The Psychic Next Door (Part 1 of 2)

The Psychic Is In...
(Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette)

Was Your Granny A Medium?

Last winter I was reviewing some microfilm at the library and came across several ads in the classified section of the newspaper that caught my attention.  The ads were listed under the "Clairvoyants" section heading of the classifieds.  Here's one of them:


   I do not paint a picture of roses and sunshine for you when trouble and darkness is really about you. I do not gladden your ear for the sake of gold--for gold is not my God.
   One dollar may seem to you a great outlay, but when you stop and consider it will protect you against weakness and nervousness, troubles and worriment perhaps all the rest of your life.
   It will insure success to every hope, ambition and business venture.  It will bring about such conditions of happiness and contentment such as you may have never know before, and you will have confidence in yourself to have power over friends and foes, to make them do your bidding, which will be simply MARVELOUS.  It is truly a wonderful secret power.

168 Pleasant St.


Special Offer Coupon to Ladies
   Cut this out and bring it to 168 Pleasant Street, Worcester, and receive a $3 reading for $1.  This coupon is good any time.  Save this for future reference.  Hours, 10 to 8 p.m.

Readings Will Be $3 and $5 After This Month


Wow, AMERICA'S GREATEST SPIRITUALIST and a coupon!  AND all right here in Worcester! If you're like me, there's nothing better than a serious deal with a coupon to draw you in.  Let's just say that if I was in the market for psychic services all the other clairvoyants' ads would pale in comparison once I spotted that coupon.

On another visit to the to the library I noticed a business subject heading for "Clairvoyants" in a Worcester city directory.  I never knew clairvoyants had their own business listing in the city directory!  Not only that, there were a bunch of people listed.  I started to wonder, who the heck are all of these people?

I will admit, my fascination with the whole clairvoyant thing predates my more recent discoveries in old classifieds and city directories.  My husband refers to it as my "fascination with the strange, the mysterious, and the hard to believe."  How can you not love that stuff?  Frankly I thought, "Psychics! What a great topic for a blog post for October!"  It's kind of like peanut butter and jelly or Mom and apple pie.  Halloween and psychics--they just go together!  Plus you just can't go wrong with a good psychic story.

So back to my original question, who are these people?  I reviewed the "Clairvoyants" section of the Worcester city directories from 1900 through 1920 (Clearly I don't have enough to do with my time...).  Over a twenty year time period a total of 38 people, mostly women, are listed.  Not surprisingly, there are more clairvoyants listed in the earlier directories.  By 1920 there are only four clairvoyants still practicing the "craft."  What's interesting is many of these people were not fly-by-nighters ready to cash in on a quick buck and then move on.  Worcester's psychics were rooted in the community and sometimes lived in the city for years.

Here is a list of people who appear in the "Clairvoyants" section of the Worcester city directories business listings from 1900 to 1920.  Their years as active psychics (meaning the range of years for which they were listed in the directory) appear in parentheses.  I'm not including their business or home addresses, because not surprisingly, many of them moved around quite a bit.

Mrs. Sarah E. Ashton (1900-1916)
E.W. Bond (1902-1905)
Mrs. Katherine Brochwitz (1917-1919)
Mrs. M. Jennie Brown (1904-1909)
Mrs. Fannie Bruce (1904)
Freda Davis (1917)
Mrs. Sarah E. Deforest (1909-1910)
Mrs. Jennie Devoe (1900-1901)
Richard L. Drexel (1912)
Mrs. Reba Eames (1901-1914)
Dulsie B. Everton (1905)
Lucinda Gamage (1903)
Mrs. Gena F. Grant (1904-1905)
Herbert L. Harwood (1905)
Mrs. L.T. Jeffries (1905-1916)
Mrs. Helen W. Kenney (1912)
Mrs. Rose Laraney (1900-1901)
Madame G. LaRoche (1919-1920)
Maybelle Lefort (1908-1919)
Mrs. F.F. Linwood (1900-1905, 1916-1920)
Lillis Nichols (1913-1916)
Mrs. Annie M. Manning (1900-1913)
Mary Zinn Masia (1917)
Mrs. Alice A. Middlemas (1916-1920)
Mrs. Lillie O'Connor (1917-1918)
Annie M. Pentlaw (1903-1908)
S. Henry Prentiss (1900-1911)
Mrs. Christabel Rich (1905, 1908-1909)
Mrs. L.B. Smith (1903-1913)
Mrs. Julia A Spaulding (1900-1902)
Mrs. G.M. Spring (1901)
Mrs. Willard Stewart (1908-1920)
John B. Strand (1900)
Mrs. F. Washburn (1903-1904)
Mrs. Mary Ella Whitney (1900-1910)
Mrs. Mary A. Wilkins (1902-1903)
Clarence L. Willis (1916-1917)
Mrs. Lillie M. Zade (1918)

The Psychic Next Door (Part 2 of 2)

Other Posts You Might Like:

Amanuensis Monday: Clairvoyants and Distractions
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 1 of 4)
A Comedy of Errors: My Family in the Census (Part 1 of 3)
Reading the Classifieds - Amanuensis Monday

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