PITTSBURGH — Mary Ann Bohrer was 25 when she met Nancy Myer, a teacher and psychic, while both were appearing on KDKA-TV’s ” Pittsburgh 2Day” in the early 1980s.
Bohrer had her first personal reading a few years later at Myer’s home in Latrobe, Pennsylvnia. Bohrer had just been offered a public relations job with Ketchum in New York City. She hoped to work there for six months, then transfer to Ketchum’s Pittsburgh office.
“I was nervous. I had never talked to a psychic before,” she said.
“Mary Ann, I’m sorry to tell you this, but you’re going to live in New York for several years,” Myer said.
“That was not what I wanted to hear. I did not want to leave [ Pittsburgh],” Bohrer said.
Between 1986 and 2000, when a round-trip plane ticket from New York to Pittsburgh cost $110, she logged 14 years at Ketchum and other firms, often flying home on weekends. One particular project led her to further explore psychic ability and changed her life.
As 2000 loomed, fear of major computer glitches and Y2K fever spawned books, movies and television shows. To promote a digital Millennium Clock at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue in New York City, Bohrer gathered 24 psychics who offered predictions to more than 70 journalists at a T.G.I. Friday’s in Manhattan. That event planted the seed for her book, published in March.
“The Gift Within Us: Intuition, Spirituality and the Power of Our Own Inner Voice” ( Waterside Productions, $16.95) features 33 interviews with “gifted intuitives” from the United States, Australia, Berlin and India. Earlier this year, it was named the top new release in the spiritual self-help category for several weeks on Amazon.com.
The author prefers the phrase “gifted intuitives” because words like psychic or medium often scare people. The book looks at how psychics have been treated historically and makes a case for more scientific research into psychic ability.
“In the scientific community, it is taboo to study this,” Bohrer said. “It’s just a highly amazing form of communication that we all have access to. People shy away from it because they don’t want to be considered ‘woo-woo.'”
Mediocre psychics and mediums are “pretty much picking up on your hopes and dreams,” she said. They reinforce negative stereotypes. Madame Vivelda’s outlandish costume for a satirical reading on last week’s “Saturday Night Live” is just one example.
“Over the years, it annoyed me how they were misperceived by people as fakes or charlatans. They were born that way. Many were bullied as kids. Some were closeted well into adulthood,” Bohrer said.
One she interviewed, Eddie Conner, was regularly beaten up for being gay while growing up in North Carolina. When he talked openly about his psychic ability, the abuse got worse.
Myer, who was interviewed for the book, grew up in Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Afghanistan and Lebanon with a father who was in the U.S. Foreign Service. He, too, was psychic but understood that his daughter’s gift was much stronger than his, she said. He told her “not to discuss it with people outside of the family because they would be uncomfortable.”
In the 1970s, Myer began working with the Delaware State Police. Since then, she has consulted with various law enforcement agencies on more than 1,000 criminal cases. One murder case she worked on was featured on the TV show “Unsolved Mysteries.”
She starts by looking at crime scene photos.
“When I visualize a missing person case or a murder case, I live it in my mind,” Myer said.
“I have helped put a lot of awful criminals behind bars. Police work is not something every psychic will be able to do. It’s strenuous, scary and depressing.”
Myer only talks to the media about cases if police believe it will help. “I don’t want to do something to endanger putting that person behind bars.”
She is working on her third book about being a psychic, ” Lady Sherlock.” The first two books were “Travels With My Father” and “Silent Witness.”
“It’s about my life and how psychic ability works. I’m trying to explain how to do police work well. I understand what the cops are up against legally,” she said.
Psychic ability is “a naturally occurring talent. The part of it that people don’t understand is that it’s a life-saving talent. When you get a hunch that you need to watch the road more closely, and then a crash happens in front of you. … When you feel someone is following you at night, don’t ignore it.
“It could save so many lives if there wasn’t this awful prejudice against it. This is a survival skill. Our brains are designed to help us work this way to stay alive,” Myer said.
In the mid-1990s, she predicted that Ms. Bohrer would write a book about psychics. Back then, the public relations executive balked at the idea. Now she is writing a second book on the subject.
“It will be a continuation of this book. I’m also interviewing luminaries like James Van Praagh and brave scientists who are continuing to study intuition and human consciousness,” she said.