Talking to the departed

Sauk Centre psychic developing his gift.

Adrian and Lisa Lee of Sauk Centre lead, for the most part, normal lives.  He is writing his third book, and has recently opened an art gallery. He writes a regular column for the Sauk Centre Herald. She is a freelance fundraiser.  They attend services and Bible study at the United Methodist Church.  He is the president of the Sauk Centre Area Historical Society, a fact he finds slightly amusing, since he grew up not in Stearns County but England. Adrian’s distinctive voice from London’s East End sets him apart from his fellow Minnesotans and leads to frequent misunderstandings over the phone.  (An area restaurant recently tried to turn down his request for a reservation because of his “phony” British accent.)   That and the fact that the pair are frequently found in the dark recesses of local buildings where they commune with the spirits of the departed who haven’t yet chosen to depart.  Sometimes they are joined by like minded paranormal investigators from other parts of the country who find the Sauk Centre/Melrose area ripe for their experiments.  He also does Tarot readings and healings by means of an ancient Japanese technique called Reiki. Adrian is a graduate of London and Kent Universities, where he earned degrees in history and history methodologies. He counts among his ancestors gypsies and Charles Dickens.  He has been the national and international news correspondent for paranormal-based talk shows out of Minneapolis. Headquartered at Heaven and Earth Essentials on the corner of Sinclair Lewis Avenue and Main Street, he lectures on topics such as ghost hunting (using Scooby Doo as an example), angels, and UFOs, including the ones that mysteriously appear in Renaissance art. In Britain he was co-founder of the International Paranormal Society. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and was an art educator in Britain. And he lives in…Sauk Centre, Minnesota? “Yeah, that is odd,” he agrees.  “I came to work originally for Darkness Radio, every Saturday and Sunday night from the Cities. It was a paranormal talk radio show. Each week we had experts on Big Foot, UFOs, and ghosts, or psychics would do live readings. I also worked on some TV productions.”  Lisa, whom he had met at a ghost hunt, knew Kelly and Brett Frieze, owners of the Palmer House, so they began filming and investigating the hotel, which is known worldwide for its paranormal activity. After making the trip to Sauk Centre every summer weekend beginning in 2009, they decided to stay. Adrian’s interest in the local historical society started when he used their resources to research a book on local history and the Palmer House by going through the Sauk Centre Heralds in the museum’s files and attending their board meetings. “I literally sat there for six months turning every page of the Heralds from 1900, and I looked at everything.  That was the start of how I knew so much about Sauk Centre. Then I went to Europe for six months and came home to find I had been elected vice-president. Now I’m a font of all knowledge. They call me up and say, there’s people in the museum who want to know about the stockade, or whatever, and I’m the guy. I’ve only been here two years, and I’m foreign!” Adrian wasn’t the type of little boy who saw dead people and scared his aunties. “Generally if they’re psychic, men don’t tend to develop their abilities until they’re much older.  Women tend to be more sensitive and intuitive at a younger age. There were things that happened to me as a child, but I didn’t really think about them.  I was more interested in Legos and soccer.   Both my parents are scientists.  Even now they’re wondering how this son turned out to be psychic and an artist.   I’m sure I’m a great disappointment to them. My skills have only come along since I started doing ghost hunting. So if you have dormant psychic skills and you don’t pay attention to them, you’re not fully aware of the gifts you have.”  He thinks these skills can be developed gradually. “The more time you spend with other psychics and the more time you spend investigating buildings that have activity, the more those skills come to the forefront.   It’s a skill that can be cultivated, just as if you’re learning cooking or woodwork. Having an expert with you can bring you along.” Adrian has written poetry anthologies and papers on art history, but this year he hopes to publish of his first “proper book,” about the haunted history of Sauk Centre.. “If you write a weekly article, by the end of the year you’ve got a book by default.”  His second book, to be published by Llewellyn Press, will be “Mysterious Minnesota: Digging up the Ghostly Past in Thirteen Haunted Sites.”  Some of these places are St. Paul’s Schmidt Brewery; the old jailhouse in Taylor’s Falls; the SS William Irving, a huge cargo freighter moored in the Duluth Harbor (“It’s bigger than most countries.  If you walk to the end of the ship, you come back with an accent,”); and of course, the Palmer House. He is still working on a book about angels and the symbolism of graveyard statuary. “I’m also looking at another book that solely deals with Sauk Centre from the very early history, about 1857 to 1870.  I want to talk about the first contact with Native Americans and some of the things that happened, and some of the quirky stories from the newspaper that had been written in the 1860s and 70s.” As to the question most psychics are asked—why not take your powers to the casino or track and make a killing?—Adrian says, “I hadn’t really thought about it.  Firstly, the gift that I have and other people have we use to help people.    I can give people closure and comfort because I can access their dead grandmother or wife. It’s about giving.  People who can’t afford to see me I will give readings to for free.  I’ve done that in the past.  It’s bad karma, isn’t it, if you’re using your skills outside of that?”  But he admits that he has known psychics who can find the winning slot machine in a casino, and, although he seldom bets, his picks at his hometown dog track have always been successful.  But he adds, “Sometime you could consider me to be more lucky than other people.  Some of the luck I’ve had in things falling to me is probably a bit more than other people would have.  So I would say in everyday life things fall in my favor because I’m one with the universe and I’m doing good. It’s not financially rewarding, necessarily. The type of skill I have is that I can talk to dead people, and that doesn’t help me if I want to know what the lottery numbers are going to be.” Adrian’s latest project is opening an art gallery on Sinclair Lewis Avenue, where he will sell his own work, the work of other local artists, and part of the collection of paintings and engravings that he has acquired over the years. Analyzing his unique gifts, Adrian says, “It’s about being intuitive and looking into yourself.  There are times when I make decisions based on my intuition.  This is what being psychic is all about—it’s about looking in at yourself and looking at the messages that everybody gets but they ignore them or they don’t focus on them.”

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