Students, residents and families alike from all over central Iowa gathered Saturday and Sunday in the Scheman Building for the ninth annual Psychic and Paranormal Expo. It was Ames’ seventh time hosting the expo with over 60 vendors providing services such as spiritual healings, medium work, energy readings, crystal therapy and more.
The vendors at the expo love sharing their talents with the world. One vendor, Toni, offered tarot readings and angel readings at the Ames Expo through her business “Toni’s Tarot.”
Tarot readings and angel readings are pseudoscientific methods of gaining practical or spiritual insight into the past, present or future through the means of drawing and interpreting cards. Toni said she enjoys using her gifts to reach out to others and help in dark times — despite the skepticism she faces.
“A lot of people are looking for hope, you know?" said Toni. "I’ve had people that have gotten arrested, and really, a reading is healing. Some people want to know that they’ve done okay.”
Another vendor, Victoria Gonzales, offered a special kind of energy-reading at her booth “Home of the Healing Arts.” Gonzales said she is able to see an individual’s electromagnetic field with the naked eye and then analyzes it along with their chakras (spiritual energy points) to make assessments about the individual’s wellness and spirituality. Gonzales said that the most important thing about her work is helping people realize how powerful and unique they truly are.
“Our only purpose here is not to become a writer or a beautician or even a psychic," Gonzales said. "Our purpose here is to learn who we are, the essence of who we are.”
Gonzales said she enjoys using her gift to help people remember who they truly are and how they manifest in reality.
Pat Kraft founded the Psychic and Paranormal Expos with her daughter, Kelly McCarville, in Cedar Rapids in order to strengthen the metaphysical community in Iowa.
“There wasn’t anything in that area at that time, and we had a couple little metaphysical shops in the area that had shut down, so there was no access for people,” Kraft said.
Fueled by their shared lifelong interest in the other-worldly, the mother-daughter duo had the thought that if the paranormal wouldn’t come to them, they would be the ones to bring it to others.
Bringing some of the most well-known psychics and paranormal investigators together to present their work certainly made an impact, as the expo is in its ninth consecutive year and actively touring around Iowa.
Kraft says many of the expo's vendors come from as many as 14 different U.S. states, with some even from England, to share their talents.
“It’s a good way to get to meet local people who do this, but also have access to people that people might not ever get to meet otherwise,” Kraft said.
Despite the controversy laced around the psychic and paranormal, many believers and skeptics attended the expo this year to learn more about themselves, the "other side" and the world of the metaphysical in general. One attendee, Megan Kroeger, like many other attendees, has a personal connection to the spiritual world. In the midst of controversy and skepticism, Kroeger believes strongly in keeping an open mind when looking at spiritual practices, some of which have been in practice for thousands upon thousands of years.
“There are things in this world that are not meant to be explained by ‘rational thinking,’” Kroeger said. “Some things are just meant to be mystical.”