The first thing you need to understand about Ann Arbors Jewel Sheldon is that she comes across as one of the most reasonable, practical people youll ever meet, a straight-talking, 4X4-driving, middle-aged mom who grew up outside Battle Creek.
The second thing is that shes a professional palm reader and spiritualist who makes a living telling fortunes. As a sign of New Age cultures creep into the mainstream, Sheldon says shes even been hired for staff parties for the likes of General Motors, Readers Digest and the University of Michigan.
Metro Times: How would you describe what a psychic is and what a psychic does?
Jewel Sheldon: Ive seen visions about people, Ive held their hand and have seen where theyre going. Ill say, "Oh, boy, I see youre traveling to Texas," and theyll say, "Yes, I bought the tickets yesterday." Its not fake. Im not sure how to explain it in terms of whats real people have to use discernment and if someone is giving a big song and dance about what they can do for them, its just like advertising, when theres a big buildup, thats when you need to immediately start being cautious.
But a true psychic can indeed sense names, dates, even upcoming events around a person by being in contact with their energy.
MT: OK, so can we say a psychic is someone who is sensitive to some sort of energy?
Sheldon: Its like thinking about radio waves. You and I both know you can turn your dial on the radio and get WEMU or the station from Lansing or Windsor. The radio waves are invisible. If we had someone sit here from, oh, who knows where, an aborigine, and then try to explain to him about radio waves, hes going to think were nuts, but you and I know very well what they are. Its like a whole other realm. I can hear the spirit guides for some people, but for others I cant theyre all on different frequencies or vibrations, and if you liken it to radio waves you begin to understand why maybe some of us are tuned in and some arent.
MT: The focus of your work is about getting to know oneself and encouraging people to develop a livelihood that is consistent with their personality and their aptitudes.
Sheldon: Youre touching on that key thing that I think palm reading is useful for, and thats career counseling you can read in somebodys hand what their best abilities are, whether they should go into writing, or go into business or go into music, et cetera. Ive told many women, "Yeah youve got some singing ability, but dont try and make a career of it because you wont make any money," and you can read somebodys palm and tell that. Thats what peoples lifelong goal is, to find out what they are really good at, what is their spiritual path, and if theyre lucky, their job is their spiritual path, but I read for so many people who dont like their job, dont like their boss, dont like where they are, and I ultimately say, "Well, why complain to me, you know, make changes!"
MT: Would my attitude towards you affect my readability?
Sheldon: Yes, people can effectively block you out, like if Im sitting with someone whos really nervous, theyre going to have jaggedy energy in their aura, and its my job to get them to calm down. You find this with, like, high school girls. Some people put up a barrier because they are negative about it or theyre in a testing mode. If somebody comes to me and they want to test me, they might as well forget it because then Ill get obstinate, and as soon as my emotions get in the way then I cant read you.
MT: What if I felt that psychics are just bunk?
Sheldon: Some of them are, you know.
MT: But if that was my global attitude, would that make me difficult?
Sheldon: Usually people who go for a reading are open anyway I can read anybodys palm, this is a map to me and you dont even have to be psychic to read palms its a science. I can sit there and read somebodys palm and pretty soon theyre like, "Whoa!" so it doesnt really bother me that much.
MT: How do you know if somebodys a fraud?
Sheldon: Word of mouth, you gotta go with word of mouth Get a referral, talk to your friends, find out if somebodys good.
Its big business there are psychics out there who prey upon other peoples fears, and theres a key line to look out for: "Dont tell anyone or it wont work." Dont listen to anyone who says that. Always be up front and businesslike. The first thing youre going to ask them is how much, and if they wont tell you, forget it either theres a set price or theres not. A scam will try to charge you what they think they can get from you, so be careful.
MT: Can anyone be a psychic?
Sheldon: Can anyone be a musician? Anyone can, but as you well know, you can teach anyone to play the piano. Some are going to pick it up and play really well, some can practice for five years and theyre still going to be mediocre. Natural aptitude counts. The first thing you have to do is learn to meditate and clear your mind, but yes, anyone can do it. Think what you will about the "psychic industry" of 1-900 phone lines and telekinetic movie action heroes, but if youve ever experienced intense flashes of déjà vu or uncanny moments of synchronicity, you must deep down suspect there is more to this world than what you got in science class or what you get from network news.