This site was put together as an information resource for those who are currently working with any Gypsy psychic/”spiritualist” on very private matters between the client and the psychic, and who may be questioning whether the supposed “work” is really being done, or whether in fact you’re actually being scammed by some very ingenious, shameless and heartless con artists who have no trouble using personal faith and Christianity as a vehicle to gain a victim’s trust and scam them out of substantial money.
I’m a resident of the South Suburbs of Chicago who made the unfortunate mistake a decade ago, while I was in college, to start working with a Gypsy Psychic Fortune Teller/”Spiritualist” whom I had visited for a reading. I had never been to a psychic before. I had only seen this woman’s ads on a bus transit shelter for years.
The reason for my visit to a Gypsy was that my girlfriend of 2 years had recently dumped me. The break up was hard. It brought me face to face with a lot of personal issues I didn’t think I had the strength–or more accurately, the strategy–to face and work through. I had tried going to counseling, but it had never helped. My girlfriend’s abrupt exit from my life left me feeling down and confused about my future. Looking for some direction, I thought about getting a psychic reading for the first time. I decided to visit a fortune telling parlor storefront on Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview. I stopped by without an appointment and knocked on the door. I was met by the female fortune teller, who said she could see me.
I entered her parlor/home. It was a weird mix of run down and nice rooms. The run down parts were just this side of squalor with a nasty stench of nicotine, incense and carpeting in serious need of replacing. The “nice” rooms were a gold-trimmed, fuschia-carpeted, mirrored palace of over-the-top bad taste and tackiness that looked like a cheesy bridal suite out of Vegas.
The fortune teller, who goes by the name Saundra, sat me down in a small dirty room with two chairs. The room served as a kind of hallway between the aforementioned garishly decorated front room, visible from the street, and what appeared to be the rest of her home in back. She asked for my hands and began asking me some questions and telling me some things about myself and my current situation.
She said that I’d been hurt by someone. A girl in fact. I thought to myself, “Wow, I guess there is something to this.” She then went on to explain how the girl does really care about me, but that she’s blocked by a lot of negative energy around her (This made sense to me–my girlfriend had grown up in really bad home environment and she was back living with her parents. And she had a lot of emotional/anger issues.). Saundra then went on to explain that I’d always had trouble with relationships and people not treating me well. And that I’m a really good person.
This all rang true with me. I thought, “Wow, how can she know all of this about me after just meeting me?” She said that my girlfriend and I could get back together, but she would need to find out what’s causing this block in our energy, and to do this she would need to light a special candle and meditate on it. This candle would cost me a little more than just the reading. I agreed and brought back some more money. After Saundra had done her “meditating”, she had me come back in another day. It was then that she explained the bad news to me. My consistent bad luck and suffering in my young life was not my fault and not from me. Rather, a curse had been put on my family, some generations ago. Also, that the number 7 played a role in this curse.
I could hardly believe it. A curse? This is the 20th Century. Yet, this woman could see things about me that she could never have known if she weren’t truly gifted and psychic (or so I thought and would learn the hard way later). How could there be curses? Yet, Saundra explained that just as there is God, there is evil and darkness that messes with us. Having been raised Catholic, I noticed that she talked about Jesus and God and prayer and I told myself that she must be doing good things if that’s the case. In order to lift this curse, Saundra said she would have to do some very special “work” to lift it once and for all. But that in order to do this work, I would need to show a great sacrifice as my sign to God that I really wanted the work and that I believed in Saundra and her powers. Saundra would need to buy a very special candle to do this work, and the work (because of the symbolism she said of the number 7) would cost $7,700. That made my jaw drop to the floor. I was 21 years old, after all. How was I supposed to come up with that kind of money? Yet, I wanted so badly to have my life good and not let this “negative energy” keep it from me. And Saundra had made it sound like this girl and I were meant to be together, so I thought if it’s that important…
I tried explaining to Saundra that I can’t come up with that kind of money (I had never even had that much money in my life at that point). I felt this really uncomfortable, nagging feeling in my gut saying that this is wrong, I shouldn’t have to buy my salvation from God. But Saundra reassured me that she was gifted with special powers and she would help.
One thing though. I was not to tell ANYONE about this. Not my parents. Not my family. Not anyone. Or else not only would Saundra’s special work would be interfered with. It would be ruined and for nothing. This was critical, that it could only be between me, her and God. And she demanded that I agree to that and acknowledge it.
After so many years of feeling depressed, I thought I had found the answer, albeit I never would have expected it to be from something like this. Saundra also needed me to help her get rid of this evil out of me. So she gave me a jar with water in it. I was to wear dark socks and then eventually take the socks and wrap them around the jar for a week, completely covering the jar so it could not be seen. The jar was to be placed under my bed, and I was to pray each night with the jar under my bed. That seemed strange and weird, but I agreed. Days later then I was told to bring the jar into her. Saundra sat me down in the small hallway room again and had me say some prayers I would repeat line for line after she spoke them. She then had me close my eyes and keep praying out loud. And to say out loud what I wanted to have happen, how I wanted to be healed. To keep saying it louder and to keep my eyes closed. And to concentrate. I kept doing it and kept exclaiming it loud like she ordered me to, but I also slightly lifted up one eyelid because it itched and it was getting tiring repeating this out loud. When I did, I could just barely catch, through the hint of light coming in, the sound and sight of Saundra trying to secretly open up the jar lid a little and put something in the jar. This next part is going to sound really strange in light of what I just said I witnessed her do. When she was done having me pray, she told me to open my eyes. She then said she was going to unwrap my socks from the jar. She did so and the water that was in there had turned black. She exclaimed out loud, “Oh my God! Oh my God! It’s the darkness! It’s the darkness! See it right there in the water?” And she demanded the I tell her yes. The weird thing was, deep down a part of me knew she had done something with the water to make it that way. I KNEW it because I had accidentally caught her doing it. Yet despite that and what my intuition told me was some bad acting on her part, I went along with this and tried to force myself to consciously believe what she was doing was real — after all, look at how she knew things about no one else knew just from knowing me a week and her psychic abilities. Anybody with those kinds of special gifts must be here for a reason, I thought.
So she told me she was going to do this work now to lift this curse. She had to get rid of this evil once and for all. But how was I supposed to get her the $7,700? I didn’t have it. She then told me that I could give it to her in phases as I could put the money together, but in the meantime, I could also buy her and her husband Lou (who later in the summer of 2002 was being picked up by the police for insurance fraud) the largescreen TV they’d been wanting for the kids for their family room. So I went with Saundra and her husband to an appliance store on Cicero Ave. and plunked down $1,200 for their new TV, which I charged on my credit card (and thus began a long string of regrettable credit card moves with these Gypsies that I’m still paying dearly for today).
Saundra spent the next month doing her “work”, or so I thought, and finally the ex girlfriend called me for the first time. She was wondering how I was. What she really was doing was just seeing if I still was missing her so she could get her ego fix and then dump me again. Which she did when I tried to argue with her to come back. Upset, I told Saundra what had happened. Saundra said that was it, that any good that was left in the girl was gone. She had been totally consumed by the darkness around her and that it was too late. I couldn’t accept that. No way. Not after being promised that we could be reunited and that my family was cursed but Saundra was supposedly more powerful and could help. I was upset. Why had I given Saundra that TV and a lot more money that I had spaced towards the $7700? This couldn’t be. I wasn’t going to lose my girlfriend and more importantly my happy life.
I felt scared and frustrated, and I didn’t know where to turn. What was I to do? I wouldn’t believe it after she was so confident she was going to fix things and had sold me. So I decided to get a second opinion. At this point, I had learned, or so I thought, that “psychics are real”, “there are spiritualists out there dedicated to removing darkness and do God’s work as part of their obligation with their God-given psychic gifts”, and that I had this curse. So I called up another Gypsy psychic in the area who also had an ad on a bus shelter. This time it was Helen Lamar, on Ridgeland in Oak Lawn, who as of 1998 now goes by the alias Helene La Marr after having had to hide from somebody (the law, I assume) for much of 1997.
