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Apr 14 2012

Randi Exposes Another Psychic Scam

James Randi has an article in Wired magazine exposing yet another fake psychic — Theresa Caputo, the Long Island Medium, who now has her own show on badly misnamed The Learning Channel (where the only thing you can learn about are fake psychics, incredibly obese people and women who have turned their uterus into a clown car).

Caputo does what’s known in my trade as “cold reading.” The very best practitioners can pick up enough information in what seems like innocent, idle conversation to convince you that they know very specific things about you. The scientific phenomenon is called the Forer effect — giving credence to vague observations that seem personal.

It’s also called the Barnum effect, after that famous showman credited with coining the phrase: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

That technique consists of simply tossing out initials, names and situations to the subject, asking casual questions while guessing, and a handful of other manipulative psychological techniques to appear to be demonstrating psychic powers.

“Is there an anniversary coming up?” “A birthday or something?” “He/she just said to me …” “He’s proud of you” and the ever-popular “Do you understand?” — to which the answer is always a nod of assent. What else is a beguiled believer to do when told: “She’s happy in Heaven?”

All of those inquiries come from Caputo, I should add.

Caputo has been given JREF’s 2012 Pigasus award.

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  1. 1
    Doug Little

    fake psychic

    You will receiving a citation from the Department of Redundancy Department shortly.

  2. 2
    Cuttlefish

    One small correction, or rather one additional detail. The Barnum Effect is indeed named “after that famous showman credited with coining the phrase: ‘There’s a sucker born every minute’.” But the effect is actually named after him because of a different phrase. When asked why his sideshows were so popular, he said it was because they had “a little something for everyone”. So do Barnum Effect readings. They are relatively vague, mostly positive statements; suckers sitters tend to remember the hits and forget the misses.

    Also, of course (and Randi knows this), cold reading is much more than just the Barnum Effect at work. Much of what he describes above is indeed cold reading but not Barnum Effect. Open-ended questions that can be a “hit” no matter what the answer, re-using information that was initially offered by the client (after sufficient time has passed that the real source has been forgotten)

    Anyway, the editing of his article makes it sound like Barnum effect and cold reading are one and the same, but as Randi of course knows, they are not.

  3. 3
    corkscrew

    Following on from Cuttlefish’s comment, I’d recommend Ian Rowland’s book The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading. It is remarkably thorough and totally fascinating.

    I’d give you some cool quotes from it, but I lent my copy to a co-worker with a psychic-visiting habit and never got it back. Which I guess probably counts as a win :-/

  4. 4
    Reginald Selkirk

    The fun never ends.
    Family Flees ‘Haunted House,’ Sues Landlord

  5. 5
    Reginald Selkirk

    corkscrew #3: … but I lent my copy to a co-worker with a psychic-visiting habit and never got it back.

    They’re using it to prop up the wobbly leg on their seance table.

  6. 6
    Shawn Smith

    Just to pick a nit, “TLC” dropped “The Learning Channel” name for several years. According to Wikipedia, it started to refer to the original name again in some of their promotions from 2006 to 2008, but it’s back to clown car uteri and other “personal” stories since then.

  7. 7
    tommykey

    I’m a Long Islander and a number of my friends on Facebook post gushing praise of the LI Medium that makes me grimace.

  8. 8
    heathermighty-lambchop

    Oy. One of my cousins was featured on this show. I couldn’t watch it because I was just disgusted that her grief was being preyed upon for this con artist’s financial gain. I’m not particularly close to my East Coast relations but I still find it appalling that they were all okay that our cousin was used in this manner and that they were just so excited that she was appearing on T.V.
    Ugh.

  9. 9
    Ichthyic

    One small correction, or rather one additional detail. The Barnum Effect is indeed named “after that famous showman credited with coining the phrase: ‘There’s a sucker born every minute’.” But the effect is actually named after him because of a different phrase. When asked why his sideshows were so popular, he said it was because they had “a little something for everyone”.

    to add yet more to the story, although commonly credited with the now famous phrase, Barnum himself actually wasn’t the one that originated the phrase. Ironically, it was used to describe Barnum himself after he claimed to have purchased the “Cardiff Giant” (he actually had made a copy and lied about having purchased the original), by the man who actually really bought the original, whose name was Hannum. Barnum even had the gall to call Hannum’s giant “a fake” (lol, as if they both weren’t), and Hannum sued Barnum in court! He lost, when the original maker of the Cardiff Giant finally admitted it too, was a fake.

    conmen conning conmen conning conmen!

    http://www.historybuff.com/library/refbarnum.html

  10. 10
    jessadams

    Randi is a scam. His million dollar challenge nothing but BS. Hope he burns in Hell

  11. 11
    jenmart

    Randy is a close minded redundant old fart that doesn’t even believe in God, because if he did, he would have to admit to believing in the paranormal! Old fool. Close minded people don’t make this world go round, they kill it….

  12. 12
    darinwinder

    It’s really sad that people attack things without a sound basis. Why disbelieve something that is real? Is God real? Everything that God said is said through MAN! To have faith in God is to have faith in Moses, not GOD!. I don’t think anyone could have watched two full episodes of this show and call this woman a fake. Have you seen any “B or C rated movies”. These would have to be the best actors in the world in order to pull off such a hoax.

    Not sure why I even commented because the author of this thread is not going to actually watch the program and form an opinion of their own. Quoting others is their way of condemning without knowledge.

