That’s when the Montclair Metaphysical & Healing Center holds its weekly seance nights, attended by psychics, psychics-in-training and members of the public who come either out of curiosity or in hope of reuniting with the dearly departed.
I went last night and appear to have been visited by my maternal grandmother who, according to Lee Ann LaRocca, a co-founder of the center, apologized for some of the things she blurted at the end of her life when she suffered from dementia, and asked me to thank my mother for the excellent care she had given her.
An old friend of mine also appeared to one of the psychics with a message for her daughter. There is a lot of message taking at seances.
Here’s how it works. A number of folding chairs are arranged around a table with a black cloth, a candle and a goblet of water. The lights are dimmed. Lee Van Zyl, the other co-founder of the center, asks people to turn off their cell phones and uncross their arms and legs (limb crossing blocks the energy), then leads the group in a meditation. We are asked to imagine light pouring down our bodies and to imagine lotus flowers opening up in our various chakra centers. There are a number of psychics in the room, she tells us.
There is no hand-holding like in the movies. No loud crashes. “We’re relatively boring compared to that,” says Van Zyl. “We don’t do the whole drama thing.”
What happens next reminds me a little of cards. The psychics begin to feel or see or hear the departed and announce little details. Sometimes they see someone standing behind a seated participant. They describe what they are seeing or hearing and then ask, “Can someone take that?”
I’m seeing an older man, named John maybe, who lived out in the country. I see a picket fence. He’s kind of spry, lots of energy. Maybe his name was Peppy, he was called Peppy at some point. Can anybody take that?
There’s an older woman, Catholic, very religious, named Margaret. A young boy with sandy hair. Someone who died falling backward on his head. Someone named George who wore a hat and liked to fish.
Some departed pets showed up too.
Even the most skeptical person in the room (me, last night) has to admit that the seance makes you acutely aware of the dead in your own life. Even people you didn’t expect to hear from.
“The whole point of mediumship is that we’re alive,” says Van Zyl.
Van Zyl mentions that the center does “spirit rescue work,” holding “crossover” nights to help people who’ve died but haven’t been able to cross over to the other side.
“They’re stuck,” says LaRocca.
She says she feels “very dedicated” to her psychic work and is happy to provide just “one drop of comfort” to the bereaved. “I couldn’t imagine losing somebody and never seeing them again.”
Even so, the psychics enjoy some of the more mundane concerns, and six of them went in on a Mega Millions lottery ticket last night. Alas, they could contact the departed, but not divine the correct six numbers to win the $355 million. Last night’s winning Mega Millions tickets were sold in Idaho and Washington state.
Montclair Metaphysical & Healing Center is located at 516 Bloomfield Ave. in Montclair, suites 2 and 3. In addition to seance nights, they hold many different workshops and teach people to become psychics. 973.866.0192