DELAVAN, Ill. (AP) -- Greta Alexander says that since she was struck by

lightening in 1961, she's experienced dozens of shootings, stabbings,

strangulations and drownings without suffering a scratch.

As central Illinois' most famous psychic, Ms. Alexander has been called on

by police departments nationwide to help solve murders, suicides and

missing-person cases. She says the task requires her to mentally put herself in

the victims' places -- experiencing the incidents in her mind.

And if you believe people have such abilities, her success ratio is

impressive.

"A cold bolt of lightening hit the house one night in April 1961," Ms.

Alexander said. "It came in a window where I was sleeping and set the bed on

fire. It burnt a hole in the bed and left me scared and screaming."

A short time later, Ms. Alexander says she started seeing mental pictures

and experiencing strong premonitions that she attributed to her pregnancy.

"I gave birth two months later and just thought I had the baby blues," she

said. "I cried a lot. I went to my minister and physician, but they couldn't

really help. Finally, I came across an old medical book that talked about palm

reading."

She said the book explained how some people can tap into portions of their

brain that enable them to communicate, on a psychic basis, with others by

tuning into their electro-magnetic energy.

"A year later, I started reading palms and doing consultations with people,"

she said. "I learned to tune in to my enhanced psychic awareness."

In the years since she was hit by lightening, Ms. Alexander has tried to

help people get their spiritual, emotional, physical and emotional realms in

balance by reading their palms, preparing astrological charts, dabbling in

numerology and studying their auras.

She reads minds, makes predictions and tells of past lives. In the three

decades since discovering her gift, Ms. Alexander has become locally famous

with three weekly radio shows and regular speaking engagements.

Some of her most startling work has come during police investigations. She's

praised by police who credit her with solving numerous cases.

Canton Police Chief Robert W. Molleck called on Ms. Alexander about 10 years

ago when police were searching for a drowning victim.

"We had her on the phone as we were walking through a creek bed," Molleck

said. "She was miles away and had never seen the creek. But she kept telling us

what we were coming to and what to look for.

"For example, she said we were coming to a blue child's toy near a bridge.

We couldn't see anything. Then we got closer and there was a child's blue

plastic swimming pool.

"That kept happening until she led us down to where the body was found. She

put herself in the kid's body and said `I'm pinned beneath a railroad tie.' I

don't know how to explain it but that's where we found him. It was an

absolutely weird experience."

John Hampel was a detective for the Polk County Sheriff's Department in Des

Moines in 1979 when he called Ms. Alexander to help find a missing woman.

"She predicted the body would be discovered by three men in a boat," Hampel

said. "The body surfaced and was found by three fishermen in a boat."

Ms. Alexander has thick files of newspaper stories documenting her psychic

feats helping police. She also has a number of failures, which she blames on

her own "stupidity" for failing to properly interpret psychic messages.

Members of the medical community credit her with amazing diagnoses that led

to treatment for life-threatening diseases.

Dr. Timothy Kling, a Macomb gynecologist, recalls a patient who came to him

after Ms. Alexander warned her she had two tumors.

"We did the surgery and Greta was correct," Kling said. "I don't think it

was luck. She's a very intelligent woman who has some abilities that are

indescribable.

"She makes some mistakes in her predictions. But I know one thing for sure,

if Greta told me something about my medical condition, I'd listen."

One segment of society remains unconvinced.

Ms. Alexander has come under attack from religious leaders who labeled her a

devil worshiper and voodoo princess.

In 1984, a group of ministers signed a petition that forced cancellation of

one of her lectures at a local high school.

She also had a local television show in Peoria a couple years ago but was

driven off the air after 12 weeks by complaints from religious leaders.

Don Weber, assistant state's attorney in Madison County, ordered his staff

to never use psychics again, even after Ms. Alexander was credited with helping

find the skeletal remains of a murder victim who had been missing five months.

"She's either a practicing witch, or a charlatan," said Weber, a

fundamentalist Christian. "I don't want to deal with either.

"I think there are angels and demons and she's not talking to angels. I

think there's no business in law enforcement for people involved in the occult.

Witchcraft never leads to anything good."

Ruth Warrick, who stars as Phoebe on the daytime drama All My Children,

scoffs at such criticism of Ms. Alexander, who she has consulted for nearly 30

years.

"She's fantastic," Ms. Warrick said. "She's a philanthropist who

founded the House of Hope in Peoria for people whose children are hospitalized.

She's a very Christian woman whose family is extremely important to her. She's

always doing charity work and trying to help people.

"She's much more of an angel than a charlatan."

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