Helen was different. For one thing, she was only around 31, so she seemed more my speed and could understand me. She gave me a reading at her house on a Friday night. I was so desperate in my mind at this point. I needed to know what was to become of everything I had been told. I was jumping out of my skin. Regarding the ex, Helen told me that yes there is a lot of love there and that she does love me. But what Helen told me was that the real problem was that I needed to be healed myself. She would see what was up with the girlfriend, but that the most important thing was that I needed to want to be healed for myself. She also told me that God brought me to her that night.
That sounded exactly like sound psychological advice (ironically because of anything a Gypsy had ever told me, it actually had some truth to it). The fact that Helen, instead of telling me what I wanted to hear, told me something else instead, made me trust her and trust her “profession” even despite the obvious amateur crap that had been pulled on me by Saundra (yet I still couldn’t explain Saundra’s supposed psychic abilities…not just yet at least). Helen’s seemingly sound advice and her attitude had me believing her. She told me to call her back the next day (Saturday). Desperate for answers and having not been able to sleep a wink all night, I started calling Helen at like 8 in the morning. I couldn’t wait. She told me to call back later on. She had me come back in (which made me feel good like I had someone who could help me). Helen, like Saundra, told me she needed to do some extra meditating on this to see what was needed to be done. And she too would need some money, around $200, to use a special candle. This made me think that this was all legit, after all if two separate spiritualists who didn’t know each other (or do they…) need to use a better candle to meditate with, there must be something credible to this, right?
A couple of days later, Helen had me back in. She confirmed that there was this darkness to be removed that had been placed on me by jealous people. She wanted to know what Saundra had done and had wanted from me. I told her that I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone and I was scared to. She said that it was okay because I’d be protected and she was working with God. So I told her, and Helen told me that was too much money for this work and it wouldn’t require that much. What she would need from me though is $5,000. Also, and this was key later, Helen said that this sacrifice would be the only time she would ask this of me. That this sacrifice would be all that’s required to rid me of the darkness. Also, that when someone makes this kind of sacrifice to God for a spiritual work to be done by a gifted spiritualist, that the money sacrificed comes back to you 9 times fold when the work is finished. Helen would repeat that promise to me many times later. Somehow, that was a little better. Helen also said that she herself does not keep any of this money. The only money she earns is the modest money she makes doing basic readings. At least I thought now I had something to hold her to. And Helen was giving me a sense of hope to feel for the first time in a long, long time. Although, I was constantly uneasy, so focused and worried about getting reunited with my ex. I worried each time Helen had me come back to her house as she checked on my future with her cards, wondering what was going to come out of her mouth, good or bad as she would dramatically put the cards down in random patterns on her marble coffee table, stare and them and nod to herself like she was receiving some big revelation she was pondering. She used regular playing cards rather than Tarot cards, saying that Tarot cards are too strong and can be used by dark spirits. I was also uneasy because this entire time (since the first time Saundra dropped the whopper on me about the $7700), somewhere deep down my intuition was crying out that this was bullshit. You don’t “buy” solutions to problems. I would spend the next several years constantly wrestling with that uneasiness, half of me believing in this Gypsy woman, but another part with one eye on them and questioning, questioning, questioning why God could possibly want me to pay for his help. But when I would bring this up, there was always that explanation again they would give me: “The money is not for me. It’s for the work and also because you need to show God just how much you’re willing to sacrifice in order to make it work.” And again, you’re not to tell ANYBODY about it.
That was November of 1992. The following year saw slow steady progress in how I felt about myself, at least in a Band-Aid sense on the surface. I still worried about the ex and still didn’t really solve any underlying problems. But Helen did have me start praying each night. She also explained that she was working to have a very special candle made that was to be used to to help heal me and fix the love problem. This candle, Helen explained, was to come from Canada, and was to be specially handmade and prayed upon and prepared specifically for my “case”, as Helen referred to it, by these nuns up in Canada in a special monastery that they can never leave their whole lives. They were at St. Anne duBeaupre outside of of Quebec City, Quebec.
