Making a Buck as a Mountebank – Astrologers, Mediums, and Psychics

British Columbia has a highly educated population. However, it doesn’t prevent the delusions of old and New Age filter into the communities and professions.

Freethought for the Small Towns: A Case Study“[1] gives a decent idea of this on a wide smattering of issues, including naturopathy and naturopaths who, by definition, claim medical doctor or doctor status while not being doctors in the local town here.

It’s province-wide, though. They’re fraudulent and found throughout the province. Astrologers, mediums, numerologists, and psychics, are much the same: frauds, or mountebanks, who make a living off lies.

Those who feed on the pain and/or gullibility of others, who have been termed “Psychic Vampires,” as in the cases of mediums who claim to speak to the dead of living loved ones. These are bad people claiming to know the outcomes and to speak for the dead of those who are alive and love them.

One of the most prominent self-proclaimed supernaturalists, self-claimed ‘astrologer,’ in British Columbia is Georgia Nicols. Someone who has chosen a profession based on a lie, while garnering some prominence within the Lower Mainland. In Langley, British Columbia, we have ‘psychics’ Linnea Pearson, Carole Serene, Courtney Dawson, and Christine Marie.

What is a psychic, though? Good question, RationalWiki states, “A psychic is a person purporting to have some sort of supernatural or paranormal ability to receive or interpret information in a way that normal people cannot and that empirical evidence cannot detect,” with claimed abilities ranging as follows:

If they wish to put them to a test, then the James Randi Educational Foundation has the right test for them with a $1,000,000 (USD) price tag attached to it. If they were serious, they would, as others, put up the gumption for the test to win some serious cash, or simply give up the act.

Powers affect the natural world, so can be tested under proper conditions if truly believed. If not, what exactly is the purpose of practicing it? It’s quite clear in the latter case, fraud; it’s also clear in the former, delusion or misunderstanding of the basics of how the world works to a modern person.

These people are professional frauds because psychic powers do not exist, as in they are ‘psychic powers.’ I know the economy has gone through a dip of sorts, but I find this absurd play-acting of the fantastical idiotic.

In the wider area, there’s Psychic Jade, the Golden Spirit Centre of Excellence (Maple Ridge), the Mystic Eye Tarot, Psychic Visions 152, Psychic Readings by Sister Fatima, Tamara Hawk, the Yogi’s One Stop Psychic Shop, Sara Psychic Reader, Sasha Psychic Reader Fortune Teller, Raphael The World’s Medium, Parice Dawn, Salma Kassam, Linnea Psychic Medium & Spiritual Counsellor, Juan the Psychic (one of the few men), Kelly Chapman, and VS Spiritualist.

It attracts the worst gullibility in people, and so the worst traits reflected in the people who practice it. These aren’t good people; these people practice a charlatan’s art. If they believe their own nonsense, they’re delusional mountebanks, so stupid as well as vice-ridden.

Still the list continues, alas: Christine Marie, Psychic Amari, Acharya Rajesh, Indian Astrologer in Vancouver – Black Magic Specialist, 3rd Eye Designs & Visions, Bianca Psychic Reader, The Tarot Room, Andrea Zonnis, Psychic Reader Kathleen, ‘World Famous Indian Astrologer and Psychic’ (so “World Famous” as to not have a name or a review), Grayce and Gratitude – Psychic Medium, even the Paisley Town Psychic Fairs and Events.

The award for most grandiose and strangely amorphous title goes to… “Messages from a Star Traveler: Reiki, Energy Healing in North America, Psychic Readings, Past Life Regression, Soul Retrieval.” And don’t you forget it.

The buzzards line-up continues: “The Psychic Dr,” Maria Melo, Astrologer Nakulas, Psychic Readings-Astrology and Spiritual Healing, “Astrologer & psychic reader, Black Magic Removal, Love Spell, psychic” earned a rather amusing review, “The staff are very friendly [sic] and knowledgeable.” What, exactly, are these individuals knowledgeable about, now?

On and on, it goes: Courtney Carnrite, Cassandra McLeane, Dragonfly Essence, Chantelle Danielle, Sri Hanuman, Linda Pynaker, The Balanced Soul, Psychic Revelations, Psychick Healing Studio (clever title, actually), Soul Ascendency Psychic, Madame M. Live Psychics, Zljka Bosnjak Melody Rose Psychic, Cheri22, Siri The Intuitive… at this point, they’re MCs and DJs from the 80s, with far less talent.

One can feel hopeless in the mire of misanthropy exhibited in the cynicism of those who know they practice a charlatan’s art for a living. Other names include Lady of the Mists, Norma Cowie, Zais Heather, Skull Farm, Psychic Readings by Kristen – In the presence of Angels, Vanessa Corazon, Sacred Shamanism, Maureen Freeman, Hotno, Beyond Belief Psychic Entertainment, Gastown Psychic, Psychic Mama Sita, Kim Pellerin, Natasha Rosewood, Charmaine Accurate Psychic (I beg to differ), Cheryl Cole, Lynda Jane, Sukira Healing, Nipun Joshia (nShivoham), Ruth Hart, Cranbrook Clairvoyant, “Anne Clear Le Bihan,” and more.

The more I see, the more I see the pervasive ignorance and/or desperation for answers in an educational system not providing adequate answers; a culture discouraging questioning of the standard answers given in the society, as well as the mountebanks flourishing without many other skills as they have resorted to the lowest arts, charlatanry.

The only true creativity is that manifested in their names and company titles, while their names and company title aren’t that good. The names proliferate and simply become part of the fabric of the ignorance of the provincial culture in one of its many manifest ways.

The collection continued, consisting of Addi Strasser, Tarot Readings by Tegan, Signature Readings with a Twist, Oracle Emporium, Diane Daniels, T&T Spiritual & Wellness Connections, Indigo Awakenings, Speak for Me, Tarot & Psychic Reading Hotline Kelowna, Anna Babchuk, Grateful Medium, Conscious Quantum Energy Healing Services, Gypsy Moon, Spiritualist Alliance, Pivotal Hypnotherapy, Melissa Frisby, School of Intuition, Amethyst Books & Essence, Westcoast Reiki Centre, The Universal Brotherhood Spiritualist Church, West Coast Institute of Mystic Arts, Danielle Blackwood (the astrologer part), Kimberly Leslie, Airisa, The Oracle at Whistler, and Oracle at Sechelt.

In short, there’s a huge number of individuals practicing a mountebanks profession, making something of a living, while somewhere between believing their lies or knowingly lying to the public, for a buck.

A critical culture could more directly pummel this phenomenon of fraudulence with examples given in the aforementioned, whether primarily in psychics, but also astrologers, mediums, numerologists, Reiki practitioners, and the like.

[1] “Freethought for the Small Towns: A Case Study,” (2020), in part, states:

…Another issue practice is reflexology, as seen in Health Roots & Reflexology [Ed. Lisa Kako, Alison Legge.]. Quackwatch concludes, “Reflexology is based on an absurd theory and has not been demonstrated to influence the course of any illness… Claims that reflexology is effective for diagnosing or treating disease should be ignored…” …As Dr. Harriet Hall in “Modern Reflexology: Still As Bogus As Pre-Modern Reflexology“ said, “Reflexology is an alternative medicine system that claims to treat internal organs by pressing on designated spots on the feet and hands; there is no anatomical connection between those organs and those spots. Systematic reviews in 2009 and 2011 found no convincing evidence that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition. Quackwatch and the NCAHF agree that reflexology is a form of massage that may help patients relax and feel better temporarily, but that has no other health benefits…”