  13. 13
    dingojack

    darinwinder – you’re not from around here are you?
    Let me explain: this is a website the attracts sceptics, atheists and agnostics (although certainly not exclusively). It is dedicated to the idea that one’s personal beliefs should not be used to infringe the rights of others. It is committed to the concept that ideas are not to be censored nor are they to be regarded as sacrosanct and thus immune from criticism.*
    So – to you post above:
    Firstly, the sound basis that this criticism is rationality and science. It’s been a sound basis for inquiry since the 5th century bce at least.
    Secondly, how do you know it’s real or not if you haven’t ever tested it to see if it is real?
    Thirdly, no, god or gods are not real. How do I know this? By testing the proposition using various lines of experimentation.
    Fourthly, using Ockham’s Razor (the most parsimonious explanation is the explanation that is most likely true) god doesn’t exist but a character (we cannot say whether he existed in reality or not) called Moses said those things.
    Fifthly, I have seen a lot of these kind of acts (I’m fascinated by the gullibility of crowds) and I can assure you it’s incredibly easy once you learn the ‘cold reading’ and ‘preparing’ techniques. No great acting ability is required (in this case, obviously).
    Sixthly, Randi is an expert in these kind of cons, I’d trust an expert over an amateur any day. Would you get the kid next door to do major surgery on you, or a skilled surgeon?

    Dingo
    —–
    * correct me if I’m misrepresenting you site Ed.

  14. 14
    darinwinder

    Dingo, Watch 3 episodes please and then reply.

  15. 15
    dingojack

    Already have. Next
    Dingo

  16. 16
    suzee4491

    I tend to be skeptical however, I didn’t really see you prove that Theresa Caputo is a fake. I get that she says some things which might be true of everyone or at least 1 or 2 in the room however, I’ve seen her hit some things which are not explicable.

    I have a theory and that is that she has a talent for telepathy. I have proven in experiments that everyone can read the thoughts of others, especially if they are sent in a picture form. Theresa, I suspect, has a well developed talent in telepathy, this type of thing not generally encouraged in Western Society but which is encouraged in Eastern societies.

    If she had a gift called “Discernment of Spirits” (like Padre Pio who told people things he had no way of knowing), Theresa would be 100% correct in her statements however, in watching the series again in the marathon today, I see that Theresa misses a few, even on the show (and I’m certain that most of the misses are not included in the series). I saw Theresa on Dr Oz and she didn’t do real well. Even in front of a large audience.

    People have all sorts of gifts and we all do not use the brain power we have – it is said that the average human uses about 1% of his/her brain power. Theresa Caputo is, in my opinion, a person who has developed her brain beyond the average – which makes her an interesting phenomena in itself.

  17. 17
    Michael Heath

    suzee4491:

    I have a theory and that is that she has a talent for telepathy.

    First you need to empirically validate that human telepathy exists; so citation requested.

    suzee4491 writes:

    it is said that the average human uses about 1% of his/her brain power.

    It is said a Minotaur exists in the Cretan Labyrinth. It is said that Celene Dion is the greatest singer ever. It is said that Ann Romney loves women. It is said that the biblical character of Jesus is God and that Jesus was resurrected after being dead three days. It is said that Fox News is ‘fair and balanced’. (I gotta go with the last being the most ludicrous.)

  18. 18
    Ed Brayton

    suzee4491 wrote:

    I have a theory and that is that she has a talent for telepathy. I have proven in experiments that everyone can read the thoughts of others, especially if they are sent in a picture form. Theresa, I suspect, has a well developed talent in telepathy, this type of thing not generally encouraged in Western Society but which is encouraged in Eastern societies.

    Really? You’ve proven that in experiments? By all means, please provide the citation for it. In which journal were the results of those experiments reported?

    People have all sorts of gifts and we all do not use the brain power we have – it is said that the average human uses about 1% of his/her brain power.

    Whenever you see someone citing the “we only use 10% of our brains” myth (or 1% in this case, which is even more absurd), you can be absolutely certain that you are dealing with an ignoramus or a con man.

  19. 19
    williamtr

    When considering topics, which conflict with my sense of rationality, I tend to trust my gut. My gut senses that television is a used for entertainment, advertisment, and persuasion.
    Information received from TV is delivered at angles to influence us. These days we are over-stimulated with countless existential concepts, to the point of calm confusion. Historical revisions, paranormal stories, science fiction, propaganda. Everything is fighting for your attention. Who knows what to believe?
    I choose to trust my instincts, which tell me that this “psychic” is as skilled as David Blaine or any other illusionist/entertainer. Until some credible breakthrough is derived from this “phenomenon”, I feel like it’s just smoke and mirrors for a paycheck. At some point we have to decide what is allowed to inspire us.
    You are, what receive.
    What goes in your brain, is what will come out of your mouth.

  20. 20
    1cruiselvr

    Some clues for me where: 1) her children are very embarrassed by her ‘talent’ to read people. You’d think they would be happy she can help them. 2)she has commented more than once that she was nervous before a group reading. Why? If it’s not a hoax, then why be nervous? A lot of what she tells people she can find thru googling their name. I found out many things about my totally unknown neighbor by this method.

  21. 21
    cat3

    She strikes me as being genuine. Some people are always going to have something negative to say, no matter what. The comfort she gives to people isn’t exploitng people

