Psychic central: Coral Castle
Psychic central: Coral Castle

The Dixie Psychics

The covered pavilion was sparse, psychics scattered, one to a table. A purveyor of New Age relics -- incense and oils, stones and jewelry -- chatted into her cell phone. The occasional hot dog and soda sold at the concession. On the lawn nearby, a lone man played creepy, upbeat tunes on his synthesizer keyboard.

Do you want a reading, she asked? Sit down, she gestured to the chair at her table, I'm not doing anything else anyway. Accepting less than her advertised rate, she seemed happy for someone to assess. It lasted about 25 minutes. At the end I chose three cards to answer my big question -- should I move out of town? The last card revealed a dark, ominous devil. It's not as bad as it looks, she consoled, it just means there will be regrets.

Each month deep South Dade's well-known tourist spot Coral Castle hosts a Psychic Fair. Though its stone-studded grounds may be an aptly dramatic backdrop for mystical apprehension, it seems Coral Castle's creator, Edward Leedskalnin, was a star or two short of alignment. Jilted the day before his wedding by an underage fiancée, the lovesick Latvian apparently spent a good chunk of his life (twenty years) singlehandedly carving from several tons of coral rock this monument to doomed love, complete with stockades for potential naughty children and child brides. (The Castle's pamphlet informs us Leedskalnin was the "original male chauvinist.")

Regardless, for the past few years the fair has offered a buffet for spiritual types. There's Shamoo-Moosa, the dream weaver; Fredi Schwartz, who reads regular playing cards instead of tarot cards; Raven Wolf, a flute healer and shaman; and tarot reader Yolanda Alt, Shamoo's sister. "This is a wonderful way to access our own intuition," says Schwartz, a grandmotherly artist who calls herself a "contemporary soothsayer." "What I'm trying to do is to help a person see their own intuitive center ... I'm not there to solve any problems for anybody."


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