Even the shape of the candle, I was told by Helen, would have a special meaning specifically for me and my case. Finally, after weeks, the candle had arrived, and Helen had done her preparations. I received the candle. It was a pinkish red and shaped like a heart. It had to be unwrapped from bubble wrap, and it had some kind of manufacturer’s sticker or something on the bottom (a huge clue right there that my intuition had picked up on, but again I was unable to listen to because I wanted to have my life be great and equally now because I was scared about this “darkness” over me that Helen kept reinforcing, and also felt I had no where left to turn in life but Helen — she was doing God’s work to help me, right?) My intuition, for a split second, told me that this looked like a mass produced, retail candle from a manufacturer, otherwise why would it be wrapped in bubble wrap, and why would nuns making a custom-made candle designed to be prayed over by one individual on earth — me — feel the need to put a manufacturers-type sticker of some sort on the bottom?
Over the course of the following weeks, I was to burn the candle and pray over it each night, which I did devoutly. I was instructed that there were items placed inside the candle that would start to become exposed as the wax melted down, and these items were specifically related to me and my needs. I was like a kid waiting for Christmas morning, excited as to what I would find inside my candle as it slowly melted down over the weeks. I prayed devoutly over the candle each night, sometimes for only fifteen or twenty minutes, other times for up to an hour. The items inside began to reveal themselves and emerge from inside the dwindling wax. They ended up being a small piece of polished amethyst shaped like a kidney (Helen said it was shaped like a teardrop and that meant something), a piece of quartz crystal, and finally a metal trinket of an angel perched on a crescent moon. Each time one of the three items inside the candle emerged, I was supposed to bring it to Helen, which I did. I was so excited. This whole ritual made me feel like I was getting somewhere and that I was part of the “work” being done for me.
Helen had me pick up a chain I could wear around my neck to hang the angel moon trinket on. I used a chain that had belonged to my grandfather. That Spring I decided to return to school downstate and finish my degree. Interestingly enough, I had made this decision all on my own without Helen’s guidance. I had listened to my intuition. In fact, when I told Helen what I was doing, she was surprised and told me next time to consult with her first. I think my decision to go back to school at that point would end up being one of the last times in the coming years of dealing with supposed spiritualists where I would make my own, well-thought-out decision without first complying with their attempts at control.
August rolled around and I got ready to go back down to school. Then the ex-girlfriend called. First time in a year. She left me a message on my answering machine. I was pensive (at least the healthy part of me who didn’t want anything to do with her was). We agreed to meet. We went out to eat and the meeting was a little tense. At the end, it ended up in disaster–I learned she was living with the guy she had left me for. I had heard a rumor of this back a couple of months before that–the ex would occasionally run into mutual people we knew. I was upset when I had heard this rumor–after all, what about Helen’s work?! What was going on here? I asked Helen about it, I was really worried. “Is it true, Helen?” Helen sighed and concentrated. She said she didn’t think so. At least she didn’t get any vibrations that it was true. But she said don’t worry about it. Everything is going to be fine. And even if it is true, don’t worry about it. I started freaking out. I didn’t want it to be true. She told me she’d do some work on it. Days later she again said she “didn’t sense any vibrations” about it.
There I stood in the parking lot of the restaurant, feeling angry and betrayed. It was true. It was like a slap across the face and I felt the same agonizing, frantic “my life is going to end” feeling that drove me to see a psychic to begin with. It was like I was right back to square one (a feeling that I would later experience a few more times–this despite the so called “work” that was being done for me and progress I had been told I had made through my own sacrifice and strength). I called Helen immediately afterwards, frantic. What the heck was going on?! What about all of this work that had been done? What happened to my reunion with this girl? (that deep down I had realized I didn’t really want anyway but thought I needed to believe in because of the Gypsies’ orders on what I was to focus on). I couldn’t believe our “date” ended up like this. I wanted Helen to explain what all this supposed work she had done was for. She told me to calm down because now she was dealing with two distraught people–the girlfriend and me, and that she would fix things but I needed to give her time.
I relaxed, and a few days later left for school. I was scared being back down there. Rather than feeling like I had been getting “healed” as promised over the past year, my first day back on campus brought me right back in touch with every issue I had before I’d ever consulted with a Gypsy “psychic”. This first day back, when I dealt with a flood of emotions about a lot of things, made me realize, at least for a moment when I was honest with myself, that I was no stronger or at peace inside than I was the day I’d first visited Saundra.
