Theresa Caputo didnâ€™t talk to my deceased grandfather and grandmother during our interview.
TLCâ€™s â€œLong Island Mediumâ€ star didnâ€™t hint at whether she felt the presence of my since-passed dogs Onyx, Pooch or Jack, or Henry, the guinea pig who died when I was in second grade.
But Caputo says she has channeled the loved ones (furry ones included) of plenty of others â€“ on her TLC show, at the grocery store, in front of live audiences, at the bagel shop and everywhere in between. Itâ€™s a gift she claims she canâ€™t turn off. It captivates believers in the paranormal, both thrills and confuses those on the fence about her abilities and, on occasion, angers those who are convinced sheâ€™s a fraud.
Caputo has been a practicing medium for 10 years and is a certified medium with the Forever-Family Foundation, an organization dedicated to connecting science with the afterlife. â€œLong Island Medium,â€ which began its third season on TLC in early September, follows her life as a mother and wife in Long Island. She will appear live at the Louisville Palace on Oct. 30 to share personal stories and do interactive readings with audience members. Caputo recently took time out of her busy schedule to speak with me â€“ but not before her marketing rep made it clear she doesnâ€™t do readings over the phone. Ah well.
ANGIE FENTON: Those who watch your show see that youâ€™re changing peopleâ€™s lives, youâ€™re stunning skeptics across the country â€“ what is this whirlwind experience like?
THERESA CAPUTO: I know that Iâ€™ve been very blessed to have this gift to be able to communicate with people who have crossed over. This whole experience has given me such a completely different (out)look on what I do. Itâ€™s so much more than me just speaking to dead people. I never realized how much it has really changed peopleâ€™s lives. I see that now. â€¦ People will come up to me after the show and say, â€œEven though I didnâ€™t get read, the whole experience was so unbelievable, I know now that my loved ones are with me.â€ â€œIâ€™m not afraid to die.â€ Or, â€œYou just made things so much clearer for me.â€ Itâ€™s amazing how â€¦ everything has given everyone so much peace and understanding.
FENTON: What is it like for you when youâ€™re speaking to loved ones whoâ€™ve passed? Is it exhausting? Is it uplifting?
CAPUTO: I actually find it to be exhilarating for me. I find that itâ€™s rechargeable for me. In a way I almost feel like if I havenâ€™t channeled a spirit in a couple of days Iâ€™m like, oh my gosh, whatâ€™s wrong with me? (Laughs). I feel like I need to read somebody! â€¦ Because I donâ€™t know how I really do this, itâ€™s hard for me to explain even what itâ€™s like. For me itâ€™s just like having a conversation with someone in the world. Itâ€™s just like all of a sudden I start sensing and feeling things that mean nothing to me or I donâ€™t understand, but the person that Iâ€™m speaking to, the messages are life changing.
FENTON: What about for yourself? Do you sense people who have passed in your own life?
CAPUTO: Absolutely! (But) itâ€™s a little bit different. Itâ€™s harder for me to connect with my own loved ones because you have to understand when spirits give us messages, I want them to acknowledge things that have gone on here in the physical world or like say things that are very specific. â€¦ With my own loved ones or even with my friends, Iâ€™ll be like what, was I supposed to know that? Did that really happen? Did I experience that with them? When Iâ€™m meeting someone I donâ€™t know, for me itâ€™s like I donâ€™t know what this is. â€¦ But I always sense and feel my own loved ones. My nanny, who has been passed for a very long time, she really gave me help from the other side in accepting my gift.
FENTON: How young were you when it first started?
CAPUTO: Iâ€™ve been seeing spirits since the age of 4. I thought it was normal. That thatâ€™s what people saw: You know, people standing at the end of the bed or hearing people calling their names. I thought that was normal. It wasnâ€™t until the age of 28, because I suffered from anxieties because I was blocking spirits communications because I didnâ€™t really understand it, and when I got older â€¦ (and turned) 28 did I realize or know it was spirits trying to communicate with me. Thatâ€™s when I really learned how to understand but more importantly control the energy, and thatâ€™s when my life, really, for me, I felt complete and I was able to harness my anxiety.
FENTON: Do you channel or speak to animals?
CAPUTO:Â Yep. Animals have come through. When I communicate with spirits theyâ€™re not speaking to me the way we speak in the physical world. I feel and sense things. Iâ€™ll see flashes of things. So, dogs will come through and show me a flash of a collar. I might see a pink rhinestone collar, and thatâ€™s my symbol for a person who lost the dog and they kept the collar. They might show me a bed or a toy. â€¦ I just see flashes of it. To be honest with you, the way I interpret it, anything that has a soul has the ability to come through. I channeled a squirrel before. I mean, come on, someone has a pet squirrel. I didnâ€™t make that up. Who has a pet squirrel? (Laughs.) â€¦ One time that came through, Godâ€™s honest truth. In front of 100 people. There were 100 witnesses that a squirrel came through!
FENTON: When you are live in front of an audience, how do you manage things? Do the spirits take turns?
CAPUTO:Â For me, itâ€™s whether Iâ€™m in a room of 10 people or 1,000 people. I have certain rules. I just go with the energy of the souls that are going to communicate the best, that are going to communicate the strongest. I tend to go very fast. I jump from one soul to another. I can very easily stand on the stage, talk about myself (for the majority of the time), and channel four energies. I donâ€™t do that. I give a little quick speech â€¦ and then go right into channeling for at least an hour and a half of channeling. I take no breaks. Itâ€™s just from one soul to another to another. Itâ€™s amazing. â€¦ What Iâ€™m able to do as a medium is absolutely phenomenal.
FENTON: How did you start your business as a medium?
CAPUTO:Â I started my business with just a business card and word of mouth. I was booked for two years before the show aired. All new clients are being placed on a waiting list because unfortunately itâ€™s impossible to schedule people three years out. I just want to take this time to thank all my clients for your patience and understanding.
FENTON: How did you wind up starring in â€œLong Island Mediumâ€ on TLC?
CAPUTO: My friend Victoria felt that I was made for TV and this was the perfect way to share my gift with everyone. Her sister Courtney and friend Jonathan, both producers, helped make that a reality. Between TLC, Magilla Entertainment and my incredible crew, Iâ€™ve been able to share my life and amazing gift with the world. People ask, â€œHow has your life changed since the show?â€ I say the only thing that changed is that I have both cameras and spirits following me now. (Laughs.) At the end of the day Iâ€™m just Theresa Caputo, a medium, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend from Hicksville.
FENTON: Is this a gift from God?
Caputo: For me, I believe I have a beautiful and amazing gift from God. I do believe in God. â€¦ I am Catholic and I am a practicing Catholic. Theyâ€™ll say as a Catholic how you were brought up and raised you shouldnâ€™t be bothering the dead.â€ Iâ€™m not bothering anybody. Theyâ€™re bothering me! (Laughs.)
Theresa Caputo Live!
What: TLCâ€™s â€œLong Island Mediumâ€ star
When: Oct. 30
Where: 7:30 p.m. Louisville Palace