Kerris Dillon has heard voices her whole life.
Some might think she’s crazy — and she says she wishes she were. But Dillon contends the voices she hears and the apparitions she sees are indeed real.
In fact, she’s surprised others don’t have what she calls her “curse.”
When Dillon, holder of a Ph.D. in psychology, is not teaching at Kirkwood or studying to fill her prerequisites for medical school, Dillon works as a psychic medium.
It began when she was a child with just voices, but now, the 38-year-old said it’s more than just hearing — she can see and feel spirits, too.
She began doing readings for friends in college, and she estimates she’s done at least 1,500 since then.
“When you go into a reading, you feel like something else takes over,” she said.
When she sits down with a client, she’ll hear messages from spirits on the “other side” and relay the words or symbols to “validate” the meaning of the messages to the recipient.
Unlike some psychics, Dillon doesn’t predict the future. She merely acts as a “conduit” for spirits trying to send a message.
She said her ability can be advantageous as well as annoying. The voices never go away. No matter where she is or what she’s doing, there’s likely someone — or something — demanding her attention.
“I try to ignore it,” she said, adding that she’s tried to find ways to make it stop but without luck. She at least tries to “stay out of that realm” when going about regular daily activities, but sometimes, they just won’t give up.
For example, she said if you’ve ever heard ringing in your ears, that’s sprits trying to get your attention. Sometimes she’s so overcome with the noise that her ears hurt, or she becomes physically ill.
“They won’t leave me alone until I say something,” she said.
It took her many years to accept her “gift.”
“I ignored it for a long time, for like 15 years,” she said. She thought if she used the ability, she would “somehow become bad.”
When she finally embraced it, Dillon said she felt a “sense of unity of self.”
At first, she offered free readings but eventually needed to start charging. Her rate is determined by the situation, but usually runs somewhere between $50 to $80 per session. It typically lasts a couple hours.
In more sensitive situations, Dillon offers her services free. For example, if a family is suffering with the sudden loss of a loved one. By communicating with their relatives, she helps families, as well as the spirits, move on.
Dillon she said she wouldn’t wish that ability on her own children — she has three — because it can be incredibly taxing. Her autistic, eight-year-old son Gabe is showing signs that he may have it — like the “imaginary” friends he still talks to.
Autism is her motivation to pursue psychiatry. If everything goes as planned, she should be done with her prerequisites and apply to the University of Iowa’s medical school next December.
She said she wants to be an expert in autism and, ideally, build a retreat where autistic children and their parents can unwind. She’s also hoping to use her psychic ability in tandem with her medical knowledge to better diagnose mental illness.
She hopes that in addition to learning the science behind the illness, studying medicine also will help refine her psychic skills so that she’ll be able to sense her patient’s illnesses.
Though many are skeptical of psychic mediums, Dillon ensures some give them a bad name because they’re “fakes,” and if they aren’t, many won’t even talk about it because people think they’re “whack jobs.”
“People don’t like to talk about aliens, spirits, the devil, any creatures that we don’t see,” she said. “If we can’t scientifically explain it, we don’t like to deal with it.”