Learning how to trust your gut feelings or fine-tuning a mother's intuition is Barbara Mackey's speciality.
Mackey, 60, of Island Heights is a psychic. She has been working for about 20 years with law enforcement officers and on radio and television.
"This is not an easy life," Mackey said.
Reading into someone's life or seeing a vision in her sleep often has left her exhausted, she said.
Two weeks ago, Mackey held her second workshop meeting at Earth Spirits on Monmouth Street in Red Bank.
About 25 people attended the workshop to meet Mackey and to learn if they had the gift to channel their own intuitions. The roomful of strangers were a mix of men and women, ranging in age from 19 to 60-something.
"This is a different way to spend a Saturday night," said Glenn Halvorson of Long Branch. He has been to psychics before, he said. "I have a few things going on in my life, and I just wanted to attend."
The evening began with a calming session. As Mackey talked about walking up steps and opening a door, she made the participants envision a warm sandy beach in California.
After spending about five minutes at this beach, she told the group it was time to go. After they went back through the door and down the steps, she asked those in attendance to lift their arms and open their eyes.
"I didn't want to leave," said Ardena Forster of Island Heights after she opened her eyes. "You had to grab my hand and make me go," she said, directing her comment to Mackey.
Mackey has been conducting workshops and private sessions, and has held hourlong sessions on the radio. She can be heard giving advice on the Shawn Michaels and Sue Moll program from 8 to 9 a.m. on the last Friday of the month on WOBM 92.7 FM.
At this meeting, the participants were partnered with people they did not know. During this encounter, participants wrote words on a piece of paper while they looked at one another. Kate Young of Richmond, Va., formerly of Tinton Falls, who was visiting for the holidays, channeled the words "trip" and "children" to her partner. All three words were correctly relayed. Young has children, and she was on this trip.
When the segment for reading a piece of jewelry began, Mackey asked the participants to put a piece of jewelry into a basket. Then, she passed the basket around for people to take out a piece of jewelry other than their own.
Bobbi Priddy of Manasquan decided to put her silver watch into the basket. The word "gown" was the word drawn from the watch.
Although she said the word "gown" had no significance, she realized the gown in question was not hers.
"I have a friend that is borrowing my daughter's wedding gown," she said.
Erin Duffy, 32, of Kearny was at the workshop to meet Mackey and learn about her own intuition. Duffy said she read an article in the newspaper about Mackey assisting the police in Florida in a missing-persons case. Duffy said she called Mackey to see if she could help her in an 11-year-old missing-persons case.
"I'm certain Mackey has the most beautiful of hearts," she said, "because anyone with such a wonderful gift (being a psychic) that would channel it to help others find loved ones must have a good soul."
The next workshop at Earth Spirits will be at 8 p.m. May 6. Workshops cost $45.
For more information, call (732) 262-7519 or visit www.psychicbarbaramackey.com on the Web.