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The Everything Guide to the Occult

The energy healers, potion-brewers, and shih-tzu whisperers that locals swear by.


Livia Zeimet  

The nineties gave us the Psychic Friends Network, vamp M.A.C lipstick, and Edward Scissorhands. Today, as American Horror Story: Coven surges in popularity, the fashion crowd embraces a goth revival, and the literary world fusses over Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize–winning, zodiac-themed novel The Luminaries, all things occult appear to be headed back to the mainstream. New York is seeing its own new wave of pagan record shops, rooftop Wiccan rituals, and occulty spaces like Observatory in Gowanus, not to mention the first Occult Humanities Conference, which just took place at NYU over the weekend. (On the darker side, there’s the swindling Seventh Avenue psychic, who was convicted last week for cheating her customers out of $140,000.) Here, a look at the city’s clairvoyants, astrologists, and hypnotists sought out by New Yorkers both well known and not. Hey, don’t knock the shamanic colonic till you try it.

The Medium:
Thomas John
Despite being based in New York, this agent to the other side has a Hollywood-heavy clientele that includes celebrities like J.Lo and Courteney Cox, as well as industry bigwigs. Which isn’t to say that he doesn’t have devotees here too. “I do all of the Real Housewives of New York,” he says.
Endorsed by: Hollywood Reporter senior style writer Merle Ginsberg, who says that when John dropped by her house, she was skeptical—until he told her, “I’m hearing the word bird.” That was Ginsberg’s mother’s nickname; she’d died the year before. “He said, ‘She wanted to tell you she was sorry she was such a burden on you and your sister.’ He didn’t even know I had a sister.”
Know before you go: Making a family tree is a good idea if you want to connect with dead people, because, John says, “you’d be shocked who you forget about!”
214 W. 29th St., nr. Seventh Ave., sixteenth fl.; call 347-637-8592 or book through; $175 for 30 minutes.

The Tarot-Card Reader:
Vanessa Facciola
Fittingly for a fortune-teller whose home bases are the Warren-Tricomi and Patrick Melville beauty salons, Facciola cut her tarot-card teeth when she was working at a cosmetics company. “I was reading some of my co-workers, and they started falling off their chairs,” she says.
Endorsed by: Salon owner Melville, who was hesitant to try her services himself until his wife insisted on it. Melville was contemplating opening a new business in L.A, he recalls, and “Vanessa told me, ‘No, it’s not going to be good. Someone’s trying to pull something over on you,’ and, sure enough, that’s what happened.”
Know before you go: Facciola works in a Patrick Melville pedicure room. Also: “Don’t expect her to weigh in on a new do. That’s up to me, not Vanessa,” Melville says.
Patrick Melville Salon, 45 Rockefeller Plz., nr. 50th St.; 212-218-8650; Warren-Tricomi Salon, the Plaza Hotel, 1 W. 58th St., nr. Fifth Ave., second fl.; 212-262-8899, ext. 1; $100 for 30 minutes.

The Animal Whisperer:
Livia Zeimet
Zeimet started working with animals as a dog walker, but, she says, “I realized they needed more than just a half-hour walk, so I started sitting with the animals, learning to communicate with them.” To practice, she began working with a rescue dog who was scared of traffic and ambulances. “I just sat there and could feel that she was nervous and afraid. I communicated that she was safe with me until she wasn’t scared anymore.”
Endorsed by: Amanda Haft, who works in real estate and hired Zeimet when one of her shih tzus kept scratching at the front door of her new apartment whenever she left the house. “Zeimet told me, ‘Your dog didn’t realize you moved,’ ” says Haft. Zeimet telepathically explained the move to Haft’s pooch and instructed Haft to communicate (while she was out of the house) that she’d be back soon. The dog stopped pawing the door the next day.
Know Before You Go: You don’t have to bring your pets to Zeimet; she can work with them over the phone.; from $80 an hour.

The Clairvoyant:
Paul Selig Selig leads a double life: When he’s not transcending the ordinary plane of perception in order to read people’s inner thoughts, he teaches playwriting at NYU. The clairvoyant says that he’s been able to channel people’s spirit guides (which he sees as colored light that speaks to him) for twenty years but only started taking clients recently. “Because I’m an academic, I kept a pretty low profile,” he says.
Endorsed by: Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, who’d gone to see Selig about a business deal (Selig convinced him it would be fine, and it was). “I don’t really believe in God, so I’m not sure what this energy is that he’s looking at,” Mizrahi says, “but it’s not bullshit. He’s getting deep intuitions. He does this thing where his hand is fluttering, and then he says something like, ‘You’re signing a contract.’ ”
Know before you go: Mizrahi suggests recording the session; Selig often doesn’t remember what he says.; 212-929-4535; $175 for 30 minutes.

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