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Famous psychic Coffey finds joy in the paranormal

Most people wouldn’t step foot inside the famously haunted Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo. (inspiration for Stephen King's "The Shining"), much less seek out one of its most spirited rooms. But Chip Coffey isn’t like most people. The self-proclaimed “Southern gay Catholic psychic and medium” crosses the country speaking about (and to) paranormal entities. Recently, Coffey was happily ensconced in the Stanley’s most-haunted room, munching on a Danish and discussing his life and the afterlife.

“It’s like living a life that is a dream,” said Coffey, whose “Coffey Talk” tour arrives in Tucson on May 2. “Life for me has always been about being a caretaker, caregiver and teacher in service to other people and that hasn’t changed as I’ve gone to being a full-time psychic and medium. The goal I have in the work I do is bring healing and comfort to people – how joyful is that to be able to do on a regular basis?”

Coffey was pulled from anonymity with the arrival of A&E’s reality show “Paranormal State,” which followed Penn State students on paranormal investigations at allegedly haunted locations. Coffey was one of the experts called in to assist the team as a medium. That led to a spin-off reality show, “Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal,” in which Coffey advised youths who showed psychic abilities. 

“Paranormal State” ran from 2007 to 2011 and “Psychic Kids” from 2008 to 2010. Both shows are part of a continually growing trend for paranormal-themed reality shows. In 2012, Coffey authored, “Growing Up Psychic: My Story of Not Just Surviving but Thriving – and How Others Like Me Can, Too.”

Whether the surging interest in the paranormal was the result of a depressed, economically stressed nation looking for hope in the afterlife or merely a well-timed curious interest fed by an opportunistic TV industry, paranormal entertainment is still thriving. When Coffey isn’t on his own tour, he participates in events such as the recent gathering at the Stanley with other well-known figures in the industry, many of whom were on TV shows as well.

“Some people are very interested in the afterlife,” Coffey said. “Some people want believe that there is something beyond this mortal coil. Then some people think dead is dead, that once we’ve breathed our last breath, the lights are out – we’re worm food.  

 “A lot of people think the paranormal goes against the Bible,” he said. “Newsflash! I’m a Southern gay Catholic psychic and medium – wrap your brain around that. Don’t think that I don’t come at it from all different factions."

 “And then, some people genuinely just like to be scared. They like scary movies and spooky things,” Coffey said, chuckling. 

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Coffey counts himself as being lucky enough to have earned a living from being a psychic and medium since 2001. His current “Coffey Talk” touring shows are set in a reportedly haunted location and include audience readings as well as reaching out to whatever spirits may be lingering at the venue.

“It’s just like anything else that people do to entertain themselves, like music or concerts or sporting events that grab people’s interest,” Coffey said. “People say, ‘Oh, you’re just in it for the money.’ Well, I enjoy making a living. I have habits that I don’t want to break, like eating. It is my job. I don’t condemn people for accepting money for what they do for a profession. It’s how we support ourselves.”

Coffey’s pleasant experiences as a psychic and medium far outweigh the bad, he said. But, unlike most of us, his bad days sometimes involve signs of evil.

“There’ve been a number of disconcerting things,” Coffey said. “I’ve seen full-bodied apparitions. But the most scary thing I’ve experienced – it was definitely the most distressing moment I’ve ever had – was hearing a demonic, guttural, masculine-sounding voice come out of a little 3-year-old girl.”

Many people have also told Coffey that he saved their lives and that after losing their faith, his readings brought them closer to God. 

“I get to do something a lot of people don’t get to do,” he said. “And in that, I do feel blessed and fortunate.”

A.J. Flick is an experienced criminal justice reporter, author of a book to be published next year on notorious Arizona crimes and a member of the steering committee for the Coalition of Arizonans to Abolish the Death Penalty.

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chipcoffey.com

Chip Coffey

Coffey Talk with Chip Coffey

  • What: Chip Coffey will conduct an audience Q&A, live psychic and mediumship readings, take photos with fans and investigate hauntings at the venue.
  • When: Saturday, May 2. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show begins at 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Lodge on the Desert, 306 N. Alvernon Way
  • How much: $59, $89 (includes meet and greet, photo), $149 (includes meet and greet, photo, venue investigation) through eventbrite.com or chipcoffeytour.com