This city is as full of soothsayers as it is full of gullible seekers. But do any of New York's witchy types really have the psychic goods? Emily is finding out, one crystal vision at a time. Do you know a seer we should see? Let us know.
The Tiananmen square massacre came to Kathleen Deyo in a vision. "I didn't have any idea what it was! I saw the students waving banners, but I thought the marks on the banners were some alien language. The minister's wife, who had the gift of interpreting visions, told me that the terrible things I'd seen were going to take place in China. And then, they did." She leaned back against the banquette, sighed, helped herself to another piece of rock shrimp tempura. We sat in silence for a second. But then I had to ask.
"The... minister's wife?"
"For awhile I was a Pentecostal. I've been so many religions!"
She giggled girlishly as she said this, which reminded me of who she reminded me of. You know that episode of 'Six Feet Under' where a psychic's husband dies and she sits there in Fisher and Sons having, like, a conversation with him about his own funeral arrangements? And she has this kind of grace and sense of humor? And she acknowledges that what she's doing seems completely bonkers and doesn't expect anyone to believe that it's real, but is just going to keep doing what she's doing? That down-to-earth woo-wooness—that's Kathleen Deyo. Also, she's very cute.
Like, very cute. Seriously, when I found Kathleen in the lobby of the Mercer hotel, Adam Levine and the rest of Maroon 5 were all sitting at a table nearby leering at her, even though she is older than my Mom. They were probably captivated by her adorable apple cheeks, or her swingy Marlo Thomas bob, or her fantastic gams (clad in dark skinny jeans). Even a pair of grannyish reading glasses couldn't detract. Their eyes followed us as we exited the lobby and went across the street to Lure, where we set up camp at a table by the door. Kathleen apologized in advance to our waiter for the fact that we weren't going to order much and were going to occupy one of his tables for as long as my reading took. Then she started getting piles of stuff out of her bag and plopping it in the center of the table.
She took out a pen and a piece of her stationery first. Her stationery has a little old-timey photograph of a tarot deck on it! Then she took out a deck of ordinary playing cards, a deck of tarot cards, a piece of canvas with an intricate geometric pattern sloppily hand-painted on it and a little handful of multicolored rocks, a magnifying glass and a mini flashlight. People at the adjoining tables began to stare.
First, Kathleen read my palm in great detail, marking different lines with her pen and using the mini flashlight and the magnifying glass to make sure she was reading accurately. Then she read my tarot cards. Then, and this was the main event, I threw the multicolored stones onto the geometric-pattered canvas three times to answer three questions. Ridiculous, right? But by that point, I had completely stopped feeling self-conscious about the hostess's condescending sneers or the waiter's put-upon sighs as he refilled and refilled our water glasses.
Because, here's the thing: Kathleen told me exactly who I am and exactly what I will and should do. She nailed it, and I'm not just saying that because she flattered me. She said things about me that aren't Googleable, stuff about my family dynamics and personality that my best friends don't know about—and I, obviously, am the kind of person who tells everyone everything.
I'm also a fairly credulous person. But I've been to enough psychics now to know the tricks they use to gull vulnerable chicks. Kathleen wasn't using any of them. No "does his name have an N in it?" And no "Are you feeling uncertain right now?" She never started off with a strong statement and then backtracked when I didn't respond. She was just right. About everything.
After the reading, we talked about Kathleen's craft, and I told her a little bit about the other psychics I'd seen. "Well, yeah, some psychics are sort of evil," she said. "I'd like to say what everyone says: that it runs on love. But it doesn't always run on love. It runs on strong emotions."
She squinted, and girly-giggled. "The thing I think is the saddest are the ones who prey on the psychic junkies. You know, the women who go from psychic to psychic, just wanting to be told that they'll find love, that a wonderful man's in store for them. And then they go home and sit on the couch. That's when I feel like this stuff is kind of evil. Because some psychics don't emphasize that, like, you have to make sure stuff happens!"
Out of a sense of obligation, I ask her the classic question about why she can't just predict the winning lotto numbers, get a few million bucks, and go live on an island somewhere. "There are psychics that can give you winning lotto numbers, but I'm not one of them. I mean, I have zero control over what I get. I get reads on people on the subway, on the bus. It just flows. But I'm not good with numbers, I mean, I don't even balance my checkbook. So that's not the kind of information that would flow to me."
"And I hate it when people try to test me. I mean, all psychics do. I read a woman the other night who was lying to me, trying to test me. I read her accurately in spite of her lies, and she ended up apologizing to me. No psychic is more than 85% accurate. I mean, neither is any doctor or lawyer!" Kathleen paused. She looked peevish for the first time all night. "It's not that it's wrong to be skeptical, or critical. It's not that it's wrong to ask questions. Just don't ask asinine questions!"
My next question for Kathleen is kind of asinine, though, but I feel like I just have to ask it: has she ever read anyone and seen, you know, the opposite of what she saw for me (a long healthy life, in case you were concerned). "Oh yeah, I saw imminent death for a 21-year-old who was getting a reading for her birthday just last week. Her palm, the tarot cards, the runes: all death. That night she slammed into a taxi going 80 miles per hour."
"She ended up in jail," she said. (I exhaled.) "But the reading's good for a year, you know?"