“She keeps talking about the apple orchards.” Despite my proximity to a radiator and the cosy knit I’m wearing, I feel a chill down my spine. I’m speaking to psychic Fleur Leussink, professional name Medium Fleur. She’s connected me to my grandmother, who passed away a week ago, and when Fleur mentions an orchard, I know this isn’t information she could have found out about me online.
Up until this point in the reading, I had been sceptical. I had posted to my Instagram page — which is set to public — about my nanny’s passing a few days prior, so I was prepared for her to come up, but this sentence blasted the cynic out from under my feet.
When my nanny and grandad left Liverpool after a particularly cold winter in 1964, they took their four children on a six-week boat journey that led them across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and on to New Zealand. When they arrived, they settled on an apple orchard and, being that this was the 60s and that my grandparents had next to no digital footprint, there’s no record of this online.
Leussink, 31, used to be a sceptic herself, having “resisted” the fact that she could connect with spirits as a child. It was only when she was 18, while studying to be a doctor at UCLA, that she was given an ultimatum by another psychic: become a medium or suffer fatal consequences. “I got really, really sick,” Leussink tells me over Zoom after our reading finishes. “I couldn’t figure it out, doctors couldn’t figure it out, and my parents, who are very rational themselves said, ‘Why don’t you go for a psychic reading? You had all of these abilities as a child, we witnessed them, we don’t know how to help you anymore, what is there to lose?’
“So I went to this little office in Los Angeles and I sat down and the first thing the psychic said to me was, ‘You’re a medium and you’re not living your purpose and if you continue to not live your purpose you could possibly die’.”
Leussink, who was born in the Netherlands and currently lives in Lisbon, Portugal, describes the psychic’s warning as a “wake up call” and she went on to do her first reading soon after, although under a pseudonym as she thought it wasn’t something medical schools would be “super fond of”. Being from a scientific background — as well as studying medicine, her dad was an engineer — Leussink says embracing her spiritual side was “very difficult”.
“The minute I started doing it for people I saw that it can make a huge difference in somebody’s life, it can be really transformative, it can be really healing, it can bring closure,” Leussink says.
When Leussink started giving readings, she would give them for free and afterwards she would re-listen to them and tally herself on what was correct and what was not. “I would give myself percentages and look at probability,” she explains. “This was because I really struggled to acknowledge this for myself and for it to be real. I let this go after the first couple of years and what kept me going was the accuracy being quite high. There was something to it, which allowed me to leave the rational, nagging mind behind long enough to explore the unknown.”
This accuracy is what led Leussink to attract A-list clientele — singer Lana Del Rey and actor Emma Roberts are noted fans. “They found me through a friend of theirs,” Leussink says coyly, adding that her readings and who she does them with are confidential, “kept under lock and key”. Now, 13 years after her first reading, Leussink has a three-year long waiting list for personal readings.
While psychics, mediums and astrology have long been shrugged off as being a bit “woo woo”, the New Age movement is being embraced by Gen Z. The “spirituality” and “spiritual” hashtags on TikTok have 7.5 billion and 5.7 billion views on the video-sharing platform respectively, while “astrology’’ has 28.9 billion views and “psychic” has 2.8 billion.
“It’s incredibly exciting to watch Gen Z, because they are so open-minded in so many ways,” Leussink says. “I learn from them. There’s this freedom of thought and expression and identity that they carry and which I’m just in awe of. I think that generation is showing us what open-mindedness really looks like and spirituality falls into that category for them.”
As we enter our third year living through a pandemic, and reality continues to feel bleak, it’s a no-brainer why people might be interested in spirituality and the hope for something larger than ourselves. Leussink thinks the next generation has a “completely different set of beliefs” which is “creating an expansiveness” as to what we believe can be possible.
“What if we just kept an open mind and what if we just looked or explored or tried? That doesn’t mean you have to believe or you don’t have to believe. Scepticism, fine, but cynicism is so limiting,” Leussink laments. “The conversation is an exciting one these days. I’m certainly seeing shifts and changes.”
It’s incredibly exciting to watch Gen Z, because they are so open-minded in so many ways.
Leussink’s readings are either life readings or spiritual readings, and you can choose which session you would prefer when you join the waiting list. A life reading focuses on your personal journey, while the spiritual reading speaks to loved ones who have passed. Leussink says the question people ask more than anything is: “Are they there? Are they OK?” She adds: “I always see a reading as a spark of knowledge that you’re more than just a physical form and, in fact, you’re many forms. No two readings are ever the same, it just depends on what you need to hear. Is it closure from the other side? Is it just simply evidence of something more? Is it direction in your own life? Or is it a reconnection of your own spirit. There are so many different reasons people come [to me], and the joy of doing so many readings is that each person is different.”
Leussink gives me both a spiritual and a life reading. “She talks about you not having to worry about repeating the trajectory of your parents,” Leussink says about my grandmother. My parents divorced when I was four years old, not something I thought ever really affected me but, as I’m set to get married this year, love and the likelihood it won’t last is something that has been playing on my mind. She tells me about the love my grandmother had for her family and about how her mind was now clear, the fog of dementia having lifted when she passed. While dementia was something I had mentioned on social media, my parents divorce is not something I have spoken about, and wasn’t something Leussink could have known.
Many people who meet with Leussink are grieving a loved one, so when I ask her how this has affected her mental health, she says her line of work has given her a “real appreciation” for life. “In my readings, so much of it is a connection made through love and that’s really the part of it for me that I love to focus on, these amazing connections that we’ve found in life.”
She continues: “I’ve learnt that the human life is always fragile and you don’t know when you’re going to pass and that in the end it’s just the final departure. What is left there is love and that’s the part that makes me really grateful that I get to share.”
Generally, Leussink only does readings over the phone — “I really don’t even want to see your face” — and even though our reading took place over Zoom, she spent most of the time looking elsewhere. I was told only to say “yes” and “no” throughout. Pre-pandemic Leussink would do live events and she also has a podcast, “Moving Beyond”, and a book of the same name which launched in 2021. It’s in her book, Moving Beyond: Access Your Intuition, Psychic Ability and Spirit Connection, that Leussink explains how we can tap into our own spiritual abilities. “I don’t believe that I am the only person or one of a select few people that has this ability to connect to something that we can’t physically see, touch, feel, hear,” she explains. “I think if we can understand why or how something works then it’s easier for us to wrap our minds around something that is unknown and we can start to practice it ourselves.”
While not everything Leussink told me was accurate, she said a number of things that have helped my family know my nanny is at peace. When she was channeling nanny’s energy, Leussink said she had a feeling that her hair was being stroked. In the days leading to my nanny’s passing, my mum sat by her hospital bed and stroked her hair. When I told my mum what Leussink said, she cried. Before the reading finished, Leussink let me know that my nanny had come to say goodbye in the days after she passed — but this was something I already knew. The day after my nanny died, I went to Liverpool to scatter roses in the River Mersey. As I walked back to the train station, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, her favourite song, began to play and I knew she was there with me.