For centuries, people have always asked questions about the other side and wondered what happens to humankind after they die. Many of us turn to psychic mediums, people who serve as a liaison between us and those that have crossed over to the afterlife. But how can we know if what we’re being told by these supposed psychics and mediums is actually true? How can we tell if they’re lying about their sixth sense in order to make a quick buck?
Year after year, different TV shows and books feature psychic mediums, claiming to give the public answers about what happens to us after we die, and helping us connect with loved ones that we wish we could speak to again. But as with any position of power, there are people who will lie and scheme to get their piece of the pie, taking advantage of vulnerable, grieving people, desperate to talk to loved ones who have crossed over. While not all psychics may be total frauds, the many bad apples can really spoil it for the whole bunch, resulting in all of us to become closed minded skeptics.
Whether your’e a skeptic or not, you can’t deny that the idea of making predictions about the future or talking to the dead is completely fascinating and worth looking into. While some of the psychics on this list appear in cheesy reality TV shows or trashy talk shows, in rare cases, their talent speaks for itself. When watching these psychics on TV and reading about them in bestselling books, we can’t help but wonder what’s real and what’s total hogwash. Who do you believe?
15. Real Deal: Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium
When it comes to cliche psychic mediums, Theresa Caputo (aka The Long Island Medium) more than breaks the stereotype. Theresa Caputo comes from the suburbs of Long Island; complete with ’80s bleached out hair, chunky acrylic nails, and the thickest regional accent you could imagine– and oh ya, she talks to dead people. Just her loud, vivacious personality is enough to garner interest from those around her, but add in her incredible ability to talk to people who have passed away and you have a killer TV show. The Long Island Medium first aired on TLC back in 2011 and has been a hit ever since. However, with the magic of editing and creative camera work, how do we really know if Theresa Caputo is the real deal?
It’s hard not to be impressed by Theresa Caputo on her show as she grabs personal facts and tidbits seemingly out of mid-air to total strangers. It’s not hard to find positive testimonials online about the psychic when it comes to one-on-one meetings. However, her giant group readings don’t seem to go over as well as her single ones. We have to imagine it’s difficult to cold read an audience of hundreds of people, and assume it’s hard for her to really find a connection in that type of environment. But based on her show and countless personal testimonials, we can’t help but assume that Theresa Caputo really talks to dead people. It’s also reassuring that in her books, on her show and in interviews, she stresses the fact that her readings are meant to help people. Further proving this sentiment, Theresa told The Huffington Post, “This isn’t about me, it’s about giving a voice to the people that have died. It’s about closure and peace.” Sounds believable, right?
14. Total Fraud: Chip Coffey
The second psychic to make our list goes by the name of Chip Coffey– a cute name indeed, but definitely a fishy character. Chip Coffey is a native New Yorker, but currently resides in Atlanta Georgia. Chip’s main claim to fame is as the resident psychic that appeared on shows like Paranormal State and Psychic Kids. Chip is a self-proclaimed psychic and medium, claiming to have a sixth sense since the young age of four. Chip says he was able to know who was calling on the phone before answering and was even able to see full body apparitions. While both of Coffey’s TV shows became popular in their own right, skeptics were always a present problem when it came to Coffey’s psychic abilities.
There have been multiple instances that have proven Chip Coffey to be a fraud, and they’re pretty hard to dismiss. In 2013, Coffey appeared on a Minneapolis morning show where he came back to follow up on a psychic reading of the host only to learn that none of his predictions had actually played out. Instead of talking through it, Coffey stormed out of the studio. Definitely smells fishy to us.
13. Total Fraud: Allison Dubois
For many years, Allison Dubois has continued to make a name for herself in the psychic community– especially in Hollywood. Dubois prefers to be called a medium and a “profiler” rather than “psychic”, due to the word’s negative connotation and all the stereotypes that go along with it. Over the course of Dubois’ career, she has offered her physics abilities to law enforcement in order to help solve crimes that were particularly difficult to crack down on. However, the various agencies she’s worked with have declined to state if her services were indeed helpful or not.
Allison Dubois became more known among a wider audience when the show, Medium aired on NBC, which was based on her successful book. However, there are quite a few instances in which we learned that maybe Allison Dubois was just a big phony. Case and point: When Allison Dubois appeared on Bravo’s hit show, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, her cooky persona was utterly laughable. She spit out readings to a handful of the housewives, all of which seemed bizarre and made up.
12. Total Fraud: John Edward
Back in the first few years of ’00s, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t desperately want a psychic reading with the famous medium, John Edward. The self-proclaimed psychic medium first came on the radar when he released his very first book, and started to appear on various shows on the Sci-Fi Channel. It wasn’t until his show, Crossing Over with John Edward, that the psychic became a household name in America. On his show, Edward primarily performed massive cold reads, giving readings to random audience members by calling out random names and tidbits. This “cold read” style was widely criticized, as many mentalists claimed he was simply reaching for broad facts and playing mind tricks on naive, vulnerable audience members.
