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We Spent a Day with a Professional Psychic

They're basically best friends you pay to tell you everything will be OK.

Image by Adam Mignanelli

The terms "psychic" and "medium" are often used interchangeably. While a psychic can see into the future, a medium can communicate with those who have died, or, perhaps more accurately, "passed on." There are a surprising amount of semantics around the phenomena of parapsychology, but Paul Adzic doesn't let himself get bogged down by descriptors. As he sees it, we're far too caught up in labels—and besides, he has both sets of powers.

When I visit on a Monday afternoon, he's finishing up with a client in the Greenwich Village office space he rents through a lesser-known version of WeWork called Breather. "Goodbye and good luck with everything in life," he says to a well-dressed woman with shiny hair on her way out.

The tarot cards still spread out on the table are the only signal that something other-worldly has occurred in this room. There are no scarves or crystal balls, no stars, moons, or tchotchkes Stevie Nicks might collect—just a beaker filled with Tootsie Rolls, which came with the space.

"People are so attached to their idea of what a psychic might be," Adzic says, crossing his legs as he sits down across from me. He resembles a slightly shorter Chris O'Dowd with an Australian accent—in other words, not what many would conjure up as the psychic prototype. He's charismatic and almost shockingly confident in his worldview. He says everything with such conviction that even the most absurd statements come across as eternal truths.

"The universe is a matrix," he explains slowly and calmly. "All the information is there, everything is circling. Everyone that's been here before and everyone that's here now, it's all in the universe."

I ask him what he means.

"Do you remember the scene inThe Matrix where Keanu is in the hallway with Mr. Smith? And then all of a sudden his vision turns into lines of numbers, and it's clear to him it's all going everywhere?" He pauses for a beat, letting the description sink in: "That's what the universe is."

There are no scarves or crystal balls, no stars, moons, or tchotchkes Stevie Nicks might collect, just a beaker filled with Tootsie Rolls which came with the space.

Adzic first discovered his psychic abilities at seven years old, when he approached a woman in the supermarket and told her to leave her husband—or something like that. He doesn't quite remember the specifics, just that she started crying and informed his mother—who's also a psychic—that her son said exactly what she needed to hear.

Adzic's paternal grandmother was a psychic as well, so he believes he inherited the gift from both sides of the family. His sister has abilities too, though she doesn't use them for work. Growing up, Adzic didn't initially pursue being a professional psychic, either; after studying film in college at University of Newcastle, he moved from Australia to New York and, in his 30s, developed enough of a passion for his gift to consider it a career. With the encouragement of a growing circle of friends seeking his guidance, he made the transition. Now, he works as a professional psychic, full-time, for $150 an hour—40 hours a week during busy periods.

Readings are made by appointment, and they almost always begin with tarot cards. Adzic doesn't require them, though he finds the cards are a helpful aid in communicating to clients what he sees. Sometimes, it's in the form of visions or sensations—it can even be a scent.

Adzic believes that in order to get what we want, we have to send out the energy of our desires without the worries to counteract them. This idea of infinite possibilities raises the question of exactly what service Adzic is providing. Is he a sort of surrealist cheerleader? A soothsayer-cum-motivational speaker? Soon enough, his 3:30 PM arrives to answer that question.

Rebecca is closer to 40 than 30, distressingly self-conscious, and seeing a man who says they are dating but "not boyfriend and girlfriend." After a brief discussion of the weather—it's finally nice out, so she's less depressed—Adzic tells her to choose six cards.

"You're still having troubles with the gentleman," he says with a friendly raise of the eyebrow. "Yes!" she exclaims, for the first of many times throughout their session.

Some details are sussed out or put forward: Said gentleman wanted to take Rebecca to a wedding, but he's not sure if there's room in the hotel now. She likes him—loves him, actually—if she's being honest, but she's usually afraid to text him first. Adzic suggests she get a hotel room for herself and stop wasting time with logistical obstacles. "He has a history of sabotaging relationships because of the fear he's been feeling," he says.

"I know," Rebecca replies, shaking her head both "Yes" in agreement with Adzic and "No" in disbelief towards her own shortsightedness. He tells her there's a 90 percent chance she'll be at the wedding, and that he sees her "surrounded by wine glasses." Rebecca is visibly relieved. It's hard to say if the impact on her is more or less than what brunch with an encouraging girlfriend would've accomplished, but she leaves so content and unencumbered that I half-expect her to skip out the door.

"You're like the woman's ideal BFF—only hot, and Australian, and able to see the future," I tell him.

"Guys see me too," he responds quickly, smirking.

Much of Adzic's impact on clients comes down to framing. He knows people come to him with things they are hoping to hear, so he nudges his guidance towards their ideal outcomes. After Rebecca leaves, he tells me that the 10 percent chance she won't be at the wedding is actually significant—but that would only make her doubt herself, and Rebecca could do with less doubting. If nothing else, he eliminated a bit of her stress.

There are clear parallels to this service and that of a therapist. Subscribing to the reality of Adzic's gifts makes him truly compelling, although a lot of his value lies in his existence as a living, breathing self-help book. Picking tarot cards across from him, Adzic's clients can be anyone they want. There's a version of their future where all the things totally happen—they just have to focus on wanting it enough, and stop holding themselves back. In overcoming this conflict of tenacity, it seems there's a fine line between the sort of person who would opt for a psychic and those who would choose a psychiatrist.

I ask Adzic what leads people to seek him out. For roughly 30 percent of his clientele, it's his high rating on Yelp. For the others?

"Everything around us is energy, and what you believe turns into a vibration," he says. "You send those out into the universe, and then the universe starts bringing it to you in options."

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