The only thing that truly had changed is that my life had grown kind of weird with the whole psychic thing, with all of the secretiveness, the not being able to tell anyone about what was going on with me or about these strange women that people refer to as “Gypsies”, who were asking for such huge sums of money from me. I felt different from people and isolated. Little did I realize that keeping me isolated would reinforce and help the brainwashing I was slowly undergoing for the purpose of keeping me a human ATM machine.
Despite the difficult feelings being back down at school, I stuck to my guns. Whereas before I hated my school, the experience this time around was different. I WAS feeling somewhat better, and I had positive experiences for the first time. But I would see later that there was still so much underlying tension and strife inside myself and that I was nowhere near living with the day- to-day, relative peace of mind most people enjoy. But it was still better than what I had felt the year before. The Spring of ’94 came along, and I felt even better. People liked me at school. I was still missing the ex, but the part of me (the healthy part of me) that didn’t want to be with her was enjoying life a little more.
Then Helen announced to me that she needed to go away for a period of time. Maybe 6 to 8 weeks even. She said that she needed to go off into the mountains to recharge her spiritual energy and strength. To do some special work that could only be done in the mountains and in the trees. Whenever she would talk about darkness, she would say things like “send it to the ocean, and to the forest and the trees where no being does exist.” She always had this dramatic choice of words she’d reuse.
She would need to take the family and go away for a while. But she needed my help. She needed to know if she could use my credit card to help pay for things–however, this was not a gift or for the work or anything, she said that she would pay me back when she returned. I thought, “Well, if I’ve trusted her so far, I’ll trust her with this.” So I ordered a second credit card using my account, and had the card put in her married name: Helen Cannon. Helen and the family left on their long drive to wherever they were going. She just said south and that they would be in Florida for some of the work as well (I figured, “Okay, I guess they’re hitting the Appalachian Mountains along the way or something.”). I also thought, “Well, this is it. Will I ever hear from her again? Is this how she dumps me and I find out this was all just a scam and she’s a con artist?” But I trusted that I would hear from her again and that she’d return.
And about six weeks later, return she did. She had racked about $2,500 worth of charges on my credit card — to hotels, seafood restaurants, a jewelry store and more. When I came over to her house in Oak Lawn for the first time since she’d left, however, I saw something very disturbing on the driveway that made me really angry–her husband Rick’s new acquisition: a cream colored, used Rolls Royce with Florida plates.
Okay, how the heck does someone who needs to borrow a credit card from me for this important trip have a husband with the cash to buy a used Rolls Royce? Why did she need my money?! And don’t tell me that it’s because her “business” finances can’t be intermingled with her family’s. I think taking care of your family on a road trip can be handled by a husband. I was pissed. But once again, I suppressed it. There had to be a good reason, I thought. And Helen is doing all this hard work and prayer for me, she said. Always all of this prayer over special candles. And what about her psychic ability? And the way she talked about God and Jesus and had me pray to them with her in her living room? How could someone supposedly so dedicated to God–and someone with this supposed psychic ability to know things about me that only someone gifted could possibly know–how could someone like that take something as sacred as religion and faith and knowingly, intentionally, manipulate me and my faith, my deepest trust and vulnerability, strictly for their personal gain? With all of the hard work that was supposedly being done on my behalf by Helen and her “Church” of other spiritualists she constantly made reference to, I was afraid to challenge her. Afraid to make her angry at me, otherwise what if she stops helping me and I’m totally victim to all of the darkness and evil that Helen said had been trying to destroy my life before I’d met her and that she was protecting me from?
Plus, she was paying me back for the charges on my card, right?
The months went on. I finished the Spring semester and spent much of the summer downstate. I didn’t see any of my $2,500 coming back my way however, and like I said, I was nervous to ask about it because I felt bad seeing as Helen made it appear that she was working so hard, or so she told me, praying late at night on my case. How could I be so unappreciative and ask her for my money? But eventually, I had to. It was bothering me. She did give me $100 towards it. And then a few months later, I asked her again why she hadn’t paid me back yet as promised. She told me that I should never have waited so long and let that bother me. I should have said something sooner and she’d give me money. She gave me $50. And that was the last time I ever saw another nickel come back my way.
