I'm the Union Square psychic and I'll cleanse your soul for ten bucks. Image 1.

I'm the Union Square psychic and
I'll cleanse your soul for ten bucks


We talked to a self-made clairvoyant who reads fortunes in New York's Union Square. This is her story.

Laura Yan, as told to

Dolly Faibyshev


My name is Uversa Oumbajuah, and I read the Tarot. In my case, that means, I read five different decks along with the runes. I connect with the cards and the symbols, and then the magic begins. I've been reading by the fountain since 2012, and I've met people from all over the world. I provide direction, confirmation, and insight.

I've become known as the compass that points the way. After three years, this has taken care of me and my children.

To consult the Tarot is the oldest, the original religion. It's something ancient Egyptians created. I never did attach myself to the belief that the universe had to speak through a minister. So I opened my mind to say: universe, speak directly to me.

Union Square

 14th St. and Broadway


Union Square is a central and historic intersection located in downtown Manhattan, where Broadway meets the former Bowery Road (current Fourth Ave). It is bounded on the south by 14th St. The park is notable for its lively ambience of open-air vendors, street performers, and grassroots activists, as well as an equestrian statue of George Washington.  


Uversa Oumbajuah, the Union Square psychic, photographed at work on October 17, 2015. . Image 2.Uversa Oumbajuah, the Union Square psychic, photographed at work on October 17, 2015.



Self-made medium

I'm from Montego Bay, Jamaica. I came to America in my mother's stomach. I was born in New York.

As a child, I was very clairvoyant. I could see right through people. I was quiet, so I watched people succeed and I watched people fail. As I grew, I would tell my friends about themselves—things I couldn't have known, but which I simply felt: whether they were going to fail in school, whether they were going to get pregnant, or whether they needed to tell their mother that their father was touching them inappropriately.

I didn't know how I knew—I just felt a need to speak. When I got to college, I learned to hide my talent. My boyfriends would leave me because I could tell them exactly what they were doing when they were not with me. I could feel the orgasms that they were having with other lovers—which was very uncomfortable. People thought I was weird, so I attempted to blend in and act as if I was normal. 

I worked as a youth services specialist in college, and then as an employment services coordinator, which is a job where you help people reenter society from prison. Then I began to branch out. I worked at Barbizon, where I helped people with modeling, with voice and diction, how to do a four-minute commercial, how to walk. I crossed over from social work to the energy of image. 

It's the whole idea of acting, costume, entertainment. I created a reality and invented myself.


I'm the Union Square psychic and I'll cleanse your soul for ten bucks. Image 3.



Friends and frenemies

When I'm at home, people call me. I do readings over the phone. I have regulars. I'm out here as long as it's warm outside. Monday through Saturday, usually until seven. Sunday is for my children. But when it gets cold, it's over for me. 

I'm not married. A man can't really handle me.

My children hate what I do. They say: "Mama... ," and I'm like "Nope." I already know what they're going to ask. Can they have something out of the refrigerator before dinner? Or can they have money? Or can they stay out late? I can tell when they didn't do their homework. I can tell when they're masturbating in the shower, and that's gross. My son has a phone, I know he's watching porn, but I'm not going to tell him that I know. The three older ones are 19, 18, and 14. My youngest is seven, and psychic too.

I get friends who are not really my friends. They're using me because of my talent, as a ploy to get information. They'll call me at two o'clock in the morning. They want to know if their boyfriend is cheating, or if their husband's going to find someone better. Someone asked me to give them lottery numbers. Someone else asked me to go to the casino with her. Someone else asked me if I can make her boyfriend, who beats her, drop dead. I'm not going to do that. Who do you think I am?

This one woman was an immigrant who didn't have a social security card. She was taking care of this old man who had children. The children realized she was stealing from him, and told him, so he fired her. They hired another person who happened to be her friend. She came to do a reading with me, and asked me to do something to get her friend fired. I was livid. I was not going to participate in anything like that. But she kept coming, until I finally had to ask her not to. It wasn't about the money anymore. I just didn't ever want to see her or be around her bad energy again.


I'm the Union Square psychic and I'll cleanse your soul for ten bucks. Image 4.

I'm the Union Square psychic and I'll cleanse your soul for ten bucks. Image 5.