  22. 22
    cat3

    It’s doing something nice for someone, and asking nothing in return

  23. 23
    mymclife

    obviously and first of all, you must be a religious Christian, who unfortunately gives a very bad name to many Christians because, not only you have judged a woman, you have called a woman a liar and fake, never meeting her. And with those harsh words, I imagine a slander lawsuit could come into play.
    Mahatma Ghandi, said it best; “I like your Christ, but not your followers. Unless you have died and crossed over, you can’t relate to that, because I an not “Christian” I am destined to hell. And unless you have fallen in love with another of the same sex, you won’t relate to homosexuality and the abuse and hate crimes they still endure. In the horrible death of Matthew Sherperd, most HUMAN BEINGS WEPT because of this horrible, terrible crime and torture he had endured-Yet Christians and many people believed he got what was coming to him. I know you can’t see Christ, but you pray to invisible space with absolutely no proof of his existence. And you have nerve to question yet another invisible force that exists of our loved ones who have passed, and one trusting the enstincts and what is coming to her- Isn’t real. So I can guess you yourself has never had a psychic experience because your brain is still underdeveloped, I can see you not believing in it. But To judge, and call someone a liar or a con based on your lack of knowledge and experience with this, is wrong. It’s wrong for anyone to do what you did here, and worse if you are a so-called “Christian” man. All by yourselves, you bible bumper thumpers are going to turn many away from the Christian church and here is a slap in the face – We aren’t going to hell either!
    I have died and crossed over, I know what awaits and I am not afraid. The unconditional love and peace you feel there, is exactly what Spirit wants to bring to earth. This is not unconditional love, understanding and compassion. All you are is pure negative energy wanting all of us to be the same, but too many miracles that steer us in another direction. I have had psychic expereinces all my life, messages from loved ones, others who have passed and visions of future happenings-most of which had already happened. tHE ONLY RELIGION IN THIS WORLD THAT REALLY NEEDS TO SIT BACK AND ASSESS THEIR STRATEGY, IS CHRISTIANS. i HAD A STATUE OF kWAN yIN IN MY LIVING ROOM AND A CHRISTIAN LADY, SAID, “oH BE CAREFUL THERE..” PUTTING DOWN MY CHERISHED STATURE OF (WAIT FOR IT…) GODDESS OF COMPASSION. i HAVE YET TO SEE TRUE COMPASSION AND HELP GIVEN TO ME EVER, FROM ANY CHRISTIAN PERSON. yOU ARE NARROW MINDED WITH BLINDERS. i CAN PROVE TERESA’S ABILITY, AS i CAN MY OWN. Prove to me your Jesus lived, walked on water, turned water to wine.. Do you know Buddha performed those same miracles? So with this proof of jesus’ existence, would you have typed all that you said if he were sitting right next to you? If you would, what kind of spiritual person are you, or are you simply a troll trying to stir up negativity, doubt, and other people’s faith for your own sick sadistic motive. Free speech is a gift, but we are trying to turn the internet around, no negativity, swearing and trying to make it educational, inspiring, and uplifting. Free speech, give me a break, all you can do is slander a woman you have never met. If Christ was actually walking among us today, I guarantee it will be the Christian’s that will crucify him this time- because he was doing what teresa caputo is doing and you all will condemn him hell and kill him. We are all children of the same Universe; if you can’t uplift people, effect people positively affect peoples lives and truly be a servant to those in need or “beneath” you.. Keep your mouth shut then. Cuz you are just f*n NASTY! gO READ YOUR BIBLE – PARTICULARLY THE WORDS IN RED!! i GOT YOUR YOU BACK cAPUTO~ i HAVE BEEN THERE DONE THAT!!

  24. 24
    mymclife

    mymclife says:
    September 20, 2012 at 8:19 pm
    obviously and first of all, you must be a religious Christian, who unfortunately gives a very bad name to many Christians because, not only you have judged a woman, you have called a woman a liar and fake, never meeting her. And with those harsh words, I imagine a slander lawsuit could come into play.
    Mahatma Ghandi, said it best; “I like your Christ, but not your followers. Unless you have died and crossed over, you can’t relate to that, because I an not “Christian” I am destined to hell. And unless you have fallen in love with another of the same sex, you won’t relate to homosexuality and the abuse and hate crimes they still endure. In the horrible death of Matthew Sherperd, most HUMAN BEINGS WEPT because of this horrible, terrible crime and torture he had endured-Yet Christians and many people believed he got what was coming to him. I know you can’t see Christ, but you pray to invisible space with absolutely no proof of his existence. And you have nerve to question yet another invisible force that exists of our loved ones who have passed, and one trusting the enstincts and what is coming to her- Isn’t real. So I can guess you yourself has never had a psychic experience because your brain is still underdeveloped, I can see you not believing in it. But To judge, and call someone a liar or a con based on your lack of knowledge and experience with this, is wrong. It’s wrong for anyone to do what you did here, and worse if you are a so-called “Christian” man. All by yourselves, you bible bumper thumpers are going to turn many away from the Christian church and here is a slap in the face – We aren’t going to hell either!
    I have died and crossed over, I know what awaits and I am not afraid. The unconditional love and peace you feel there, is exactly what Spirit wants to bring to earth. This is not unconditional love, understanding and compassion. All you are is pure negative energy wanting all of us to be the same, but too many miracles that steer us in another direction. I have had psychic expereinces all my life, messages from loved ones, others who have passed and visions of future happenings-most of which had already happened. tHE ONLY RELIGION IN THIS WORLD THAT REALLY NEEDS TO SIT BACK AND ASSESS THEIR STRATEGY, IS CHRISTIANS. i HAD A STATUE OF kWAN yIN IN MY LIVING ROOM AND A CHRISTIAN LADY, SAID, “oH BE CAREFUL THERE..” PUTTING DOWN MY CHERISHED STATURE OF (WAIT FOR IT…) GODDESS OF COMPASSION. i HAVE YET TO SEE TRUE COMPASSION AND HELP GIVEN TO ME EVER, FROM ANY CHRISTIAN PERSON. yOU ARE NARROW MINDED WITH BLINDERS. i CAN PROVE TERESA’S ABILITY, AS i CAN MY OWN. Prove to me your Jesus lived, walked on water, turned water to wine.. Do you know Buddha performed those same miracles? So with this proof of jesus’ existence, would you have typed all that you said if he were sitting right next to you? If you would, what kind of spiritual person are you, or are you simply a troll trying to stir up negativity, doubt, and other people’s faith for your own sick sadistic motive. Free speech is a gift, but we are trying to turn the internet around, no negativity, swearing and trying to make it educational, inspiring, and uplifting. Free speech, give me a break, all you can do is slander a woman you have never met. If Christ was actually walking among us today, I guarantee it will be the Christian’s that will crucify him this time- because he was doing what teresa caputo is doing and you all will condemn him hell and kill him. We are all children of the same Universe; if you can’t uplift people, effect people positively affect peoples lives and truly be a servant to those in need or “beneath” you.. Keep your mouth shut then. Cuz you are just f*n NASTY! gO READ YOUR BIBLE – PARTICULARLY THE WORDS IN RED!! i GOT YOUR YOU BACK cAPUTO~ i HAVE BEEN THERE DONE THAT!!

