In Adventures of a Soul: Psychics, Mediums, the Mystical, and Me, a book that is “part memoir, part self-help book, and part New Age guidebook,” Anne Newgarden takes readers along for the ride on her very personal, provocative, and entertaining journey of discovery into the invisible realms.
In this special interview for MysticMag, Anne gives us more details about her longtime fascination with metaphysics, her work as an author, and much more.
Check out the interview below!
In your bio, you mentioned that at an early age you discovered your fascination with the metaphysical. What was that discovery process like?
I was interested in and HIGHLY curious about the metaphysical as far back as I can remember, and I’m not totally sure why, except that I believe that, on a soul level, I must have known—in fact, planned—that I would explore, and write about, the “invisible world” one day.
My mother was Catholic, and my father was more or less agnostic, and I was raised as a Catholic—and yet, for some reason, as soon as I became aware of the idea of reincarnation, I thought, Yes, I think that’s true. I was fascinated with what we then, back in the Sixties, called “ESP”. . . extrasensory perception. It’s what we’d now call “intuition” or “psychic ability” or “psi.” I read a book about a famous Dutch psychic named Peter Hurkos when I was in elementary school, and wrote a paper on ESP in the sixth or seventh grade. I even bought a deck of ESP cards designed to test one’s intuition.
I also loved playing with the Ouija board, and I created a “play” séance for my little sister and a teddy bear or two, where I made the table magically rise with a wooden spoon tucked inside my sleeve. (It worked surprisingly well!) I also played a game with her that I realized much later mimicked channeling, where my own personality disappeared and I was inhabited by a very loving and friendly otherworldly being . . . Looking back, I’m really surprised that I would have come up with that idea at that fairly young age. I didn’t think of it as “channeling.” I just had the idea, somehow, to do it.
All of this interest seemed to arise spontaneously in me. My mother had somewhat of an interest in things metaphysical; she had a few books on her shelves about psychic Edgar Cayce, and the Linda Goodman Sun Signs book, which I adored, and that sort of thing. But no one was teaching me about these phenomena. I do remember watching some TV shows that aired at the time that had to do with the supernatural: Dark Shadows, a sort of campy Gothic soap opera, and The Girl with Something Extra, in which Sally Field played a young woman with ESP.
But again, I wasn’t picking up my interest from these shows. It was there well before I discovered them. Now that I’m thinking about all of this, I realize that there was a movie that I LOVED, called The Time of Their Lives, starring the comedy team Abbott and Costello, that had to do with ghosts, and it contained a memorably creepy séance scene in which a woman did channel a spirit. (What made it especially creepy to my young self was that the woman was channeling a man’s deep voice!) But I don’t think I ever associated my “channeling” game that I played with my little sister with what this woman was doing.
Anyway, basically, I always felt there was much more “out there” than what we could perceive with the five senses, and I had an intense desire to know what it was.
You mentioned, on your website, your adventures exploring “the mystical and unexplained.” Can you share with us what happened in one adventure that sticks out in your mind?
My book is structured as a series of adventures. Each chapter recounts an adventure, or related adventures, involving a different “paranormal” or esoteric subject: psychics, mediums, synchronicity, angels and spirit guides, past lives, soul mates, etc.
One of my favorite adventures happened when a carpenter who was working on my brother’s summer house at the Jersey Shore shared with me a tragic and truly shocking event that had occurred a few days before: His best friend had committed suicide and hung himself off the town’s pier. I told the carpenter, whom I call “Ben” in the book, that I too had lost a very close friend a few years before, and we started talking about mediumship—I’d had many provocative experiences with it at that point, and was well into writing Adventures of a Soul.
I asked Ben if he might want to try a reading with a medium. He didn’t really believe in such things, he told me, but seemed interested nonetheless. I told him I knew a very good medium, whom I really liked personally as well, but that she lived in Brooklyn and would probably want to do a reading by phone. He told me that if he did have a reading, he’d prefer to do it in person—to find someone local. So I let it go.
