In 2010, Shelley Duffy left the Happiest Place on Earth to come, well, to a happier place. The third-generation Californian worked the attractions at Disneyland for 24 years, but was drawn to Las Vegas by its energy (and a few relatives). Duffy is a psychic, a medium and an animal communicator. She contends those sixth-sense abilities run in her family, but she's the only one who's developed them. "All of us are psychic to some degree," says Duffy, who studied at the Learning Light Foundation in Anaheim and did her first reading in 1997. "It's like any other sense—some of us have better eyesight and hearing." And, she says, some of us can communicate with spirits and read auras, "but you have to develop them. You have to learn to meditate to quiet your mind."
Duffy now does readings full time, primarily over the phone. With 2013 upon us, we asked her—among other things—to look into Las Vegas' future to see what the new year will bring.
What did Las Vegas offer you as a psychic that Southern California didn't?
Southern California energy is really heavy right now. It feels dirty to me. The people are constantly stressed because the cost of living is so high. And there are a lot of earth changes—tremors and such—that affect the energy there. A lot of places are experiencing that right now. You see it in abnormal natural disasters. Maine, for example, recently had an unusually strong earthquake.
Las Vegas feels much lighter and brighter—oh, I just got a chill saying that. Even though the economy has been down, it feels a lot safer to me and more optimistic. There's a frantic energy down on the Strip, but it's not negative. Even among people losing money—their energy is positive. At least until they get back home.
What are your predictions for Las Vegas in 2013?
I asked a bunch of fellow psychics that, and they all looked at me with blank faces—probably because none of us sees anything major happening here. When psychics do public predictions for the year, we pull information from things that are carrying the most energy with the most emotion attached to the outcome. So we talk about things worldwide. I've felt a significant earthquake coming for California for a while now. Florida also feels vulnerable, and I see water with that.
So Las Vegas seems stable. Beginning this spring, I see improvement over a two-year period. It's a good time to buy a home. Of course, you don't really need a psychic to tell you that.
Have you encountered any haunted places in Las Vegas?
I [only] act as a medium when asked; it would be too distracting otherwise. The funny thing about "hauntings" is that … spirits are drawn to the people they loved, not so much to places. But when you bill a place as haunted, it will attract spirits who, for whatever reason, don't want to move on. Nobody wants to be ignored, so [spirits will] go to places where they know they'll be noticed.
Does being a psychic help with gambling?
I'm not drawn to gambling, probably because I'm a Capricorn. But I have felt drawn to a machine and then, boom, something pops out and then I stop playing. I never win much. Very few of us are born to win the lottery or have that kind of money.
Have you ever been a medium for someone famous?
I once had a client who was really stoic and closed off. His mother came through right away, but he was testing me. I started seeing an image of what I thought was her as an actress, but that didn't make sense to him. Then a man who I believe was his partner—I didn't want to pry about that—came through and made fun of his shoes. That got his attention, because that was a joke of theirs. Then a musician friend of his came through. I saw sparkle and glamour and rings. The man realized before I did, I think, that it was Liberace. Then suddenly I realized the woman was Mae West, and it made sense to him—she was a friend of his mother's, and they were both into séances. I think they came through for him just to validate that it was his mother. They didn't have a specific message for him.
What should we look for in a psychic—and what should we avoid?
With a medium, I would question anyone with very generic information, like, "Oh, there's Grandma. She wishes you a wonderful holiday and says you'll have a good year." You should also stay away from psychics who talk about black auras or curses. They're playing into your fears and trying to get you to keep coming back for more advice on how to get rid of it. I have never seen a black aura.
[When choosing a psychic], you should always go by recommendation or reputation. Find one who helps guide you spiritually rather than tells you what to do. … Psychic readings should be done every six months or so as a check-in. People who want me to act as a medium because they are grieving might want more frequency at the beginning. But as they heal over time, they should find themselves able to let go. If your clients are really needy, you're not helping them.
Some people might say you're just using common sense and good observational skills, like the doctors on House. Is that a fair critique?
Psychic abilities go hand in hand with common sense. All of us use all of our senses all the time. I'm a pretty practical person who also happens to have strong psychic abilities. A lot of doctors use their intuition, along with their analytical abilities, without even realizing it. A test might come back fine, but they think, "Something's not right. Let me do one more test."