The Intuitive

The room is dim, with neon signs and flickering candles serving as the only source of light. Seated across a table with a red table cloth draped over it, the psychic awaits. Carefully, they lay out the intricately drawn tarot cards, explaining each caricature in the context of your life. Their hands run across the iridescent crystal ball, reading the cosmos and calling upon spirits. While holding your hand and delicately tracing the lines of your palm, the psychic explains your past and also predicts your future.

This scene is often the expectation when one pictures a psychic, sometimes called an intuitive, at work. Popular culture and media portrayals depict psychics as often being eccentric and mystical. This common stereotype, however, is not true for all intuitives. In the past, psychics were widely known to profit off of claims of being able to predict the future and supposedly communicate with the dead. In modern times, the presence and awareness of psychics have increased to become more incorporated into therapeutic practices. Many celebrities, such as Gwenyth Paltrow and her brand GOOP, have begun endorsing psychics. Psychics such as Tyler Henry have risen in popularity on social media, communicating with past relatives of well-known influencers. Both celebrities and viewers are shocked to see how accurately Henry can communicate past events and moments with deceased loved ones. When watching psychics like Henry in action, skeptics and viewers often question the legitimacy of these predictions and statements, and are left wondering how much of it is real?

While it comes with its misgivings, seeking the help and insight of a psychic can have the potential to be beneficial. 34-year-old Alex McCormick found herself in this very situation. McCormick saw an intuitive recently out of curiosity. “I lost my dad when I was 12 really suddenly… I felt like I needed some kind of closure,” McCormick said. “I thought maybe that [seeing an intuitive] would give it to me.” She was able to meet with an intuitive named Misty Stam. 

The process of setting up the appointment was similar to making a doctor’s appointment. The only information McCormick was required to fill out was her name and phone number. When it came time for her session, McCormick didn’t wear any makeup and took off all of her jewelry including her wedding ring— she presented herself in a neutral way to disband any giveaways from her appearance about her person life. Immediately, the psychic said that two people were trying to enter the room. “It became obvious that the two people were my dad and my nana and she was saying things that were absolutely impossible for her to know, something I hadn’t even thought about,” McCormick said. 

Many of the details Stam shared were not accessible through the Internet. For Example, Stam was able to perfectly recount experiences of McCormick’s father. “My dad died of an asthma attack. She [Stam] was reaching for her chest and telling me how her chest felt tight,” McCormick said. “Misty said he was showing her how he couldn’t breathe.” With no prior knowledge of how McCormick’s father passed, Stam was able to gather all of this solely from communicating with her father. Stam was also able to accurately describe details of his state at the hospital, down to the oxygen mask on his face. 

Although she was skeptical at first, McCormick’s experience proved to be different than what she expected. The nonchalant nature of the session made the experience more natural. “It was like a doctor’s office or a consult room,” McCormick said.

Regardless of one’s beliefs, McCormick stresses the therapeutic potential of the experience. “It’s good for people just to get closure. I never got to say goodbye to my dad or my nana. It just gives you peace of mind.” 

Stam has practiced energy work for 10 years, currently practicing at Revitalize Integrated Body Systems, a chiropractor facility located in Menlo Park. Energy work is the practice 

of healing by harnessing the energy within the body. Stam describes energy as an internal force found within everyone. She began practicing energy work after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. She spent a lot of time meditating, and in time began to heal herself and her body from this disease. During this journey, she felt that she opened up her senses. But this did not start when Stam got sick. Stam said, “When I look back, I realize that I was pretty intuitive and could tell what people were thinking, but I just thought everybody did. I didn’t know what to do with it,” 

When describing her profession Stam distances herself from the label of “psychic” and instead identifies this aspect of her profession as an intuitive. She describes the intuitive session as therapeutic and healing. “As a message is being delivered by someone on the other side, the person here receiving could be hearing the message they wanted to hear their whole life,” Stam said. Frequently the spirit will come into the session and ask if they can take all that energy they left on that person that is still here. Stam says she often sees this occur between deceased parents that are contacted by their children.

Mediumship gives the parent a chance to say things they never got to say to their child. Stam explained that when you die you can see your entire life before you, which provides a time for reflection. “They will say something like, ‘I was not the best parent, I am sorry,’ then they will give details of a behavior or habit,” Stam said. “Then they will want to move that energy off because it is not even the person who is living or their energy.” 

Stam’s abilities are not limited to herself. She believes that the intuitive ability can be accessed by anyone, specifically manifested in the form of instinct. “Some people are better at hearing things, knowing things, sensing things. A lot of people want to have that clear voiance and see, but that can be tricky. I always teach, use your gut instincts,” she said.

Stam describes her abilities as far-reaching. “I can reach those hundreds of years back, deceased animals, people with Alzheimer’s,[and] people who check out spiritually,” Stam said. 

When meeting with clients, Stam begins by feeling the specific person’s energy. Their energy can lead the session, as well as other guiding forces such as what Stam calls “Guardian Angels.” The spirits she communicates with do not appear in the full-fleshed form, but in an outline of energy, similar to the energy that radiates off of the concrete street on a hot day. 

With her clients, Stam includes intuition as well as some glimpses into the future in order to instill a positive outlook. 

Although psychics can help people reconnect with themselves, they also can reopen memories locked in your subconscious that your brain has worked to suppress. While on a retreat in Thailand, Katie Lawrence, another client of Stam’s, partook in craniosacral therapy, a type of therapy that uses human touch on synarthrodial joints and promotes a cure for many health conditions. “I don’t know what happened, but it unlocked a bunch of really bad memories of mine that I had suppressed, and I forgot about it,” Lawrence said. Then 12 years later in a recent session with a psychic, these memories were remembered again but in a less harmful way. 

While that experience was partially negative, it allowed Lawrence to self reflect on her life. Similar to McCormick, Lawrence was able to connect with a deceased relative. Although Lawrence’s deceased grandmother passed away when Lawrence was very young and she doesn’t have many memories of her, Lawrence was still able to connect with her grandmother. Through this session, Lawrence’s grandmother said that she loves Lawrence, and she mainly spoke of her relationship with Lawrence’s mother.

 Lawrence said that her grandmother spoke of a fruit tree, and Stam was able to see that she and her mom had the same eye color. Soon after, Lawrence messaged her mom to tell her that her mother way sorry and was unhappy with the life she was living.

The profession of being a psychic or intuitive has become more broad, going beyond the common misconceptions of being overtly mystical. Intuition has the potential to be therapeutic, benefiting individuals. “It’s just like thinking spiritually, it is really beautiful,”  Stam said. Intuitives, like Stam, prove that those within the profession are just normal members of society.