I don’t even know where to start, honestly. I brought this upon myself, and there is no real way around this sad fact. You see, when I engage with anything, whether it’s a movie, a TV show, or a book, if the subject at hand is something I find fascinating, or I’m just really bored, I might spend some time looking into that subject. It’s how I am. No matter how ridiculous something may seem. So, after I watched The Conjuring, what did I do when I got home? Well, I’ll tell you! I spent the better part of six hours on YouTube watching testimonials and interviews with people that made claims of hauntings, possessions, and things of that nature. I just find that stuff interesting, and I always kind of did.
When I was a kid, it started with shows like Unsolved Mysteries, and Histories Mysteries(Man, a lot of “mysteries” being bandied about in the mid 90’s.). Back then, when I was 10 or 11, I probably would have told you that I believed in a lot of what I saw. I was young, impressionable, and engaging in the time honored tradition, beset upon all those with an imagination and suffering from human nature, of looking for answers of some sort. The more mysterious these answers the better, because I wanted to know, and not really understand. This probably goes back to my Catholic upbringing, as this dynamic seems endemic of the way that ideology is taught. They tell you that something “is” a way, without offering anything further. Well, other than God made it that way, or that it’s just one of the “mysteries of life,” and you’ll get your answers when your dead and go to heaven. I mean, of course, right? This learned nature of blind acceptance primed my young mind to accept things with little to no proof. I couldn’t understand why people would lie about their “experiences.” I didn’t understand how peoples fears and vulnerabilities could exploited for some type of personal gain. The joys of youthful optimism/ignorance.
Now that I’m older, I’m slightly more discerning, I guess. The cold, harsh realities of life are no longer as mysterious as they once were, and through life experience I’ve found a lot of “answers.” The thing is they are rarely of the “supernatural” variety, no matter how much I would like the to be. Yeah, it would be great if there were more to life than just living, just existing, because it would just make things more interesting, and would, in a way, speak to our need of purpose. We could have our purpose, our definition, without having to define a sense of purpose for ourselves. That would be pretty great, eh? It would, at the very least, make choosing a “life path” a little simpler if there was a set of arbitrary rules to guide us.
Having said all that, I still find “supernatural” stuff fascinating, but now it’s more from a sociological perspective, than something I actually take any real stock in. It says more about the people involved in these “experiences” than proof of the paranormal. These events usually involve two parties. The “afflicted,” and some sort of “psychic helpers,” or “mediums,” or con-people, or whatever you want to call them. Whenever a person is in pain, or are left vulnerable somehow, they often seek out some type of assistance from an “expert” of some sort. Like, if your car breaks down. What do you do? Well, you seek out a mechanic don’t you? I do, so, let’s just assume that you would too. Okay? Cool. So, using that logic, I would imagine those that feel like they are being “haunted,” or are experiencing some type of “psychic trauma” would seek out some one akin to a mechanic. Like, a ghost mechanic, I guess you could say(Or I could say, because I just did.). But just like mechanics, I imagine that they’re not all exactly the most reputable of folks. Like, they would probably rip you off, because you don’t have the knowledge base to know if they’re being honest or not. Although, at least mechanics have to exist in the tangible, but what about “psychics,” or “mediums?” You have almost no choice but to take their word for it. It’s a system entirely predicated on having “faith,” or, as I like to call it, being gullible. In my opinion, this is their most egregious offense.
Enter, Theresa Caputo, the actual subject of this clap-trap. I’m sorry it took me this long to get to the point, but I’m a stickler for context, ya know what I’m saying?
