Dressed casually in a floral-patterned, blue and white T-shirt, with hands behind his head in relaxing repose, it would be impossible to guess that native Hawaiian Arthur Pacheco routinely talks to the dead. Surfing the same wave of pop psychics as John Edward, James Van Praagh and Sylvia Browne, Pacheco is considered by many to be a giant in the metaphysical realm, and Hawaii's best offering. For more than 30 years he's worked as a psychic and trance medium, bridging the gap between dead celebrities and living breathers.

Unlike those psychics, however, Pacheco goes into a trance, and lets the dead speak in their own words to those in need of spiritual guidance.

"I began as a psychic, not as a medium," he says. "The difference being, a psychic is a person who uses their abilities to perceive information or get something hopefully of value for you; something beyond the five physical senses. A medium is a psychic indeed, but someone who has specialized in communication with those who have left this world."


Pacheco says he channels a regular stable of six "spirit guides" that speak through him. The most notable of the group is Pacheco's main guide, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, best known as the creator of Sherlock Holmes.

When the spirit of Doyle comes through him, Pacheco speaks with a British accent that Pacheco claims he cannot ordinarily reproduce to save his soul. "And I've really tried! But it sounds too hokey, too weird."

Though Pacheco is a practicing clairvoyant and astrologer, his forte is trance mediumship. "A trance medium," he reveals, "is one who steps outside his or her body to let a particular energy take over and communicate; an intermediary of sorts."

Pacheco likens the encounter to that of riding in a car being driven by someone else. When the spirits take over his body, Pacheco says he is basically out of the picture. "It's an odd feeling because we're used to feeling in control of ourselves. It's a little frightening at first. I think anybody who's gotten too drunk and had a blackout can appreciate that."

However, Pacheco says, psychic ability is nothing new to Hawaiians.

"In old Hawaii, it was very common. The word for medium in Hawaiian is 'Haka.' Every family, or 'Ohana,' which is the word for family, had a Haka. And it could have been the grandfather, the kid, anybody. When there were problems, they'd go to the Haka and say, 'What have we done wrong?' So this was a natural part of life, like going to see your doctor."


Pacheco says there are different levels of mediumship, and although anyone can access their own psychic potential and develop it, mediums are chosen, not made.

"The first level would be the message-bearing type. The second would be trance mediumship, which is what I do. The third is called direct voice."

Direct voice is when mediums are in a deep trance and actually channel a "direct voice" from the other side. "You'll hear the voice of say, your dead grandfather, as you knew it. I've attended one of those, and it's quite mind-blowing."

The rarest of the breed, Pacheco says, is when the medium has enough power to make the spirits materialize physically. "They're solid and you can touch them. Those mediums are rare. I almost want to say nonexistent. I've gone looking for them, all over the US and Europe."

Of course, there is deception. On one occasion he observed someone who was apparently at one time able to materialize spirits, but somehow lost the talent. "They lose that ability for some reason, and resort to trickery. Putting up fishing line, with somebody in the closet making noises and calling out. Just a bunch of bull."


According to Pacheco, psychic frauds are easy to spot. "Concentrate on the message," he stresses, "and not the messenger. The psychic or medium should be able to tell you things about yourself that ring true. You know who you are! They should be able to describe to some degree your character.

"Another way would be a kind of intuitive feeling of whether you're hearing the truth or not. It's just like when you know somebody's bullshitting you. Like a bullshit meter. Like a light goes off, and you think, 'hmm, something doesn't sound right.' Information that comes psychically comes effortlessly."

Pacheco doesn't flinch when I say I recently saw a woman on PBS who also claims to channel Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. So I ask if he knows Doyle has been cheating on him. He bursts into laughter, and tells me he knows all about Sir Arthur's affairs.

"Sir Arthur... has made it very clear to me that he has a medium in England, one in Australia, and myself he speaks through. I don't know who they are, but I know they exist because he's told me."

Besides his spirit guide regulars, Pacheco says he often finds himself in the company of dead people. An example, he says, would be at a party where he suddenly sees "a person in spirit" standing behind somebody. He says the spirits appear to be listening to the conversation, and joining in. They even offer suggestions, which the living person repeats as if they'd thought of it themselves.

Another example is at funerals. "Dead people are always there," Pacheco says. "Always. I've never been to a funeral where they weren't. I think they like to see who's commemorating them. It's like a party being given in your honor, so you might as well go. Why not? Nothing better to do!"


As mentioned earlier, Pacheco believes mediums are chosen, not made. But he is more than happy to help people develop their own psychic potential at the many demonstrations and seminars he offers, such as those happening later this month.

"Most people don't know they have the option to be more psychic than they are," he says. "Therefore, they never take it. But when it's a person's time to take the next step in their spiritual metaphysical education, they will attract to themselves a person, a teacher, a book, a movie, or whatever, that will help them do that."

If a person isn't ready, Pacheco won't push it, because he doesn't like drumming up business. "If you do that, you get people who aren't meant to be there! Then it's a mess and I end up babysitting."

Pacheco appearances in Portland:

Friday, February 14, Portland Unity Church on SE Stark 7:00-9:30 pm: "CURRENT WORLD EVENTS, The Cosmic View," $10-$15 sliding scale.

Saturday, February 15, PSU, 10 am-5pm: "THE GIFT OF CLEAR SIGHT, An Experiential Workshop on Opening to Your Clairvoyance." $75, $30 students.

For information contact: Susan Luning (503) 977-9944