Psychics in Wicker Park Seeking Comfort and Insight in a Surprising Way

In this time of economic uncertainty and a growing distrust in institutions, Chicagoans are seeking out comfort and insight in a surprising way: by consulting a psychic. WBEZ’s Aaron Gettinger found that psychics are experiencing a mini-surge in their businesses. They’ve added tele-readings, opened satellite locations in co-working spaces and expanded their hours. It’s an uptick that has some saying it’s the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and others pointing to broader trends in society and our culture.

Carolyn Miller is a gifted psychic with 32 years of experience in explaining the unexplained and helping people navigate life’s challenges. She’s an astrological psychic, animal communicator and intuitive coach. Her clients come to her to solve health, relationship and career problems. But she stresses that she’s not a therapist. She compares herself to a life coach and says the breakdown of first-time to repeat customers now stands at 3:2.

Psychics, like psychic readers, aren’t new to Chicago’s ethnic enclaves. The city’s Chinese, Latino and Italian neighborhoods have long nurtured their own spiritual communities with tarot card shops, psychic readings and healing sessions. But now more than ever, these practitioners are finding new audiences beyond the traditional client base of retirees and spiritual seekers. They say the pandemic psychic in Wicker Park has brought on a rush of people looking for answers.

As the tepid economy and the tedium of lockdown have made people more stressed, many are searching for relief in unusual places. Psychics have responded by expanding their services, opening satellite offices in co-working spaces and adding tele-readings. They’re also focusing on marketing and branding themselves to attract a broader audience.

One Wicker Park psychic, Therese Murphy, focuses on corporate events. She’s a hit at employee banquets and conventions, as well as high-end private affairs and parties. Her offerings include tarot card and palm readings, as well as past life and relationship readings.

Pandora Pappas operates her psychic business out of a shared Lakeview office, which she describes as “not a witchy environment” or “a woo-woo space.” She offers mediumship sessions with people or pets who have died ($300-700), and sound healing with tuning forks, a tank drum tuned to a “healing frequency” of 432 megahertz and the flute on which she is classically trained (75-245). She’s also experienced in aura, tarot and palm readings, tea leaf analysis and dream interpretation.

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