  25. 25
    patriciastclair

    Gee, you smart people are sure long winded! I think it’s due to the absolute infatuation you have with your own words & self proclaimed logical explanation of everything from rocking tables to Jesus Christ and beyond. It’s really very entertaining to read articles written by people who simply must put down everything in order to feel great about themselves! I don’t really care if Teresa Caputo is genuine or not, beliefs are in the mind of the beholder. So what, if she’s a fraud she’s very good at it and very entertaining, so let her be. Isn’t it better than a lot of other bad behavior we could be watching. The U.S. is the only country that embraces bad behavior and looks at it as ‘entertainment’!
    Anyway, just one more comment regarding these really, really smart people that know how to turn an intelligent sounding phrase. My thought is that the reason behind their negativity on religion, God, Jesus, etc. is due to the fact that they cannot bear the idea others just might know more than they do! I think it scares them to death that there could be something to this religious stuff. Like the one guy who said, “Thirdly, no, god or gods are not real. How do I know this? By testing the proposition using various lines of experimentation.” How convincing. I love double talk! And ‘mymclife’is a veritable fount of information because she’s “been there done that”. I truly applaud these two people on their fine grasp of psychobabble and BS above & beyond the call of duty!! Thank you for this evening’s entertainment!!

  26. 26
    mooremajik

    There’s another technique here being used aside from cold reading/secretly getting information that is often overlooked, the technique of editing. One thing we will NEVER see is a straight reading from begining to end in one continuous shot with no cuts or edits. Why? Because we’d see as many wrong guesses as we would somewhat close guesses, or even readings where she is wrong for %75 of it. Its a snap to cut out all the wrong guesses. Anyone could do this. For example, its as easy as walking into a store, approaching people & saying stuff like- “Come here often/you like shopping here?” etc etc. Anything that would facilitate a yes answer. Than when they leave, film the reverse shot (Caputo) asking questions like- “Did your brother pass?”, than edit her “questions” along with there “yes” answers. Right now I can edit myself talking to any celebrity I want that I never even met & make them answer what I say however I want. & this is exagerated a bit, but you get the idea. A mixture of good cold reading, educated guesses, & the magic of television, & you to can “talk to the dead.”

  27. 27
    sandra

    Well I LOVE her and believe her. I believe that people can see spirits, talk to spirits and relay messages from them to their loved ones just like Christians believe that Jesus died for their sins. I mean, if you believe that, why not Theresa? And 1cruiselvr…you say her children are ashamed of her? You must not be a parent, or a parent of a teenager, that’s for sure. Teenagers ESPECIALLY are embarrassed of just about everything their parents do, from the way they dress to the way they talk to the car they drive to the house they live in. Give me a break…her kids are embarrassed of her. That is nothing new in this world for sure!!!!!! Why not just let her alone? She is a nice person, not hurting ANYONE by what she does. Get a life already people.

  28. 28
    joehamel

    How come nobody does a background check on the “not so amazing Randi?”

    Ho to the Broward County public records in Florida and see what he’s been up to over the years – and oh yes, dont forget the New Jersey public records – he ran from there to FL but his disgusting reputation only followed him

  29. 29
    jonjon71

    I’ve got a question for those skeptics who claim to base their opinions here on science. If you’re going to draw a conclusion about the Long Island Medium and whether she’s real or not, don’t you need to do a valid empirical study on her abilities? Has anyone brought her into a lab and tested her hit rate? Sure it looks like cold reading, but there are an awful lot of specific hits too. Basing your conclusion as to whether she has abilities or not based on what you see on TLC is a clear case of sample bias. The show is produced and edited by folks other than Teresa Caputo to provide entertainment. Is she a real medium? I don’t know. Neither should you unless you’ve done the research.

  30. 30
    dingojack

    My dear JonJon –
    Firstly, you do realize this conversation is well and truly ‘dead’ don’t you? Trolls who blow in late to the party in the hope that comments go unnoticed and therefore unanswered, before going off to vainly crow to their fellow trolls how they ‘bested’ the evil skeptics, get nothing but contempt here.
    Secondly, skeptics have been trying to quantify the abilities of so-called mediums (and the like) for years, but strangely the mediums get all shy when the spotlight of science is turned on their so-called abilities and they decline to paricipate in the experiment.
    Could it be that they fear that when proved to be fakes the suckers their audience won’t provide them with a living any more?
    Dingo

  31. 31
    jonjon71

    Ah dingo, it’s so nice to see that you’re at least consistent in your tendency to judge quickly and with little supporting evidence. I’m a troll seeking to best you, Teresa Caputo is a fake…again, not very consistent with someone who is trying to determine what’s what. My apologies if I’m beating a dead horse, but the most recent postings here were from the last week or two. If you put aside the insults and consider for a minute that I might be asking this question sincerely as someone who considers himself a skeptic, can you please explain to me how Randi or anyone else can make a certain conclusion based on what “looks like” cold reading” but without testing Caputo?

  32. 32
    icspiritsanywhereigo

    Randi is the fake and phony. I poured out my situation to him, things happening that I couldn’t explain. How I knew things, why is crazy things happening. I get videos everywhere I go, yet didn’t take a half second to even look and help me scientifically prove what was going on. I have recordings from work, that has security cameras, that is unexplained. I sent copies of videos to tons of skeptics..not one response back.

