The mystical sound of wind chimes floats on the breeze as I approach the gray house in Placerville that serves as Nancy Bradley’s place of business. But there is nothing gray about Bradley, who goes by the colorful cachet of, “celebrity psychic.”
“I have a great celebrity base—movie actors, government officials, sports figures,” explains Bradley, who won’t name names but hints that one client was on “Baywatch”; another is a race car driver who fared poorly in 2005 but will “be a star again” this year, she says. Star-studded roster aside, there’s another reason why Bradley is deemed the “celebrity” psychic. “People also call me the ‘celebrity psychic’ because I act like a celebrity,” she says. “I like being on center stage. I’m a diva.” She laughs.
Being on stage is nothing new for Bradley, who was working as an adagio (abstract/acrobatic) dancer in Las Vegas in the late ’60s when a “wonderful man named Milton Berle” gave her some advice that changed her life. “He told me, ‘You’re a wonderful dancer, but dancers are a dime a dozen. Go home, have a family, and do your psychic work.’ And so I did.”
Since then, Bradley’s psychic prowess has put her in a different kind of spotlight, spinning pirouettes as one of the media’s premier princesses of the paranormal. Turn on the television and there she is, holding court on “The Nancy Bradley Psychic Hour” on Sacramento’s Channel 17, taking calls on UPN 31 KMAX’s “Good Day Sacramento,” or getting friendly with ghosts on the Travel Channel’s “Haunted Hotels.” Turn on the radio and there she is, bantering with KFBK’s Jay Alan and proffering world predictions. Walk into a bookstore and there she is, beaming brightly on the cover of The World According to Nancy or gussied up in Old West garb on the back jacket of her latest release, The Incredible World of Gold Rush Ghosts (The Big Picture).
Although Bradley uses her “gift” for everything from identifying ghosts to communicating with animals to psychic home parties, the heart of her work is helping everyday people with the everyday questions of life.
“I want to help the common man, because those are the people who need you the most,” she says. Although she says she’s considered one of the top 10 psychics in the world by the Paranormal Investigation Association of Psychic Truth of London and New York and other professional psychic organizations, Bradley remains accessible to the masses by keeping her prices comparatively low. “Other psychics in my ‘category’ start at about $750 for 25 minutes, and go up to $5,000,” says Bradley, who asks $175 for a 30- to 45-minute in-person reading, $150 for a telephone reading and $75 for a one-question mini-reading. She conducts no more than 12 readings a day, and doesn’t consider it a job.
“Let me tell you something,” she says, her deep brown eyes locking into mine. “If what you do isn’t a job—it’s an extension of your life—you’re never tired. When you’re doing what you came to do and what makes you happy, you don’t require sleep. What I do is my life.” As we sit talking in the cozy office where she conducts her readings—Bradley behind her desk, me in the chair opposite—a quiet chill rushes over me as I realize the very sacredness of this spot. In the fabric of this chair, in the four walls that surround us, the room reverberates with the secrets of countless souls who have journeyed here, hearts open, seeking answers—seeking truth.
“This is an ‘honesty position,’” says Bradley. “There are some people who would prefer to Band-Aid things and even lie to people so they don’t hurt their feelings. But I can’t do that. My integrity won’t allow it. To the best of my knowledge and the best of my ability, I try and give truth.” She even calls her paranormal investigation association the Truth Center—a term she extends to the office/house where she conducts her readings and classes.
While lying and fraudulence of any kind will enrage her, Bradley is particularly intolerant of “phony” psychics. “The government estimates that for every one real practicing psychic, there are 50,000 out there scamming the public,” she says. “It’s disgusting.” So fueled is she to expose the “phonies and wannabes” that Bradley is lobbying for legislation that would require all practicing psychics to test at an accuracy rate of at least 80 percent.
