A visit to Mrs. Lin, Alhambra's psychic

In 2010, Alhambra Source Community Contributor Joe Soong decided to enter the little red house by Atlantic and Commonwealth and speak with Mrs. Lin, a professional psychic. What, exactly, did Mrs. Lin predict for Soong's future? "The only specific prediction she made for me at that time was that I would have a successful career as a journalist," Soong wrote to us in an email. "Back in 2010, this story was one of the first ones I did for [the Source], so it actually was the beginning of a long and enjoyable opportunity."

10.20.2010

If you’ve lived in Alhambra, you’ve likely seen the tiny red gingerbread-like house with the white picket fence many times as you waited at the intersection of Atlantic Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue. And, on at least on a few of those occasions, you probably wondered, “Who is Mrs. Lin, the Psychic?”

After years of wondering, my curiosity finally got the best of me and I called to arrange a visit to meet her. I entered a small but functional office, consisting primarily of a sofa, a wicker chair, and small table. Rose Lin, 61, welcomed me and within minutes told me I would have a successful future as a journalist. I liked the way our meeting was beginning.

Mrs. Lin, who refused to be photographed, reads the author's palmThe first thing that struck me about Mrs. Lin was she did not look like a Mrs. Lin. That is, as a long-time Alhambra resident, I’ve learned to associate the last name Lin with persons of Asian descent. So when I entered the small, nine feet by nine feet office, I expected to meet an Asian woman. Not quite. Rose Lin has singularly Caucasian features, although, as I found out, she also had a bit of San Gabriel Valley in her.

Lin sat me down, and as she told me about my future, she also let me know a little about her past. Born in Colorado to a Chinese-French father and German-Irish mother, Lin and her family left the state when she was very young. They eventually moved to California, first stopping in San Francisco before setting down roots in Alhambra more than three decades ago.

Lin became aware of her abilities when she was very young. “When I was seven years old, I began to see things,” she said. “I remember seeing a kid playing on a slide and he slid down several times. Then I sensed he would fall the next time he went down the slide and I told his mom, who didn’t do anything and the kid fell off the slide.” Recognizing her skills, friends began to consult her and Lin eventually turned her advisory skills into a career.

At first she just provided her services from her Alhambra home. That grew into a business with a brief stint on Valley Boulevard, and at her current Atlantic Boulevard location for nearly 15 years. “I have all I need here” in order to conduct palm and tarot cards readings, which are the most popular client requests, explained Lin. One of her two daughters, Kate, inherited her psychic skills and the mother and daughter team work together, with Kate seeing clients a few days a week when Lin is not there.

Mrs. Lin performs a tarot reading.

I asked for a reading and Lin obliged, dealing several tarot cards, explaining the meaning of each card and the relationship between them. It was admittedly fascinating and I began to understand why so many were drawn to psychic guidance.

Additionally, she interprets astrological and birthday charts, performs sand and crystal readings, as well as other types of readings. Several times a year she also performs house blessings to rid homes of unwanted spirits. The cost of each reading varies with the type and complexity.

One of Lin’s most interesting roles is as a conduit to the deceased. Several times a year, she performs a past life reading, where someone who has passed away may place an idea into the mind of a living relative or friend, who will not initially realize where or why the thought originated, causing them to approach Lin for guidance. “My role,” said Lin, “is to help them find out and understand what that idea is.”

Ethnically, her clientele is diverse and reflective of Alhambra’s population. Half are Asian, 30% Hispanic and the remainder Caucasian. Yet, Lin noted, they all have the same concerns: Regardless of ethnicity, most questions relate to affairs of the heart, business, or family life.

Located in an area with a significant non-English speaking population, Lin has adapted to her clientele. She performs birthday readings for the lunar calendar, which is favored by many Asian cultures, as well as the traditional Western calendar. Members of her family can also provide translation in Chinese or Spanish during a session if needed.

Lin believes that regardless of ethnicity women tend to be more inquisitive about important life issues and her customers bear this out. Whether in person or via telephonic consultation, she has four to five clients each day on average, with women composing 70% of the total.Outside Mrs. Lin's establishment

While much of her business is on a drop-in basis, Lin has established many long-term relationships with her clients. One has been with her for 25 years and continues to consult two to three times a year regarding personal and business issues. The client’s adult daughter also utilizes Mrs. Lin’s services.

Some of her customers are even overseas. While initially establishing the relationship here, she maintains contact with two customers who are now living in Taiwan and counsels them telephonically when needed.

Her clientele encompasses all age groups, but she does have some restrictions. “A few times a week, students from some of the schools around the area will come by,” said Lin. “Kids who are thirteen or fourteen years old will ask for a reading, but I refuse and ask them to bring an adult.”

On occasion, she also has parents bringing in babies for a palm reading. They are sometimes so young, Lin has to gently uncurl the child’s fingers to see the palm.

“I won’t read the palms of babies because they are still developing and it’s too early to say what could happen,” said Lin. However, if requested, she will assist the parents in selecting a name for the child.

Not every question from a client will have an answer. She has self-imposed limits on the issues she will address. Lin said, “The questions I won’t answer are ‘When will I die?’, ‘What will I die from?’, and ‘Will I have a miscarriage?’” She prefers to turn away from the negative and focus on issues that send a more positive message.

