Mediums have been around for centuries, claiming to have a direct line of communication to the dead. Many famous clairvoyants have used the media to gain fame, money, or notoriety with their abilities. Today, the most famous of these is Theresa Caputo, of Long Island Medium.
Long Island Medium is currently in its 10th season, which started in November 2017. The show’s format is simple: Theresa performs private and group readings that sometimes includes both believers and skeptics. Her family – husband Larry and two kids – is also involved in the show. It’s clear they’ve learned to live with Theresa’s divining, frequently joking with her about it or dealing with the emotional breakdowns after a clairvoyant session.
Besides her reality show, Theresa does live shows called Theresa Caputo Live! Experience each year and has written three books. If you believe Theresa can speak with the deceased or not, this list of dark secrets may make you question the legitimacy of her paranormal skills, which she states she’s had since she was younger. Or after reading this list, you may feel Long Island Medium is just another modern reality show: ridiculous and overly-dramatic.
Here are 16 Dark Secrets You Never Knew About Long Island Medium.
16 Theresa Uses Classic Mentalist Tricks
Many techniques used by mediums and mentalists have been around for centuries. Theresa Caputo clearly uses two methods of gathering information called “cold reading” and “shotgunning.” They rely on the ability to read a person’s body language, clothing, ethnicity, speech patterns, and more.
Cold reading (usually done on the show) is a popular method. It’s possible to get a good amount of information fast that way. As questions are asked, the medium continues or stops a line of probing based on the answers. The trick is to ask very general questions about family, career, or something similar until the conversation path heads toward the subject’s deceased.
Shotgunning (usually done in Caputo’s live show) is a part of cold reading, but on a quicker level, usually to a bigger crowd. The medium will speak in vague statements, one after the other, until someone in the audience confirms what was said.
15 The Long Island Medium Is Often Wrong
When Caputo does her live show with large audiences, she has been reported as talking to the wrong person on many occasions. Some people have also mentioned the medium misses the mark more often in the lives shows than on her TV show.
Audience members have witnessed Caputo fishing for information, and sticking with one person even when that person has not confirmed or agreed with what Caputo’s “spirit” told her. Sometimes the subject says it’s completely wrong! But that doesn’t stop Caputo: she will misdirect by making a comparison, no matter how small, to tie it in with a detail the subject had revealed.
One attendee left a complaint on the Ticketmaster website, writing, “She seemed off and almost every reading was like pulling teeth to match up info.”
14 Participants Are "Information-mined" Before The Show
Information mining is another popular technique mediums use that Theresa has been accused of, especially for participants in the television show. It’s even easier these days with social media and the amount of information provided to attend the TV and stage show. It’s not uncommon for reality shows like Long Island Medium to require waivers, providing all sorts of personal information and giving the advantage to Theresa.
Participants have reported that the film crew will do a detailed interview – especially about the deceased - before Teresa will speak with them on stage. The crew asserts this information is not given to Caputo, but it’s highly suspicious. Plus, many of the people she picks from the crowd are in the front rows, which has been purported by an Inside Edition sting operation is easier for Caputo’s staff to “cue her to the right spots.”
13 Big-Time Celebrities Are Big-Time Skeptics
A few high-profile celebrities interviewed or wanted to interview Theresa because of their doubts in her abilities. Andy Cohen, a Bravo channel personality, had the medium on his show to channel his late friend Natasha Richardson. He stated Caputo’s remarks “were offensively incorrect.”
Anderson Cooper did a one-on-one interview with Caputo and still thought something was dubious about her paranormal skills. He said, “There’s a lot you can say to a room of 300 people… People so want to believe in things… But I want to see actual proof.”
Theresa was all set to go on The Howard Stern Show to do an audience reading until one of her demands was to spend an hour alone with the audience before the show. Stern and the show’s producers said no, so Theresa canceled the appearance.
12 Format For Clients Never Varies
If you’ve seen Theresa Caputo in action, the format of how she channels the dead never varies. It's noticeable if you watch closely. Odds alone should dictate that each person she reads for and their deceased loved ones are unique, and she would need to vary up her technique accordingly. She calls departed the general name, “spirit,” especially in the beginning, until she knows who she’s talking to. Sometimes it seems she struggling to pull the right information from the client.
Caputo uses the simple “open, middle, close” method. Each includes procedures that are the same for everyone, regardless of the varying circumstances of each person. Although many close to Caputo call her a “talented actress,” it's clear she has an inability to improvise based on client differences.
11 Uses Specialized Communication At First
On the bio page of her website, Theresa states she uses a “vocabulary of signs and symbols that they [the Spirit] show me during a reading.” Then she translates the images into a workable language related to the client or person she’s reading for, often from prompts of Caputo’s cold reading or rapid-fire questions to get a hit.
Skeptics say it’s odd that the Spirit is unclear in the beginning, but suddenly switches it up to speak distinct statements in perfect English. Weird codes turn into emotional statements like “I miss you” or “I love you" or a great memory. Caputo says that’s how the information is sent to her by the Spirit, so that’s how she has to relay it or twist it into a question or statement to obtain more data from the client to present to the Spirit.
10 Theresa Never Talked About Being A Medium
There’s very little personal information available about Theresa Caputo, either online or in real life. Her rise to stardom came from nowhere, hopping from a virtual nobody to a popular reality star. You'll find some vague information in her semi-biography, There’s More to Life Than This. However, she mainly talks about her mediumship, client readings, and vague clairvoyance.
Although the book details her beginnings with talking with the dead – at the age of four! – and not coming to terms and accepting her gift until her thirties, friends have stated that she never really talked about being a medium or wanting to speak to the dead before the show. Of course, this could have been because she was coming to grips with her talents. Maybe she had a hard time expressing it due to the stigma of mediumism.
9 The House In The Show Mislocated
Nowadays, reality television shows rarely fool us anymore. Scenes are contrived, drama is manufactured, and quite a few shows are nearly completely scripted. Some shows don’t hide those facts, but some need the appearance of reality, so stars and producers will attempt to obscure the tiniest detail. But what’s the difference if those details are secret if the show is entertaining?
For Long Island Medium, it involves the house. According to a source who’s known the family since kindergarten, the house is not in a cul-de-sac like it is in the show, and many of the minor plots are created. Someone who interned for the production company that makes the show confirmed that “a lot of the secondary stuff is fake[s],” but believed that Theresa was a genuine person.
8 Theresa Gets The Same Old Information
With such a powerful ability, Theresa should receive information not known to the person the reading is for, like confessions of the deceased to ease their souls or to boast about doing something illegal without getting caught. However, that’s the not the case in any of the performances or episodes.
It’s possible it’s easier on Caputo’s frame of mind to only share memories the subject and deceased shared in real life. Paranormal mythbuster Ron Tebo believes the “spirit guides” that Caputo uses are her physical staff. He thinks they run background checks and do initial interviews, and “eavesdrop on audience members before sessions.”
In one home, Caputo knew the client's son liked to watch SpongeBob SquarePants. This shocked the client, but afterward, she realized the film crew had established themselves in her son’s room which had a big stuffed Spongebob on the bed.
7 Scenes Filmed Multiple Times
If you’ve wondered if Caputo’s talents lie in innate skill or pure luck, look no further than her live readings. Members of the audiences have come out to say that parts of the show are filmed multiple times until she rightly guesses how someone’s loved one has died. The audience members say that they are filmed over and over until she gets it right.
While that works for sitcoms, movies, and scripted shows, it is odd for a live show. With the unique talents she has, this shouldn't happen. Because of the re-filming, people who’ve gone to the show have left frustrated, with their skepticism confirmed. For the TV, it’s suspicious if the readings are done that way. You’ll never know since TLC or Caputo wouldn’t want that footage released.
6 as Investigated For Fraud
Starting in 2014, Theresa Caputo started being investigated for fraud, but not in an official capacity. The instigator of the fraud claim, Ron Tebo, is a private investigator and runs www.scififake.com, a fraud complaint website.
Many of her previous clients have been unhappy with their paranormal readings. They state that the medium doesn’t really have any kind of gift that allows her to speak with the dead. In fact, they claim that Caputo has plenty of people around her helping pull of a “scam.”
Accusations range from having clients investigated before Caputo meets them to continuously asking vague questions until the client eventually tells the medium everything anyway. Ever since Long Island Medium began, more people have come out to say that “Caputo is a fraud and causing more harm than good to those who are grieving or in some form of pain.”
5 Theresa Won't Take the $1 Million Challenge
The James Randi Educational Foundation also has The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge. The money prize goes to anyone who could prove their paranormal skills in a mutually agreed-on, controlled environment. At first, in 1964, Randi began offering $1,000, but over the year, the prize has been $1 million in bonds. Over 1,000 people have applied for the test, and none have proven their abilities.
Caputo has never applied, but Randi has consistently asked her to take the challenge. Caputo has declined the offer each time. In 2016, she also refused to take Criss Angel’s (Angel has a known disgust with mediums) $1 million challenge, responding with, “I respect and understand skeptics, and always have, but I am also not here to prove anything to anyone."
4 Nearly All Messages Are Positive
When doing readings for people, Caputo’s main goal is to make people feel better, which is how she defends herself against much of the criticism she faces. If you watch any of the Long Island Medium’s TV episodes or check out videos of her live performances, you’ll find many touching and encouraging scenes where the deceased say positive things.
The reason is Caputo says that she “only asks her Spirit Guides to share good things.” However, she has shared a rare negative statement or experience because she felt by doing so it would lead to a helpful and constructive breakthrough for the client or subject. But many people have issues with that, since by the sheer amount of people she encounters, the minimal amount of harsh or negative sentiments don’t add up.
3 The Long Island Medium Is Rude?
Many have accused Theresa of being money hungry and having a bad attitude to those around her. Those who are close to Caputo have stated that she has a serious attitude issue. Reports say that she's extremely rude and bad-mannered to the film crew, her aides, and anyone she deals with when traveling. Those who travel with her have said that she doesn’t respond to fans when out in public. Unless the Long Island Medium film crew is following her, of course.
The medium reportedly demands that she stays in the best of hotels – usually 5-star locations – no matter where she is. Plus, when she prepares for a reading, performance, live show, or an interview, her non-negotiable list of demands include flying first class and specific food requirements.
2 Caputo Has Received A Not-So-Prestigious Award
James Randi is a stage magician and a well-known scientific skeptic in the paranormal investigative industry. He founded the James Randi Educational Foundation. They create grants for the continuing education of the public and media on paranormal claims that can’t be proven. And the Foundation encourages research of those claims in controlled environments.
The Foundation also hands out Pegasus Awards in 5 different categories, one of which is “Performer” of the year. The award highlights paranormal or psychic “fakers” deemed harmful to the public or society. In 2011, Theresa Caputo earned this award for her reality show Long Island Medium.
According to the Randi YouTube nomination video, it was for “engaging in utter nonsense," For many years, Randi and the Foundation have been openly critical and highly skeptical of her claims she can contact the dead.
1 She believes her dead grandmother is friends with Tupac
On the show, Theresa Caputo’s family goes with Theresa’s flow: from her loud and outgoing antics to her clairvoyance. She has one son and one daughter – Larry, Jr. and Victoria, respectively. Theresa announced on December 3, 2017 that she and her husband were separating. At the end of season 9, their therapist helped them make this decision. The family has put up with a lot both before and during Long Island Medium airings.
But the smallest claim can cause family members to wonder how crazy a person is. With Theresa, she believed her grandmother could have become friends with musicians after she passed. Only because a “crazy rap song” played on her cell phone. She said, “Maybe she’s hanging with Tupac in heaven.”
What do you think of the Long Island Medium? Let us know in the comments!