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May 10, 2021

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Psychic medium helps connect clients with dead pets

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Sue Vorenberg/The Columbian
Psychic medium Seth Michael holds out a picture of Brittny Houghton's dog Bernie, which died recently. He said Bernie's spirit was lingering near her and still interacting with Houghton's other animals.
Sue Vorenberg/The Columbian Psychic medium Seth Michael holds out a picture of Brittny Houghton's dog Bernie, which died recently. He said Bernie's spirit was lingering near her and still interacting with Houghton's other animals. Photo Gallery

While it’s not the most common thing, Seth Michael admits that he’s sometimes haunted by goats.

Yes. Goats. Those floppy-eared, horned creatures that like to feast on, well, everything.

o Title: Psychic spiritual adviser and medium.

o Location: Office in The Wild Hair, 418 Cedar St., Camas.

o Reading cost: $100 for first hour for new clients, $75 per hour continuing. $250 for 3.5-hour group sessions.

o Info: 360-980-1411 or his website.

The psychic medium and spiritual adviser, who does readings at an office in The Wild Hair Salon in Camas, said he often sees the ghosts of cats or dogs come back when pet owners have strong connections with them. But sometimes, even stranger things come through.

“One time I was reading people spirits in the office, and there was this goat there,” Michael said with an amused grin. “It was just standing there, chewing.”

o Title: Psychic spiritual adviser and medium.

o Location: Office in The Wild Hair, 418 Cedar St., Camas.

o Reading cost: $100 for first hour for new clients, $75 per hour continuing. $250 for 3.5-hour group sessions.

o Info: 360-980-1411 or his website.

He was somewhat reluctant to mention it since it seemed so odd, he said, but eventually the persistent chewing got to him and he brought it up.

“It turns out they used to have a goat that lived inside the house,” Michael said.

And that’s not the only odd creature he said he’s seen lingering in the spirit world.

“So, another time,” Michael said sheepishly (forgive the pun), “I’m doing a reading on people spirits, when suddenly I see a hamster in a ball rolling through the room. And I told the person about it, and she remembered she used to have a hamster that would run around in a ball like that.”

Cyndi Ridenhour, the woman at that reading, said she used to have a hamster when she was little. The family cat killed it, and she was somewhat traumatized when she found the hamster’s body.

“And there it was again, apparently rolling around with us in there,” Ridenhour said.

At a separate group reading at Ridenhour’s house, Michael came across the spirit of another pet, Nipps, Ridenhour’s old Siamese cat.

“My cat I got when I was 19 and single, he was very special to me,” Ridenhour said. “He died after he got out and a coyote got him.”

But over the years, she thinks she’s seen Nipps still following her around the house.

“I would see him out of the corner of my eye, and one time I thought I saw his tail, walking into the bathroom,” Ridenhour said. “I finally said something about it, and my son, Cameron, said ‘Oh my God! I see him all the time, too.’ ”

At the group reading, Nipps became even more visible. Michael’s girlfriend, Jyl Straub, took several pictures at the reading and after taking one of an armchair, she looked up at Ridenhour with surprise.

“She said, ‘Did you lose a pet?’ And I looked at the photo and there he was,” Ridenhour said.

In the photo, on one arm of the chair is a gray figure that seems to be shaped like her cat. But there was nothing physical on the armrest.

“Siamese cats, they’re like dogs, they don’t leave your side,” Ridenhour said. “He was my baby. I’m not surprised he’s still around. That picture, though, and Seth having those other animals come through — it’s so sweet that they stay with you like that. Some of the stuff he gets is hard to deny.”

‘Feel the energy’

Michael, 46, admits even he is sometimes skeptical about the things he sees. And he likes to get as much confirmation as possible when something weird comes through.

“When that stuff happens, we’re focused on one thing and something else comes in, where does that come from?” he asked. “I’m not sure, but I’m really not smart enough to make up a goat and a hamster. That’s just too funny.”

Asked why he thinks the spirits of animals sometimes come back, he said it’s a bit of a mystery.

