2008_02_psychic.jpgIt's one thing to believe the the supernatural. It's another to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to a storefront psychic. But that's what happened to a stock trader when he came into contact with Tammy Mitchell, who ran a fortune telling business in Midtown.

The Post calls the victim, Douglas Lonneker, a "free-spirited, successful entrepreneur from tony Wilson, Wyo." Apparently last year he visited Mitchell at her East 32nd Street storefront, where she told him he was cursed and he was free-spirited with his money, shelling out $487,000 to rid himself of the evil.

Mitchell has scammed many people all over the country and her techniques were featured on an episode of 20/20. One way Mitchell would get to victims is to be supportive and simply sell a set of candles for $75 - and then she'd rope 'em in with threats like, "This is the spirit of God, my child. You must follow and obey my word. You must have $63,000 to suffer in place of you. If not, Satan will take someone." [Disclosure: We've visited a "fortune teller" before and fallen for the $75 candle scam, but luckily got out before the "pay thousands or else someone you love dies." We know - naive!]

The publisher of Skeptic magazine Michael Shermer told 20/20, "All of us are potentially gullible. Smart people on some level are even more gullible if you can get them past their initial level of skepticism."

Now Mitchell faces charges of "grand larceny and fortune-telling" (who knew that was illegal!). Her neighbors told the Post the supposed psychic was very convincing when she would tell them evil lurked around them.

Photograph by imjustsayin' on Filckr