an interview with The Long Island Medium
by Saralee Rosenberg
There’s one good thing about being dead. Those who have passed don’t have to worry about that long waiting list to speak to Theresa Caputo. They just step forward and validate their presence.
That was the idea behind creating Theresa’s addictive and inspiring show on TLC, Long Island Medium. She not only wanted to show viewers how she connected with spirit, but how they could as well if they paid attention to the signs and symbols around them.
The show recently ended its third, highly successful season with a devoted fan base that keeps growing. Ratings aside (it consistently wins the top spot in its time period on cable), the real love occurs daily on social media. At last count Theresa had 85,000+ Twitter followers, while posts on Facebook can generate twelve-thousand likes within hours.
And that doesn’t even count her supporters on the other side. Lord knows how many spirits are hoping to come forward to chat with her.
Why all the fuss?
Aside from her funny, upbeat and down-to-earth demeanor, Theresa Caputo is equal parts grief counselor, healer and Energizer bunny. Mostly, her infectious laugh puts everyone at ease, even when she is being breathtakingly honest.
Which is always.
But her greatest gift is her innate ability to reunite loved ones with the dearly departed. And whether this reunion occurs on her show, in her home, or at one of her surprise stops, even skeptics have acknowledged that the Theresa Caputo experience is for real. Faster than they can say areyoufreakinkiddingme, she is rattling off intimate details that only they and the deceased know.
Of course it is the expressions on people’s faces that confirm how “dead on” Theresa Caputo is. The ohmigods. The covered mouths. The big eyes. The tears. Lots and lots of tears.
They are not only stunned by her accuracy but by the realization that communication with the deceased is possible. Mostly, they are overjoyed by listening to the healing words they have longed to hear. I’m sorry… I take
responsibility for what happened… I promise to be there for your special day…I love you and miss you…
However, communicating with spirit wasn’t something that Theresa easily embraced. For years she struggled with anxiety. Nobody else she knew saw spirits at the edge of their bed or received messages through visions. Then, after five years of working with a spiritual healer, she finally accepted her gift and the empowering messages that came through.
Now as she often says, “This isn’t just my job. It’s my life.”
I recently interviewed Theresa at her home and asked about her special gift, her loving family and her hit show.
You grew up in Hicksville and raised your family here. What are some of your special Long Island memories?
Oh my God! There are so many because I had the most amazing childhood. I feel truly blessed to have grown up on Long Island and to have had such wonderful family and friends. I can remember as a kid going to Jolly Rogers (the indoor amusement park) and as a teenager I lived at the Broadway Mall and Hurdy Gurdys. As a mom, I enjoyed taking my children to the Hicksville library and to Adventureland. And I know it sounds corny, but no matter what, I couldn’t picture myself living anywhere else but on Long Island.
At what age were you first aware of your ability to communicate with spirit?
I can remember at four-years old connecting with spirit. I would wake up and speak to people standing at the edge of my bed. Or I would talk to my grandmother who had died. I thought it was normal. But when I got older, my friends said, “Theresa, that’s not normal” and I cried to my mother that I just didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel like I belonged. She did her best to reassure me and even took me to doctors, but they couldn’t find anything wrong with me.
When did you finally come to the realization that you were a medium?
With the love and support of my husband, Larry, I worked with a spiritual healer and finally accepted my gift. And even though I am blessed with a beautiful family, it was only after I did this that I finally felt complete.
Were you nervous when you first began to do private readings?
Very. I took a big gamble telling people that I was a medium but I just knew something deep within my soul told me that it was the right time.
What is the one universal message you share with clients during a reading.
I tell them that I just want to validate that their loved ones are still with them and that they are safe and at peace. I also say that they don’t have to go to a medium to speak to their loved ones. They should simply pay attention to the signs and symbols around them.
Tell us how the show came about. Was television something you longed to do?
Are you kidding me? I’m still in shock that I’m a medium let alone one with a TV show. Actually, it was my girlfriend Victoria that convinced my manager, Courtney (her sister), that I was made for television. The problem was that nobody wanted to meet me because a medium doing a reality show wasn’t an easy sell. But once Jonathan Partridge, the show runner at Magilla Entertainment, met me and filmed me doing readings and going about my life, he was convinced that we had something. Then TLC took the plunge and here we are. And incidentally TLC does NOT stand for Theresa and Larry Caputo. It stands for The Learning Channel. But talk about divine intervention!
On the show you have arrived unannounced at local restaurants, nail salons and fro-yo shops. Then you sensed spirit and approached customers. Do you ever feel like Alan Funt of the spirit world? Smile! Your loved one just said hello?
Ha! I loved Candid Camera. I never thought of it that way, but I guess I am like him. But the amazing thing has been (even prior to the show) that whenever I have felt the need to read someone, no one has ever said, “Get away from me. You’re crazy.” And that’s because it’s spirit talking, not me. Even a few sentences can be life changing for that person.
What do you love best about doing the show?