Shortly after that, though, I was taking the train from Manhattan to the shore, and there was the very medium I had in mind, Jennifer Hicks, getting off at my stop. It seemed she was originally from the area and visited it often. I felt as if the Universe were orchestrating an event I could NOT pass up. So I contacted Ben, and Jennifer ended up doing a reading for him, during which his deceased friend came in clear as day, and with many specific details that resonated with Ben. The reading seemed to have a massive effect on him, and he later admitted that it really opened up his mind about mediumship and the continuation of consciousness after death. And I have no doubt that it helped with the very clear healing process that I saw take place in him soon thereafter.
It was a fascinating experience, and I give the whole reading almost word-for-word in the book, so readers who have never had a mediumship session can get a very specific sense of what it can be like.
I thought that the theme of your book was very interesting. Can you share it with our audience? What inspired you to write the book?
I didn’t actually intend to write a book when I launched into what I thought of as my “exploratory project”—exploring the metaphysical world—in midlife. I had just gone through a very difficult period. First, I lost one of my best friends from college, very suddenly, to a virulent form of leukemia no one knew he had; and then the man I had come to love, and thought I might marry, broke up with me. Romantic love had been incredibly hard for me to find throughout my life, which is actually a theme that threads through the book, so I was pretty well decimated. I felt lost, and found myself looking for answers.
My friend’s death made me start to think a lot about how brief our stint here on this planet could be, and about what was most important to me in life. And so I found myself thrust back into the “wonder-lust,” as I call it, of my youth—wondering about what this thing called life really is, and what might lie beyond it. Of course, I also started to wonder if my deceased friend was in some way still around. I’d had a few very provocative experiences in my early thirties involving a friend of a friend who was a psychic, and another friend who had a reading with her and was told that SHE herself was a medium! And based on some readings she later did, for me and for various others, that seemed to be true.
But now, nearly two decades later, I also began to wonder if I’d somehow been persuaded that those experiences were real, because I had so much wanted them to be. I had gone to a very rigorous math and science high school, where we learned about the scientific method and what is considered “proof” by Western science that something is real. And so there was a part of me that wondered if I could somehow prove that the unusual phenomena I believed I had experienced up to that point—psychic intuition and mediumship—were in fact real. I actually doubted that one could prove such things, at least, in the traditional ways Western scientists proved things. But I wondered if I could somehow prove it to myself. And so I set off on a voyage of exploration. I took classes, read books, and had readings. And I started to accumulate some more mind-blowing experiences. And then, little by little, because I’m a writer, and because I wanted to share what I was experiencing with others, the exploration eventually morphed into a book!
I also loved your ebook “15 Things Good Psychics Wished You Knew Before a Reading.” In your experience, what can go wrong when choosing the “wrong” psychic?
Well, as I write in that ebook, the “wrong” psychic would be someone who is not actually intending to serve clients, to help them, and to advise them, but rather to swindle them. We all know there are many con artists out there whose intent is to take advantage of people, especially people who are vulnerable: looking for answers, looking for hope.
People who have lost loved ones and are seeking a medium to attempt to get in touch with those loved ones are especially vulnerable. They’re often still in mourning; they’re grieving; they’re sometimes in despair. In the hands of the “wrong” psychic or medium—one who may or may not have actual gifts but has no integrity, either way, and is out to take advantage of the client and extract as much money from them as possible—well, it can be disastrous.
You see articles about this in the papers all the time, when a con artist like this gets caught. Often the purported psychic or medium claims there is a curse that needs to be removed and charges thousands of dollars, sometimes over repeated sessions, to do it. Or offers a special candle or amulet the client must purchase for an equally exorbitant amount. And it’s not just a financial loss for the client—there can also be a lot of emotional fallout.