    Instead of insulting people that seek scientific explanations…why not help. I know things about total strangers, and have walked up to them and told them things I would have no idea about…and no, I have done over 300 of these and have never charged one cent. I believe it is a gift, that should remain a gift. I keep it totally on the low down, do not want attention for this thing…just want answers..

    I will turn my back to the person I am giving a cold reading to, so not to see any facial expression. I tell them…many times…only answer yes or no….I have many times cut them off so they can’t say anything. I don’t generalize…I say..exactly who I feel it is, if I am wrong..I stop immediately. I give them very weird details…like last week, i walked u to the mother who just lost her daughter and asked…did you have to peel off a blue dress….a very plain blue dress…when she was 5-6? Yes. How did I know that. Most girls love girl colors..not blue.

    I finally gave up looking for a scientific explanation, because not one person could explain how I know, or…..how I get video everywhere I go I cried for about 18 months…went to psychics..who all disappointed me greatly…I REFUSE to be called that, or a medium…just say I have a gift. I do believe 99.8% of them are full of crap…I also.went to different priests and pastors….seeking answers…if you knew the entire story..you would not be able to explain what it is that I have been through…except to actually think…is this for real. I still invite ANYONE to help me scientifically explain the things I have taped…or how I knew that path a guy took before he killed himself. The only detail I got wrong was what door he walked out of. I will only answer emails if you put Answer on the subject line. YouTube…BLN GHOST 101…BLN GHOST 100…

    BLN GHOST 35 that was after nights of me barking at my husband to stop touching my hair…stop breathing on my hair…then I caught the video….

    I have vowed to never help anyone again….twice…then two very, very, very weird things happened…with many witnesses…to me…proof enough for me. My gift is to heal broken hearts..create closure…it is what it is…unless you can prove it isn’t. Honestly I hope you do. Then I can have closure.

    So…my challange is…prove it to me that it isn’t what it seems to be. Otherwise, put a cork on it.

  33. 33
    RickR

    I’m watching her TLC show right now. She’s got her cold reading technique down, I’ll give her that. Slick as shit. “Do you understand that?”

    She’s “reading” a young woman whose father died in 9/11. The poor girl is in tears.

    At this moment I want to run Caputo over with my car.

  34. 34
    dingojack

    JonJon – Apologies. To answer your question, it’s called ‘experience’: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… Occam’s Razor would suggest that the most parsimonious explanation is – that it’s a duck. :)

    icspiritsanywhereigo – I’m no expert, but I think you’ve been seeking help in the wrong places.
    Your thought processes seem to me (again I remind you that I’m certainly not an expert) disjointed and a little over-emotional (perhaps a touch paranoid). I’m not ‘diagnosing’ you as crazy, but perhaps you are being a little overwhelmed by the things you seem to feel you are experiencing, and quite possibly you’re exhausted.
    Seek professional advice.

    Dingo

  35. 35
    Ed Brayton

    Wow, I didn’t realize until now that this thread had gotten an infestation of wowsers months after it was written. I think icspiritsanywhereigo has things quite backwards. It isn’t up to someone else to disprove their claims, it’s up to them to prove it. And you do that not by vague anecdotes but by submitting to rigorous testing. Good luck with that.

  36. 36
    jonjon71

    Thanks Dingo, I hear what you’re saying. I just wonder if Occam’s Razor would find that, “We don’t know” to be a more parsimonious explanation than extrapolating based on experience (which can be very subjective) ;)

  37. 37
    cherob

    I don’t know who this woman is talking to, but I can say from my own near death exp that when you are in the spirit realm, you have no interest whatsoever in your physical body or the physical world you leave behind. You dont even see the physical any longer. So, how she says dead relatives are there or with you is beyond me. I think this woman may have a talent for connecting with people in general and reading people thus turning it into a psychic experience. I think she knows what she is doing and considers it to be helping people, but when you start charging money and making money off a tv show, I then consider her to be a predator on people hurting for answers. Of course you see her doing some free readings so it is not obvious that she made a business out of this. Many people claim they are mediums and most including her refuse to defend t themselves because that then opens the door to ask for undeniable proof. I do have one question however that makes it most obvious that this is nothing more than a parlor trick and that is how does “spirit”as she calls them know her name but can’t say their own name or the person they are trying to contact????? I mean on many occasions, she says they are saying “Theresa blah, blah.” Why not say the person’s name then??

  38. 38
    dingojack

    cherob – You made me think of:

    Charley Bowdre: Hey, Chavez, how come they ain’t killing us?
    “Dirty Steve” Stephens: Because we’re in the spirit world, asshole. They cain’t see us!

    :D Dingo

  39. 39
    neufy

    I did not read everyones response, but the ones i did read refer to watching the “show”. not sure if any of you have been to any kind of “taping” of a television show. but the editting that is done can be completely different then the taping you watched. therefore, what is the poing of “watching” long island medium? its entertainment. thats it. i am not saying whether i believe its true or fake, im just saying, i dont think anyone can say for sure unless you have been there done that.

  40. 40
    neufy

    sorry if i stepped on anyones ones toes. that wasnt my intention

  41. 41
    corihingst

    Randi has a closed mind only open to his own thoughts which he believes to be the Holy Grail. He is a big blowhard always trying to get his name out in the media. Theresa knows things no one else would know, telepathy is much different from channeling and he knows this. Bottom line..I believe her, I do have an open mind and there is so much we don’t know, that I can’t rule her out.

