The word, “psychic” beamed from the side of a building leaving no imagination for commuters passing by on Blowing Rock Road to ponder the possibilities of what waited for them behind its brick exterior.
Inside, scattered Buddhist relics, crystals and chakra posters fill the one-room establishment. A small-statured woman rolled up a half-eaten bag of hot Cheetos and introduced herself as Rita Miller, better known as Psychic Kim.
Miller began to feel her gift of psychic insight emerge when she was a child. Around the time she was 9 years old, Miller said the beginning stages of her insight included voices in her head. The voices inhibited her from being comfortable in crowds and ostracized her from some of her other classmates.
The voices concerned Miller as she was beginning to figure out that she was not like other children and even feared for her family.
“I was sort of afraid of it I guess,” Miller said. “I didn’t know what was happening.”
As the gift became more prominent Miller began to have insight into the future.
“I remember one time my mom was reaching for the cupboard and something told me to stop her. I told her not to,” Miller said. “Of course she did it anyway and then something fell on her and she got a little hurt.”
The incident led Miller’s mom to tell her grandmother. The grandmother simply responded, “It’s a gift.”
Miller’s grandmother, who also had the ability of insight, reassured her granddaughter that she was blessed and should not be afraid.
“We all knew I had a special gift. My grandmother helped me through it and as I got older then I knew I was supposed to do psychic readings with people one-on-one,” Miller said.
Miller said she has dealt with her fair share of skepticism. Many people did not believe her when she would reveal to them things she had seen in their futures.
“Some people would listen, some wouldn’t believe but when the realities that I told them came to pass they knew,” Miller said.
Because of Miller’s trade and her gift, some have condemned her practice. Although Miller and her family subscribe to the Catholic faith and practice the belief that there is only one God, she has had people come to her storefront just to denounce her practice.
“They’ll say it’s not with Jesus and condemn it,” Miller said.“We are allowed to worship Him in all different ways. It’s not a bad thing, it’s still spiritual.”
For Ervin Thielen, PR advocate for App State’s Pagan Student Association, following the parameters of Christianity never felt right.
Although he, too, has experienced hostility due to his spiritual divergence, Thielen keeps an air of optimism.
“I find from personal experience that listening and showing as much kindness as you can in the face of adversary makes people more open to acceptance,” Thielen said.
Despite harassment, Miller sees what she does as an extension of her faith, a gift from God that serves as a medium to help others find peace within themselves. She said like an alternative to traditional Christian practices, mysticism can help her clients find answers for themselves through an alternative spirituality experience.
Similar to a psychiatrist, Miller sees clients who also want to improve themselves and do so by seeking out a psychic.
“We go into sessions and some go into their personal lives,” Miller said.
Clients open up to her allowing the one-on-one sessions to become intimate spaces giving Miller insight into the lives of her clients, which allows her to advise them about their futures. Some use their sessions as alternatives to psychiatric evaluation, Miller said.
Kenneth Steele, a psychology professor at App State, compares seeking a psychic to a low-investment attempt to reduce a level of uncertainty on one’s life. However, Steele said this method of therapy is not intended for lasting change.
“You pay a few bucks and can walk out without needing to change your behavior if you disagree with the psychic’s analysis,” Steele said. “The psychic may have genuine goals to help a person but simply telling someone what is their issue does not mean that the person will change his or her behavior.”
Psychic Kim’s new location is on Boone Docks Road at the intersection of Hampton’s Body Shop, Inc. and Carpet House. Readings range from $20 to $70 and she will give insight into everything from life to love.
Story by: Savannah Nguyen, A&E Reporter
Photo by: Gabe Ramirez, Staff Photographer
Featured Photo Caption: Rita Miller, also known as Psychic Kim, posing if front of her business. Miller uses her gift of insight to help others with hopes to change their lives.