The Long Island Medium
Theresa Caputo, also known as the Long Island Medium, can totally talk to dead people, for reals, no joke. She claims to have started Haley Joel Osmenting when she was 4 years old and has been a practicing (and certified!) medium for over 10 years, showcasing her amazing abilities on her hit TLC reality show since 2011. She presumably keeps her hair in the shape of a microphone to help her receive transmissions from the spirit world.
Watch her bomb spectacularly in front of a room full of people who stubbornly refused to have recently deceased mothers and then marvel as she blames it on fickle spirits, because clearly it’s the ghosts’ fault and not the fact that she can’t actually communicate with the dead.
Professional debunker James Randi examined Caputo’s act and, to no one’s surprise, determined that it was nothing more than a very familiar sideshow routine. Just like John Edward and countless others before her, she’s simply quite skilled at an age-old technique known as cold reading, a method in which a performer “can pick up enough information in what seems like innocent, idle conversation” to make it seem like they are reading your mind. Basically, it’s just intuitive guesswork. She’s so good at it, in fact, that along with D.J. Groethe (president of the James Randi Educational Foundation), Randi awarded her the 2012 Pigasus Award, reserved for “the most deserving charlatans, swindlers, psychics, pseudoscientists, and faith healers.” It’s the kind of award you don’t accept in person.
Meanwhile, an investigation by Inside Edition found that, while Long Island Medium is edited to make it appear as though Caputo is a font of supernatural wisdom, she strikes out again and again during live readings. She brushes off these embarrassing gaffes by insisting that the blazingly incorrect message she received must have been intended for someone else (this is known as “piggybacking”).
Private investigator Ron Tebo maintains a collection of Caputo’s failures on YouTube (he did the clip above) and spent over a year interviewing her past clients to discover that the majority of them felt ripped off (because Caputo happily demands cash payment in exchange for sharing her incredible gift). Her response to fraud allegations is the verbal equivalent of a shrug — “I respect and understand skeptics. I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone, that’s not why I do what I do. I feel, and have been told by my clients, that my gift has really helped them, and that’s all that matters to me.”
Source: Cracked.com, YouTube