RENO - People worried about the course of their finances are increasingly turning to psychics for a peek into the future.
In fact, psychics says the increase in psychic readings and similar services has offset falling sales of tarot cards and incense oils that many of them sell.
"It's all related to the state of the economy at this time. 'Am I losing my house? Am I going to find a job?'" says Theresa Peacock, co-owner of Above and Beyond, 515 E. Sixth St. "Nine out of 10 people are concerned about their financial futures. I get a lot of feedback that I have been correct, and that I have sent them in the right direction."
Peacock has owned the psychic practice with Mike Harris since 2000.
She says walk-ins at the little red house on the corner of Sixth and Valley Road have dipped slightly in the past few years - she's got enough business to stay open four days a week instead of five - but the majority of new walk-in customers are seeking answers to questions about their financial futures.
Peacock works as a psychic, reading Tarot cards and using astrology, and she also practices as a medium and in psychometry, where she holds an object to divine impressions of the past and future.
Terri Jay, a psychic and medium who has lived in Washoe Valley since 1986, works under contract with the Grand Sierra Resort to provide readings for members of the resort's players club as part of its comps package. Jay says many of the casino's patrons ask for readings on their jobs and financial status.
Financial-oriented psychic predictions became the focus in the fall of 2008 after the stock market cratered, says Jay, who has worked as a psychic, medium and in animal communication for more than 20 years.
In addition to her Tuesday, Thursday and Friday night gigs at the Grand Sierra, Jay also works as a speaker and psychic at parties and special events. Revenue from special events has significantly tapered off over the past 24 months.
"Some summers, I would do probably eight to 10 events, and I am down to just a handful the last few summers," Jay says.
Laura Peppard, owner of the Reno Psychic Institute at 20 Hillcrest Drive, says retail sales have dipped 30 percent since mid-2009. However, readings in aura energy and group energy healing classes have increased. Meditation and energy healing classes typically have eight to 15 people and run six weeks.
"The interesting thing is that classes and readings are more money, but yet people find a way to make that happen," she says.