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Psychics foretell futures at Union Halloween festivities

By Sylvia Cunningham
On November 1, 2012

  • In this Aug. 31, 2010 file photo, students walk outside the Student Union, where three psychics visited campus Wednesday to tell students what their futures hold. FILE PHOTO/The Daily Campus

 Three psychics visited the UConn campus Wednesday evening to study palms, read tarot cards and give students a glimpse into their futures.
By 7 p.m. on Halloween, over 130 students gathered outside the North Lobby of the Student Union. The line extended well past neighboring businesses, the Blue Cow and Chuck and Augie's Restaurant.
 Ben Young, the Special Events Chairperson of SUBOG who organized the event, said that his biggest fear was that not enough people would show up. It was clear that Young's fear was unfounded when he began to consider turning away the people who stood at the back of the line only 30 minutes after the event had started.
Nicole Sullivan and Allison Schilling, third semester students, arrived early to the event and they waited for over an hour before they were seated with a psychic. Many students stood in line not quite knowing what the psychics would reveal. Sullivan, however, had a better idea of what to expect.
Sullivan's first encounter with a psychic was when she was a junior in high school. In lieu of a more traditional present, Sullivan's mother set up a phone call with a psychic to celebrate her daughter's birthday. Sullivan was doubtful at first, but the psychic made a couple of predictions that came true, including that she would meet a girl named Allison.
"I was more skeptical when I was a junior," said Sullivan. "But after that, I got more faith."
According to Young, each psychic cost between $700 and $800 for the three hours they were booked. Young said he contacted seven psychics to potentially come to UConn. He said he wanted to find people who had more to say than the usual prediction of a "long and healthy life."
"I wanted people who really believed in what they were doing," Young said.
Ellen Donovan Townsend, one of the three psychics chosen by Young, has been working in the field for 35 years. She said that after she got divorced, she walked outside the courthouse and asked to be protected and blessed. Townsend, known as "Psychic Ellen," said that in addition to studying religion all her life, she spent time with her Irish grandmother who would read cards and tea leaves every Sunday after church.
"We thought it was just something people did," said Townsend with a laugh.
Townsend was one of 57 grandchildren who would be questioned by her grandmother with the intention of encouraging her to better trust her intuition. Townsend said that kids are allowed to be more intuitive today, whereas in her generation it was understood that intuition must be suppressed.
Casey McMahon, a 5th-semester biology major, walked away from her reading with Townsend looking dazed.
 "She started off by saying something about the aurora borealis," McMahon said. "And I've always wanted to see it."
Scott Daniska, a 7th-semester biology major, said he got chills during his palm reading with another psychic.
 "I don't really believe in it, so I wanted to come down and see what it was like," Daniska said.
Samantha Mellow, a 5th-semester environmental science major, said she thinks people draw parallels that are not really there when they speak to a psychic. Mellow said that after her reading, she did not believe in the craft any more or less.
Townsend said that it does not matter if students come in believing or not believing but that prior to all her readings, she prays that they get what they need. Townsend said what she does is not based upon reading cards, but rather is contingent upon the vibrations she gets from each person when he or she sits down.
Townsend said her own spiritual journey is simple. "It's about knowing there's a reason you're here and asking to be connected to it."

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