Class at Lloyd Center delves into paranormal realms

Class at Lloyd Center delves into paranormal realms
May 14, 2009
Jessica Machado

"If you're not dreaming, then your body has issues," says Leslie Rick, a self-described clairvoyant leading a 14-week class on the paranormal.

Today, the 15 students who have met in the party room of Captain Henry's Pirate Store -- a literal treasure trove of skulls, crossbones and faux jungle foliage in Lloyd Center -- will learn the following:

You are everyone in your dream, but you don't know it; nightmares usually occur between 4 and 6 a.m.; and if you like psychedelic dreams, take note of what you ate before you went to bed.

Loosely defined, paranormal refers to anything science cannot explain. Each week, Rick explores a new unexplainable topic -- telepathy, ghosts, herbal healing and past life regression, for example -- culminating in a graduation seance .

On this particular Sunday evening, more than halfway through the term, the students are sharing their dream journals.

Danny Hunter, 27, tells of being in a fantastical castle where the bookshelves give way to the ocean. Classmates throw out a few interpretations about being lost at sea, but Rick suggests that learning history gives Hunter a sense of place. He agrees; indeed, he is studying cultural anthropology.

Rick says she doesn't like to boast but has never met anyone who can match her "gifts." She says she had her first vision when she was 5 and has since used her visions to help police locate crime scenes. She says she recently avoided a car accident by mere intuition and claims she has been so emotionally drained that she was once invisible.

Rick has been teaching these classes for free, twice a year, for 4 1/2 years. She's also an ordained minister and earned her doctorate in mythology, religions and cultures. But most of her students know her through working with her at Scream at the Beach, the Jantzen Beach Halloween haunted house where she is the executive manager. But she's better known as "mom" to the 400 "kids" she works with and mentors.

"I have people tell me that before they came to this class they thought they were crazy," says Rick. "They knew they had powers -- everyone has a little -- but they were afraid to say it."

Kim Louie signed up for classes to help her 11-year-old daughter, Jenna, understand why she is sensitive to seeing ghosts. Although Louie says she has powers of perception of her own, she wasn't expecting to learn so much about herself through Rick's teachings.

"We did a class on empathy, and I found out I carried around a whole bunch of baggage," says Louie. "Who'd have thought I'd find myself in a paranormal class?"

After a short break in the three-hour lesson, Rick tells her students to get out their pillows and blankets. It's time for astral projection, or an out-of-body experience.

A few slump against the pirate chest dripping with gold coins and Mardi Gras beads, while others sprawl out on the carpet. They close their eyes, and Rick guides them through the projection. She tells them to blank their minds and go ahead and "spin." She asks them to concentrate on a person, notice what he or she is doing, then make a gesture so they're presence is known.

The most popular place students find their friends and loved ones is parked in front of a computer screen. Several reach out to turn off the power button.

Although Rick says she is able to project herself into the subconscious of others, she has a strict code of psychic ethics: Don't mess with anyone's free will and don't look into anyone's business unless that person asks. She is also adamant that her students recite the "Four Ps."

"Practice, patience, perseverance and keep it positive!" they all shout before hugging her goodbye and slipping out the mall's after-hours exit.
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