"I don't like the term 'psychic,'" she explained. "It's very sensationalistic. It's not what I am. I primarily work as a clairvoyant. When people come to me it's not about fortune telling, it's about personal growth."
Cooper said that when she meets someone and tries to explain what it is she does that she inevitably ends up saying she is a professional psychic.
"The reactions vary, but almost everyone has a story to tell. Whether it's someone who has crossed over or just a feeling that they couldn't explain," she said.
Everyone has some level of psychic ability, according to Cooper, but not everyone's are well developed enough to be anything more than vague hunches or feelings. "It's like everybody can dance, but some people just can do it better."
From an early age Cooper said she felt things and understood things that she couldn't explain, but it wasn't until she took courses in meditation and psychic tools that things began to fall together. Fourteen years ago she decided to hang out her shingle as an Intuitive Counselor.
With three other women, she established her first office in the Vecki house on Front Street. Cooper said they really didn't advertise but people just seemed to find them. "They'd come through the door, not really sure why and we would help them. Sometimes they didn't even know there was a problem."
One case in particular left a lasting impression. "I performed an exorcism at my office on Front Street. It started out like so many others, this girl came in," Cooper recalled. "She didn't really know how she found me. She made an appointment and came in."
Cooper said that just a simple examination of the young woman filled her with concern. "She was possessed by a negative energy. I looked at her and the energy that came through her was so threatening."
Interviewing the woman, Cooper came to understand that her client's family was deeply involved in the negative side of Santeria, an Afro-Cuban religious tradition derived from beliefs of the Yoruba people from what is now known as Nigeria. Cooper said the entity within the young woman was so powerful that she could see physical manifestations of its presence within her client.
"She was not even aware of it, but at times the negative energy coming out of her was so powerful that her eyes would change, her face would change. Her features were sharper, angrier. And then a second later she would be fine and not even know it had been there."
Concerns about the power of the entity and the safety of her client prompted Cooper to perform an exorcism to remove the negative spirit. She declined to describe what measures she used in the process but said it is a cooperative effort.
"I called on Source for aid and was empowered. I felt empowered to remove this entity. It wasn't an exorcism in the Linda Blair sense, but I cleaned a threatening dark energy away from her." She added, "She actually released it herself. I was just the conductor who helped her to be rid of it."
When it was finished, the young woman seemed confused. Cooper said she took a few dollars out of her pocket along with some change to pay and then left. A few days later she called. "I didn't know if I'd hear from her. She called me to tell me how her life had changed. She described how she was always angry before but now she feels much better."
Not all of Cooper's cases involve exorcisms or physical manifestations. "I get people from all walks of life," she said, "there's no certain type of person who comes to me. Some see me in crisis, some come every month like a psychic checkup."
A typical session consists of Cooper sitting in her large comfortable chair and the client sitting in one of two other chairs in the room. And they talk. Cooper listens and examines the energy of the client, determining what they may be experiencing. Sometimes a negative spirit will have attached itself.
There are many crystals and symbols in the office, and Cooper said they help her to focus on the task of dealing with these spirit entities. "A lot of people will use rituals and objects. I just tap into the energy itself, communicate with the spirit and ask it to go."
Cooper said that much of what the world considers as ghosts is actually energy left behind by those who have crossed over. In some cases, the energy is active and will attach itself to people or places. In other cases the energy is somewhat like a hologram. A three-dimensional picture that never really changes.
"You hear the story about the Civil War ghost who walks down the hill at the same time every night. That's a hologram. They've left an energy imprint, like when you lie down in the sand and then you get up. There's an imprint left behind," she explained.
Events can create energy. Violence can lead to a negative spirit staying behind to haunt a location. Strong emotion can also lead to that so sometimes you will get a positive spirit inhabiting a location. "When you walk into a room and you suddenly just feel comfortable, there's a spirit in there making you feel welcome," Cooper explained.
But the key behind it all is energy, either positive or negative, and according to Cooper it manifests itself in countless ways. "If you are in a room and the candles flicker for no reason that is a spirit saying hello. They attach themselves to people and things. Sometimes because it is what they know or where they feel comfortable."
Are there spirits/ghosts/entities here in Danville? Cooper says there are. "I've seen an entity in the upstairs window of our old office on Front Street. It is a male, dressed in clothes from the late 1800s or early 1900s."
The Vecki house was built in 1866 for a man named Michael Cohen. It was purchased in 1906 by Dr. Victor John Vecki, who lived there for several years with his family.
Cooper also said she feels there are many spirits at the Danville Hotel. "The hotel always felt really thick to me. It's full of a lot of entities." She added, "Any time you have any old town or building they will have something in them. And they won't all be bad."
Cooper said the main reason people don't often see them is training. It's a matter of training your mind to recognize the energy that it is experiencing. "It's like a magic eye picture. You pull back from the picture and shift your vision."
This time of the year always brings with it more calls and questions, many from the media, but Cooper said there is a reason our minds venture toward the mysterious in mid-fall.
"Certain times of the year, the veil between the living and the dead is thinner," she explained. "It has nothing to do with Satan or the devil. It's about honoring our ancestors."
While interest in the paranormal always spikes at Halloween, evidence in the media suggests that belief in the paranormal is becoming more mainstream and accepted. Cooper agrees. "If you see Oprah talking about it you know it must be out in the mainstream media. But that belief has always been there. The media are just making it more accepted. As for why people are so into it right now, I think it's because we're all searching for something deep within."
Cooper said it's easy to dismiss psychic phenomena or the belief in spirits and energy as "New Age," but she feels there is nothing new about it. "I laugh when people talk about this as 'New Age.' It's not. It's been around since the beginning of time in every single culture. This is how they did things before the Renaissance, when we still had that connection to the Earth and the universe."
This story contains 1383 words.
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