So, this Long Island Medium show… Oh christ, where to even start? Well, I’ll say this, she probably is a psychic. A psychic vampire, preying on the vulnerability and sadness of those that are bereaved. I know that these types of shows and people have been around for awhile, with the likes of Sylvia Brown, and John Edward dutifully stoking the flames, and keeping the idea of “mediums” alive. Actually, Theresa Caputo, and those of her ilk, don’t make any claims of being psychic. No, she’s just a simple Mom, from Long Island, that “spirits” can speak through. Unfortunately, they speak through her in a grating, nasally accent. Oh, my bad, that’s just her normal speaking voice. It’ such a weird scenario. People come to her house, or she goes to theirs, and then she claims to be speaking for whoever has passed on, and that they are in the room, or something, I guess. Yeah, that’s another thing, they always show up.
Hypothetically, if all this stuff were true, it would make being a ghost kind of suck; being held hostage by the whims of some lady from Long Island. So much for being at peace, I guess. Seriously, why are they always there? Why are they always willing to speak to/through this women? Do ghosts have no agency, or control? I mean, what if a ghost just didn’t like her, or found her annoying? Seriously, most of what appears in the show happens in, or around, Long Island, not a place that’s exactly devoid of assholes. Yeah, assholes die too, and I’m sure they would just continue being assholes as ghost, because hey, they’re already dead, so what’s to lose? Maybe she’s actually some type of witch, that’s trapping them on our living plain. Poor ghosts…
I’m sure there’s some pseudo-science out there that explains all of this stuff(Garbage.). Like, she’s a “spiritual magnet,” or something like that, and ghosty whosties can’t help themselves, as they try to keep their families in a perpetual grieving state. “Don’t you’s guys ever forgedabout me! MEEEEE,” is what they’re saying, I suppose. Like I said, a lot of assholes in that part of the world. That’s probably what I find most disconcerting about Theresa Caputo, and her show. It stops people from ever really being able to move on after the loss of a loved. Having lost my father a few years ago, I know first hand how hard it is, and also how vulnerable you are during this time. You can’t process it. It doesn’t feel real, and all you want is some type of closure, some type of answer to stop your mind from racing through thoughts in slow motion. What Theresa Caputo does, and those like her, is pro-long this confused state of mind. She posits herself as the only way to find closure, and make sense of it all. I mean, yeah, she claims that it’s coming from your lost loved ones, but is it?
There is so many inconsistencies with the way she goes about giving her readings. There is no real set process, or structured way of going about it. She seems to be able to accommodate whatever it is that her “customers” need. Take for instance this situation: A women had given birth to a baby 3 months prematurely, and the child tragically only lived for a few weeks. So, when Theresa Caputo approached this women, asking her vague fielding questions, the women tearfully responded to the question: “Has anyone here recently lost a young man?” The thing was, it wasn’t all that recently, it was about six years before this reading, but that didn’t deter Caputo. Oh no, not at all. Before she delivered the apparitions message, she explained to this grieving mother that has spirit was growing as a normal child would, and his spirit was about seven years old. Now, even if you were one to believe in this sort of stuff, wouldn’t that kind of make you at least question what was being said to you? Seriously, this is some sort of “major discovery” in the paranormal world, isn’t it? Ghosts age? Like I said before, I’ve watched a lot of these types of shows, and have read dozens of books about all this stuff, and I’ve never heard anything like that. So, let’s assume that Theresa Caputo is full of shit. Why would she say something like this to a grieving mother? Well, because it’s what she needed to hear to feel better. The mother didn’t want to believe that when her child passed on that that was it. Just as long as “something” continues is solace enough for some people, and honestly that’s fine, but it can be potentially really detrimental to their well being, and mental health.
Beyond the fact, that these “mediums” are taking advantage of vulnerable people for financial gain(Hey, $350 a ticket is a small price to pay to talk to ghosts, dog!), they provide a reason for people to never have to move on, and experience the catharsis that comes from letting go. The “grieving process” is a real thing, and if you get stuck on one the steps of said process, it can make make life kind of difficult. It can stagnate you, in a way, and you might not even realize it. It’s not so much a problem that she comes bearing messages from the other side, it’s that she seems to imply that they can speak to their lost loved ones anytime they want, because they will always be there, hanging around, I guess(Again, being a ghost in this reality would really suck. What’s the point of being a ghost if you can’t do whatever you want. I think dying should at least earn you that right.). It kind of implies that maybe, just maybe, she’s trying to create a repeat customer base. Yeah, that’s what it seems like to me.
