At first glance, you probably wouldn’t guess that Adam Higgs is an exorcist. Of course, he claims other titles as well: clairvoyant, psychic, medium, healer, channeler of spirits from beyond the grave. And, according to his website, he’s a metaphysical master.
But, sitting behind the desk at the SHED Health Center -- the small gym he runs in Meiners Oaks, a few miles from Ventura -- Higgs looks a lot more like the London bouncer that he once was. Muscular, cut, 6 feet tall and 208 pounds of pure power-lifting bloke, as it were. Oh yeah, he used to be a competitive power lifter, too.
All in all, seemingly a man more likely to deliver a swift head butt than to thoughtfully read your palm. Yet that’s exactly what I was to experience, despite the fact that I went to his gym only to get in a quick workout.
We ended up talking about his occult work. And yes, performing exorcisms.
“Oh yeah, done that,” says Higgs, with the same bored nonchalance you might expect from someone talking about getting their car washed. “It's a very simple procedure,” he says of demon banishment. “If you've got the balls to do it.”
To whatever degree you subscribe to the trappings of the metaphysical world, Higgs pretty much radiates balls. Hard to argue that.
“I tell the blatant, hard-hitting truth,” he says in a blatant, hard-hitting manner. “Whether it’s the truth about the future, the truth about their bodies, the truth about their diets, it all comes down to the basic concept of most people are doing it wrong.”
So there. It’s that attitude that’s earned him steadfast clients, he says, around the globe. Particularly in Ireland and Hong Kong, where he travels regularly to provide readings and healing sessions.
Higgs was raised just outside London. His father owned a garage, his mother raised Dobermans. His life was “pretty normal. I didn't have any interest in metaphysics,” he says. At age 30 (he’s 53 now), his life began a new course. “I'd just broken up with my girlfriend and my mother took me for a reading.” The medium suggested that Higgs take a class from her, and he discovered he had an aptitude for clairvoyance.
“I gave it a go,” he says. “I'm not really trying the first week, second week it’s quite interesting. The third week I was trying really hard and got the old gold arrow shot across, went straight into my third eye. And then it really opened up for me.”
The instructor asked if he’d like to try trance mediumship, “where the spirit comes into you and your voice changes and your body changes and your face changes and everything,” Higgs says. “The first time I did that, I went straight in. That was great, that hooked me. That was better than sex and weightlifting put together.”
From there he went to the Arthur Findlay College in Essex, England, an establishment that specializes in educating believers in the metaphysical arts. After graduating he plied his trade in Ireland, moving to the States in 2005 (citizenship was no problem, his father was a Detroit native) and setting up shop in Meiners Oaks.
He has a small farm nearby where he lives with his wife and daughter. He raises his own fruit, vegetables and meat. He has a goat. He drinks its milk. He hasn’t had a drop of booze since he was 22. “I was not a good drinker,” Higgs explains. These days he’s all about health and the spirit world.
“I don’t have any problem with people who go to church,” he says. “If it brings them comfort that’s great. People come to me who've lost their sons or daughters and want to know they’re fine. That’s great, too, and that’s a service I offer.”
What if those non-terra firma souls aren’t great?
“Never had that experience,” Higgs states. “I'm a last resort. So most people — especially when I work in Ireland and Hong Kong — when they've been to everybody else, they usually come to me.”
I’m not looking for a last resort, but let’s be honest. I’ve been to church, I’ve spent time in bars, I’ve read "The Power of Now." And still, dollars to doughnuts, I’m often a quivering mass of existential confusion. I ask him for a reading.
And so it is that I find myself in the patio of his gym, bright and early one morning. Higgs is energized. He’s just finished eating sprouted bread with raw cheese and homemade sauerkraut. The man doesn’t drink coffee — “the Tibetans say it carries disease.” We sit across from each other, knees almost touching. I extend my hands, palms up, as if awaiting the medium to slap me five.
But instead of that, he concentrates, exhales, and begins poking and prodding my palms. And the revelations begin.
“You've got soft hands. You're nice, you’re kind, you're soft, you’re gentle. Too nice, too kind, too soft, too gentle. You can get slaughtered sometimes. You got a nice fate line here,” he says. “You have the potential to live a long time, but you should also take some fish oil as well.”
“No. See how that line dissipates? Dissipation at the end. That’s always indicative of Alzheimer’s or senile dementia.”
Good to know.
“There's an option to write a book here as well, but not necessarily a fiction book, maybe a manual or a treatise. Have a dog, do you?”
“You've just got to love your girlfriend like you love your dog.”
Well, I love them both in their respective ways, I tell him.
“But you give your dog unconditional love. If you give your girlfriend exactly the same, she’ll be happy.” I make note of this. Higgs continues.
“Have a young woman you’re close to? Blond hair?”
“There's a young woman to come into your life. She could prove to be quite useful.” I suggest this might not seem so useful to my girlfriend, who is not blond, but he doesn’t miss a beat.
“I didn’t say it was romantic. I mean in a professional sense.”
“Have you been to Europe? I can see Rome and Paris for you, and South America. And the option for a trip East.” Not the most specific of predictions, but I’m fine with any or all of that.
Then I have a question. Does this tell you how bad things will get? Higgs ponders my left palm and exhales heavily.
“With your hands the option for things getting that bad is not that great. You just fade away into the middle distance.”
Certainly a fate more terrifying than anything Halloween can conjure up. But then, of course, Higgs had warned me. He tells the blatant, hard-hitting truth. A lot more was revealed. Some things seemed accurate, some general. Sometimes both at once.
I didn’t come to judge, but what did it all mean? Some might find it helpful, insightful, wondrous. Others may laugh it all off as a parlor trick. I can tell you this: Someday, I’ll be in Rome, loving my dog and my girlfriend unconditionally, writing a treatise, sipping fish oil. Avoiding the middle distance.
Special thanks to Chris Ballew for contributing his original music to the radio version of this story.