Renowned psychic shares insights
It’s one of those anomalies that we humans have debated since our brains started developing and we started questioning our existence.
What is that connection between what is tangible — what we can feel, taste, touch and see — and what we can’t?
Before you start cuing the Twilight Zone theme music, Sylvia Browne believes there is a connection between the spiritual world, and the pragmatic, and her beliefs and views often evoke a strong reaction — on both sides of the debate.
About to make an appearance in Vernon for the first time on April 2, as part of her 50th anniversary tour, Browne is billed as the world’s most renowned psychic and spiritual teacher. The author of numerous best selling books on spirituality, Browne also has her share of detractors, due to what some have deemed as fraudulent and misleading predictions.
Some of those claims against her have been well documented. (Those curious can watch a YouTube clip where CNN anchorman, now talk show host, Anderson Cooper takes on Browne on his show 360.) But Browne also has her supporters, as can be seen by the sold-out VIP section at the front of the Vernon Performing Arts Centre, where tickets have sold for $95 a pop.
On the phone from her home in sunny California, the notoriously frank, but personable Browne, now 76, says she has found Canada, for the most part, to be a welcoming place. She has toured here for years — the last time two years ago when she gave a talk in Kelowna.
“There’s something about Canada. The first time I came, I felt I was home. They accepted me,” she said.
However, her shows here have also evoked some criticism, as was apparent when it was first announced that she was returning to the Okanagan. Some made comments on The Morning Star’s website that Browne was selling a message, of psychic ability, that is unwarranted and unfounded. Some cited cases of false predictions.
Browne is again frank when told of the reaction.
“I don’t care about my detractors. We all have them. It’s the same as the attack on priests or anyone religious by atheists... I find it an oxymoron that some atheists have built a church,” said Browne, referring to an atheist temple being built in the U.K.
And although some religious figures may question anyone who claims to have psychic abilities, Browne says her belief in God is unflinching.
“Spirituality is the only thing you can count on. It’s not just what the spirit does, it’s what the spirit feels. We’re not just skin and bones.”
Browne has written about her spiritual beliefs in a number of best-selling books. Her philosophy of life is based on research into past lives, via hypnosis, and through the information obtained via her reported deep trance channeling ability.
She accepts reincarnation as a central theme in her philosophy, yet this belief is never forced upon anyone who does not want to hear it, Browne has said.
Raised in Kansas City, Browne says she was five when it became clear that she was different from other kids. She says she started having visions — premonitions, if you will.
“My grandmother was psychic... and my son is also psychic, so it’s all through my family,” said Browne, who now works alongside her son, Chris Dufresne.
For many years she shared her gift with friends and family, and became well known for helping people to see their future, adding when she first decided to bring her abilities to the people, she was met, like now, with some skepticism.
“I knew there would be those that wouldn’t believe me. But I was told ‘don’t keep this to yourself,’” she said.
In 1974, she founded the Nirvana Foundation for Psychic Research, a non-profit organization (now known as Sylvia Browne Corporation) and also started sharing her predictions using the medium as the message.
She has since appeared on numerous TV talk shows, including The Montel Williams Show, Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, CNN, and Entertainment Tonight.
Last year, she spoke publicly about the supposed Mayan prophesy that the world would end, Dec. 12, 2012. Her prediction, in this case, came true.
“I knew it would not come to an end. No man or woman can tell when the world is ending. People can be so dramatic about those things,” she said, adding that so many people these days live in a culture of fear.
“When you feature the spirit, that all goes away. People take themselves entirely too seriously — what we wear, what we buy. That’s all gone after you’re dead.”
In her live shows, Browne says she mostly talks about spirituality, however she does address those who have a specific question — be it about the future or about a loved one who has passed on. (Those who purchased VIP tickets for the Vernon show will have that opportunity.)
“In the last 10 years, people have been asking me how they are doing spiritually. It used to be, ‘will I meet Mr. Right?’ Now it’s ‘Am I on the right track?’” she said.
“Anytime they ask me a question, I’ll answer them. I don’t hide anything.”
And she plans to continue as long as people keep asking, adding many of her family members have lived well into their 90s.
“I am looking forward to seeing people on this tour. They give me a lot of joy. It’s wonderful to have a job that you enjoy and love,” she said. “In the end we’re all the same. We all go to the bathroom and we all want to seek a better life for ourselves and our families.”
An Evening of insights and live readings with Browne starts at 7:30 p.m. April 2 at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre. Regular tickets are still available and cost $61.50 at the Ticket Seller, 549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca.