As one of the nation's most well-known psychics and mediums, John Edward has made quite a name for himself. This success has landed him book deals, television fame and overall notoriety, as individuals anxiously looking to interact with their deceased loved ones regularly flock to him for answers. TheBlaze spoke with Edward about his career, special abilities and the "spirit guides" that purportedly help him connect with the dead.
Of course, along with these accolades and career highs has come a plethora of controversy. Many critics allege that Edward is fraudulent -- and that he simply doesn't have the powers and skills he claims to possess. TheBlaze spoke with the celebrity psychic to better understand his career and perception of his purported powers.
To begin, we asked how he first discovered his alleged abilities. Edward explained that he first became aware of his psychic capabilities at the age of 15. He described himself at the time as a questioner who was always poking fun at family members' consultations with clairvoyants and those with seeming-elevated sensibilities.
Psychic John Edward (Photo Credit: John Edward Media)
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
"My grandmother and my mom used to have psychic come to the house all of the time," Edward said, noting, again, that he would make fun of them for doing so. "So my mom said this woman was going to come out [to the house] ... but her request was she would only come if she could meet me."
Finding it a bit odd, Edward remembers his mother telling him to be respectful when she arrived at the home. He recalls the psychic inevitably coming to family home and as each person went in to meet with her, he said they came out "blown away" by her abilities. Intensely skeptical, his family encouraged him to go in and speak with the woman; he reluctantly complied. And what happened next, he says, changed his life.
"I went up with attitude. She took my high school ring she did something called psychometry (psychic reading based on objects) and she looked down -- she never looked at me," he recalled. "And then she launched into how I had these 'highly-evolved beings' in white and gold, that were all around me [and] ready to work with me."
Throughout the reading, Edward said he thought the woman was "a complete nut-bag," as he assumed that the entire experience was a joke and that the woman had no true abilities. But as it unfolded, he became worried, as the psychic seemed to know things that no one else could have possibly known.
"The only thing that I remember thinking in that moment was, 'Oh s*it, this woman actually knows my mother' and I would be dead," the famed psychic recalls.
Rather than admit to the details she was recapping, he lied to the woman. The experience was so jarring that he says he left the house and walked to a nearby field, where he tried to understand how she could have possibly known everything she recounted. He felt "violated."
And that's when his story -- and his path to fame -- truly began.
EDWARDS' PATH TO FAME
The experience quickly led him to put aside his skepticism. Edward remembers going to the public library to learn more about what a psychic actually is and, after a brief amount of time, he realized that the woman was correct in her assessment. Before long, Edward claims he had an "Oh my God I'm psychic" moment, one that led him to hone his abilities.
While he was quickly doing readings (within six months) for friends and family, it wasn't until 15 years later that he made his abilities into a profession. He claims he initially didn't want to make a living out of his it, but that's what eventually happened.
"I always knew I was psychic. I just wasn't ready to come out psychic," he said. "I didn't want to own it, because you're supposed to have a real job, with a 401k, vacation days, etc."
Psychic John Edward (Photo Credit: John Edward Media)
While he eventually took the dive, the path, Edward claims, wasn't always easy -- and the gift came along with some profound challenges.
"I almost had a nervous breakdown at the age of 16, because I saw my uncle's death -- and in 1987 I tried to stop [it] from happening," he claims, however his uncle ended up dying at age 52 of a heart attack anyway.
To add insult to injury, his mother died of cancer one year later -- an event that he did not see coming. While some assume that people like Edward can see any and everything, this experience was a lesson both for him and for the world at large that omniscience doesn't come along with the territory.
"What it taught me is -- it's not about what you can do, but it's about learning and understanding the subject matter and the process ... it's bigger than you, the work, the world," he said, calling it a humbling experience.
CLARIFYING HIS PSYCHIC ABILITIES (AND LIMITATIONS)
As for his special abilities -- visions of the future and a penchant for reaching out to individuals' deceased loved ones -- Edward said that there are some misconceptions.
Not everything is guaranteed, meaning: Just because he allegedly has heightened sensibilities, doesn't mean he can win the lottery or have full control over what he sees or which fan's deceased family member he has the ability to connect with. It's not as fluid as one might think.
"It's not like making balloon animals," said Edward.
He also noted that going to psychics and mediums isn't for everyone. Rather than being there to give people a "feeling," Edward claims his purpose is to provide an experience and information. Some people go to him with the intention of trying to validate or experience an emotion, which he says is not his purpose. One example he gave was a woman who kept coming back to him to find out if a man she was having an affair with would leave his wife.
Edwards' answer never changed (the man wasn't planning to get a divorce) and he eventually had to tell the woman to stop coming back. Since he couldn't change reality, there was no point for her to keep receiving the same answer (it's important to note, though, that Edward does believe it's possible for the circumstances in his visions to change; they aren't set in stone, he told TheBlaze).
"Why do you want to go? What is it that you're looking for? If you can answer that question first, then it's worth going," he said of those who question whether they should see a psychic or medium. "If you ... [say] 'I want a person to make a choice for me' -- don't go. No one should make choices for you. You should make your own choices."
AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE "HIGHLY-EVOLVED BEINGS"?
As for those "highly-evolved beings" that the psychic told Edward about when he was a teen? He described these spirits as being like an "energetic mafia." And he also said that they are "no nonsense." Edward recalled complaining about his powers to a friend in his younger years.
After saying that he simply wanted to be normal, he recalls allegedly losing his abilities; these "highly-evolved beings" took him at his word and revoked it, Edward claims. He asked for it back and it was returned and the psychic said he never complained again about his abilities, noting that the lesson taught him that you really don't know what you have until it's gone.
In an effort to understand what these being are, TheBlaze asked if they are comparable to the concept of "angels."
Psychic John Edward (Photo Credit: John Edward Media)
"I have a hard time using that term angels in that realm. I don't feel comfortable doing that," he said. "One of them is an American Indian."
Certainly, this may seem odd to some, but for Edward, interacting with these beings is apparently a daily reality.
Naturally, one wonders what he knows about heaven and hell, so we asked. Of the "spirit world," Edward said that haven is an "...alternative dimension that we can access [through] portals, a place of communication and connection, a place of learning." He likened it to a "spiritual, energetic internet."
"It's like Facebook," he said of the dead's ability to interact with the living. "They see our updates and whats going on."
EDWARD'S RELIGIOUS VIEWS
Edward considers himself a "recovering Catholic." While he doesn't embrace the church's teaching as it is traditionally understood, he was born and raised a Catholic. He said his grandmother brought him to mass every day up until he entered the first grade.
The famed psychic noted that he asked a plethora of theological questions all of the time as a child, never settling for or simply accepting what he was told.
"I explored lots of religions. I wanted to know the difference between being Protestant and Catholic," he said. "Religion is language that you communicate with God. There's no best language in the world."
While he described himself as having "a strong belief system," he doesn't necessarily believe that Jesus is God's son, the central tenet of the Catholic Church (and of any Christian denomination, for that matter).
"I'm a questioner. That's who I am as a person," he said. "I believe that God exists and that there was this really cool guy Jesus, but I think he's one of many."
In 2009, Sean Hannity interviewed Edward about some of the controversy and critiques surrounding his work. And there have been in-depth explorations surrounding his alleged abilities. Among them, the Center for Inquiry devoted a great deal of research in 2001 to debunking some of Edward's tactics.
In 2002, Shari Waxman also wrote an excoriating rebuke of Edward, describing how he relies upon probability to appear as though he is clairvoyant and connecting with the dead. She writes:
As it happens, he is more than a psychic medium; he is also a master statistician. The smoke and mirrors behind his self-professed ability to communicate with the dead is a simple application of the laws of probability. Basically, if you keep trying something whose results are independent, your odds of getting your desired result increase.
For example, the odds that you will roll a 3 on any one roll of a six-sided die are 1 in 6, about 17 percent. After six throws, the chance that you will have thrown at least one 3 has increased to about 67 percent. After 12 throws, it’s nearly 90 percent.
Lucky for Edward, most audience members on his television show are too hopeful and trusting to pull out a calculator and expose the charlatan behind the prophet.
The temptation to believe that Edward, a self-professed medium, can connect with the deceased and foretell future events is great, especially for those who are vulnerable and in need of comforting. Many members of the show’s audience, hoping to connect with deceased loved ones via Edward, are mourning recent losses. They come with the expectation, no doubt, that being “read” by Edward on national television will yield healing revelations from those who have “crossed over.” Inevitably he reports that the dead are at peace, happily and lovingly watching over those left behind on Earth.
There's plenty of critique out there of the psychic's work, but Edward told TheBlaze that he doesn't feel the need to defend himself too fervently. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.
This article has been updated.
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