By Ryan Singel

November 10, Wired

Katrina Spears, a self-described internet medium, was running errands Sept. 30, the day the Dow plummeted 770 points.

"When I got home that day, I had messages from 30 clients," Spears says.

While it doesn't take a psychic to see that tough times lay ahead for the economy, online practitioners of the divination arts say they're seeing a marked sift in the questions posed by their clientele, with anxious consumers increasingly asking what's in store for them financially in the months ahead. Believers who normally seek psychics for advice on a cheating spouse are now asking whether a pink slip is in their future, and internet psychics across the board saw a spike in traffic in the days following the initial market crash.

The boom in superstition is a predicable response to troubling times, says Columbia Business School professor Gita Johar, who's studied the phenomenon. "If the future is uncertain, people turn to psychics," Johar says. Consumers tend to embrace the supernatural when confronted by stress, combined with uncertainty. "You have an illusion then that you can then control the outcome. People want the illusion of control."

Spears is one of many self-described psychics, empaths and mediums who make a living giving online readings by instant message or phone on sites such as and AT&T's Spears performs readings by online chat for $2 to $3 a minute, and says that since September she's been talking almost exclusively with Americans who are concerned about their economic futures.

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