  42. 42
    valerielebeau

    I saw this post, and had to post here. I’m not really sure about other mediums, but as a medium myself, I have gotten, details, even names, of loved ones crossed over or living. I don’t really tell my clients about this ability, much, because they might expect me to know the name of everyone in their family and the way it works with me, when I’m comfortable, spirit,God etc, is comfortable giving me the information, then I may get some unusual names. A couple of examples of this, I got the name of a lady’s husband, Leon (living) I said, who is leon? She said, my husband. I also got the name of guys cat, Mitsy (passed), Although, I said Missy, but close. I also saw the cats stuffed chicken toy. Recently, I got the name of a pet named bandit (passed). Keep in mind this is without any info, just the name of the caller. I’ve really struggled with this ability because, even though I was a psychic, I was a skeptic of mediumship. My husband is also very religious and didn’t believe in this stuff. In the beginning of our marriage, anyway. I’ve let him listen to some of my radio shows, as proof, so he’s coming around (lol). I think it’s important to be a skeptic, because this will help you find legitimate mediums. Okay, so I hope this helps.

  43. 43
    nikkidasilva

    They say the bigger they are, the harder they fall. I don’t need to be a psychic to see that some day she is going to fall harder than Ms. Cleo ever did! I think she probably not only does her own research on people ahead of time but maybe even has people working for her who thoroughly investigate a subject before popping in on them at their place of business with cameras in tow. (Like a yoga instructor who she stops class to do a reading on)With a little bit of time spent combing through computer records and other public resources whole troves of information can be gleaned. I would bet a King’s Ransom that she is a very active user of Ancestry.com… If she hires outsiders to do the bulk of the research she can even have people visit and interact with her “victims” ahead of time as well. I am convinced that sooner or later somebody will spill the beans and expose her for the faker that she is and then she will be disgraced and vanish from the public eye for good. Te more people in on the secret the bigger the chances are of her secret becoming exposed. Just ask Lance Armstrong. Personally I think she should go to jail for fraud as well but I will probably have to live content with the knowledge that there is a special place reserved for her in the second ring of Hell…

  44. 44
    woodroam

    I read most of these replies with interest. I don’t claim to be a psychic and I don’t present myself as having a special ability. I don’t care if you believe or disbelieve in spirits, gods or goddesses, UFOs, Bigfoot, kitsune foxes, Oni, or berguists. It’s okay that a university physics student told me emphatically that the Earth is the only planet that has life in the universe. Can anyone prove that she was wrong?

    I’m fairly certain that most of us know very little about anything. I’ve studied religions of ancient societies back to the Neanderthal Valley and have noted that throughout time mankind has always sought an explanation for experiences that our normal senses can’t explain.

    We have made gods of the sun and the moon, found spirits in trees and under the sea. Ghosts and ancestral dead have visited us through the millennia. “Little people” have appeared all over the globe, from the aboriginal Mimi Rock people of the Australian bushmen to the dwarfs of the Germanic people.

    All through time mankind has sought to explain and define what we now call the paranormal by giving it the shape of something we can understand. But the explanations fail in time. Isis is no longer a revered goddess, Apollo is no longer a god, the devil isn’t waiting at the crossroad, and Baba Yanga isn’t riding through Siberia in her mortar looking for children to eat.

    The debate here seems to center on whether this woman is truly in contact with spirits of the dead or if she is lying. Is that it? Or is the more troubling question about the nature of our world. Is there, or is there not, an unseen world of dead spirits, ghosts, or ancestral beings living around us?

    Don’t worry: I don’t have an answer. My observation is that throughout human history mankind has believed that ‘something’ more exists. We have defined it in a thousand ways, trying to give it substance. It makes sense to me that through all of the millennia, the rise and fall of civilizations, and the diverse cultures, man has always believed that there is more to life than what is perceived with our five senses. As a species we seem to need our beliefs in the supernatural. Now that could be caused by an inherent flaw in our genetic code or it could be that we actually possess a sixth, undefined and underdeveloped, sense.

    This sixth sense would be the one that pharaohs high priests possessed, the one that shaman use to commune with spirits, and the one that modern psychics also use. The problem is that the majority of the population has less of this sixth sense that the few who do. It seems to us that someone like a psychic could be seeing and hearing spirits because we do not.

    Imagine living in a world where everyone is blind. Occasionally there is someone born with eyes who can see. That person describes the visual world to the blind. Would you believe that there is anything more than darkness if only one person in a million claimed to see mutiple colors? If I was one of the blind and I said that I prefer to believe that there are colors, would you call me a fool?

    I can’t say whether this psychic lady hears the thoughts of the dead. I certainly never hear such things. Yet I must admit, that I hope she does, because if she does, then my world has a rainbow and I will one day be united with my loved ones in a greater world than I now perceive.