Honestly, I love it all. I feel very blessed to have TLC, Magilla and the producers working with me because they gave me the platform to say this is my life. It’s like they began with a vision and threw all of it out the window just to let me be me. Of course I know it’s a “reality show,” but it’s my reality. I give them
credit for respecting me and not trying to change me or my family. Plus we have the most amazing crew and this great camaraderie. When they pull up in the morning, Larry says, “The kids are here.” They’re like family now.
What are the biggest challenges of doing the show?
Shopping! I just don’t have the time anymore. Also, producing a show means that there is a lot of hurry up and wait. But spirits don’t understand wait. They have a mind of their own and their own agenda. Also, you can’t script spirit so we never know what we’re going to get. They say whatever they want, but it is always for the higher good.
Do you think if Long Island Medium had gone on the air several years ago that it would have been such a huge success?
No. And that’s why I credit John Edward. Though I have never met him, I believe that he opened the door and made it acceptable to be a medium. And then because of his show, Crossing Over, he made it just as acceptable to be a medium on TV. I thank him for that because it is not easy to be the first of anything.
Speaking of John Edward, what happens when you are with other mediums? Does it feel like a big convention hall filled with spirits that are roaming aroundwearing name tags?
(laughing) Actually, when I’m with other mediums we don’t talk about the dead. We talk about life. But I’m always happy to be with them, especially when I am donating my gift to the Forever Family Foundation. We support research and education on the afterlife while providing support for people who are grieving.
You are beloved by mothers because of how much you worry about your children. But you have an ability to sense danger. How can mothers who are not mediums be reassured that their children are safe and happy?
I don’t worry about my children, Larry and Victoria, as much as I wish for my family to be together as much as possible. But if I do find myself worrying, I just pray in a positive way to put them in God’s white light and for them to be protected. I also visualize them out enjoying themselves and having fun.
The power of positive thinking. What a great concept!
Exactly. I like to say that a giggle a day keeps the blues away. I also believe you can’t have faith in fear. If you put out negativity that’s what you’ll get back. So if negativity starts to creep into my thoughts, I immediately visualize a positive outcome.
Describe the sensations when spirit is around you.
I can’t explain it. I’m being perfectly honest. I just sense and feel spirit. It flashes by like a movie strip. And though I hear messages, I don’t hear an actual voice like we do here in the physical world. Instead I interpret words and visions which are of odd and unique things.
Do spirits have a sense of humor?
Big time! They know that every day their loved ones feel sad without them so they communicate with laughter and personality. It is the best way they can validate that no matter how they died, they are at peace now. Once I heard a dead husband say, “You’d better talk about this or my wife will kill me.” I didn’t want to repeat that but it’s not my job to decide yes or no. If it comes from spirit I say it.
On the show you seem to get even the smallest details right. How is that possible?
Because it’s not me that is sending the message. Its spirit and they never get it wrong. What can happen is a misunderstanding because the message doesn’t make sense to me, but it does to the person I’m reading. Or I’ll share a message and the person will say, “No, that didn’t happen,” or “I don’t recognize that name.” Then later on the name or message makes total sense. They were just in shock at first and couldn’t think straight.
True or False. There is a three-year wait list to get a private reading and you charge $400 per half hour.
False! And thank you for letting me put that rumor to rest. Even before the show, the wait list was a little over two years (as it is now). And my fee for an hour is still very reasonable. Much less than the rumored amount.
Since you can’t control when spirit is around you, how do you turn it off? What if you just need to relax? Can you say, “Not tonight. I’ve got a headache?”
It’s not easy to turn away spirit because they don’t like to wait. So when I need time to unwind, I simply visualize a door closing at the top of my head and nicely tell them to go to the white light. They understand that I’m not communicating now.
You recently appeared on Letterman, Katie, Dr. Oz and were even on Saturday Night Live. How does it feel to go from obscurity to celebrity status overnight?
Honestly, it’s all very exciting but it hasn’t changed who I am or what I believe. I’m still Theresa Caputo who speaks to dead people from her dining room. I’m just glad that my show has allowed me to share my gift with so many more people. But let’s face it. Nothing is forever. That’s why I will continue doing
private readings. It keeps me grounded and true to myself. I don’t ever want to lose my intimate connection with people.
Finally, how can people who are struggling with the loss of loved ones connect with them?
They should understand that communication is more than talking. Spirit leaves us amazing signs and symbols that they’re with us. They just want their loved ones to see what their energy and their soul have presented and to acknowledge and validate those moments. They should also know that whatever personal thoughts or prayers they share are being heard. And I know this for a fact, because spirit will repeat exactly what those thoughts and prayers were.
Talking with Theresa was both inspiring and enlightening. And though it may seem as if her sudden popularity was simply a lucky break, the people she touches would beg to differ. Her healing powers, positive spirit and true humanity validate this: her success was in the stars.
It’s no wonder that Theresa Caputo is one happy medium.
To connect with Theresa Caputo, visit her website. www.theresacaputo.com.
To learn more about the group she donates her time to contact www.foreverfamilyfoundation.com
This article was reprinted with permission from LONG ISLAND WOMAN magazine (December, 2012)