They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but Palm Beach
soothsayer and Pulitzer divorce case psychic Janis Nelson would
vehemently disagree—because bad publicity changed her life
Born in Salem, Massachusetts, and raised on Gallows Hill— seat
of America’s witch craze in 1692—Nelson herself was the subject of
a witch hunt almost three centuries later.
Nelson was the first licensed psychic in Palm Beach, Florida.
As adviser to Roxanne Pulitzer, Nelson had an insider’s view of
what went wrong in Roxanne’s troubled marriage to Peter
Pulitzer—so when Peter filed for divorce, Nelson found herself in
the media spotlight.
The high-profile Pulitzer divorce case received worldwide media
attention in the mid-1980s and made celebrities of private
citizens. Nelson was subpoenaed as a witness for the husband. In
court, Nelson told the truth as she saw it about both parties
involved in the divorce.
What Nelson received in turn for her truthfulness—the sealing
of her court statement; libel by major American media
including Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post,
and the Associated Press; and the loss of her possessions,
her reputation, and her livelihood—is one of the great untold
stories of the 20th century.
||When Nelson sued the media for libel,
her case was thrown out of court because of errors in its
presentation. Alone and destitute, she fought to bring herself
back from the brink of despair. She began reading, again, for
clients. She began to paint; she is a gifted artist. She has
written a book about her experiences—a psychic’s view of one of
the most notorious American divorces.
Newsweek regrets the
error. While Janis Nelson performed psychic readings for Roxanne
Pulitzer, she conducted no séances and was not involved in any of
the sexual activities brought to light in the trial.
In these pages, we invite you to learn more about
Janis Nelson and her rags-to-riches-to-rags, larger-than-life