The popularity of the television show "Crossing Over" with international psychic medium John Edward sparked a local interest in large group readings, so Haverhill psychic medium Susan Deren held her first large group session this month at Winnekenni Castle.
Deren, who has done private readings for decades, knew she would eventually be asked to do group readings, so she readied herself with small groups of eight in her home, or the homes of clients.
Those small ventures blossomed into her first large scale event this month at Winnekenni Castle where she read for a crowd of 80.
"People were intrigued with the castle," said Deren. "They were interested in the large event, but the idea of it being held in the castle really piqued their interest."
The event was May 10 and sold out 10 weeks after she announced it. People came from Haverhill and its surrounding communities, as well as Florida, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Canada. Deren said she had met 50 percent of the people who came, the rest were new.
Interest in large group readings may have stemmed from "Crossing Over," but when people attended Deren's event they discovered that her means of delivering messages is a little different.
Deren feels the emotions and physical symptoms of the deceased — she physically feels the reason for their death within her own body.
"I feel the symptoms and emotions of the spirits ... and the people I deal with. I feel their physical pain. I see things too, but mostly, I feel," said Deren.
During the castle event the lights were flickering nonstop — first dim then bright like a spotlight. Castle caretaker Tricia McNeil, who was there for the event, said the lights had never done that. Deren says it's quite common for spirits to affect lighting and other electrical objects.