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See and Be Seen

Kansas City's Best-Known and Best-Loved Psychics see more in the year 2001 than lotto numbers.

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When psychics Saphira dil Rain, David Schneider and Patricia Moore get together to prepare for Thursday's All-Star Panel of Kansas City's Best-Known and Best-Loved Psychics' New Year's Predictions, they mostly tell jokes about how hard it is for psychics to be in relationships, how tiresome the requests to search for dead bodies (à la Stand By Me) can become and how they're sick and tired of desperate lottery-number inquiries.

"I'll give out lottery numbers if they really push me on it," Moore admits, "but I always say, 'Hey, I make no guarantees.'" Schneider, a hairdresser by day, is with her 100 percent. "If I could tell people that, I'd be tanning my own ass right now," he says. Saphira gives only the facts: "If I ever gave anybody winning lottery numbers, they never came back to tell me about it."

Maybe lottery numbers are too specific. Maybe what the psychics call "the spirit" -- the source of their information, left undefined to allow for their clients' differing belief systems -- doesn't give a damn about Power Ball.

"We will have a recession worse than the '70s," Schneider confides.

Moore is hazier but concedes, "Well, I'm not excited about Bush, I'll say that."

"The gay community is going to have to go back in the closet," Schneider continues, "but my biggest fear is that [Bush is] gonna fire Greenspan." None of this is set in stone, though. Last year, they all thought Gore would win, so we are witnessing either the potential for error among psychics, the potential for error among voters or the potential for error in the electoral process; regardless, it is possible that things won't pan out exactly as predicted.

Schneider shies away from making assumptions about the meanings behind the visions the spirit sends him. He says he's simply a messenger. "I always say, 'I'm gonna hand you a puzzle and you have to make the pieces fit. I don't know what I'm talking about.'"

But the psychics can confirm their readings by using various tools. Among them are dowsing rods, which vibrate when they pass over whatever the psychics are seeking. Dowsing rods have been known to reveal the best place to dig a well and find gold; Saphira's favorite application of the device is to figure out which bananas in the produce section contain the most nutrients.

When people show up for the Dowsing Society predictions panel, they will receive dowsing rods, pendulums and assorted cards to help them receive their own information. "You shouldn't have to believe," Saphira explains. "All you have to do is let it work and observe it. It should prove itself to you."

Anyone coming to the meeting in hopes of finding that special someone had better be playing with a full deck. Getting involved with a psychic demands honesty.

With a deadpan expression, Moore recalls a boyfriend who "came home one night, and I just looked at him and said, 'So, who's the blonde?'" Every profession has its pitfalls

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