Animal welfare is another mission for Bradley, an animal lover for life. Born in New York City on June 29 “in a year I won’t tell,” Bradley grew up on Long Island, where she would “jump on backs of trucks just to be with the dogs. My dad had asthma, so we couldn’t have any animals.” But in all the ways that mattered most, he was the perfect papa. “He believed in me from the minute I was born,” says Bradley, the oldest of three children born to William and Ann Bradley. Even when his daughter’s psychic abilities began to evidence themselves at an early age, Bradley stood by in steadfast support. “He would say, ‘If my kid sees it, she sees it,’” remembers Bradley. “I was so, so lucky, because in the generation when I grew up, most parents would tell their kids, ‘Don’t talk like that. People will think you’re crazy.’”
The family eventually moved to Escondido, Calif., where Bradley graduated from high school. Although she’d been encouraged along her psychic path, she wasn’t yet ready to pursue it. “I’d walk up to someone in school and tell them, ‘You’re going to have a car accident,’” she says. “And it became, ‘If you don’t want to know, don’t ask her.’” Not wanting to be different, Bradley tried more conventional careers, including airline school and dancing, the latter of which led her to Las Vegas.
But her calling followed her, as callings tend to do. “In Vegas, I found I couldn’t get away from it (psychic work),” says Bradley. “It was always, ‘Just tell me this . . . just tell me this . . . just tell me this.’” Her entertainment client base began to swell. Bradley, the great truth-teller, could no longer ignore her own.
After leaving Las Vegas, Bradley returned to Escondido before settling in the Placerville area with her son, Bob, and daughter, Robin, about 13 years ago. “I had spent some time here in the Gold Rush country and loved it, and Spirit told me to move here, that this is where I was needed,” she says. While researching ghost sightings and stories for national magazines, Bradley uncovered a large number of ghosts in the area, leading her to coin the phrase “Gold Rush ghosts” and write a book of the same name. Success followed, and not just professionally: One night after a book signing, she met Robert Reppert, the man she calls “the love of my life.”
“I was on my way home, I was tired, and something just guided my car to Denny’s for a cup of coffee,” remembers Bradley. “And as I pulled in, I got that jittery feeling that you get when you’re going to meet a love.” Walking into the restaurant, she spotted only one seat available at the counter—the seat next to Reppert. “And I looked in his eyes and he looked into mine. Done. Done.” The couple has been married 11 years. “When love is right,” says Bradley, “it flows easy.”
Love, she adds, is the most popular topic among people who come for readings.
“Most questions are about romance—how to identify Mr. or Ms. Right,” she says. “Sometimes I think I should start a psychic singles’ group, because that seems to be the main thing people want to know about. The second thing is their health. And their pets—their animals and children.”
People may come seeking truth, Bradley says, but they don’t always like what they hear.
“Sometimes people are not so thrilled when they hear the truth,” she admits. “That’s why I always ask them: Do you really want that answer?”
Bradley’s believers will tell you that she has an uncanny ability not only to “read” present-day information, but also to communicate with those on the other side. “During my first reading with Nancy, she identified my Uncle Bill, who had passed on a few months earlier,” says Catherine Niekarz Noble, a client of more than six years. “She has been telling me for months that my ex would not be forthcoming with spousal support and she is so right, once again.”
A nephew, Bill Bradley, adds that his aunt has an amazing ability to predict future events. “The one that really sticks with me was when she predicted the devastating tsunami in Asia months before it occurred,” says Bradley, who lives in Sacramento. Family readings are not typically done, he says.
Those who do come for a reading will need to decide how much they do—and don’t—want to know.
“That’s the first thing I ask: Is there anything you don’t want to know?” says Bradley. “Once they tell me, I answer questions first and then ask permission to ‘run with Spirit’—to tell them the things Spirit wants them to know.” Information comes up even when she isn’t looking for it: During our interview, for example, she told me my life lessons are to learn to stand my ground and to say my piece. (Yep, she’s right on target.) She also predicts a tooth abscess “sometime early next year.” (I really hope she’s wrong.)
It’s easy to be misunderstood when you’re in this line of work, notes Bradley, so she has to be careful about what she says. “I’m so cautious when I’m interviewed because I don’t want to be misinterpreted,” she says.
“At the same time, I do tell it like it is—so there you have it.”