The Woman Behind Keano Spiritual Consultant Ads Has Been Revealed
Earlier this year, Gothamist dove into the enduring subway mystery of those cryptic Keano Spiritual Consultant palm cards that are ubiquitous inside the subway car casings where Seamless, Casper and others place their advertisements. Despite looking into an address found in Bay Ridge, the original Keano remained elusive to us—was she a front for something else? A team of psychic scammers? Did she even exist?
The NY Times may have solved the mystery, and as these things tend to go, the journey may have been better than the destination. The Times reported today that they were able to track down Angelina, Mila and Ruby—the three names listed on the newest versions of the Keano monochromatic pyramid ads which we had reported were being disseminated earlier this year—at the Bay Ridge location. Reporter Sam Kestenbaum kept showing up to the store on a weekly basis until they finally came face-to-face with Keano herself.
Kestenbaum visited with Keano several times after that to try to parse out her background. Keano specializes in three types of consultation: face analysis, aura and tarot readings. Her favorite phrase: “Good vibes, good vibes, I’m getting good vibes.” But she didn’t give away much about her past:
On her origins, she said: “It began when I was 16. I had a premonition that I would be hit by a car. And I was. I was hit by a car crossing the street. I was run over. I broke my ankle. But I survived. And since then, I have premonitions about other people.”
On her roots: “I am Greek. I am Argentinian. Keano is my true name. This gift we have, it’s in the family.”
One day she said: “We don’t do black magic, only deal with the light. We’re not Illuminati. No witchcraft. No voodoo. I want you to know this. Trust me.”
Eventually, it emerges that Keano was born in Manhattan with the name Vella Nicklas. Now 61, she has lived in states all along the East Coast, including in Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia and New York, with some time spent in California, as well. Like most psychics in the city, she is essentially a scammer taking advantage of vulnerable people, as is revealed in several asides and anecdotes in the piece in which she asks clients for hundreds of dollars for vague mystical promises and spells.
Keano also claims she makes the fliers herself, though she gets helpers to put them up on the subway (one of whom is frequently and wrongly assumed to be her): “I made it myself. Simple. Powerful. The eye is for seeing into the spirit. The moon is protection. The earth is for thinking victoriously.”
You can read the full Times story here.
Paula Mejía, who wrote the original Gothamist piece about Keano, told us she was impressed with the dedication it took to finally find Keano in person. But there are still some mysteries that haven’t been answered: “I want to know so much more about their subway marketing plan,” she added. “When did it start, how do they divide it up, did she design them herself or just photocopy them, and can the moon and stars in fact be mine?”