Cate Coffelt said the first time she experienced her self-described ability to communicate with spirits she was 5 years old, and she awoke suddenly in the middle of the night to see a coffin at the edge of her bed. Her grandmother was standing near it with her hand outstretched.
Coffelt said she pressed her own hands against her grandmother’s face and the vision vanished. In the next moment, the phone rang with the news her grandmother had passed away.
“She let me know she was on her way,” Coffelt said.
That experience would mark the beginning of what Coffelt said was a gift she was often reluctant to embrace while growing up in La Crescenta, where she graduated from Crescenta Valley High School in 1981.
Raised by religious parents, her “gift” was all but welcomed.
“I put that part of me aside,” she said. “I didn’t study it. I didn't learn about it. As far as I was concerned, based on my upbringing, it was not allowed.”
Whatever ability she believed she had, Cofflet didn’t understand it, or why animals would be drawn to her, or how she knew things about them that weren’t always apparent to others.
After she lost her job last year, her closest loved ones suggested she establish herself as a professional psychic medium.
“People were like, ‘You have a gift. Now’s your chance,’” she said.
Now, she works with both people and animals who have passed away, as well as animals still living, including those who are lost from their owners.
Last month, Coffelt received a call from a dog breeder in the Mojave Desert who had reported a missing dog she had recently given to its new owner. The new owner had stopped his car in the desert to let the dog go to the bathroom, but the dog wasn’t on a leash, and he ran away.
Coffelt claims all she needed to do to begin communicating with the dog was to look into his eyes from a photograph provided by the breeder.
At times, Coffelt said she saw the dog lying on a small patch of grass or running around in circles. She learned that a crew of workers would feed him near a house early in the morning.
She shared more details about the home and a nearby flag pole with the breeder, who went out and began searching for the dog. Coffelt said she breeder found the dog in a location she described.
“He literally ran and jumped in her arms,” she said.
The greatest joy Coffelt said she finds offering her readings, whether they deal with animals or people, is the easing feeling it brings to many of her clients, even the initial skeptics.
“That’s why I do this,” she said. “I love the healing I see it brings.”