Psychics or mediums who have no integrity about what they’re doing, who are not out to truly be of service to their fellow humans, can leave a client feeling dependent on them, or instill fear or disappointment in the client about the future, or about the client’s deceased loved ones. I could go on. I have not experienced such things myself, but I know there are many who have.
This is why I stress in my ebook that you should always use a psychic who is recommended by someone, ideally someone that you know and trust. If you don’t know anyone who uses psychics, ask people you know if they know anyone who uses them. If you’re really stuck, you can try asking the staff of New Age bookshops, or crystal shops, or other such places. Many of them have psychics who do readings at the store.
And actually, I see that there are now websites, such as this one, that rate online psychics. I haven’t used online psychics myself—ever—but I do know that one psychic I have used numerous times and very much like has done some work online. So I tend to believe there are some good ones out there on the Web, and that these ratings might be useful, if they’re done by a company with integrity that really checks the psychics and mediums out.
Number 3 in your list of “15 Things” is “Do your homework before your reading.” What do you think composes that homework?
Well, one thing that would go into doing your homework would be what I’ve just said above, about trying to ensure that you have a psychic or medium who has your best interests at heart. The other thing I’d say is that it’s good to check out how the psychic or medium works, beforehand. Contact them and ask them questions: Do they have a specialty of any kind—i.e., do they feel they’re best when reading about love relationships, or career, or finance? Depending on what you’re seeking, this can be important.
Do they use astrology or tarot in the reading? Or numerology? If these things put you off, or you don’t really understand them, you may want to avoid someone who’s going to spend time on that. Can you ask questions during the reading, or do they just do a card spread and get what they get? Are you allowed to record the session, or do they provide a recording for you? Having a recording to listen to again later can be very helpful for many people. And with mediums, especially, it can be helpful to recall what was said that didn’t resonate with you, as it may be information that someone else in your family can verify.
Another aspect of “doing homework” that I mention in the ebook is one that some people may not totally get, depending on how familiar they are with the idea of “vibration.” In spiritual or New Age talk, “vibration” refers to the idea that we are all energetic beings, and as such are in a constant state of vibration, at different frequencies (that is, the rate at which the vibration occurs). One of the psychics I worked with told me that where the client is vibrating at the time of the reading affects what will happen in the reading . . . because, according to this idea, the level at which we’re vibrating creates every experience we have. It’s how we help create our experiences, energetically. There are things you can do to increase your vibration: meditation, being in nature, feeling gratitude, listening to music . . . basically, doing what brings you joy lifts your vibration. So, this psychic’s advice was, before your reading, in the days and hours leading up to it, spend some time on that.
You also have a blog with book and video recommendations and insightful comments. What type of content inspires you to recommend something to your readers?
My blog, which you can find on my website, AnneNewgarden.com, is called “Paranormal Is the New Normal,” and what I do there is share the work of individuals and groups who are really showing that all of this stuff, what many people term “paranormal” or “woo-woo,” and what many people think is total baloney, are real.
There is the study, for example, now being led by Dr. Jim Tucker, at my alma mater, the University of Virginia, on children with past-life memories. It’s a highly rigorous study that’s been going on with kids all around the world for more than fifty years! I had no idea of this at the time I attended UVA! To me, it pretty definitively proves that past lives are real.
My first blog entry features an interview with Dr. Tucker, conducted by ex-Monty Python member John Cleese, who turns out to have a great interest in the metaphysical—who knew? Jim Tucker has become a hero of mine, and I’m so proud of him and his Division of Perceptual Studies team for what they are doing. They’re looking into near-death experiences and other such phenomena as well, so at some point I’m sure I’ll blog about that.
There’s also a blog entry on Lynne McTaggart, another hero of mine, who has written many books and conducted many experiments to do with the power of thoughts to affect things . . . all kinds of things! From plant growth and animal behavior and machines to the levels of violence in war-torn countries . . . and also to heal. Her work is just amazing. And her background is in science journalism, so she conducts her experiments extremely rigorously—you can’t argue with her often astonishing results.
