that work is the same."