“While psychics have traditionally profited from claiming to predict the future or communicating with deceased relatives, many are now working in the general field of wellness, calling themselves ‘intuitives’ or ‘intuitive healers’.” L. Held, The New York Times
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
“Intuition is magical, but it’s not reserved for a couple of people,’ said Laura Lynne Jackson, 46. She’s from Commack, N.Y., and makes her living as a psychic medium, and she was talking to hundreds who attended this year’s In Goop Health Summit in New York City (tickets start at $1000) who were there to learn how to tap into their inner intuition. ‘It’s for all of you,’ she said.Ms. Jackson, who was joined by four other professional ‘intuitives’ at the event (which also featured speakers like medical doctors, nutritionists and C.E.O.s), is one of several new mediums entering the growing industry of self-care.
‘A majority of the mediums that we work with are less interested in the party trick of showing off their psychic abilities and more focused on teaching people, women in particular, how to trust their guts and lean into their intuition,’ Noora Raj Brown, the senior vice president of communications at Goop, wrote in an email.
In a so-called Spirit Studio, Joe Perreta, 29, and Kim Russo, 54, both psychic mediums, hosted group readings where believers seemed to significantly outnumber skeptics, with teary attendees reaching for tissue boxes placed around the room.
During one session, Ms. Russo approached Lauren Lamb, 38, and said her mother, who had died, wanted to pass on advice related to redecorating a room. Ms. Lamb said she was redoing her house, and some of the details Ms. Russo provided felt inexplicably specific to her. ‘How would she possibly know that? I’m a believer now,’ Ms. Lamb said.’
But, spirit visitations aside, Ms. Lamb is far from alone. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that 62 percent of Americans believe in at least one of four spiritual concepts identified as ‘New Age’ (like reincarnation and astrology) and 41 percent believe in psychics. Lifetime promotes its show ‘Seatbelt Psychic’ by declaring that the star, the medium Thomas John, is ‘a trusted adviser to influencers and celebrities’ including Courteney Cox and Goldie Hawn.
Handily, dead celebrities can also be invoked: At In Goop Health, Deganit Nuur, a ‘clairvoyant intuitive,’ said John Lennon was ‘totally” one of her spirit guides.’ I call him in all the time, and he’s always like, ‘Do this, do that,’ and I’m like, ‘Thanks, John!'(Supposedly clairvoyant healing sessions with Ms. Nuur are available at the Four Seasons hotel’s spas in New York City and Los Angeles.) This is, of course, one of the planet’s oldest professions.
In various ancient cultures, shamans were considered a link to the spirit world. Haitian Voodoo, Puerto Rican Brujeria, and Wiccan traditions all focus heavily on communing with spirits. In the United States in the late 1800s, Spiritualism, a religious movement in which séances to communicate with the dead were a central practice, was incredibly popular. While the language is different, communicating with spirits on the so-called other side is also an accepted practice in Christianity.
Sometimes duped-feeling clients call foul: in May 2015, a psychic named Priscilla Kelly Delmaro, 26, was charged with grand larceny after Niall Rice, a 33-year-old British consultant, accused her of taking thousands of his dollars. Ms. Delmaro was charged and spent eight months in jail. A reading can be harmless fun, like reading horoscopes, but the incursion of psychics into health care might raise eyebrows.
Anthony William, the self-proclaimed ‘medical medium,’ whose website includes praise from Pharrell Williams, Miranda Kerr and Robert De Niro, is behind a recent Instagram-fueled celery juice craze. Mr. William advocates drinking a strict regimen of 16 ounces of celery juice every morning on an empty stomach. There is no science to substantiate his claim that this will solve all sorts of issues, only his citation of messages from ‘Spirit of Compassion.’
The internet, with its troves of personal data, can be a boon to people claiming they are psychics — or a trap. At the end of February, John Oliver ran a scathing segment on psychics, which focused on mediums, many of whom were caught making predictions that were wrong…MaryAnn DiMarco, 48, a medium,said that her clients are increasingly not looking for predictions. ‘They’re coming to me and saying, ‘I have so much going on in my life. Can you teach me how to make connection so that I can make transformation happen in my life for the better?’ she said.
Lisa Levine, 42, is the founder of Maha Rose, a wellness center in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn…She regularly hosts workshops with Ms. Nuur, the clairvoyant intuitive at Goop Health, and said she believes there are people who can connect with the ‘other side’ and bring back valuable information, but that the medium’s intention is crucial. ‘Is their intention to be a conduit for the spirits and to be of service to their clients, or is their intention to make a lot of money?
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming
Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know aboutthe topic.Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Psychic readings are sometimes referred to as A woo-woo profession.
- People learn how to tap into their inner intuition.
- Several new mediums are entering the growing industry of self-care.
- At the meeting believers seemed to significantly outnumber skeptics.
- She was saying some stuff where she wasn’t just channeling people.
- Psychics have many critics.
- Many people believe in reincarnation and astrology.
- Mr. Nuur proclaims to be a clairvoyant.
- In various ancient cultures, shamans were considered a link to the spirit world.
- Séances are performed to communicate with the dead.
Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage
Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.
- Angels is central characters in biblical stories.
- She was joined by four other professional intuitives.
- Psychics have profited from claiming to predict the future.
- I’m an believer now, Ms. Lamb said.
- Spirit visitations aside, Ms. Lamb is far from alone.
- Research found that 62 percent of Americans believe In spiritual concepts.
- Puerto Ricans practice Brujeria.
- Communicating with spirits is an accept practice in Christianity.
- Séances are incredibly popular.
Directions: The following sentences from the article are scrambled. Have students unscramble each sentence. See if students can find the original sentences in the reading to check their work.
- N.Y. Commack, from She’s
- psychic her living medium makes a as She
- Tickets $1000 at start
- the room boxes were Tissue around placed
- was house said redoing Ms. Lambshe her
- advice Here’s my
- of one spirit John Lennon guides was her
- also celebrities invoked be Dead can
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
- Do you believe in psychics? Explain why or why not?
- Have you or someone you know ever visited a psychic? If yes, describe the experience.
- The article states, “Celebrities, many of whom have extended their brands to content (if only on their personal social-media accounts), increasingly include mediums in their self-care entourage. Rosanna Arquette and Kathy Hilton (mother of Paris and Nicky) plugged Ms. Jackson. Erika Gabriel, another medium, boasts that her clients include Minka Kelly and Tory Burch.” In your opinion, will celebrities help convince skeptics that mediums are real? Why or why not?
- List 3 questions that you would like to ask any psychic if you had the chance.
1-Minute Free Writing Exercise
Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading. Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.