  45. 45
    dingojack

    It’s okay that a university physics student told me emphatically that the Earth is the only planet that has life in the universe. Can anyone prove that she was wrong?”
    Fortunately science doesn’t ‘prove’ anything, it provides evidence that strengthens or weakens the theory. Simple.
    I’ve studied religions of ancient societies back to the Neanderthal Valley…”
    I doubt it. The only evidence we have of any kind of Neanderthal ‘cultural’ are a few artifacts and some graves, any kind of discussion about Neanderthal spiritual beliefs is simply guesswork.
    It makes sense to me that through all of the millenia, the rise and fall of civilizations, and the diverse cultures, man has always believed that there is more to life than what is perceived with our five senses.”
    All those millenia and not a skerrick of evidence, plenty of wishful thinking and sleights of hand, but no evidence, how remarkable!
    As a species we seem to need our beliefs in the supernatural. Now that could be caused by an inherent flaw in our genetic code or it could be that we actually possess a sixth, undefined and underdeveloped, sense“.
    Or it could be space aliens from the planet Spong-Prime in the Splunk Nebula. Well my theory has about as much evidence to back it up as yours does, any evidence of these ‘mysterious super powers’? (Personally, I would likely reject my theory above after applying ‘Occam’s Razor’ to the proposition and seeing which is the more likely while using the most parsimonious set of assumptions).
    Imagine living in a world where everyone is blind. Occasionally there is someone born with eyes who can see. That person describes the visual world to the blind. Would you believe that there is anything more than darkness if only one person in a million claimed to see mutiple colors? If I was one of the blind and I said that I prefer to believe that there are colors, would you call me a fool?”
    Firstly, do you seriously think that visually impaired people think that because they can’t see the world it doesn’t exist.Do you think because of this they don’t go out? Do you really think that they think the whole universe is dark because they can’t see it? Just how stupid do you think they are, exactly?
    Secondly, in this (ridiculous) scenario I’d say ‘bring me the evidence’.
    Dingo
    —–
    PS: I could let this gem get away:
    “Little people” have appeared all over the globe, from the aboriginal Mimi Rock people of the Australian bushmen to the dwarfs of the Germanic people“.
    Firstly, Mimi are characterised as being tall and so thin that they are in danger from being snapped by the wind by Australian Aboriginals (definitely not ‘bushmen’). Second the Germanic ‘Kobolds’ and ‘Dwarves’ aren’t spirits just children and very short adult men used to mine for salt (amongst other things) because being small made it easier o get through the tiny shafts and galleries.
    Both of these errors cast stronger doubt on you re claim of some kind of expertise in comparative religious studies (or sociology or whatever).

  46. 46
    origamimoon

    I am a medium and since childhood had encounters with the other side. I see it as a gift and also think that it is to be used for good. I think Theresa Caputo does cold reading. I saw her do this “reading” where she said something like I see numbers 5,8,11,12. Do those numbers mean anything to you? DUH! I was once at a class on connecting to spirit where I did automatic writing for the first time in my life. I did this writing that was loopy, all words connected, and while in this midst of doing this I smelled this candy that I would eat as a child. The candy was red hots, kinda like hot balls that my kids like. At the time that this happened I was eating a root beer barrel. I removed the candy from my mouth, smelled it, no red hot smell and looked around and put the candy back in my mouth. After awhile the woman who was leading the class asked if anyone had written anything. I raised my hand as did another woman. The other woman read what she wrote was a single world “Mom”. I think the woman must have just recently lost her Mom and that what she wrote was a logical feeling of grief. Now, what I wrote made no sense to me but apparently it did to a woman in the room. I wrote ” memory, gone, my one bless only, peace”. The leader of the group the. Asked if I had smelled anything. I told her about the smell and then a woman in the room said the message was from her boyfriend that had passed who loved the kinda candy I described. That being said, I have the belief that anyone who is in the right state of mind can develop the ability. I also believe that Randi is wrong. I would like to do his challenge but why bother? I could use the money but to go up against such a negative personality who manipulates people and for all I know may rig things. I was thinking I would do an automatic writing thing for Randi and mail it anonymously because then it would either be true or not but I don’t care what he thinks only what I believe. PEACE!

  47. 47
    myriamvazques

    HEY RANDI YOU PIECE OF SHIT!!!!!!

    TERESA IS NOT A FAKE. I KNOW WHO IS AND WHO ISN’T AND SHE IS NOT.

    But I’ll get back to you next year, a friend of mine is getting a reading from her and there is some info that is very personal and no one knows, she didn’t even want to tell me and that will confirm that Teresa is for real

  48. 48
    myriamvazques

    The problem with the other side, which is actually the other dimension is that you carry the beliefs you had on your earthly life. Also the medium doing the reading aka Teresa (catholic) or James Van Praagh’s (catholic) carry that on their readings.

    That we can connect to the other dimension yes. (quantum physics). That God excists no, forget it.

  49. 49
    stephaniesivertsen

    I just went to her live show tonight in Milwaukee. I felt like she asked leading questions and when she gets validation, she sticks around and asks more random questions trying to draw them out more. She blamed the poor mic connection on “spirits” and the whistling noise coming from the speakers (most would call it feedback) was also blamed on “spirits”. Those firm believers, fell for it. I just sat and observed. Nothing stood out to me as astonishing. Asking if a spouse has passed, a sibling has passed, a child has passed or a parent had passed gets her to another section of the room. She will try to go to more personal things like – do you carry a picture of your loved one? I don’t know. At any rate, I think it’s great if you feel like your relative is shining through and answering all of your unanswered questions giving you that final sense of relief that you’ve longed for. I didn’t feel the least bit impressed. Especially since she went to one side of the auditorium and managed to linger up and down the aisle the entire allotted time. She went upstairs to the upper deck for 10 mins. Those readings were terrible. At that time, our section hoped she may swing by or at least acknowledge our presence but no, she came back in the same door she left to go upstairs and gave readings down the same aisle she had done the first 1.5 hours of her show. I know she couldn’t read EVERYONE in this 2000 person sold out auditorium but I thought to be fair, she would at least make her way around the room. Waste of $70.

  50. 50
    cmtd64

    Hello,
    I am a Christian – who, of course, believes in God, but I totally DON’T believe in Psychics. Maybe some Psychics believe that they really are speaking with the dead – but, I’m sure most know that they can’t. My parents both died before my daughter was born and I wish with all of my heart that they could have seen her. I’ve had people (who believe they “hear” things) tell me that my mom & dad do see her, and are proud of her, me etc… As much as this makes me choke up (even now) I know it’s impossible and that any feelings of belief/relief I have, is just grasping. I don’t know if Long Island Medium truly believes in her abilities and feels she is “helping” the grief stricken, or knows full well that she is taking advantage of the grief of others, but it’s not right either way.
    What I believe is – when someone dies – why wouldn’t they choose to go to heaven? And, if they’re supposed to go to Hell, the Devil wouldn’t let them NOT go to hell. I know most on this website do not believe in Heaven/Hell/God/Devil – (and believe it or not – I have no desire to change your mind – your life experiences should – not another person) as a Christian I wanted to express my views – and state that not all Christians can’t think for themselves.

