NEWS April 4th, 2008

By Brian Baker

Psychics trying to overcome negative vibes

A gifted group of individuals has the extra sense to reach out and touch people — but through a different medium.

Tucked away in a cosy corner of Big Momma’s Boy pub is Toronto’s Psychic Brunch, an event that draws a collection of clairvoyants, channelers and Tarot readers who promise to empower customers through spiritual counseling.

But the psychics shy away from event regulars, as it signifies to them the client is becoming dependent, something founder Ralph Hamelmann frowns upon.

In an effort to repair damage to psychics’ reputations caused by phone networks such as Madame Cleo, Hamelmann says he was looking for a “more authentic” group, with psychics who have a “genuine interest in helping others”.

And he is frank with his opinion on his and others’ gifts, as well as his dislike of the term “psychic”.

“I honestly would like to see ‘psychics’ eradicated,” he said, adding people can genuinely trust themselves to have foresight on their lives. “By meditating we tune into something we all inherently have.”

Still, the main purpose of the Psychic Brunch is to help people heal spiritually and mentally. Indicating the statistics were sourced from customer feedback slips handed out at the Psychic Brunch, the group’s website claims the psychics are 97 percent successful in offering empowerment.

That is a positive portent for the members, including Tarot reader Lesley Hibberd and empath Sofia Richer.

For Hibberd, the atmosphere of Big Momma’s Boy and the brunch is inviting, and she echoes Hamelmann’s belief that everyone has the ability to sense the subtext of daily life.

“It’s like any other muscle: if you exercise it, it will improve,” she said.

Richer, who has been with the brunch for more than a year, is also comfortable with the environment, saying the venue is fun and the “people are very welcoming”.

Held at both the Old Nick on Danforth Ave. on the second Sunday of every month and Big Momma’s Boy on the last Sunday, customers are treated to a breakfast, a reading and a gift of their choice.