Psychic Shoppers at Expo Find Aisles Full of Visionaries


Thea-Dianne McCall had paid $5 to have her aura analyzed Saturday, and she wanted her money’s worth.

She handed a photograph of herself to a clairvoyant interpreter at Energy Vision, one of hundreds of promotional booths at the Whole Life Expo, a new age fair at the San Diego Convention Center through Monday.

“You’re forgiving yourself for being born into a female body. You have a lot of enthusiasm,” the dark-haired interpreter said, pointing to a golden glow around McCall’s head. “There’s an image of a witch here. It looks like your mother put it there. It’s affecting your self-image.”

McCall nodded and wandered over to another interpreter, a tiny blond woman who was complimenting a customer on her “nicely-shaped” blue aura. McCall wanted a second opinion. She didn’t get it.


“Uh, it’s the same thing she said,” said the blond, who looked suddenly tense.

Not to worry. Between the aromatherapy and the ecstasy breathing, the bee pollen and the Relaxman glasses, there were dozens of tension remedies on display in the cavernous exhibit hall. And for every peddler of diet supplements and subliminal cassette tapes, there were 10 people eager to believe that self-fulfillment waited at the next booth.

Touted as the world’s largest showcase of “leading edge issues, products and personalities,” San Diego’s first Whole Life Expo was more than a psychic shopping trip. As well as lectures and panel discussions featuring such big names in consciousness-raising as Timothy Leary and Terry Cole-Whittaker, the Expo also attempted to address “key issues”: substance abuse, environmental degradation and financial investment.

“Typically, this show has concentrated on ‘new age’ subjects such as metaphysics, crystals, UFO’s, channeling and psychics--but times have changed,” said Joy Jacot, the Expo’s producer. “We’ve expanded our focus.”

Indeed, among the 300 exhibitors, there were several booths that sold re-usable canvass shopping bags, water purifiers and other eco-conscious products. But mostly, the vendors seemed to be selling self-improvement--and all the health and optimism that comes with it.

There were nutrient drinks with names like Natural Drive, GreenMagma and Megafood. There were brain synchronizers--glasses, fitted with flashing lights and earphones, that enhance creativity, vendors said, by emitting tones that help the brain’s right and left hemispheres work together. There was a man who said that magnets have been known to cure cancer.

“With the appropriate magnet, you can kill 85% of all types of pain. The more severe the pain, the quicker the results,” said Dr. Jesse F. Partridge, a magno-therapy expert whose booth was flanked with graphic color photographs of a man with a large growth on his nose. After a magnet was held over his nose for three hours a day, Partridge said, the bump went away. Partridge said he had the pictures to prove it--or most of them, at least.

“The worst one, I had to quit showing. It made the ladies sick,” he said.

Ken Anderson, the co-owner of Mental Building Blocks, described his subliminal cassette tapes for children as “the most lasting love gift you’ll ever buy.”

Anderson said his grandchildren listen to the tapes every night while they sleep. On each hour-long cassette, there are 10,000 positive affirmations-- including, “I love myself. I am beautiful. I am loved. I am love."--all set to a rhythmic music that imitates a mother’s heartbeat.

“If they sleep eight hours, that’s 80,000 loving repetitions that goes into their little minds,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t make zombies out of them. The little buggers come out swinging.”

Helen Pappas, a director of Mr. Bee Pollen in Newport Beach, beckoned to passers-by with two gold antennae that bobbed on her head. Bee pollen has been known to reduce blood pressure, correct allergies and solve sexual problems, according to a pamphlet Pappas offered.

“You can live on bee pollen alone,” she said, pushing a tiny spoon into a bowl of yellow granules. “It’s not only energy, but a source of well-being. We call it the life changer.”

Rob Potter, an associate of the Laguna Beach-based pyramid vendor Pyradyne Inc., urged people to put pyramids on their heads.

“Pyramids make your brain waves go into Alpha,” he said. “All our pollutions in the air are eating up our life force, or prana. The pyramid delivers prana to the brain. On a clean healthy planet, you wouldn’t need to wear a pyramid on your head. But . . . “

Potter paused, and then confided: “A lot of this technology is extraterrestrial in nature.”

At the booth labeled Psychic Perceptions by Joyce, Joyce Zakrajsek furiously drew circles on a note pad as she spoke quietly to a customer. In a few minutes, Joyce stopped scribbling, hugged the customer goodby and bit into a breath mint.

“The energy point is in her hand,” said her manager, Nicholas Joseph, explaining to the next person in line why she had to wait for the next $25 channeling session. “This drains her. She needs to go charge herself.”

Nearby, Tessa, a delicate woman in black tights, offered to unfold life’s promises via computer astrology.

“I need your birth-time,” Tessa told a woman who was waiting to pay $25 to have her life progression analyzed, a year at a time, using secondary progressed planets.

“I only know Hawaii time,” the woman said.

“That’s no problem,” said Tessa.

Despite the Expo’s hard-sell, not everyone was sold.

One woman, fresh from a psychic consultation, pooh-poohed the advice she’d been given. “I have to learn to trust men? Give me a break,” she said.

Another man eyed a steady stream of people who took turns standing under something called an Ion Shower, a nozzle that had no visible output at all.

“You should open up a booth right now, selling oceanfront property on the moon,” the man muttered. “I’ll tell you, you’d make a killing.”