Psychic Herb Dewey claims to have discovered missing children and the bodies of murdered people, but yesterday, ensconced at a Severna Park restaurant, he confined his observations to juicy local matters:

"Somebody in this room is having an affair with their boss," he told the Severna Park Newcomers Club.

A collective gasp.

Fortunately for everyone's peace of mind, Dewey didn't name the person, and the group of about 35 women enjoyed their luncheon, a monthly event to help new residents of Severna Parkmake friends.

Judy Anderson, who moved with her family to SevernaPark from Chapel Hill, N.C., about six months ago, says the group changed her life.

"When we came here, I felt lost. You don't know anyone. The phone doesn't ring. Through this group, you pick up a wealth of information about the area -- where to go, what to look for. I've told our real estate agent to recommend the group to women who movehere, because the women are so open and friendly."

The third Wednesday of each month, the Severna Park Newcomers Club gathers for luncheon and a social time. Those who wish to join pay $12 a year for a variety of special interests, including antiques, bridge, gourmet cooking, bird-watching and tennis. Once a month, the group also sponsors meetings that include spouses.

"It's a nice way to meet people, and you can become a life-time member, you don't have to quit after a certain time period," says the group president, Lisa Couper.

Said Barbara Houck, a five-year member of the newcomers club, "I'm an old-comer, but it's such a good way to find out what's where in the area.

"Now I just come for the friends."

When a woman, especially onewithout small children, moves into a new area, it's very hard to getto know other women, added member Jan Cook.

"Here, everybody's welcome. It doesn't matter if you're 20, 30 or 50. Really and truly, for a lot of women, it's been a life-saver," she said.

At yesterday's lecture, Dewey -- who boasts a long list of credentials, including membership in the American Society of Research and Clinical Hypnotists and the International Academy of Psychic Arts -- did a "reading" ona member of the audience.

He correctly guessed the woman's middlename, the letter her husband's name begins with, her profession, that she had had her palm read before and that the month of April was significant inher life.

In another demonstration, Dewey asked four women to visualize a letter of the alphabet, a playing card, a design and a color -- and guessed correctly what each had imagined.

"I depend on telepathy. I try to plant a seed," said Dewey, who kept the tone of the presentation light and humorous.

As well-dressed women in their 30s and 40s leaned across the pink tablecloths at The Magic Dish restaurant on Ritchie Highway, Dewey explained: "When I do a reading, I (pick up) surface impressions . . . from observing them.

"I use these to make predictions," he said.

Discussing the different astrological signs, Dewey found that none of the women present wereScorpios, but a few were married to men born under that sign. "Well,all Scorpios are sex maniacs!" jested Dewey.

The psychic's audience differed in their reactions to the presentation. "I thought it wasvague," said Sherry Simmons.

"A lot of it was just common sense, more just intuition than anything else," she said.

Others found the reading impressive, and Delores Prager added, "It was fun. I would love to have him come to my house for a party."

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