Earlier this week, Instagram queen and self-professed energy healer Audrey Kitching was exposed as fraudulent and abusive.
Oh great, I though as I read the headlines and the charged reactions of the Twitterverse. Just another in a long line of manipulative con-artists mistreating folks and making the rest of us look bad.
As long as there have been charms and spell potions, cards and incantations, there have been throngs of charlatans dressed up in healer’s clothing, exploiting their client’s grief and insecurity to make a quick buck. Audrey’s fraud mimics that of the snake oil salesman’s: she buys cheap goods from China and markets them as hand-made, charging exorbitant mark-ups and pocketing the cash (former employees claim that they were often paid a fraction of what they were owed).
A few days after the Kitching article dropped, Last Week Tonight, an HBO series by John Oliver, spent nearly its entire episode focusing on the subject of psychic fraud, revealing the common tricks and methods utilized by the nation’s most prominent psychics to capitalize on the vulnerability of the grieving. In one instance, a couple who’s daughter had gone missing was contacted by numerous psychics, each making false claims about the whereabouts of their child. One of these psychics actually showed up on their doorstep uninvited with promises that he could locate their daughter within three days (for a tidy sum, of course).
The truth is, I agreed with nearly every claim Oliver made. When you brand yourself as a psychic or medium, you attract a very vulnerable and sometimes grieving clientele. These are folks who want to hear that their lives will get better, that their loved ones are in peace, that those lost are still living. Any healer worth their salt will be gentle, caring, and careful, and will offer any guidance or advice in the service of the client, and not themselves.
I’ve never made claims to be a psychic or medium, but as a self-identified healer and tarot reader, I think it’s important that I give you a crash course on how to distinguish a genuine healer from a flat-out fraud. If you’re thinking about purchasing one of these services, make sure you do your homework and run through the checklist in this video!