Phenom

by Marjorie Ingall

Is your psychic a mensch? Virtuous and pure and moral and upstanding? Or is he more concerned about the state of your pocketbook than your aura?

It can be so hard to tell. That's where The Academy of Psychic Arts and Sciences in Dallas, TX comes in. The Academy was founded in the late 1970s, "to foster professionalism and excellence and understanding in the field of metaphysics and parapsychology," says its founder and president, Timothy Lattus. It offers seminars and workshops for metaphysical practitioners; publishes a quarterly newsletter in which clairvoyant, clairsentient, and clairaudient members share techniques and developmental training exercises; and most importantly, it insists that its members endorse the psychics' Code of Ethics.

Why is a code of ethics necessary? Lattus readily admits that the field has a wee problem with charlatanism, particulary in these days of 900 number tele-psychic services. "The economics of that situation are usually such that the people working the lines are making 10 percent or less of what the caller is paying for the call. The money is so low that it is not going to attract anyone who is legitimately psychically gifted. And because the money is so low, the practitioner would have to work many, many hours a day in order to survive. Only the very most experienced psychics can perform very well through an 8-hour day." Finally, "the dimension of that industry is so large, with mass-marketing and television and so on, that in order to staff, they
Lattus confirms the rumor that at least one operation has hired a crew of housewives through classified advertisements to read off computer scripts.
really must dig deeply. They have to get 30 or 40 people in there a day. You just don't find 30 or 40 gifted psychics on demand that way." Lattus confirms the rumor that at least one operation has hired a crew of housewives through classified advertisements to read off computer scripts. The way some of them handle the credibility problem is "by finding someone who is legitimately gifted, and has a reputation and a practice, and offering enormous sums of money to get your endorsement to say 'I've selected these people.' I've been approached myself in this manner. But when I got into the mechanics of it, it became very clear that if I agreed I was going to have very little participation in who ran those phone calls." Et tu, Dionne Warwick!

Then there are the street-corner psychics who tell people, "There is a curse on you; for $5000 I'll remove it." With threats like these, what's a consumer of psychic services to do?

Hire an ethically certified psychic, of course.

illustrations by Roman Scott
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