While no one could really prove John Edward was a hack, there were plenty of accounts of fishy readings and suspicious behavior. Audience members who attended Edwards’ various shows were asked to provide more than just their name upon entering the studio, leading many to believe that people were researching them on Edwards’ behalf. Many mentalists stepped forward explaining all of Edwards’ supposed “techniques” as mental tricks. For example, Edwards would often “fish” for information and move forward based on the subtle acknowledgment– or lack there of– of the person being read.
11. Real Deal: Tyler Henry
Celebrity psychic medium, Tyler Henry, is probably the youngest to make our list– and he just may be the most legitimate as well. Tyler Henry describes himself as a clairvoyant and is able to sense things about people upon speaking with them. Henry says he feels physical sensations and receives visuals in his mind before putting them into coherent thoughts that he translates to whoever he’s reading. Tyler Henry may not be old enough to drink, but he has read hundreds of big-name celebrities and has written extremely popular books. Pretty impressive if you ask us.
The reason why Tyler Henry seems like the real deal is his incredible ability to pull out personal information completely out of thin air– things that he couldn’t have possibly researched beforehand. Whether you watch his emotional readings on his show on TV or reading incredible articles about his readings online; you’ll be hard pressed to find anything fake about the young psychic medium.
10. Total Fraud: Sylvia Browne
If you grew up watching episodes of The Montel Williams Show after school, then you definitely remember the talk show’s resident psychic, Sylvia Browne. Her raspy voice and long acrylic nails appeared many times throughout the 17 years the talk show was on the air. Sylvia Browne would read audience members and talk to their loved ones as well as predict the future. Sylvia Browne claimed to have discovered her psychic abilities at the age of three and went on to become the founder of The Nirvana Foundation for Psychic Research in 1974– she even managed to write 50 books over the course of her career–22 of which made it onto the best sellers list.
With so many credentials, you’d think Sylvia Browne was the real deal right? Wrong. While Sylvia Browne became a household name in the psychic community, it wasn’t really in the best light. Sylvia Browne predicted falsely many times, including many wrongly-predicted crimes she was hired to help solve. According to various articles floating around online, Sylvia was pretty much wrong with every case she was involved with– 115 cases to be exact. Yikes.
9. Total Frauds: Linda and Terry Jamison
Linda and Terry Jamison are both self-proclaimed psychics and they’re identical twins–double creepy. These psychic twins are probably most known for their crazy predictions that kind of turn out true. Many of the Jamison twins predictions appeared in tabloid magazines, but the two claim to have made many television appearances and been featured in publications with “big stars”. Again, kind of sort of not true at all.
The psychic twins have made many predictions about popular stars over the years, but their most talked about prediction was their warning to America about the September 11th terrorist attacks. While many people believe they predicted the date and the fact that it would be a terrorist attack, they actually missed the mark. The twins predicted a terrorist attack on various areas in the US that would happen in 2002. To be clear, they got both the date and some of the facts wrong. They may have had somewhat of a lucky guess, but if you ask us, these twins were eager to have their 15 minutes of fame, and that’s about it.
8. Hard to Say: John Holland
John Holland is an American-born psychic who had noticed his special sixth sense at an early age, but brushed it off until adulthood. However, after getting in a car accident that almost took his life, John Holland found a new appreciation for his “gifts” as they had somehow become stronger and impossible to ignore. John Holland may be one of the most scholarly psychics to make our list, seeing that he attended an actual college for his craft at Arthur Findlay College for Psychics and Mediums in England.
Over the years, John Holland has made a name for himself on various TV appearances and web-based shows. While John Holland isn’t proven wrong all that often, he found himself in a sticky situation back in 2012 when he told a woman that although her son spoke of committing suicide, he would never actually do it. Many people were outraged that John Holland would give such harmful, false psychiatric advice to a person in such a vulnerable state. Holland’s claims were leading many to believe that if someone talks about committing suicide, they would never actually do it. Holland never took responsibility or apologized for his malpractice which infuriates many–and for good reason.
7. Total Fraud: Colin Fry
Unlike everyone on our list so far, this self-proclaimed psychic medium came from across the pond and was a famous personality in that part of the world. Born in Sussex, Colin Fry claims he had known about his psychic abilities since the age of four. Colin Fry went on to be a popular television personality after appearing in a handful of supernatural themed shows in the UK like Most Haunted, Psychic Private Eyes and 6th Sense with Colin Fry. Colin was most known for his cold-reading style, and his ability to read complete strangers at the drop of a hat.
While Colin Fry had many television shows and had built a name for himself, he had us all fooled. Back in 1992, the psychic was performing a séance on stage when the house lights accidentally switched on, revealing that the spirit trumpet that was hanging in mid-air was in fact being held by Fry who was standing on a chair. Colin has since passed away of lung cancer at the young age of 53.
