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She Knows What's Behind That Cheshire Cat Smile

L.A. STORIES. A slice of life in Southern California.

March 30, 1993|CAROL WATSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Flo Longacre looked straight in the woman's eyes to deliver the bad news: "The parrot is in love with your husband. You've got competition from the bird."

The woman took it in stride. She had suspected all along that something was going on between her husband and Angelique.

But Longacre wasn't through plumbing the depths of the green and blue parrot's soul. This relationship went way back.

"I'm seeing in another lifetime she had black, blue and yellow feathers," Longacre said. "He trained her and she did a lot of tricks not more than 300 or 400 years ago."

The life-shattering revelations were all in a day's work for pet psychic Longacre, who was offering readings in the back room of a Canoga Park bookstore. Here, the 64-year-old visionary filled people in on the lives--and the past lives and the past past lives--of their pets.

Five owners sat on folding chairs, clutching snapshots of their dogs and fingering feathers from their birds. One woman had come to see if Longacre could help find her lost dog. Another wanted to learn what lay behind her cats' knowing glances.

The press was there to cover the event. The press, I should add, owns a cat herself.

Longacre explained to the press that she used to make beer cans for a living. A few lives before that, she was a pilgrim on the Mayflower.

She got in touch with her inner self--and everyone else's--after she had a vision of Jesus in her living room.

Since then, Longacre said, she's concentrated on teaching the standard mix of metaphysics--such as how to communicate with spirits and the best way to read minds.

But more and more, she has been drawn to reading pet souls.

It would be hard for her to avoid. Even road kills talk to her.

"I'll be driving along and the animals killed in the road, they want me to pray for them," Longacre confided.

She also hears spirits talking to her, filling her in on the lives of cats and dogs and pandas and elephants.

"I feel they come back--and we all come back--to make it right the next time," she mused.

Consider the German shepherd mix that, Longacre claims, once was a Doberman pinscher guarding a Nazi concentration camp. Or the white toy poodle that, Longacre insists, wandered the hills of England in 1803 as a shaggy sheep dog. Or the black-and-white cat that, Longacre asserts, has come back to life so many times--way more than nine--that she's perpetually cranky.

Amazingly, the press noted, all the animals Longacre described have led fascinating lives.

Take Michele Nakamura's 11-month-old bird Zachary.

"This parrot has been around a long time in the heavens on a higher plane" Longacre said. "He's a show-off. He likes to feel handsome."

Nakamura nodded appreciatively. It seemed so obvious now.

Longacre explained that people and their pets sometimes come back together in another life. That can explain why people pick a particular pet. Or why animals act a certain way toward their masters.

Which brings us back to the love-struck parrot, Angelique.

"She needs to get over this," Longacre told the owner-other woman. "You need to talk to her and tell her that she is a parrot and that you are married to your husband."

The press refrained from comment, preserving a detached demeanor but quickening her note-taking as Longacre kicked off her shoes and stared hard at a Polaroid of Laurie Terrell's cat Sushi.

To a novice, the black cat in the picture seemed cheerful enough. The expert knew better. Longacre said the cat just did not want to be in this world.

"I've been in enough lives. Why do I have to be here?" Longacre purred, coming dangerously close to channeling the cat but stopping just short of actually meowing.

About then, the press threw caution to the wind and asked about her own cat, a 13-year-old Siamese named Minou.

"I'm getting in a past life that you've been with the cat as an Indian child," Longacre intoned. "It was a male cat every color imaginable."

Without missing a beat, the psychic shot into the 20th Century: "She acts younger than her age. I feel the cat needs a change in her diet because she's eating too much hard food. I feel she needs something easier on her teeth."

The press jotted down Longacre's comments--for purely professional reasons.

For the record, though, the press must present two objections to the psychic's reading of Minou.

First, it's never been proven that pets have past lives.

Second, the press talked to her cat. And the cat says the psychic has it all wrong.

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