Future shock

Suicide cults. Concerned Christians. Armageddon. Y2K. Wag-the-dog. Wiretaps. Right-wing conspiracies. Contrition. Polls! Polls! Polls! Sexual McCarthyism. Viagra. Moral decay. Paula Jones. Ken Starr. Linda Tripp. Youthful indiscretions. High crimes. Monica! Monica! Monica!

Outrageous, absurd and often obscene, 1998 was a year that could have been produced, written and directed by John Waters. By New Year’s Day, a lot of us were shaking our heads, covering our eyes and wondering what on Earth is next? Will Clinton go to the clinker? Will Weight Watchers get a new spokeswoman? Will our computers crash? What about the market? To find out what 1999 has in store, we spoke with the experts. The future may be unpredictable for many, but not for Malibu’s top psychics. Here’s what they say is on tap and in the cards.

Starting with the president, the seers are split on the outcome of impeachment. That side of the crystal ball may be murky, but there is a consensus on probing prosecutors and partisan rancor. “We have issues about sexuality,” notes psychic/clairvoyant/tarot/ astrology reader Antonia Lau. “These issues are within our selves. We need to wake up.” Malibu’s longest-serving resident psychic Avery Torres agrees. “Look at the dialogue,” she says. “It’s forcing people to discuss these issues and look inside themselves.” Once the thong show is over, both see the opportunity for growth and change.

Kyle Mathews, another psychic to the stars, says the wackiness seen in Washington is everywhere. “The craziness that is out there is not just certain people,” he explains. “It’s everyone.”

Despite sex scandals in the White House, Wall Street continues to roar. But will it stay that way?

“There is a lot of money to be made, but it will be a difficult market,” says Torres. Lau, on the other hand, foresees a slump. “The economy will see a downturn.” Mathews is less optimistic. He predicts “a major market crash.”

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In addition to cult suicides, an earthquake in June and plenty of plane crashes, Mathews sees hard times for hard drives — the Y2K bug will crash many computers around the world resulting in a shutdown of government services, blackouts and shortages of food and water. “I’m not saying to the desert and hide,” he says. “But we are going to have some big problems.”

Torres sees similar writing on the wall. “My biggest concern with Y2K is that our fears could create mass hysteria,” she says. “I feel we should prepare for it like we would prepare for an earthquake.”

Nonsense, says Lau. “Y2K is a publicity deal. It’s not going to happen. I think it’s overblown media hype.”

In recent days, Mathews has seen spiritually inclined celebrities such as Shirley MacLaine, as well as stockbrokers and CEOs. “Tons of people come in here and ask what is wrong. There is a lost feeling, and they don’t know where it’s coming from.”

To feel a little less lost, Mathews suggests a spiritual base. “This year has a lot of work for people,” he says. “They need to buckle down and go inside.” Torres gives similar spiritual guidance. “Everything that is going on is for our souls,” she explains. “We create many of the dramas in our lives so we can learn from them.”

Yes, it’s true, some psychic predictions did not come true. One forecaster declared that Elvis would return to earth in a UFO the size of Texas. As far as most of us are concerned, king is still dead. But in case you think this psychic stuff is all abracadabra and hocus pocus, consider this: In September 1997, a fortune teller named Elizabeth Joyce predicted President Clinton would be impeached over a sexual dalliance with a young, dark-haired woman named Veronica. Close enough. Happy New Year.

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