Some of the other entries are on books that I find wonderful in terms, again, of showing that intuition, mediumship, reincarnation, and so on, are real. This is part of what excites me about what’s going on right now on the planet. What we have historically tended to call “science” and what we have tended to call “spirituality” are often dovetailing, and overlapping, in many, many ways. So my blog is all about spotlighting studies, books, experiments, etc. that are pointing that out.
Can you share a special message with our audience in these challenging times?
I don’t really get into this idea in the book much at all, because I lived and wrote about those adventures quite a number of years back, and at the time, I didn’t really know a lot about it. But most metaphysical sources, including higher level beings, have for a long time now talked about a “Shift” that our planet is undergoing, and we humans along with it. It’s also something that’s been predicted by many indigenous cultures, interestingly. Some call it an “Ascension.”
The idea is that we are evolving into a higher level of consciousness, and stepping into our multi-dimensionality, and accessing the wisdom and abilities of our “higher self,” while still in the body. In other words, abilities that we have been able to access only while “off-planet”—that is, not in a human body, but in spirit, or perhaps in higher-dimensional realms—will start to be available to us while still in corporeal form. And I have come to believe this to be true.
The number of people I know who are telling me that they have had awakenings of abilities like mediumship and intuition is increasing all the time. Now, don’t get me wrong—one thing I learned while writing Adventures of a Soul, which I do talk about in the book, is that we ALL have these abilities. Some are born with them more developed and accessible than others, and that is often genetic. But we all have them and can develop them, with focus and practice. However, what’s happening now is that many people, without really intending to, are finding these abilities spontaneously opening up in them. It’s fascinating. And often it is happening to those you may have thought least likely to even believe in things like intuition and mediumship!
So what does all this mean in terms of the future of the planet, and us as a human collective? Well, a higher level of consciousness would, again, mean not only being able to eventually access these sorts of higher level, or what we might think of as “superhuman,” abilities (but which are, profoundly, ours as humans, as we are, I have also come to believe, spiritual beings having a human experience) . . . but also, ultimately, seeing an end to the atrocities humans have been carrying out for tens of thousands of years, including war, violence, and other such abuses of power.
While many may find this hard to believe, given what they are seeing on the planet right now, on so many levels, this is the way I’ve come to understand it: Very simply put, in this new energy that we are finding ourselves in, as consciousness rises, the “darkness” that has always existed on so many levels in so many of our institutions can no longer be supported or hidden. And so, it’s as if the dark things that have hidden under the rug are suddenly having the rug pulled back, and the light shone on them. And once “visible,” in this new level of consciousness—or you could say, in this new energy—they can no longer be covered up, or go unaddressed and uncorrected, as they have in the past.
Recent examples of this would be the Me Too movement and the Black Lives Matter movement. In the past, over centuries, abuse heaped on women and Black individuals was, sadly, tolerated or even encouraged by many individuals in power. Now we see that changing. Lawsuits are being won, and perpetrators are being held accountable and punished at a rate we’ve never seen before.
And so, to me, this is a time that is not only very exciting but filled with the possibility, and indeed the likelihood, of very positive changes on this planet! Now, the road to getting there will likely be bumpy and probably startling if not shocking in many ways. Old systems that are not working are needing to be broken down and rebuilt, and that can be scary for many. However, I would say this: Hold tight, hang on to your hat, and stay out of fear!
The best thing we can do, I’ve learned, to help bring about this evolution in the smoothest possible way is to stay in a high vibration. (For a few ways to do that, see my answer about “doing your homework” before a reading, above. I would also add, quit watching the mainstream news, which is largely about fear-mongering and negativity, in my humble opinion, and find other sources to get information about whatever it is you feel the need to know.)
Also, it’s very important for us to refrain from judging, to show compassion to ALL fellow human beings, even those we might be tempted to blame or cast as “villains,” and to BE LOVE. That, I do believe, is what we are here to do.