Sunday, July 27, 2014

Long Island Medium

Long Island Medium is a popular show on TLC that features self-proclaimed psychic, Theresa Caputo. Her specialty is communicating with people that have died, and her show is all about performing "readings" for people that need closure after a loved one has passed away. At the beginning of her shows, Theresa says that she only knows the names and phone numbers of the people she is meeting and that her goal is to relay messages from the spirit to the group of people she is meeting with.

When I was much younger, I definitely thought it was possible to be psychic, but as I got older, I started to realize that all of these self-proclaimed mediums were definitely phony. I can understand how people do believe in psychic abilities, especially in the case of the people Theresa Caputo meets with. They are all in a very vulnerable emotional state after losing someone, and they are willing to do and to believe anything to receive closure.

I have attached a link of a private reading that aired on the show. It is clear that this meeting helped the parents deal with the loss of their child, but if you listen closely to what Theresa says, you will notice how generic and vague her predictions and messages are. For example, she simply points out the mother's necklace and mentions that she feels it's connected to a "young soul." The mother then says that it's her daughter's birthstone and that she never takes it off. Notice how broad Theresa's comments were compared to the specific meaning the mother takes away from these comments. Also, when Theresa is relaying the messages from the daughter to the parents, she only uses very generic sayings like "My death is not your fault" or "Remember me when I was happy." She knows what to say to the parents to make them feel better, but it is hard to believe (at least for me) that these messages are really coming from the dead daughter.

This technique of vague prediction is prevalent with all types of psychics, such as the psychic crime detectives that were mentioned in the book. When the medium or psychic acts extremely confident in themselves, just like Theresa Caputo does, it is easy to manipulate the minds of people willing to believe in this ability.

Related to Chapter 5.3, page 140.


  1. Caroline, it's interesting to observe your take on mediums since everyone seems to have such diverse opinions on this subject. About four years ago, when I had broken up with a long-term boyfriend, I went to a psychic to have my palms read. I'd also always been skeptical so I made sure not to give her any hints and just listen to what she has to say. She made comments about my relationship ending and told me I would meet a "man in uniform" and be engaged in the next year. She had also told me that my "guardian angel" was my aunt who had passed away a few years before that. Well, about six months later I did meet a guy who was in the army. She really seemed to know things, and it made sense to me too, but was I just vulnerable and eager for answers? Thinking back on the whole situation I truly believe that psychics and mediums are just well-trained. I think they use facial expressions and body language that we don't even realize we are gain a better idea of what is true and what is not.

  2. Interesting post! I've seen the show Long Island Medium before, and I remember thinking the same thing you pointed out in your post - that she seemed to say very generic things to her customers that they took meaning from. This was before I knew much about psychics or 'cold reading' (which I think is the term used to describe how they read their customers), so I guess you could say I was skeptical from the start.

    However, if I was someone who was inclined to believe in that sort of thing; as in psychics are truly able to predict one's future, the show Long Island Medium probably would have confirmed those beliefs in my mind.

  3. Like Jaimee stated everyone seems to have a different opinion about this subject, wether you believe that psychics and mediums are just well trained or that can really communicate with the dead. I believe that in some rare cases people have the ability to feel spirits, but I'm not sure that they can really communicate with them. Like the video above these parent are in a vulnerable state and need to hear some comforting words, to help them cope with their lose. I am not sure that Theresa actually holds these abilities like Caroline said Theresa's comments are very broad, however she points out some details that the parents can relate to. I would love to know for sure wether this tv show is real or just another scam.

  4. This is always such a hard topic to discuss. I have been skeptical of psychic mediums who claim they receive messages from spirits. Although I do believe that there are psychic people who are sensitive to the presence of spirits. Sometimes people will believe and latch onto anything and I think thats what it is in most cases, that psychics can provide that little bit of relief in someones life while they are struggling with a loss.

  5. The specific information the psychic shares as coming from the deceased to the living provides her great credibility to her clients and viewing audience alike. I am not sure if psychics really are capable of connecting this world to some other. Many people want to believe so that they can feel some present connection to their deceased loved one. It may just be that the client's deep emotional need to sustain a living connection to the dead enables the living to suspend doubt and invest the experience with the psychic with belief in the beyond. I remain skeptical about the "abilities" of psychics to reach the dead and connect them to the living.