Pin It

Scene@ Intuitive Counselor and Medium Nan O'Brien's Anniversary Tour 

St. Albans, Saturday, January 26, 8 P.M.

click to enlarge Nan O’Brien - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Nan O’Brien

Last Saturday night, some 80 people packed the back room at Chow! Bella restaurant to hear intuitive counselor and medium Nan O’Brien draw spiritual energy from the cosmos and give it voice. The seventh of 10 stops on a tour marking the one-year anniversary of her first appearance on Star 92.9’s “Lana and Nolan in the Morning” show, the $35-a-head event sold out in a matter of days.

O’Brien, who has lived in Vermont since 2004, has made a full-time living from private-session spiritual counseling for five years. Fans of TV psychic John Edward would find her show’s question-and-answer format familiar; like Edward, O’Brien claims to receive communication from the deceased. Additionally, though, she offered advice on the dilemmas of the living, and the overwhelmingly female audience had no shortage of issues to address. One woman asked if her daughter “would ever graduate from high school?” After asking the daughter’s name and age, O’Brien surmised that the student might be suffering from an undiagnosed learning disability. The mother nodded, and a murmur escaped the crowd.

Critics of the psychic process might have alleged that what was on display was a classic case of “cold reading”; a psychological sleight of hand that sounds like spiritual mainlining but is actually just a clever method of information retrieval and story embroidering. Also fitting this description was O’Brien’s abidingly warm, reassuring reaction to the naked pain of those whose loved ones had passed — “I’ve actually never met a soul who wasn’t OK,” she offered to one grieving mother. (In a phone interview after the show, a question to O’Brien about my own father’s passing brought a similarly upbeat but frustratingly vague reference to my Dad’s strict parenting skills.)

Midway through the performance, however, O’Brien turned to a healthy-looking woman sitting quietly in the middle of the room and asked, unsolicited, “Have you been taking care of your fibromyalgia?”

Flummoxed, the woman answered, “Yes. I was just diagnosed.”

It wasn’t the only startlingly out-of-context bull’s-eye O’Brien hit that evening. Despite her hefty doses of positivity and a lead-footed sales pitch for an energy drink, O’Brien left me maddeningly uncertain whether this psychic stuff is real or not. Dammit.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

More by Matt Scanlon

About The Author

Matt Scanlon


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2016 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So Champlain St Ste 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation