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From the other side, to your screen

Psychic raises ratings for TV's Sci-Fi Channel

In just three months on the air, "Crossing Over with John Edward" has become one of the Sci-Fi Channel's most successful original programs  

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Long before a little boy uttered "I see dead people" in the 1999 hit "The Sixth Sense," someone else had already made that claim -- and people believed him.

John Edward says he's been in touch with the great beyond for years. His own "sixth sense" has made him one of the most sought-after psychic mediums in the United States.

The author of the best-seller "One Last Time," Edward is so popular that the wait for a private reading with the 30-year-old seer can be as long as one year.

But those who don't want to wait so long now only have to switch on their TVs. In his new series, "Crossing Over with John Edward," the psychic invites live audiences to communicate with friends and family who have passed on -- through him, and while the nation watches.

This other-worldly concept has proven lucrative in this world, too. In just three months on the air, "Crossing Over with John Edward" has become one of the Sci-Fi Channel's most successful original programs.

The career -- and criticism -- of a self-described psychic

Bill Tush recently had a spirited talk with TV's hottest psychic friend.

CNN: OK, back to the beginning, you were 15 years old --

John Edward: I was 15 years old. I went to a psychic named Lydia Clarr. She was doing readings at my grandmother's house, and I went to debunk her, to say that she wouldn't be able to read me. It was like a big joke in my family; they were like, "Go up there, you'll see. She's going to knock your socks off." And I went up there -- and she did. She was amazing.

CNN: How did you begin hearing voices?

Edward: I started learning as much as I could about parapsychology and metaphysics. I learned about the different types of tools, astrology, numerology, cards -- all that kind of stuff. And meditation is key. And I learned how to just quiet your mind and listen to energy. To a lot of people this kind of stuff is so mystical and esoteric, but it's really not: It's all about energy. ... Raising your awareness level does it.

CNN: What exactly do you hear?

Edward: It's not exactly voices -- they don't communicate in the way that I'm speaking to you. If they did, the information would be a lot more accurate than it is. It comes from an energy -- pictures, symbols. It's like having a daydream and trying to figure out what it is.

... One of the most important messages that I want to get out there is that you don't need me to do it for you. If someone raises their awareness level about something that's happening in their own life, then I feel I've helped them by doing the show.

CNN: But you see?

Edward: I don't actually see them. Some mediums do. Some can see them clearly and describe them -- what they look like when they were here. I don't get information like that; I get more of a thought process. That's how I can get people's names, because I can hear it as a thought in my mind.

CNN: Do you ever hear things pop into people's heads?

Edward: It has happened with a number of camera guys, control room people, (and) anyone who's in the arena while I'm ... doing this. it can come through. And that's why whenever I'm doing a talk show or something, I tell them -- camera guys, anyone who's listening -- (that) I don't know what's going to come through.

I try to be as specific as I can, because I know, as a medium, I got a big bull's-eye on my butt. I have to be aware that people are looking for validation and confirmation of what's coming through. ... So I have to take that extra step, and really want them to understand: This is what I'm feeling, this is what I'm getting; because they know their friends and family better than I do.

CNN: A lot of people find it scary.

Edward: Oh, well, the only reason why someone would have fear is because they don't understand the process. You know, one of my favorite things is to do workshops ... and when I walk in, people are like, "Oh that's the guy! That's the guy!" and by the time I leave, I'm just John. I break down what this is -- it's just energy.

It's like saying I breathe air better than you. We all breathe; I just pay attention to the breath. ...

CNN: To repeat a question you've surely been asked before: What's it like on the other side?

Edward: And my response to that is: I don't know. I think when I get there, I'll find out, and only those who are living there know. I only know ... what they've shown me, but I can't validate that. I do believe in spirit guides. I do believe in past lives. But you'll never hear me mention that on the show, because I can't validate that.

... So I really try to stick to the stuff I can validate. But I really haven't gotten information about what the climate is on the other side. ...

CNN: Is it hot down there?

Edward: Well, no one's come through with someone pokin' 'em with a pitch fork, or (have said) if they're happy where they're at. Most people come through with a sense of peace and comfort. It's to help the people ... here gain closure.

CNN: People want that. People want to know about that stuff.

Edward: Well, to play devil's advocate: You know, what the cynics will say is ... people feel so strongly, that they'll believe anything. (T)hat's not true. It's hard to get people to listen to what is coming through, because you (as a psychic) know what they want to hear.

CNN: Do people who have passed on give advice or warnings to their loved ones?

Edward: Yeah, they do. Sometimes, when someone comes through, it may not be a message of validation, but a message of, "This is something that you have to do." Or, if it's a health-care thing, to "get this thing checked."

Now, I'm not a health-care worker, so I tell people: Do what you want -- knowing full well that I could be wrong.

On the ether
October 30, 2000

Sci-Fi: Crossing Over with John Edward
John Edward

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