  51. 51
    Justin Tribble

    There’s a new site that claims to have the testimony of a “whistleblower” close to Theresa Caputo who alleges the Long Island Medium is a “fake”… so maybe Randi will be proven right all along:

    http://www.longislandmediumfake.com

  52. 52
    Robin Birdfish

    I watched an episode of criss Angel, where he wanted to proved the fakeness of psychics. He had a group of people who came into a room with him one by one. He told each person the EXACT same thing, word for word…and yet, using the psychology of mind…each person came out believing Criss had spoken truly to him/her and what Criss said was true for them…and yet Criss said the same thing over and over…When it was over and he explained what he had done, it was pretty shocking for the participants because it had seemed so real and personal to each one of them. I’m not saying Teresa is or isn’t a fake…but certainly with skill she could accomplish exactly what Criss Angel proved possible. Not to mention…if I had a person who passed over…why wouldn’t they talk directly to me? Why go through a ‘medium’…I, like Houdini, have a code…so if I ever get the opportunity to speak to a medium, they better know that code word if they claim to reach my departed.

  53. 53
    julz

    You know, i am so very sick and tired of people like you claiming to be authorities on anything beyond what can be verified through our very fallible human senses. Faith and beliefs centered in the spiritual are obviously outside of the realm of standing up to your narrow self imposed litmus test. So because u find someone like a theresa caputo that so clearly has a gift that cannot be explained by traditional science. – u go on the attack. My guess is that you find her abilities so compelling that it drives u to seek validation from your fellow narrow minded nay-sayers. It wud be similar to me waging war against a group of people that believe trolls are plotting to overtake all the river boat casinos. Yes, amusing from my perspective but hardly worth getting out my thesaurus in order to warn the world. U claim to be some kind of expert on exposing what u believe does not exist – which makes u a self- proclaimed expert of the non-existent. Ill save u some time, no one really cares to hear your negative banter on something you have never experienced first hand. Excluding your angry atheist friends who have made it their mission to wage war on an ideology that in their minds exist, the rest of us are quite capable of using our very own “minds” to decide what we consider to be truth and determining who shows themselves to be the one true “fraud”. But i will not go as far as to have u stripped of your title – honorary professor of exposing the non-exposable! U earned that one fair and square.
    “In their case the god of this world has blinded the eyes of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corin 4:4.
    So for those of u out there on the fence, dont follow words from the blind. Seek out the truth for yourselves. And remember, we are in the days prophesied where God says he will separate the wheat from the chaff. Just know that all those that so arrogantly rise to what seems to be unjustified levels of power and influence are showing themselves to be the tares infiltrating God’s wheat field.

  54. 54
    Michael Heath

    julz writes:

    because u find someone like a theresa caputo that so clearly has a gift that cannot be explained by traditional science. – u go on the attack.

    Whoosh. Science has falsified that Ms. Caupto has any extraordinary gifts; it didn’t fail, the process explained she’s a liar. Dishonesty won’t get you far in this venue.

  55. 55
    julz

    I am so sorry. It seems i have offended u in some way. But then it is offensive to me wen a hack decides to dedicate a public article on a public forum that disparages someone for an ability that , and i beg your pardon, is one outside the “measuring stick” of the laws of science. and one in which scientists freely admit that the closer they get to understanding the ” theory of everything” the more expansive the question becomes. The law that u can always defer to is that order does not come from chaos and no matter how far u drill down u are still left with the question – and where did IT come from? But while u chase your tail im sure you wont mind if i watch in amusement. Wanna know something, i have no idea if she can really do what she claims – and because i find it more worthwhile to spend my time in support of things i know promote positive results i find it sad that someone who knows nothing spends his time maligning the positive things that others are trying to do. Thats what aggravates me enough to waste my time on this. Surely theres a tree in danger somewhere the author cud be saving vs putting out this garbage. Oh but he is just so concerned about those getting swindled right? Then work to resolve the issue of internet bullying thats causing 12 year old girls to jump to their death. Oh, but internet bullying is kinda his thing. Ever have someone tell u there is power on words? Well this author is no better than those 12 yr old bullies – no, hes worse, he shud know better. Your “venue” is a joke!

  56. 56
    dingojack

    For those who are inclined to think ‘TL;DR toward the commenter above here’s the shorter version:
    ‘Waaaaaaa, you (or even ‘u’) had the temerity to dare criticise what I believe (despite all evidence to contrary), and you hurt my precious little feelings. You’re all worse than Nazis. Waaaaaah!’
    [takes up bat and ball and flounces off in imagined triumph].

    @@

    Dingo
    ——
    PS: We’ll be thinking for ya!!

  57. 57
    colnago80

    I wonder of some of these monikers are sockpuppets for Anthony McCarthy, a whackjob who spends his time badmouthing skeptics like Randi, Martin Gardner, and Carl Sagan. The putz calling himself JoeHamel @ #28 sounds an awful lot like McCarthy. McCarthy believes that ESP and PK have been shown to be real phenomena by a clown named Dean Radin and a statistician named Jessica Utts. Unfortunately, Radin and Utts have thus far been unable to convince the scientific community of their conclusions.

  58. 58
    jgs9637

    To me, it seems entirely possible (probable) that the LI medium scouts out these places she “drops by” and does a quick bit of internet research. The TV industry has endless resources, not to mention lots of interns ready and willing to go to any length for the success of whatever BS it’s trying to sell.

  59. 59
    origamimoon

    I think that Theresa needs to be tested in a real research program at a university. A double blind study is the best way to prove or disprove her abilities. I think Randi is a person who makes his money the same way that Theresa does and neither one of them are innocent.

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