Lin realizes that there are many who are skeptical of her abilities and she understands their doubts. However, it is not her goal to convince them. For those who don’t believe her, she says, “Don’t believe. I’m not here to make them believe me.”

17 thoughts on “A visit to Mrs. Lin, Alhambra's psychic”

  1. Thanks for reposting this article. The building has become such a familiar fixture in Alhambra’s cityscape. Aside from some of the debating that occurred in the comment section concerning spiritual and religious ramifications, compact retail architecture has always added flavor to any city… don’t see much of it around especially in new building where it probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in terms of return on investment. Does anyone remember a shack eatery on Main Street called Mel’s? I believe it was the “Dino-burger” or “Astro-Burger” that made him renown. It was a favorite haunt in the late 1970s during my time at Alhambra High School.

  2. “Located in an area with a significant non-English speaking population” – well, I think a significant part of the population speak English more or less. They are just not naive speakers. And I am quite curious on two things. How come her family members can speak Chinese and Spanish? What is the difference between Chinese palm reading and Western palm reading? It seems that she is practicing Western palm reading; and I think each has developed independently.

  3. Here you go folks …

    The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading: A Comprehensive Guide to the Most Persuasive Psychological Manipulation Technique in the World

    http://www.amazon.com/Full-Facts-Book-Cold-Reading/dp/0955847605

    From the book:
    There are only two ways to account for all these readings, and all
    this money. Either the people giving the readings are genuinely
    psychic, or they are not. If they are psychic, their clients are
    paying for access to genuine psychic insight. If they are not,
    people are falling for a scam. And if this is true, then it is the
    biggest, most enduring and most popular scam of all time.

    The great thing about cold reading, as far as its practitioners are
    concerned, is that hardly anyone knows about it. In an age when
    consumers are more cautious and informed than ever before,
    none of them know the first thing about cold reading. No public
    book store in the world contains a single work on the subject.

    l.Do psychic powers really exist?
    This book is not about whether genuine psychics exist. I leave you
    to decide this for yourself.

    I get plenty of correspondence from people who are absolutely
    positive that psychic ability exists, and roughly as much again
    from people who are absolutely positive that psychic ability is
    moonshine. This debate has been going on forever, never goes
    anywhere, and never will. It is inherently sterile, not to say
    tedious.

    In the unlikely event that anyone wants my opinion, based on
    over twenty years dabbling in the subject, I would say that in
    purely rational terms there is currently no good reason to believe
    in psychic ability. I believe that in every case of an individual
    claiming to have psychic ability, the psychic hypothesis is neither
    necessary nor sufficient.

    However, the other answer I often give is that ‘psychic powers are
    as real as you want them to be’, which I think is true. To a person
    who wants to believe in psychic power, or any other chimera, the
    ‘evidence’ is whatever supports the belief, and anything else is
    deemed irrelevant.

  4. How interesting to read about Mrs. Lin. Although I would not consider a visit with a psychic for personal reasons, I have always been puzzled what is going on in this small building and now the mystery has been lifted and your visit with Mrs. Lin brought enlightenment. This is a very nice article that I enjoyed greatly and I also liked to be reminded by one of the readers that once upon a time this was a Kodak Processing Lab.

  5. I appreciate everyone’s comments. It’s interesting for me to read and learn from the many perspectives of our readers.

    I’ve lived in Alhambra long enough to remember when Costco was still called Price Club, but there is still much about the city that I don’t know.

    To that end, in the upcoming weeks and months, Alhambra Source will explore our home and its diversity, in whatever form it may present itself. Hope you come back often and join us.

    1. Is this Joe Soong of CPAF fame? This is Jesse Chang, former CPAFer :). I couldn’t help but notice the name when I read this article, and was amused since I’ve often wondered about that little booth myself; thanks for doing that piece of investigative journalism. Alhambra Source has been a great resource for local stuff, keep up the good work!

      1. Jesse, yes it’s me from CPAF, good to hear from you. Sorry to hear you are a former CPAFer. Hope you are doing well.

        Hey, if you’re interested in also writing for Alhambra Source, let me know or contact Daniela Gerson by clicking on the Contribute button on the top of the page. Have a good one…

      2. Joe, yea my work now is local in Alhambra and Monterey Park, so it would be great to help the “Source.” Do they assign ideas or is this driven by individual contributor interests?

      3. Jesse, story ideas can be either assigned or initiated by contributor interest, depending on the story. It’s a collaborative process and open to ideas.

  6. I gotta say that this is a dangerous game. The bible warns clearly against

    1 John 4:1-3 ESV / 16 helpful votes

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

    Personally I wish it was still a Kodak film processing lab!

    1. Wow, seriously? People let’s keep our religions to ourselves.

      1. Just to be clear. You do know that getting a psychic reading or even the practice itself is religion or a religious ritual right?

      2. and…please keep your religious comments to yourself. Thank you.
        this is an article stating what the place does, etc…not trying to convert anyone or offend anyone…so why did you even try to stirr up a religious debate?

        WOW. just wow…this is why nations go to war…over stupid religious practices and comments against each other…why can’t you just respect other cultures and their beliefs? — and keep your mouth shut.

      3. I love how this person ended with “why can’t you just respect other cultures and their beliefs?” while telling someone else to keep their mouth shut about their beliefs.

  7. Wow I was just talking about how long this place has been around and we guess it would be more than 20 years.

  8. Always wondered about this little hut.
    You gave me a good read, Joe!

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