The Castle on Fourth Street provided the perfect venue for a series of psychic readings that took place in Marietta Sunday afternoon.
"We've been holding these readings twice a year-in February and October-for four years now, and it's one of our most popular events," said Lynne Sturtevant, founder of Hidden Marietta that sponsors the psychic reading program in cooperation with The Castle.
"This provides a safe atmosphere where people can come and feel more at ease," she said. "And the readers are all local people we're familiar with-nobody's flaky, wearing a turban or looking into a crystal ball."
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Psychic reader Joyce Vest, left, talks with Lynne Sturtevant, founder of Hidden Marietta, center, and fellow psychic reader Rhonda Newhart following Sunday’s psychic reading event at The Castle in Marietta.
Two psychic readers, Rhonda Newhart and Joyce Vest, both from Parkersburg, W.Va., and astrologer Bettie Harris of Stockport met one-on-one with several people seeking their advice at The Castle between 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday.
Newhart, a registered nurse, and Vest are partners in the Heartstar Holistic Health business on Grand Central Avenue in Vienna, W.Va. They both provide psychic readings as a hobby. Newhart has been reading for nearly 25 years, and Vest for 10 years now.
Harris said she's been practicing astrology for 30 years, and explained some difference between psychic reading and astrology.
Psychic readings are held twice a year-in February and October-at The Castle, 418 Fourth St., Marietta.
To learn more about the readings and other events, visit the hiddenmarietta.com web site. or go to www.facebook.com/HiddenMarietta
More information about The Castle is available at www.mariettacastle.org
She said psychics read an electromagnetic energy field-called an "aura"-that surrounds every person. The aura's color can give the psychic insight into the state of a person's life.
"They try to look at the whole person and read what's around them at the time," Harris said.
But she said astrology is more of a scientific method that relies on alignments of stars and planets as well as special charts to help provide guidance for her clients.
"I can only show them what I see. It's up to them if they want to follow what I've been shown," Harris said.
She said the main issues people ask her about include relationships, health concerns, and finances.
"We try to help people," Harris said. "This life isn't easy, and if we can help someone in some way, why not do it?"
She said some people are hesitant to talk to psychics or astrologers, because they're often afraid of what they may find out about themselves.
"But there are really only two kinds of energy-one is love and the other is fear," Harris said, adding that fear only holds people back.
Sturtevant said the majority of those who come to receive psychic or astrology readings at The Castle event are serious.
"These people are at different points in their lives and have different concerns," she said. "They may be facing a divorce, dealing with the death of a loved one, or just want to know if they should take a new job."
Sturtevant said different age groups, both men and women, participate in the readings.
Those seeking a reading are charged a $35 fee for a 25-minute private session.
"That's a lot less than they would be charged by most psychic readers," Sturtevant said.
She noted that there is also an historic connection between psychic reading and The Castle, which was built during the Victorian period.
"People who lived in the Victorian era were really into spiritualism, like seances and psychic readings," Sturtevant said. "In this country that was likely due in part to the tremendous loss of life that occurred during the Civil War."
Scott Britton, executive director of The Castle, said readings and astrology were probably fairly common during the 1800s.
"It was an accepted practice, even in high society," he said, noting even First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln sought advice from psychics while in the White House.
Britton said the unbelievable mass casualties of the Civil War left people distraught.
"Many were seeking any way they could to ease their fears and obtain some sense of comfort," he said.