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Burb's Eye View: Psychics know what they know

October 09, 2012|By Bryan Mahoney

My wife and I often take long evening walks around Burbank. Usually we're strolling under street lamps on the quieter side streets of the city, but occasionally our path takes us past restaurants and businesses, often past the bright neon lights of psychic shops around town.

Was it the neon lights that drew me in? I don't know, but I wanted to understand how one makes a living being a psychic. Unsure where to start, I consulted the closest thing to a psychic I know — Google. Whether it was Google or fate itself, my search led me to Alma Carey.

Carey grew up in a family of women who always knew when one would be thinking of another. On a family trip with her mother to the Alps, she remembered having horrible dreams of sickness.

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“[They were] gruesome, I mean just eww-type dreams. That isn't the sort of thing I dream,” Carey recalled.

The next morning she met up with her mother, who told her she also had dreamed of despair and illness. After speaking with hotel management, they were told that during World War II, Nazi sympathizers used the hotel for torture.

Psychic ability or coincidence? It could go either way, but if my mom and I started having the same dreams, I know I'd be a little freaked.

Her intuition has affected her relationships, for better or worse. Carey says a boyfriend in New York could pick up on her thoughts while on his commute home, finding himself stopping by a deli to buy butter for no other reason than Carey thinking they needed some. Her second husband wasn't as enamored with her “ability,” and after the divorce, Carey decided to go into business helping people as best as she knew how.

“This was an ability that could be put to use; I didn't think this was such a big deal,” she said.

The service one buys from Carey is counseling. She's also an ordained minister.

At the core of her business is an offering you might expect from a life coach, someone to help sort out problems and offer an outsider's perspective. She's garnered three reviews on the consumer website Yelp, all positive.

I was expecting — something else. Someone eager to provide proof, to instantly validate what she did as “real,” to come up with something that would blow my hair back. I was waiting for the crystal ball to come out, or more new-age mumbo-jumbo, at the very least.

“That's why psychics get bad reputations — you get dingbats left and right,” she said.

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