They should have seen it coming. Psychics are reporting a huge increase in business from wealthy professionals seeking their advice on how to survive the credit crunch.
Bankers and accountants who used to put their faith in spreadsheets and complex formulas are now turning to clairvoyants for guidance. Many have even started taking in job offers and contracts to be analysed.

The British Astrological and Psychic Society (BAPS) said it had witnessed a dramatic increase in the demand for readings in the last year particularly in the last three months.

Websites such as thepsychicsociety.co.uk and psychics.co.uk, which also offer psychic readings over the phone, have also reported a significant increase in enquiries.

"Ive definitely noticed a new trend," said Jayne Wallace, a clairvoyant who works in the Selfridges department store, in central London. "Were getting lots of city workers particularly men coming in for readings.

"A surprising amount of my clients are very high-up, wealthy, important people from within the financial industry.

"They might be worried about losing their job or a lot of the time theyre asking about whether its right to get out of the finance industry altogether.

"Often if theyve had a job offer from another company theyll even bring the contract in with them to ask me about it. Ive seen four today alone."

One of her clients, a director at ICAP, the London-based brokers firm, said he had been offered a job in Hong Kong but had been unsure about whether to accept it.

"Ive gone to Jayne in the past and shes given me really good advice," said the man, who did not want to be named as he had not yet told his employers about the offer.

"She advised me on my last job offer and that worked out well. I showed her the new contract and she said I should move to Hong Kong as I would be happier, so Im going to take the job."

William Hooper, 39, a former City trader, said he gave up his job on the advice of his psychic, Robin Lown, to become a property developer in Cyprus at the end of last year.

"He was always very concerned about the way the economy was heading and warned me to get out of banking. He said I needed to be out of the industry by September 2008.

"So thats what I did just before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the US. The property market has crashed so Im hoovering up cheap properties while things would have become pretty difficult for me if I had stayed in the UK."

"He was always one of the first people I would consult about my career. If I had a job offer I would ask him whether or not I should take it."

Other psychics have also reported a surge in demand for their services. They said they had also seen a change in the type of questions that were being asked during readings.

Katie Winterbourne, an "intuitive therapist" based in Harrods department store, in London, charges 120 for an hour-long reading and has a three-month-long waiting list.

"Most of the questions I used to get asked were by women seeking advice about their personal lives, in particular their love lives.

"But theres been a noticeable shift. Now Im getting lots of questions about peoples work lives, or financial security. Questions like "will I lose my job?" and "should the credit crunch stop me from starting a family?".

Despite the sceptical way in which the industry is often perceived, many psychics believe they have an important role in a time of economic turmoil.

Jackie Towers, a clairvoyant and president of BAPS, said questions had become less about spiritual issues and more about practical, everyday issues.

"It makes sense really," she said. "People are more concerned about keeping their houses, or keeping their family fed, than whether or not they can be put in contact with their dead relatives."

She added that most of the societys members had reported an increase in demand for their services particularly in the last six months.

"People are scared. I have one client whose husband is on suicide watch. She doesnt know who to turn to for help. Its a difficult time for a lot of people and its our job to put them at ease to give them that bit of guidance or clarity that they are looking for."
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