…A larger concoction of bad science and medicine comes from the Integrated Health Clinic [Ed. Kaiden Maxwell, Gurdev Parmar, Karen Parmar, Michelle Willis, Karen McGee, Erik Boudreau, Adam Davison, Nicole Duffee, Erin Rurak, Alyssa Fruson, Alanna Rinas, Sarah Soles, Wayne Phimister, and Alfred Man. Many, not all, in part or in whole, trained in and practicing pseudosciences – pseudomedicine – found in acupuncture, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, craniosacral therapy, the Bowen technique, and so on. One can integrate several pseudosciences to formulate a clinic for ‘medicine.’ However, all this amounts to an elaborate integration of pseudosciences, an integrated pseudoscience clinic, whether in a quaint fundamentalist religious community village or not.] devoted, largely, to naturopathy/naturopathic medicine (based on a large number of naturopaths on staff) and traditional Chinese medicine with manifestations in IV/chelation therapy, neural therapy, detox, hormone balancing & thermography, anthroposophical medicine, LRHT/hyperthermia, Bowen technique, among others. We’ll run through those first two, as the references to them are available in the resources, in the manner before. Scott Gavura in “Naturopathy vs. Science: Facts edition” stated:

Naturopaths claim that they practice based on scientific principles. Yet examinations of naturopathic literature, practices and statements suggest a more ambivalent attitude. NDhealthfacts.org neatly illustrates the problem with naturopathy itself: Open antagonism to science-based medicine, and the risk of harm from “integrating” these practices into the practice of medicine… Because good medicine isn’t based on invented facts and pre-scientific beliefs – it must be grounded in science. And naturopathy, despite the claims, is anything but scientific.

The Skeptic’s Dictionary stated:

Naturopathy is often, if not always, practiced in combination with other forms of “alternative” health practices... Claims that these and practices such as colonic irrigation or coffee enemas “detoxify” the body or enhance the immune system or promote “homeostasis,” “harmony,” “balance,” “vitality,” and the like are exaggerated and not backed up by sound research.

As Dr. David Gorski, as quoted in RationalWiki, stated, “Naturopathy is a cornucopia of almost every quackery you can think of. Be it homeopathytraditional Chinese medicineAyurvedic medicineapplied kinesiologyanthroposophical medicinereflexologycraniosacral therapy, Bowen Technique, and pretty much any other form of unscientific or prescientific medicine that you can imagine, it’s hard to think of a single form of pseudoscientific medicine and quackery that naturopathy doesn’t embrace or at least tolerate.” The Massachusetts Medical Society stated similar terms, “Naturopathic medical school is not a medical school in anything but the appropriation of the word medical. Naturopathy is not a branch of medicine…”

…Now, onto Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, or Chinese Medicine or CM, also coming out of the Integrated Health Clinic, RationalWiki notes some of the dangerous, if not disgusting to a North American and Western European palette, ingredients:

CM ingredients can range from common plants, such as dandelion, persimmon, and mint, to weird or even dangerous stuff. Some of the more revolting (from a Western standpoint) things found in TCM include genitals of various animals (including dogs, tigers, seals, oxen, goats, and deer), bear bile (commonly obtained by means of slow, inhumane extraction methods), and (genuine) snake oil… Urinefecesplacenta and other human-derived medicines were traditionally used but some may no longer be in use.

Some of the dangerous ingredients include lead, calomel (mercurous chloride), cinnabar (red mercuric sulfide), asbestos (including asbestiform actinolite, sometimes erroneously called aconite) realgar (arsenic), and birthwort (Aristolochia spp.). Bloodletting is also practiced. Bizarrely, lead oxide, cinnabar, and calomel are said to be good for detoxification. Lead oxide is also supposed to help with ringworms, skin rashes, rosacea, eczema, sores, ulcers, and intestinal parasites, cinnabar allegedly helps you live longer, and asbestos…

Dr. Arthur Grollman, a professor of pharmacological science and medicine at Stony Brook University in New York, in an article entitled “Chinese medicine gains WHO acceptance but it has many critics” is quoted, on the case of TCM or CM acceptance at the World Health Organization, saying, “It will confer legitimacy on unproven therapies and add considerably to the costs of health care… Widespread consumption of Chinese herbals of unknown efficacy and potential toxicity will jeopardize the health of unsuspecting consumers worldwide.”  On case after case, we can find individual practices or collections of practices of dubious effect if not ill-effect in the town.

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Assistant Editor, News Intervention, Human Rights Activist. Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He focuses on North America for News Intervention. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere. You can contact Scott via email.

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