Ann Fisher went to college to become a psychologist. She never thought she would become a psychic.
“I always say I was perfectly normal until I got out of college and went to that Spiritualist church,” Fisher said during a recent interview at her home office in Albany. “And It changed my life. . . . I became very famous very quickly, and it was almost like it was due me. It’s strange how things happen. And people that knew me in the past wondered, ‘Gee, we didn’t know you were psychic, Ann.’ ”
At first glance, one might not guess that Fisher possesses psychic abilities. She’s soft spoken, with a laid-back demeanor, and unless prompted, she rarely brings up her spiritual clairvoyance.
Her office is also similarly unassuming, looking more like a psychiatrist’s office complete with a patient’s chair. Instead of tarot cards or crystal balls, numerous books line her walls and sit in piles on her desk, with subjects ranging from hypnotism to astrology to psychology.
As it turns out, being a psychic, for Fisher, has been a lot like being a psychologist. In fact, she said, many of her clients see her instead of seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist for answers about moving, careers, life issues and of course, romance.
“I’m still helping people, but, you know, in a psychic sense,” Fisher said. “And I do have that background of psychology, which helps.”
Fisher gives readings to roughly 20 to 30 people a week, with many clients regular visitors, consulting with Fisher anywhere from once a month to once a year or so. But oftentimes, people will visit a psychic like Fisher out of curiosity, with a handful of the curious ones becoming regular customers.
“One of the local university’s deans suggested — we had a group of women who were divorcing lawyers, or other powerful men — she suggested we all go to Ann Fisher; that’s how I met her,” said Cindy Urbach, a counselor and executive director of a local organization in Albany. “And then I became friendly with her.”
Urbach has remained friends with Fisher since their initial meeting 22 years ago, although she doesn’t consult with Fisher regularly.
A 67-year-old former resident of Albany now living in Florida, who wished to remain anonymous, has been consulting with Fisher since 1982. She visits with Fisher every four or five years.
“I was married; it was not a good marriage at all,” she said over the phone during a recent visit with Fisher. “I met somebody, my husband had hired him, and I knew minutes after I had seen him, I felt like I knew him forever.”
“I came to Ann about it; I knew I loved the man, but I was married with children, and Ann told me yes. I gave her a picture of my husband and a picture of the man, and she put her hand over the picture of the man, and said, ‘You’re lucky, you’re married to your soul mate.’ When I told her he wasn’t my husband, she said, ‘Oh my God, you’re married to him, but you should be married to him.”
About 25 years ago, Fisher was discovered as a psychic medium by Spiritualist teacher Alice Hughes, who used to teach at the Holistic Studies Institute’s National Headquarters in Albany.
“When she told me I had this ability, I looked at her and I said, ‘I really don’t know how to do it,’ ” Fisher said. “And she said, ‘You did, and you will.’ And she told me she would call on me when the time was right.”
Fisher was initially skeptical about her own psychic powers. About three months after Hughes told Fisher she was a psychic, Hughes called on Fisher to go up in front of an audience and do a reading.
“My knees were knocking, I could hear them; I never did any public speaking,” Fisher said. “She had me put out my left hand and take two deep breaths and look out at the audience, and at that point I started to see. But that day, I only gave maybe two or three little things like an aura, a symbol or something like that. And she said that I had to work every week and it would bring it out. I didn’t have to study it; I had it.”
Since that time, Fisher has maintained her office in Albany, seeing both private and professional clients. She has helped local police solve a number of cases, including the case of serial killer Lemuel Smith in the late 1970s. Fisher also helped Waterford police find Armand Forester’s body in the Mohawk River in 1988.
“I feel it was after I worked with the police on my first case, that’s when I started; the Lemuel Smith case,” Fisher said. “I helped the police on a case that baffled them, and people did find out about it. And in this way I received more credibility, because if a psychic can work with the police, they must be real.”
Fisher often uses astrology in her psychic readings, first asking for a client’s name and birth date, which she uses to tune into a person’s aura, or vibration. Depending on the specific problem or question a person may have, she will also ask clients to bring in a birth date and photograph of the other person involved in the situation, be it romantic or otherwise. She charges $65 for a one-hour session.
“I’ll usually give them a test question, [such as], ‘I feel that you’re very upset over a romance that just broke up a week ago or a month ago. Is this correct?’ ” Fisher said. “I always like to know if I’m right on, and when they say yes, then, if a person is very positive, it just flows through my mind.”
Fisher said the accuracy of her psychic visions will depend upon how open a person is, and also how positive or negative that person’s attitude is.
“If a person is very open, and the flow of energy is good, I could hit 90 percent [accuracy],” Fisher said. “If somebody’s very, very negative — I have even refused people because I thought I’m not going to get anywhere. They have to be an open channel. Or if somebody’s depressed, I try to say, ‘Will you please open up and let me in,’ because I’m working on vibrations, clairvoyance. But I have a high score because people come back over and over again.”
Fisher is probably the most well-known Capital Region psychic. But just head down Route 5 in Schenectady or Albany and you’ll come across a few street-side psychic businesses. Albany is also home to the national headquarters of the Holistic Studies Institute, which offers psychic development courses and readings. Charlene Robbins, head of the Holistic Studies Institute in Albany, was unavailable to comment for this story.
Adam Tennis, who has run a psychic business out of his home on State Street in Schenectady for a little over a year now, said he sees about three clients a week who come in for specific questions.
“I do palm readings, mostly psychic readings,” Tennis said during a recent interview at his home office. “Most people who come in already know about the stars, planets and energies. I just give them guidance on how to do something they can’t do yet.”
Like Fisher, Tennis stressed the importance of being able to connect to clients based on a person’s energy.
“Sometimes, you just don’t connect with people,” Tennis said. “In the spiritual world, you either connect or you don’t connect. When you connect, it’s a good thing.”