Tina Zimmer/Switchblade Films
Unlike the ubiquitous folding-stands on New York’s 7th Avenue that advertise Tarot and palm readings, Hank Hivnor’s psychic business is a well-kept secret among the city’s artists and fashionistas. “Healing Hank,” as he calls himself on his business cards, has clients that range from top editors at fashion magazines to cover girls (like Kiara Kabukuru). He secures his haughty clientele through word-of-mouth and the psychic parties he throws at exclusive hangouts like the Standard hotel in New York's Meat Packing District. His fee is $80 a session, and he considers himself a medium and life coach. For Hank, it isn't simply about guessing the past—it's about fixing your future.
Hank does readings out of his apartment in Greenpoint where he lives with a bartender and has a nude painting of men embracing each other on his walls. “I usually put a Post-It over the you know whats,” he said to me when I walked through the door. Hank is a slightly awkward 30-something guy who sports a merkin-like beard and plastic-framed nerd glasses. He leaves his dress shirt open to expose his bristly chest hair and “spiritual” tribal necklaces. A true gentleman, he prepared coffee and Milanos for me before we got down to the business of my future. During my psychic reading, he found some issues with my naughty bits: “I'm seeing a lot of protection here, barriers, especially in the pelvic area, like you were a Greek warrior in a past life who made some kind of vow not to have sex.” After I indulged myself in a reading, I took some time to ask Healing Hank about hanging out with Jesus, the Sasquatch Nation, and how it feels to go inside someone's blood vessels.
What kind of kid were you, were you happy?
There's this quote from Maya Angelou that I really love, “The child's ability to endure is due to the ignorance of alternatives.” I really thought that I was normal, and it was only when I got to be a teenager that I realized I was a total freak. I was neglected. I don't want to throw a whole pity party about my childhood, but it was a challenge. Let's put it that way.
When did you first realize you had this ability?
I've always had it, I just thought that I was crazy. So my big excitement was, I met a teacher who basically taught me how to turn it off. So I was able to turn it off and not hear people's thoughts and not see ghosts. Even sometimes when I'm out on the street, I see ghosts and people from other dimensions. As a kid it kind of freaked me out. Once when I was young, I was driving with my parents and we came to a crossroad and my angels—they're my intuition—said to my dad, “Don't go to the right, go to the left, because there's gonna be a traffic jam.” And he turned around and was like, “How the hell do you know? You don't know.” He just went off on me. So of course we went to the right, and of course we wound up in traffic.
What do you think would have happened if you hadn't learned to turn it off?
I think I would be institutionalized. All through my twenties, I had such bad anxiety that I was dysfunctional. I refused to leave my house because I was afraid of people. It was like having a microphone turned up the whole way. When I went to film school, they had this thing called a puke mike. It was a huge parabolic thing with a thing in the middle. You could use it to just zone in on some dude way over there licking a lollipop and just hear all of his licking noises. It's like that. You're turned up all the way without knowing you're turned up all the way. It kind of sucks.
Do you prefer the term “psychic,” or something else?
I prefer the term “healer and medium.” I like the word psychic, but I think it has a bad rap and a lot of people misuse it. What's weirder for me is that I believe everyone is psychic. My brother worked at an ice cream shop and he developed this arm muscle by the elbow from scooping ice cream that was like “the ice cream muscle,” and it's like the same thing exactly. It's how much you use something. So when there are people who fake it, it’s weird because you don't have to fake it if you just relax.
Also, information doesn't always come out so quickly like it does on TV. They edit those tapes. It's magic, it's like this big wild soup of coolness that comes out and it's many different things. I have no idea what I'm talking about right now.
Do you have a community of other mediums in New York?
I have a really good friend who's a colleague who I call to talk shop with. I also have a bunch of different people who are psychotherapists, and when I have a client who I really am like, “What the hell are you doing,” they give me whatever the normal interpretation of what that behavior would be, which is extremely helpful. I get a lot of people who have a lot of issues, and nine times out of ten I know what's going on. But sometimes I have to refer someone elsewhere.
At what point would you do that?
If I can't work with a person and they need to see a therapist. Or if someone needs to do some emotional release work, which is beating pillows and screaming. They have soundproof rooms for that. I don't want to wake up my neighbors.
What does it feel like when you're speaking to angels or spirits?
It feels very soft and calming. Like being in a cozy place. But sometimes it doesn't feel like anything. There's so many different deities over the years who I've worked with, I thought one was going to show up because he was walking with me outside on the way here cause I felt so nervous earlier, and he was like, “You're gonna be fine, these people are really nice.”
Once I channeled Nijinsky for this ballet dancer at the penthouse of the Standard. Usually I don't like to let spirits go into my body, but I was like “Shit, yeah, I'm gonna do this.” And I let the entity in maybe 45 percent, and he was really sexual and wanted to fuck her, and fuck her assistant, and kept talking about sex. It was really crazy because I was trying to deal with this spirit.
What about the Holy Ghost?
I work a lot with Jesus. He's right here, right behind me. Jesus sends out this energy that's like a line and it kinda goes over the person like a brush, and I just pick up energy from that. It's really kind of abstract. When I'm doing stuff with the body, I work with Krishna. So at that point, I see this blue energy, and there are energy lines coming out of my wrists and wrapping around the person. It almost looks like an Alexander Grey painting.
Sometimes I get a lot of shivers when I'm working with Earth energies or the Sasquatch Nation because they have a fear block and they don't want humans to contact them. And aliens, it's easy to feel jittery because there's a permission slip we don't really have.
So you work with aliens sometimes?
Not often. I've met a lot of aliens in human form who are here to do work. But I mean, let's imagine we're on Earth and we get in a spaceship and fly out like ten miles, and then we're in the solar system—at that point, who's an alien? Who knows how long we've been here? You know what I'm saying?
I do have one client who knows that she's basically a walking camera. When she's sitting here, I'm aware of a spaceship flying above the Earth that is quite large. It's got to be the size of a football field. And it's totally friendly. And I said to her, “I'm aware you're basically here to absorb information about this reality,” and she's like, “Yeah, I've always known that.” And then we just moved on. So to her it really wasn't that big of a deal. Mostly we just talked about her new job in France or whatever.
Do you ever wish you weren't psychic?
I used to. I've learned to accept it. When I was younger I remember praying to God that I wanted to be normal, drink a beer, and watch the game, you know? But I've had so many really profound experiences with people, and I've helped people, and you can see when a light goes off in someone's mind or when they achieve dreams that they've wanted to achieve thanks to information I've given them. So it’s worth it.
When you were younger, did you ever use your powers to do something bad?
When I was a kid, I would do really silly things to people like tickle them from across the room. This was when I was discovering this thing. I'd put an ice cube on a plate in a dark room and watch it melt. I don’t know why I was doing that, but now when I'm working with energy, it requires a lot of focus, and I'll literally go into someone's blood vessels and look around. A friend of mine's husband had migraines and she went and saw me and I immediately saw his head and looked inside, and there was this thing growing in there. And I said, “He needs to go to the hospital right away.”
We really have to give ourselves permission to be psychic. I don't know why we were taught at a young age that it was wrong. You could carve a beautiful statue out of a stone, or you can use it to throw through a statue someone's car window. We need to be morally responsible, and use these skills.
Totally! Thanks Hank!
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