A shoulder to cry on

The kind of work I do now is on my terms. It is not like working in an office and having protocol—no, you can't let someone cry on your shoulder because there has to be an "appropriate" amound of physical space between you and the other person. While I'm here at the fountain, I can hug a person right when they're crying, as if I'm their mother. Sometimes, they cry for a while. 

Parents have brought me their children. People who cut themselves have come and asked me why. Mothers who are burying their mothers come and ask me how such a thing can happen.

I have had therapists who received three or four thousand a session come to me and say that their clients were coming to see me. People come to me when they've gone to a church for years, questioning who they are and the meaning of life. People whose parents are celebrities come to me when they want to talk without hearing it on the news. Everyone needs someone to talk to.

Young girls have come to me looking for sanitary napkins, or money to buy a bra. A girl got into a fight out here—I took the very cloth from my shrine to cover her up because her shirt was torn off. A gentleman who was very high came to me to calm his heart rate down. Sometimes people just say hi to me, even if they would never sit down.

I have skeptics, too, but after the reading they're convinced. I enjoy the looks on their faces, actually. How do I feel when people believe that I, or psychics in general, are a fraud? I have no choice but to respect their opinion. Everyone's freedom of speech—freedom in approaching their lives and projecting them onto others is different—we all are subject to our belief systems. Individuals should be allowed to believe what they want. However, once an individual who is skeptical does sit with me and experiences a session for themselves, the disbelief turns into belief quickly as I begin to read their life's history and predict its future.   

It's the consistency that's given me power. People come to the fountain looking for me, then they begin to straighten their back, or they begin to honor me, to say: you give me something. And what do I give them? A sense of hope, a feeling of peace, the quality of a woman being strong, proud and regal. The confirmation that life continues, winter after winter.


I'm the Union Square psychic and I'll cleanse your soul for ten bucks. Image 6.



CliffsNotes for a conduit

To read Tarot, I had to learn every card. I had to learn numerology. I learned the frequencies of color. I learned the energies of symbolism. I use different decks depending on whom I'm speaking to: sometimes I need to speak to a person who has already been initiated into the teachings of Tarot, sometimes I need to speak to a person who is a novice.

There are different levels of reading: there's actual symbol, then there's beyond the symbol. Beyond the symbol you connect with the person, and then there are words in your mind. You have to be confident why those words are there. Once I became confident in my instinct for clairvoyance, I really didn't need the cards anymore. The cards are like a cheat sheet—they gives me an idea of what to say to the person.

Even in 15 minutes, which is about the duration of a typical session, I immediately pick up on the non-verbal communication, the hidden agenda, the condition the client is in. I can look and see if they're healthy or not, if they're abusing drugs or if they have an undiagnosed illness—it is in their energy, in their skin, in their posture, in their whole demeanor. 

And if I have to talk about the drugs, if I have to talk about the sex, if I have to talk about parents and how you have to separate yourself from the traumas they've passed down to you, then I do that, and people get it. I don't believe in telling a person that you owe me $200 or $300 to cleanse you, I tell the person in two minutes that they can cleanse themselves for 99 cents. It's all about self-empowerment. 

My words don't come from me. Once I begin speaking, I become a conduit. I allow myself to be used. And who is using me? The person I'm reading. Words that come out of my mouth even surprise me, but they make a profound difference on the listener. I see it in everyone's face.


I'm the Union Square psychic and I'll cleanse your soul for ten bucks. Image 7.



Tell it like it is

Everything about me is natural. It came with working, it came with age—I’m 50, I know I don’t look it. I can't stop being who I am. I'm only going to get better.

I'm writing a book called Stories From an Oracle. I'm speaking about 25 readings that were ultimately amazing. So I photographed 1000 people who have photographed me, and that's the cover of the book. Who are they photographing, and who am I? Why are they so intrigued by me? They see something that I didn't see in myself.

I would love to be on a show like The View and give the raw, uncut reaction to what's going on in the world. Global news, celebrity news, social news, local news. I would tell you the real deal. I would get to the truth behind the news. I would be boldly truthful: the truth-teller.

But, ultimately, what keeps me going is the thought that I'm helping other people, directly or indirectly. The people behind the fountain are homeless. The fountain separates the haves and have-nots. When I make money reading for clients in front of the fountain—maybe $10 or $20 a session—I can help someone behind the fountain.