Maybe the most disconcerting thing about the whole talking to dead people industry, is that it is often given a lot of formal validation. These “mediums” are often paraded around day time talk shows as a legitimate form of therapy, because Dr. Oz would never steer you wrong. Sure, they are presented with caveats. Like, the fact that whether you believe in this stuff or not, it can still be beneficial to your mental health. I always found this to be odd. I mean, I know what they mean, and what they are getting at, as it could bring about closure and catharsis, but they ignore the whole perpetual state of grieving that talking to ghosts is going to naturally bring about. You may truly believe that they are there with you, but you’ll never hear them, never be able to touch them, never be able to do any of the things that make acknowledging a presence worthwhile. And eventually, this is going to bring you right back around to depression, because you can’t have what you ultimately want. Them. So, when they talk about the art of cold reading… Shit, sorry… When they talk about giving themselves over to the spirit so they can deliver these messages as a legitimate form of therapy, preying on the lower to middle class audiences of these programs, I can’t help but get a little miffed. I mean, why would they promote this kind of potentially harmful stuff? Oh crap! I just figured it out! MONEY!
Apparently, being the mail-man of the dead is a pretty profitable little enterprise. Just like John Edward before her, Theresa Caputo has been able to carve out a nice little niche for herself. Not only does she have her shows, and daytime talk show appearances, but you can also go see her live! They aren’t that cheap either. At one of these shows the ticket prices range from $71 all the way to $644! Yeah, crazy right!? That’s a lot of money to go see someone that is a self proclaimed “medium.” Hell, that would be a lot to pay to go see someone that is a self proclaimed anything, really.
I will say this, though, the lady isn’t without her talents. Apparently, this all started for her back in 2003, and upon realizing that she had this “gift,” Caputo spent the better part of five years under going some sort of education, so that she could “hone her skills.” I thought this was kind of a funny thing to admit, because I’m pretty sure what she was learning was how to do cold readings. It’s a technique that’s been around since people realized they could exploit peoples need for answers about the unknown. A lot of people have been able to debunk this process, and show it for the trick that it is over the past few years, but for some reason people still buy into it. The most startling thing about how Theresa Caputo goes about it is that is so by the numbers that how could anyone possibly be fooled by it? She employs basic human psychology to pull the information out of her clients, only offering the vaguest of information, and allowing them to fill in all the gaps. Especially, when in group settings. If you have a group of thirty people, and you ask “Has anyone hear lost a father,” I’m pretty sure a few of them will answer. So, one will answer, and it’s there that sh begins asking a series of questions, and every time she hits on something correct, she claims that the ghost is now asking for validation, basically getting you to conjure it up yourself. Then lots of kind things are said, tears are shed, and the cash goes into the bank. Viola! Magic!
Just as a side note, why are the things that these ghosts have to say positive? I’m sure at least a few people do in fact die with a chip on their shoulders, and now have that chip on their ghost shoulder. I don’t know, man. I could ask stuff like that all day, but I have to take a shower at some point.
So, after watching about a season of Long Island Medium, I’m left just kind of confused, really. I get the psychology behind why people engage in this type of stuff, but even shown in, what I assume, is her best light, the women isn’t very convincing. In fact, often she comes off as totally insincere, and a little narcissistic. Even during her sessions she always finds a way to make it about herself. It’s weird. I don’t get it. I don’t understand why she’s popular. Okay, I’m done. I could keep going for another two thousand words about all the little things that nag me about Theresa Caputo and mediums in general, but I’ll spare you and myself that. Also, I have an appointment with a medium myself that I have to get to. I’m going to have one drag my father’s ghost down, so he can tell me that he’s still disappointed in me! Good day!