6. The Real Deal: Monica The Medium
Monica The Medium–like Tyler Henry (number 11 on our list)– gives a fresh young face to the world of psychic mediums. College student, Monica Ten-Lake, has her own show on ABC Family called Monica The Medium, in which she attempts to navigate through college-life while trying to control her psychic abilities. Most episodes feature Monica ruining her chances with guys due to the ever-so-creepy fact that she talks to their dead relatives while they split a pizza– as you can imagine, it doesn’t really go well.
While the show itself is obviously staged and plotlines don’t really appear organically at all; her readings seem powerful, genuine and emotionally charged. Sure, editors probably leave her mis-readings and wrong predictions on the cutting room floor, but when she’s on, she’s on. Monica is able to pull out facts out of nowhere and really seems to connect with sprits on the other side.
5. Total Fraud: Sally Morgan
Sally Morgan or “Psychic Sally” was born in the UK and has claimed to have psychic abilities since the very young age of nine months. Sally claims to have seen her first ghost at the ripe age of four (totally normal, right?) and went on to make a career out of her creepy sixth sense. Aside from writing at least three books, Sally appeared on many shows where she would speak about her special abilities and give readings.
While Sally’s shows were somewhat popular in England, they were quickly overshadowed by her slip-ups that led many to believe she was a total phony. In 2011, at one of her live audience shows, people reportedly heard a male voice feeding information to Sally from a nearby control room. Sally also got in trouble a few years prior when she pretended she hadn’t given a previous reading to Big Brother winner, Brian Dowling, claiming the director of the show told her to pretend she didn’t know him. Oh, and let’s not forget the time she claimed to connect with a dead spirit that was in fact alive, sitting in the audience. Whoopsies.
4. Half Real Deal: Jeane Dixon
Jeane Dixon is probably the oldest known psychic to make our list, but she definitely made quite an impact on the psychic community. Dixon was known for various predictions throughout her career, namely her prediction about the death of former president, John F. Kennedy. In 1956, she reportedly claimed that the next president would be a Democrat and would either be “assassinated or die in office though not necessarily in his first term”. That sounds pretty dead on to us.
Dixon was also a trusted astrologist and often gave spiritual advice to first lady, Nancy Reagan. Throughout Dixon’s career, she made many predictions– many were right, but there were plenty that were incorrect as well. Thanks to mathematician, John Allen Paulos, this tendency to only remember the few correct predictions rather than the far larger number of incorrect predictions became known as “The Jeane Dixon Effect”. What were some of Jeane’s false predictions? Oh, just that Russians would be the first of mankind to send someone to the moon. While Jeane had false predictions, we still can’t ignore the major ones that actually did come to fruition.
3. Real Deal: Michelle Whitedove
While there are still plenty of skeptics out there, Michelle Whitedove has a pretty positive reputation as a legitimate, American psychic medium. Named “America’s #1 Psychic” by Lifetime TV, the talented Whitedove continues to appear on various shows and publications. Whitedove claims to be able to speak with spirits on the other side, and is known for her frank, straightforward readings. She has appeared on popular TV shows like The Today Show, and on different networks like Bravo and HBO. What makes Michelle Whitedove a bit more believable, is the fact that her abilities have been closely examined over the years and have even been deemed legitimate by the Federal Communications Commission, who’s rules are known to be pretty strict.
2. Total Fraud: James Van Praagh
James Van Praagh is an American-born psychic and a self-proclaimed clairvoyant and spiritual medium. Over the course of his career, Van Praagh has managed to become somewhat of a celeb in the psychic world, and has even written the bestseller entitled, Talking to Heaven. The spiritual medium has appeared on countless TV shows to showcase his abilities, like the Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil and Larry King Live— just to name a few. More recently, Van Praagh served as co-producer for CBS’s Ghost Whisperer, a show that is based on some of his experiences with the other side.
While James Van Praagh was quite popular and somewhat embraced by the public, there were plenty of skeptics that said he was a total fraud. Some skeptics accuse Van Praagh of “hot reading” which is the opposite of the more popular style of “cold reading”. Hot reading is when information is gathered before a reading, helping the reader pinpoint certain details that seem to come out of thin air.
1. Total Fraud: Lisa Williams
Lisa Williams is a self-proclaimed psychic from England, who considers herself to be a healer, psychic and medium all rolled into one, spooky triple threat! The medium has appeared on different shows on the Lifetime network and has done appearances on other shows like Deal or No Deal and America’s Psychic Challenge.
Lisa Williams can be entertaining to watch as she connects with the other side, but upon listening to her speak, it’s easy to notice a sort of pattern or formula in many of her readings. She tends to ask a question, then repeats it back with a little more detail after getting the answer from the person she’s reading. This is a seemingly popular move with many psychics that perform “cold readings”. Lisa also tends to come off a bit strong and sometimes aggressive in her reads, making it easy to blame confused audience members for her blunders. We’re not buying it.