Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Long Island Medium: Is She a Fake?

Being a psychic, tarot card reader, or medium is not an easy job. You have to tell people things they don't want to hear, for one thing. People also have pretty high expectations of what you're going to be able to tell them. But perhaps the most difficult challenge some days is the reputation that we have as a profession: People question our integrity constantly, and while I don't think that's a bad thing per se, we have to prove ourselves time and time again. Have one off day and your client can decide that you're not "for real" anymore.

The article here from Jezebel contains allegations that the Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo, is a fraud. While this particular piece is recent, there are allegations that go back a number of years. One site in particular claims to have a source codenamed "Kim" that says Ms. Caputo admitted she makes stuff up and doesn't really talk to spirits. Theresa is also accused of "cold reading" clients, a common claim among those who denigrate psychics on general principle. 

According to Wikipedia:

Cold reading is a series of techniques used by mentalistspsychicsfortune-tellersmediums and illusionists to determine or express details about another person, often in order to convince them that the reader knows much more about a subject than they actually do.[1] Without prior knowledge of a person, a practiced cold reader can still quickly obtain a great deal of information about the subject by analyzing the person's body languageageclothing orfashionhairstylegendersexual orientationreligionrace or ethnicity, level of education, manner of speech, place of origin, etc. Cold readers commonly employ high probability guesses about the subject, quickly picking up on signals from their subjects as to whether their guesses are in the right direction or not, and then emphasizing and reinforcing any chance connections the subjects acknowledge while quickly moving on from missed guesses.

Let me start off by saying that I don't believe everything I read on the Internet, and I hope you don't either, because if that's true, pro wrestling really is fake and I'm totally crushed. I say that tongue in cheek, but you understand what I'm driving at. I'm not going to string someone up because of a few articles. 

With that said, we all know what can be done with the magic of television. Like every reality television show, "Long Island Medium" is edited. Of course they're not going to show you the times when she's off the mark. They're going to show you when she has a tremendously positive impact on people. 

We also know what can be done with information. With a few keystrokes you can find out quite a bit about someone you've never met and easily fudge the rest. Some of Caputo's detractors allege that her knowledge of people comes not from the deceased but from background checks performed by her staff, with live shows carefully choreographed for maximum impact. 

One of the allegations this site makes is that Ms. Caputo is "all about the money". A number of the arguments are somewhat compelling, but this one makes my bullshit meter go off. We all like to get paid, and if you have the ability Theresa supposedly has, you're out to help people but you want to make some money, too. She has the right to charge people whatever the market will bear. So on this one I say "Don't hate the player; hate the people who show up and pay her to perform." You can't cite that as a reason she's a fake. That's like hating professional athletes because we pay them millions; who do you think makes their jobs so lucrative?

To be fair, Ms. Caputo has an awfully big target on her back. She's the star of a very popular television show, and her practice is very lucrative. People are willing to wait for years for a consultation with her, and they pay top dollar without batting an eyelash. Speaking as a psychic, that's a good problem to have if you can manage it. But the more in the public eye you are, the more you are on a pedestal and the more people want to knock you off of it. 

I'm sure there are a lot of people who are extremely upset she has any kind of public acclaim, such as those who claim that psychics and other intuitives are "practicing the black arts" and other horseshit like that. (Incidentally, if you look up "Theresa Caputo Fake" on Google, you'll find a video that starts using bible verses to back up its claims.) So groups like that would want to bring her down, too. 

Of course, you'll also find plenty of other YouTube footage, like these from SciFake, that claim to prove Theresa is not for real. But even that isn't definitive proof; psychics can have off days, too. It's there for your edification. I encourage you to check out both sides of the issue. 

As a practicing psychic, my biggest problem with Ms. Caputo is an ethical one: She confronts people  to tell them what spirits were saying to her right off the street without getting someone's permission, or at least that's the way it appears on the show. For me that's a huge no-no. Unless someone asks you for a reading, even if you never pull out cards to get the information--it just comes to you through your intuition--that information doesn't belong to you and it's unethical to share it or ask about it. But Theresa appeared to help a lot of people and give them peace as they were going through tremendously difficult times as well. While I don't go out of my way to watch her show, I don't make it a point to watch, either. If it's on I won't turn it off.

So is Theresa Caputo a fake? I honestly have no idea. The information is compelling in some respects, but constitutes specious logic in others. One very close friend shared the possibility that maybe Theresa is gifted, but that she had to feed the publicity machine and in doing so started using other methods to "help" her. That's one of a hundred possible scenarios, ranging from "She's the real deal!" all the way to "She's a total fraud!" The truth is likely somewhere in the middle. 

One question I can answer is "Would I have a personal reading with her?" Speaking personally, I'd say no; I'm not willing to spend that kind of money or wait over two years for a slot. And for the record, these recent allegations wouldn't have changed my answer to the question. 

If it turns out that Ms. Caputo is a total fraud, then she has a HUGE karmic debt to pay off, and she will no doubt find herself in a world of shit from people who believed in her. Karma, as we all know, can be a bitch, but in deference to ladies everywhere, karma can also be a bastard. :)

In the end, you'll have to decide where you stand. But I encourage you to read everything you can and draw your own conclusions. Ms. Caputo just inked another season of "Long Island Medium", so she won't be going away anytime soon. 


  1. it's easy to attack another and judge them and ALL psychics get hit with the fake rap.......john Edwards gets it all the time and I personally can vouch for his authentic ability. same with Sylvia Browne are they 100% of course NOT! the cards are NEVER wrong but even I sometimes struggle with the meaning (I've been a reader for 20 years) I say if you don't believe in pschics don't see one, if you don't like pron don't watch it, if you don't believe in gay marriage don't marry someone of the same sex, etc etc but the old adage if you cant say something nice don't say anything comes to mind. no one is without fault and no one can bear public scrutiny without upsetting someone. lots of these people troll looking to get for Caputo my biggest issue with her is her kids are snotty brats! lol

  2. TV and psychic talents are not a good mix. There's problems from many different angles. If her goofs are edited out, it creates a very misleading image for the public, and that has a negative impact on professional readers of any type. I agree with John about her aggressive approach to total strangers, too. No permission, no introduction, no choice. She drops her psychic bombs on the unsuspecting in a tactless, brash manner.
    Reality TV has a myriad of down-sides, and this is a big one. Even if TC was a decent medium BEFORE she signed to do a reality show, afterward she's drawn into all the demands & politics of the television business. Once you make one compromise of your integrity (for fame, for money, whatever), it becomes a lot easier to make many more compromises. What's left after everything has been compromised? Nobody I would pay for a reading, that's for sure.

    1. I agree, Liz! Once you compromise yourself it's only a matter of time before you have to question everything. And people in television are interested in making money. I think this might be a wake-up call for a lot of people.