Animal Psychic Searches for Reincarnated Pets
(July 29) -- Pet psychics are serious about their jobs. Dead serious.
In fact, to find a missing pet, pet psychics like Ellen Kohn will turn to reincarnation -- looking into an animals' past lives -- for clues to where it might be.
This was the case last year when Christine Horowitz lost her 13-year-old golden shepherd, Dina, to cancer. Distraught, Horowitz remembered Kohn, who had mentioned contacting animals in the afterlife during a previous consultation about her mother's missing cat.
"I have worked with other animal communicators, but I didn't know any that could find pets reincarnated," Horowitz said. "I trusted [Kohn], but I was like, 'How would we find this puppy? Thousands are born every day.'"
But when Kohn began channeling the deceased dog and asked Horowitz about Dina putting her paws on her shoulders, Horowitz was sold -- she and Dina would often dance around, always with Dina's paws on her shoulders.
Sure enough, Kohn kept talking with Dina's spirit, who led her to a picture on Petfinder.com of a puppy that jumped out at her, and Horowitz eagerly visited Dina's possible incarnation.
Nine months later, Horowitz is sure this new dog, a foxhound-mix named Annie, is Dina.
"Even my husband, who normally doesn't believe these things, is like, 'Oh that's what Dina use to do,'" Horowitz explained.
And Kohn pulled it off all in a day's work -- a workday that is often the butt of pop culture jokes.
There's even a new movie, "Dinner for Schmucks," coming out July 30 that has a pet psychic named Nora melodramatically channeling the pain of a nearby lobster being boiled for dinner.
The reality of this group of mostly women (who prefer the term animal communicator since they speak directly to the animals and don't use any medium like tarot cards) is quite a bit more involved than finding animals stuck on a low rung of Buddhism's reincarnation cycle or feeling dinner's pain.
Most of Kohn's work, in fact, deals with the living. After chatting with hundreds of animals, she has performed a variety of services, including locating pets that have wandered off, getting a finicky iguana to eat and counseling a horse prone to anxiety attacks.
The animal doesn't even have to be present for Kohn to chat them up.
After "grounding" herself with a Kabbalistic prayer, getting her prayer stone (a quartz) and touching base with her animal spirit guides, she can be shown a photo or even just talk to the pet owner to make a connection.
Kohn then silently projects messages to the pet, all while taking notes on the words, pictures or feelings the pet sends back.
Before becoming an animal communicator, Kohn did research analysis for government agencies, "straight" work that left her unfulfilled and looking for something more meaningful. She found her calling 10 years ago when her youngest son was diagnosed with Legg-Perthes disease, a degenerative hip condition.
During his surgery, Kohn met a healing touch professional who encouraged her to work with animals. Kohn trained with mentors, first learning to do energy healing and then eventually began communicating when the animals she was working on began to talk to her, telling her what ailed them.
Kohn says talking to deceased pets ended up being a lot like talking to the living. So far, she has been asked to find only a few reincarnations, but she regularly talks to pets in the beyond for her clients.
All her work is possible, she says, by "tapping into the metaphysical giant universal pool of consciousness" that we all have access to, even if we don't use it.
But more and more people are learning to take a dip in that pool, thanks to people like Carol Gurney, who established the Gurney Institute of Animal Communication in 2008 after working in the field for 20 years. She has since trained thousands of would-be communicators.
Gurney said in an e-mail that she has seen the number of animal communicators rise from hundreds to thousands in recent years. She attributes this increase to people gaining more awareness about other members of kingdom Animalia.
"People are truly beginning to realize that animals are not just physical beings here for our entertainment," Gurney said, "but that they have thoughts and feelings and need to be treated as such."
The growing number of animal communicators can also be explained by looking at the booming pet industry, with U.S. pet owners expected to spend a pretty $47.7 billion this year, over $2 billion more than last year, according to American Pet Products Association.
If these owners are willing to spend big bucks on organic pet food or fly their pets on a specialty airline, why not hire an animal communicator to find out what's keeping Fido up at night?
Because those pet psychics are a rip-off, according to Joe Nickell, a senior research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and self-proclaimed full-time paranormal investigator.
Nickell has researched the paranormal for the past 40 years and has seen it all, including the tricks he says psychics, and pet psychics, use on their clients.
"It's really an art of fishing for information," Nickell said.
This could mean cold reading, a technique that has the psychic asking questions instead of stating facts, making general statements, and watching for body language clues.
And since the dog isn't going to give too much away, the pet psychic is actually reading the owner, who often ends up eagerly giving up information on their beloved pet that the psychic then uses later on in the reading.
Nickell admits that not all psychics are "charlatans" and says that many are well meaning but "fantasy prone." These individuals, who Nickell estimates make up 4 percent of the American public and represent an disproportionate amount of psychics, believe they have special powers.
When it comes to searching for reincarnated pets, the people who are willing to hire an animal communicator are grieving and looking for relief, meaning they will accept just about anything, Nickell added.
He sympathizes with the pain of losing a loved one but says people need to engage in the living, breathing world.
Kohn disagrees, and says something can be gained by communicating with the dead.
"The spirit does not die," Kohn said. "I believe in reincarnation. The soul lives on."
So could Kohn actually feel a lobster being boiled for dinner like in "Dinner for Schmucks?"
"I could probably [feel the lobster's pain]," Kohn said. "I can't even kill a fly anymore. When I was gardening, I thought the weeds were yelling at me 'Don't pull me! I have a right to be here!'"