Pin It
Marilyn Monroe

Meet the psychic who can speak to Marilyn Monroe

Tarona Hawkins, former psychic to Princess Di, reaches beyond the veil to communicate with dead celebs

“I have had so many celebrities in the past who have visited me for one reason or another: Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and others. But I don't feel they are special just because they were famous when they lived in human form. All good spirits are welcome, and if I can help them, I will” – Tarona Hawkins 

I've often thought that if there is a God, He (or She) can be no more omnipotent than the anonymous, hive-mind “Source” which informs the mythology of the celebrity tabloid. I myself remain agnostic about the notion of contact with the spirit world from a personal perspective, but I also wonder how many individuals unconvinced of the possibility of contact with the famous-or-unfamous dead have, at one time or another, bought into the cult of the Source. 

This was something I had in mind when I spoke with Princess Diana's former psychic Tarona Hawkins about her new book Dead Women Talking, which is, in places, extremely difficult reading: it purports to be a series of recorded conversations between the late Marilyn Monroe and the author, the subjects of which – sex abuse, child slavery, necrophilia parties, and so on – are often profoundly disturbing. 

There is a passage in which Monroe recounts the violation of her body at the morgue by several attendants, for instance, which is horrible, believable, and deeply Ballardian all at once; a thing which might seem intended for titillation were it not for the fact that 64-year-old Tarona, both in her correspondence and in the text, approaches her troubled subject with the gentle conviction of a psychic social-worker.

Describing herself as “an emotional healer, trauma therapist, ghost investigator, author, born psychic, and friend of all those lost and abused,” Hawkins believes that her skills are the result of being “a modern day banshee, meaning ‘woman of peace.’” Her first appointment with Princess Diana – another beautiful, tragic, hyperfamous and kindhearted blonde – was apparently in 1997, after which she became a confidante; I was surprised, despite this prior close relationship with the Princess of Wales, to discover that she lives in Britain rather than the States, though I’m not sure why. Transatlantic distance is meaningless in the afterlife, one presumes, and a close proximity to Hollywood doesn’t guarantee just anyone a hotline. 

“Marilyn came to me because she knew I was able to move her on to a higher dimension,” she explained over email. “She needed me” – Tarona Hawkins 

“Marilyn came to me because she knew I was able to move her on to a higher dimension,” she explained over email. “She needed me. She knew I was genuine, and either brave or stupid enough to tell her story. She knows she was heavily marketed after her death – it was a deliberate act by those cashing in on her dying so young. Fables have grown around her, and so many lies have been told about her. She told me if she had lived to be in her eighties, there would not be the interest in or obsession with her today.”

Is a scandalous nugget about Bruce Jenner's Adam's Apple more authentic than an afterlife testimony from Marilyn Monroe, if neither can be traced back to their original subject? Reading the aura of a person is no more bizarre, to me, than reading their body language in a photograph, or than analysing their psychological state through the work of their plastic surgeon. 

Ultimately, this is really all justification for the fact that, Mulder-like, I want to believe – not necessarily in the most unpleasant details of the story, but in the very possibility of communing with Marilyn: a “star” from an era when the word suggested an astronomical sense of distance. Approaching Dead Women Talking with a view to either proving or disproving the veracity of the stories therein does not, to me, seem necessary or interesting: what is fascinating is the way that Tarona's accounts of her encounters function allegorically, and what they reveal to the reader about the nature of fame. If the idea of a pop or celebrity psychic seems quaint in the internet age, it is only because we’re receiving their secrets through other means. We are, effectively, already seeing their dark sides

Take the author's vision of Hollywood in general, which is that “the whole system is controlled, and a star or a starlet has to toe the line. Some are manipulated with drugs and others with sex, or with the specific fetishes they are involved in. Some celebrities are prepared to hand their children over for favours, and the promise of being famous, and there are many who sign away their souls, who don't realise they are entering a cult where some pretty terrible things will happen” 

“I can see in many celebrities that their aura is damaged,” she wrote in another response, after I had asked her whether she was capable of predicting Hollywood deaths. “And I can also pick up from their auras the celebrities who suck energy from their fans. This is one of the reasons they feel so amazing after live performances.” Auras aside, there is no real shock in the suggestion that pop musicians might be vampiric narcissists. The hive-mind Hollywood Source is doubtless working on digging up a similar exposé for the tabloid press; I would be unmoved if this same claim were made within the next six months about Ariana Grande.

“I can also pick up from their auras the celebrities who suck energy from their fans. This is one of the reasons they feel so amazing after live performances” – Tarona Hawkins

One conceit which struck me both in the manuscript itself and in the author's email answers was the idea that impersonators of a famous person are tortured by terminal psychic woes – one, Kay Kent, is described in the text as having “become so obsessed with living as Marilyn Monroe that she spent thousands of pounds on replica clothes and surgery so she could look more like her idol. Just like Marilyn, Kay got involved with some questionable people, and there were even reports that hinted at Kay’s suicide actually being a murder. Also like Marilyn, she was found lying naked on her bed, having died from a drug overdose.”

This last idea is especially poignant because there are so many well-documented cases of women who, if not impersonating Monroe, are certainly fans of hers, who have fallen victim to similar fates. Allegorically-speaking, the pursuit of being Marilyn Monroe and the pursuit of being famous are effectively one and the same because of her iconic nature. It occurred to me that another way to think of psychic readings might be as a kind of super-empathy; a sensitivity to the patterns of damaged human behaviour which leads to a greater understanding of past events. Tarona is not a celebrity-specific psychic, but her stories are interesting because the stories of celebrities are, to some extend, universal. They are the myths and legends of modern culture – the Source and the psychic are our oracles, and the famous are God and Mary-Sue in one.