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Mysterious Careers

By Kate Lorenz, CareerBuilder.com Editor

Do you ever hear about an interesting job and wonder about those people who actually do it? These people are making money doing what they love in not-so-typical situations.

Whether providing a service or making lives better, here are some real-life examples of day jobs that aren't so mainstream and the people who are passionate about them.

"Ghost" Photo Analyst
At first look, Andrew Davidhazy is your typical college professor. He teaches photography and loves interacting with students at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He also chairs RIT's Imaging and Photographic Technology program and conducts research and consulting projects. But his love of his craft has led him down a not-so-typical path.

The self-proclaimed skeptic has worked on various projects that have involved the purported photography of ghosts or extraterrestrial things. "Usually these were either in the mind of the photographer or could be explained by basic photographic principles that the average person is not aware of," Davidhazy explains. "What people think are often orbs or ghosts in their photos are actually nothing more than reflections from dust or similar things close to the camera lens or the subject being too close to the camera when the flash goes off."

Additionally, he has examined photos related to the JFK assassination -- in particular, the photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald holding a rifle. Davidhazy also was one of the early investigators who examined the first photograph that showed OJ Simpson wearing a now infamous pair of Bruno Magli shoes.

Occult Writer
"I have always loved books and the occult, so it seemed like the most natural thing to do," Migene Gonzalez-Wippler says. She researches and writes about areas in the occult including the interpretation of dreams (Dreams and What They Mean to You); life after death (What Happens After Death); Santeria (Santeria:The Religion); magical practices (The Complete Book of Spells, Magic and Ceremonies); and amulets and talismans (The Complete Book of Amulets and Talismans). She's also written about angels and the Kabbalah.

Her books have been translated into several languages, resulting in
praise from around the globe and unexpected satisfaction of making a lasting impact on other people's lives. She remembers one fan letter in particular from a man in Russia asking her to send him clothes, coats and shoes. "I was dumbfounded," Gonzalez-Wippler remembers. "I would have loved to send these things to him but the address was illegible. I still think about that."

Professional Prankster
He's a comedian, Las Vegas headliner and magician whose style has been described as a cross between Steve Martin and Alice Cooper. The Amazing Johnathan got his start in high school by somewhat of an accident. "The first time I performed was in a school talent show and it went horribly wrong. Everyone laughed when I trick I tried to do didn't work, so I turned the laughter into comedy."

That botched performance was the catalyst for his career. He hit the road and moved to San Francisco where he performed street magic and comedy at Fisherman's Wharf, next to comedian Harry Anderson. "We used to steal each other's crowds by one-upping each other," he recalls. Today, he performs brash comedy and magic at The Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas nightly, incorporating audience members, gag humor and special effects into his magic act.

Business Spy
Although he describes his job as sales, account management, project management and project execution, David Carpe's work is not business as usual. He founded Clew, LLC, which focuses on competitive intelligence, and calls himself a "business spy" who conducts research on companies for their competitors. How did he get into the business? While pursuing his MBA, Carpe's research and due diligence led to the demise of a software company.

"Some liken competitive intelligence to 'corporate espionage' or 'the white collar spy game,' but there's more to it than that - a lot of black art behind the delivery," Carpe says. His specialty is primary research, which is all about the sensitive source interviews - for example, calling employees of a client's competitor to get answers to difficult questions without ever really asking questions. He then pieces together hundreds of seemingly unrelated data points and observations to identify an image or pattern. This information he later hands over to his client.

Although she started out as a TV reporter, Maria Shaw became a professional astrologer and new age speaker after meeting her birth mother who was also in the business. Now she prepares astrology charts, does phone consultations, hosts "Goddess Gatherings" workshops and lectures, and writes the horoscope columns for five magazines. She also advises people on issues including the best time to get married, have kids, file for divorce, open a business. She also gives love advice and conducts couple compatibility readings.

"I love being able to talk to so many people from all over the world and help them with their problems and give them hope for the future," Shaw says. She has helped discover the molestation of a client's 13-year-old daughter and also advised a woman to get a mammogram (one she otherwise would not have sought) which revealed breast cancer. On the lighter side, she claims to have given love advice to Andrew Firestone, from of TV's "The Bachelor."

Toy Company CEO
Roger Dreyer thinks he is the luckiest and maybe the most unique CEO
in the world - he owns and runs Fantasma Toys, a manufacturer of quality magic toys and producer of unusual magic shows. He's just like many company executives but with a twist. His day consists of reviewing product orders; creating new magic tricks for the general public and some just for the professional magic trade; producing magic shows; and organizing Fantasma's magic club in Las Vegas, which inspires and helps kids to get into magic (ring257.com).

"I get paid to play and perform for a living," Dreyer says. He attributes his success to his passion for the art of magic. "Some people worry about how to make debits and credits match. I just worry about how to put back the woman I just cut in half back together."

Pet Psychic
Dr. Monica Diedrich says that animals are always "talking" to humans who are unable to "listen." Also known as an animal communicator or dog whisperer, she helps people and animals understand each other better. "By allowing each of them to express their feelings and emotions I see a marked improvement in the way they share their lives," says the author of What Your Animals Tell Me who first discovered her talent at the age of eight.

Diedrich says that although humans have the ability to send and receive information mentally, they have forgotten how to do this but many have
the ability to pick it up with practice and determination. When this doesn't happen, this is where she comes into the picture. "While receiving pictures from the animals I become a translator between them and their humans," she says. "By doing this, people understand what their animal feels both emotionally and physically therefore being able to address problems from behaviors to pain management."

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