You may or may not believe in their powers. Be you an addict of TV psychics, such as John Edward of the show Crossing Over, or a staunch skeptic dismissing all extra-sensory perception as pure balderdash, one thing is for certain: Psychics are here to stay. And for many local psychics, business in Tucson is good, though the presence of a tightly knit psychic community seems nonexistent.
"I think there might be a loosely based psychic community," says Mrs. Mohur, a psychic and lecturer in paranormal anthropology at the UA.
But Mrs. Mohur doesn't seem to miss the camaraderie of her colleagues. "Most of us tend to have full lives without dealing with each other much," she says.
Others, like Joyce Martin, have tried to get psychics together in order to help the community by finding victims' bodies, which is one of her specialties. "When Vicky Lynn [Hoskinson] went missing, I tried to get a group together," says Martin. "I'd still like to get a group together. Let's say we have 10 people and six of them say a body is west ... then we could take the majority."
The clientele in Tucson for psychics runs the gamut in terms of income and profession.
"I get people from college professors to street cleaners," says Martin. "Whoever just needs information or guidance. Some people come for just reassurance."
Others, like Mohur, do their best to target specific customers.
"I don't like to deal with New-Agey types," says Mohur, an East Indian who stays away from talk about past lives, spirituality, meditation and chakras. "But if they want a psychic reading to figure out what is going on in their lives, how to tackle a boss or job situation, a missing child, stuff like that, certainly I will do."
Mohur says clients mostly want to know how to further a career or deal with relationships. Many also wonder about their parents' health because local baby boomers are trying to figure out how to best deal with their elderly moms and dads.
Martin uses her psychic ability with Homicide Survivors, a support group offering crisis and peer counseling. She works with the organization primarily as a support person. But if asked by a family or police department, she also donates her time to locate bodies and take calls from across the country.
"I would rather work with the police department," says Martin, "because it's easier for me if I don't get emotionally involved."
Mohur says she occasionally works in finding missing children "especially if the child has been killed and you don't know whether that was a suicide or really a murder." Mohur cites this as her most difficult work because sometimes, "what the kids are running away from is worse than what they are running to. ... How do you tell that to the mother?"
Both women realize psychics are lumped into one big pot with the pseudo-Jamaican Miss Cleo and daytime TV psychics.
"The wannabes are the ones who are giving us a bad rap," says Martin. "The ones that are standing out there waving at everybody, they're the wannabes. But the ones doing good work helping people are in the background."
Another problem, says Mohur, is that fortunetellers have hurt the reputation of genuine psychics. Fortunetellers, as Mohur defines them, deal mostly in spells and make their money swindling customers by, for example, telling customers they have to pay to have hexes removed.
Skepticism isn't bad when picking a psychic, say both Martin and Mohur, who both start their sessions with little interaction in order to prove their ability.
Martin, who works with cards, begins readings by going into a person's past, to validate her ability to that person. "It also helps me to know if I'm in tune with that person," she says.
Similarly, Mohur, who works as a palmist and channel, starts her reading with the palms, without taking questions from her client.
"I trust my judgment more, and that way, they are more receptive if what I have to say because they know I am accurate," she says. "If they don't ask a question, and I answer that question, that will get them."
But don't expect either psychic to be very eager to contact a loved one that passed away. Both Martin and Mohur describe the practice, popular on syndicated psychic television programs, as unfair to the dead, unless there is important, specific information that you need.
As for what brought the two to Tucson, neither came for the psychic energy. Martin said Tucson doesn't even have any particular psychic energy. She just likes it here.
Mohur, on the other hand, came to the UA for graduate school and never left.
"Every place has its own energy," she says. "Tucson seems to have a moderate amount. ... It doesn't have as much as some places like Sedona. It just depends what part of town you're in." Though Sedona has a number of "vortices," Tucson also has psychic energy hot spots, says Mohur.
Both women see their work as a career. Mohur is quick to point out this career is not a lifestyle. She doesn't tell people what she does when she meets them socially.
"I tell them I'm an anthropologist and I let it go at that," she says. "They wouldn't know what to do with me or what to say to me. And I'd rather be taken as a human being, not as a psychic."