“It doesn’t matter what or who it is — if there’s a strong enough emotional connection, anything can come back,” Michael said. “My dog comes back every once in awhile. You can feel the energy.”

Brittny Houghton, one of Michael’s customers, said she often consults the psychic to get information and comfort when her dogs have passed. She visited him in early October to talk about Bernie, one of her Akitas, who died in July.

“I have a hard time letting him go,” she said, tearing up. “His bed is still in the same place. I still talk to him sometimes. This dog, I helped deliver him. I helped bring him into this world.”

Animal spirits communicate differently than human ones, Michael said, scrunching his face and tilting his head as if listening to something coming from the ground.

With animals, the communication is mostly images and feelings. People, on the other hand, often speak.

“He’s giving off this,” Michael said, pausing to concentrate. “He wants you to feel like he’s still part of the family. You have two dogs, right? It feels like one is about to start using his bed.”

At that, Houghton burst out laughing.

“Oh my God, Seth!” she said, jumping in her seat. “My two other dogs, they would never go in Bernie’s bed, and just this past week, Jojo, he started trying to sleep there.”

Michael scrunched his face again.

“What was green?” he asked her.

Houghton smiled. “His food dish was green, that and half his bed is green,” she said.

Another time, after her friend Garrett’s dog had died, Houghton said she called Michael to see if he had any messages to pass along.

“He told me, ‘Garrett’s dog wants him to get another dog,’ ” she said with a laugh.

Michael likes to call himself an “evidential medium.” That’s a type of medium who tries to verify what he sees during a reading.

“It’s important for us to get as many details as we can,” Michael said. “None of this is cut and dried. I think it’s important to have a bit of skepticism, but still be open.”

Talking to spirits is almost never scary for Michael, he said, although on rare occasions something darker does come through when he does house cleansings.

The vast majority of the spirits he sees are people, often confused or lost, who need a little help crossing over, he said.

Delivering messages

Michael has a group he works with to help spirits do that.

When he finishes a reading, he often leaves with only spotty memories of what happened.

“Psychic amnesia, it’s called,” Michael said. “I remember some things, and then it’s like a slippery slope.”

He also goes through a bit of a mental transition before he starts readings as part of his preparation.

“It’s a little complicated to describe,” Michael said. “I can’t pinpoint the circumstances when it comes to me. If I’m going to a reading, I sort of get myself ready to be open.”

Sometimes, random people will come through and ask him to deliver a message, he said.

In one case, an in-law who committed suicide asked Michael to deliver a message to Houghton.

“In the middle of the night Seth was telling me what was going on — nicknames we had, favorite songs and things like that,” Houghton said. “He found her on the other side. She was completely confused at what she had done. He didn’t know me at all back then, we had only recently met, and he was telling me all these things.”

The woman had a hard time crossing over, but Michael was able to help her and deliver messages to Houghton and other family members, the two said.

It’s a bit different with pets, since they don’t speak. But they do give off different feelings and can send emotional messages, Michael said.

And each species is a little different, he added.

“You know how people, we have a sense of ourselves?” Michael explained. “It’s not the same so much with dogs. They’re kind of in the moment.”

Cats, on the other hand, have more of a sense of self, he said with a laugh.

As to the larger question: Do animals have spirits or souls or some sort of unique essence that lives on? Michael said yes, he thinks so.

“Perhaps they come back, reincarnate,” Michael said. “There’s the theory that we keep coming back with the same people every time. It may be the same for pets.”

And sometimes, as in Bernie’s case, it seems that the ghosts of pets may stick around to help their owners — or other pets in the family — transition, Michael said.

“I see Bernie sitting there all regal, but with his tongue hanging out to the side like a goof,” Michael said, passing his hand in an area where he said the dog’s energy was lingering near Houghton. “He’s got a big head.”

She laughed at that.

“Huge,” she said.

Houghton absolutely believes in Michael’s abilities, and the chance to reach out to a pet that has passed gives her a great sense of relief and closure, she said.

“It’s so comforting, because it’s such a devastating loss,” Houghton said. “Dogs, they love you. They’re your best friend. To know they’re OK, that’s awesome.”

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