But it was far from the last time she would con an enormous amount of money out of me.
I’d mentioned that ’94 seemed to start off pretty good for me. I thought I was feeling a lot better. I didn’t realize how empty I still was inside–I guess I just had more distractions at school to mask it with. Yet by the summer and fall of ’94, it became more apparent to me (when I would be honest with myself) that I really wasn’t healed of anything. The anxieties I’d always felt inside, the issues I personally dealt with in life, were still there. I was just masking them by focusing on this “work” that was being done. More accurately, I was using the goal of being reunited with that girlfriend as justification for not seeing the truth about things. By the fall of ’94, I’d lost a lot of the friends I’d made at school because I was too distracted to allow them in to be friends. Also, my strict obedience to Helen and her weird rituals had grown. There were so many things I wasn’t allowed to do. I didn’t realize Helen was systematically–and intentionally–building up superstitions inside my head to the point of mild paranoia at times–any misstep on my part and I might disrupt the work.
Graduation came and went and I was feeling quite alone. I took my first job and went through a lot of frustration. It’s hard to feel like a normal college grad when you’re being asked to lead a secret life of weird rituals and superstitions. That summer of ’95, some major events did happen. And I made a few major choices that would take things even further in the wrong direction.
Helen had mentioned that special cathedral in a town called St. Anne du Beaupre, outside of Quebec City, Quebec. She said that miracles happened there. I thought it might be good for my “case” then to pay it a visit during the annual Feast of St. Anne in July. Helen was naturally all for the idea. She said to go there and pray.
I spent my time at St. Anne praying fervently–for myself, for guidance with love, for my family. Helen told me to go up and speak to one of the nuns, I assumed from the religious order who had supposedly made my special heart-shaped candle back two years ago, right? But there was one rule–I was NOT to talk about the work under any circumstance. I did seek out the monastery she had spoken of, the one with the nuns who live there for the rest of their lives and never leave, they only pray for the world. These were the nuns, Helen had said, who had made my candle after she had contacted them. I did meet a nun, only I discovered that the monastery was no longer there. There was a small monastery there now, but not the one Helen had spoken of. I was puzzled. Where did my candle come from then? But still very much under Helen’s control, I didn’t let myself really do the math. I didn’t want to admit to myself what was going on. I was in too far by this point to want to deal with that reality.
I mentioned that I was praying for guidance with love. About a week or so prior to leaving for Canada, something major happened. The ex called me again for the first time in almost two years. She wanted to meet. We met, talked, and actually began going out again. You’d think I’d be jumping for joy, right? Part of me was a little. After all, look how much time I had given this thing to still work out. Granted, in all this span of time I naturally noticed or became interested in other girls (but never fully pursued it out of fear of really taking a look at myself and why I felt the need to hold on to feelings for the ex). I had seen enough cute girls when I’d returned to school, girls who clearly didn’t carry the baggage the ex did, that I began to ask myself how happy I’d really be with her. But yet there was this fear I was feeding in myself, this fear of something else, other personal issues I really needed to be dealing with, that I wouldn’t have to face if I could make the relationship with the ex work. And I had a Gypsy spiritualist condoning my feelings and my actions, doing this “work” to reunite us and heal me as well. Okay, so back to the big news. The ex and started going on dates. But I soon realized that time had worn me out. I wasn’t willing to put up with her games and the issues like I would in the past. At the first sign of trouble, she bailed on me, again. Actually, she called me up and told me she had to make a terrible decision she didn’t want to make — she had to decide between me and the guy she’d left me for. I told her that I felt she had already made the decision, and that whatever she decides, it would be her who would be responsible for having made the choice (she always like to blame the world and others for all of her problems). As calmly as I could, I gave her a piece of my mind and then told her goodbye. I’ve never spoken to her since.
That was a pretty big event for me. The nice part was that the initial shock of getting dumped for the last and final time only lasted an evening. I told myself I wouldn’t allow her to hurt me anymore. But there were bigger issues looming on the horizon, and a tough decision.