Psychic of St. Augustine

National Psychic Day, celebrated on August 8, was created by Richard R. Falk, the agent of celebrity psychics during the 1800s, possibly as a promotion for his clients. Since the late 19th century, fortune telling and communication with the spirit world have become intertwined within American society due to the rise of spiritualism. Even Arthur C. Clarke and the famed Henry Houdini publicly disagreed about whether psychic abilities were genuine. Clarke believed they were, Houdini did not.

St. Augustine is no stranger to fortune telling. A Psychic Fair is held every March, offering sessions with readers, holistic healers, speakers, and vendors selling goods. There was a time, however, when the city was not so welcoming, instead concerned about charlatans and con artists. For over two-and-a-half decades, an ordinance forbade fortune telling to the public. In 1987, a professional psychic, known internationally as Kaimora, spoke out about this ordinance, which outlawed predicting the future.

Psychic of St. Augustine 2Kaimora (Kay Mora) practiced in the field of holistic spiritual development for over forty years. Her credentials included a degree in psychology from the University of Maine and studying with spiritualist Bill Ellis and psychic Alex Tanous. She was a member of the Inner Peace Movement, a nonprofit company from the 1960s that promoted self-actualization. She was also known as a healer and lecturer, and wrote a horoscope column in the St. Augustine Record Compass magazine and in the St. Augustine Record. She founded the Metaphysical Mother Earth Church, and authored multiple books including “Path of the Rainbow,” “The Seven Levels of Learning,” and “Crystals in Your Life.” Kaimora even hosted a radio show, “Friday Returns,” on WUVU and WFOY.

While able to obtain a St. Johns County permit for fortunetelling in Vilano Beach, she was unable to get one in St. Augustine, as the city blocked her ability to apply for one. The ordinance that the city used as justification for not allowing Kaimora to get a permit carried a maximum fine of $500 plus six months in jail for any individual caught receiving payment for ″engaging in the business of or practicing fortunetelling, or pretending or professing to tell fortunes by use of any subtle craft, means or device whatsoever, either by palmistry, clairvoyancy or otherwise.″ Kaimora claimed that the ordinance “denies [her] rights to earn a living and it denies citizens the right to free choice.”

City Attorney Geoffrey Dobson argued that the law needed rewritten due not only to it prohibiting Kaimora from working, but because it could inhibit others such as meteorologists predicting the weather, financial advisors predicting stock fluctuations, or doctors diagnosing ailments. The city commissioners eventually conceded to change the wording of the ordinance, allowing those in the psychic field to do work in St. Augustine so long as they had a license to do so. This allowed the city to control a potential influx in fortune tellers and the like, allowing them to prevent psychics from ‘sullying the reputation of the Ancient City’.

Today, fortune telling remains legal via city ordinances, which protect such practices as “palmist, astrologist, psychics, clairvoyants, phrenologists and similar uses.” The ordinance’s description is as follows:

“Fortunetelling includes, but is not limited to, telling of fortunes, forecasting of fortunes, or furnishing of any information not otherwise obtainable by the ordinary process of knowledge by means of any occult, psychic power, faculty, force, clairvoyance, clairaudience, cartomancy, hypnosis, intuition, psychology, psychometry, phrenology, spirits, tea leaves, or other such reading, mediumship, seership, prophecy, augury, astrology, palmistry, necromancy, mindreading, telepathy, or other craft, art, science, cards, talisman, charm, potion, magnetism, magnetized article or substance, intuitive cunning or foresight, crystal gazing, cultural mysteries, or magic of any kind or nature, for pay.”

While Kaimora passed away at age 74 on February 21, 2003 in Gainesville, Florida, her legacy in St. Augustine remains. Thanks in part to her work to change the ordinance, practitioners of the metaphysical now are able to work freely in the city.

Written by Nicole Diehm

Resources

Chestek, Pamela. “No Peace in the Inner Peace Movement.” https://propertyintangible.com/2008/06/no-peace-in-inner-peace-movement/ Posted June 29, 2008. Accessed 6/28/2022.

“City Known For its Past Outlaws Predicting Future For Pay” June 11, 1987 https://apnews.com/article/d60573f8ad039177ce4befc9d40b5d54. Accessed 6/17/2022.

“Experience Psychic Fair.” https://www.visitstaugustine.com/event/experience-psychic-fair. Accessed 6/28/2022.

Image: From the collections of the St. Augustine Historical Society. https://sahs.pastperfectonline.com/photo/57BC1915-2D02-4319-848F-638054542880

“Psychic Day – August 7, 2022.” National Today https://nationaltoday.com/psychic-day/. Accessed 6/28/2022
Recchi, Ray.

“Predicting The Future A Telling Profession.” South Florida Sun-Sentinel, June 15, 1987. https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-xpm-1987-06-15-8702220359-story.html. Accessed 6/17/2022.

The code of the City of St. Augustine, Florida. Chapter 28 – Zoning; Article III – Zoning Districts and District Regulations; Division 5. Commercial Uses; Sec. 28-209. – Commercial medium-two: CM-2. https://library.municode.com/fl/st._augustine/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH28ZO_ARTIIIZODIDIRE_DIV5COUS_S28-209COMEO. Accessed 6/28/2022.

The code of the City of St. Augustine, Florida. Chapter 17 – Licenses, Taxation and Miscellaneous business Regulations; Article XI. – Fortunetellers, Clairvoyants and similar occupations; Sec. 17-401. – Definitions. https://library.municode.com/fl/st._augustine/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH17LITAMIBURE_ARTXIFOCLSIOC_S17-401DE. Accessed 6/28/2022.