John Edward captivated audiences globally with his hit TV show "Crossing Over" and now helps celebrities like Oprah and Kim Kardashian communicate with the dead.
News.com.au sat down with the 47-year-old to find out more about his astonishing career. From his skeptic origins and celebrity clientele, to his scariest encounter — read on for everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the world’s most famous medium:
His psychic process is a bit like solving a puzzle
Rather than a straightforward message or vision, instead John says he’ll be given “words, thoughts, images and feelings” that he has to then in turn piece together.
“It’s kind of like a psychic sign language,” he explains. “It’s similar to the way photos used to be developed. The film is taken into a dark room to develop and as that photo starts to appear you can kind of see what that picture is going to be. That’s what I feel like I’m seeing. I’m watching something develop and I’m trying to figure out what it is.”
He doesn’t ‘see’ ghosts
While Hollywood takes a "Sixth Sense" approach to mediumship, John is clear that full bodied apparitions and ghoulish, bloodied spectres aren’t something he’s ever seen.
“Not for me!” he says, smiling. “I have more of a ‘psychic pulse’ — a feeling or seeing a symbol. It’s not like a spirit says to me: ‘hey John, tell them this.’
“Some mediums claim to see full body aspirations, but if they say, ‘I see your Dad here,’ I’d be expecting a full on description. How tall is he? What does he weigh? How old is he? I want details. I call it lazy mediumship. If a medium says that and doesn’t include details and validations that make people not be able to poke holes in it, then I call bulls---t!”
He was actually a bit skeptical
John was actually a hardened skeptic. The son of a cynical New York policeman, while his mother’s side of the family dabbled in the psychic world, he was brought up by his father to avoid it at all costs.
“It was a rule to make sure I wasn’t around it,” recalls John. “As a result, I kind of adopted my father’s very Alpha male condescending, sarcastic manner towards it. I was the biggest skeptic!”
But this all changed when he received his first psychic reading at the age of 15.
After his parents separated, a teenage John and his mother moved into his grandmother’s house where seances and readings were commonplace. And during one of these sessions, an encounter with a psychic called Lydia Clar, would change his life forever.
“She took my high school ring and performed psychometry (reading the energy of an object) and gave me information that she could not have known — stuff that if my mom knew, I’d have gotten my a-- kicked!”
Not only did she know uncanny details about his private life, she also told a 15-year-old John that he had psychic abilities of his own.
“‘You have highly evolved beams of white and gold light around you and I’m going to put you on your path,’ she said to me. Quite honestly, I thought she was insane, but it was clear she wasn’t performing and she took herself seriously. It made me stand up and pay attention.”
He never set out to be famous
After working for years in public health as a phlebotomist, (someone who’s trained to draw blood from patients for medical testing) he committed to being a medium full-time in 1995.
“I never woke up and decided: ‘I’m going to be a world famous medium’,” says John. “And I never wanted to be on TV, it was an opportunity that came as a byproduct of my work.”
Fronting his TV show stressed him out
“When people tell me how great 'Crossing Over' was and how much it helped them, I can look back and realize what an amazing experience it was — in hindsight!” says John.
“But at the time I felt like I held my breath for four years. It was such a stressful experience, because I felt like I had the entire psychic community on my shoulders. I was attacked like you can’t even imagine. Death threats, accusations … it was insane.”
Kim Kardashian is a fan
Kim Kardashian has consulted with John on and off for years. Back in 2012, during an episode of spin-off series "Kourtney and Kim Take New York," she and her sister met with him in person to try and communicate with their late father Robert.
Kim later cited the session as helping her come to the decision to divorce second husband, Kris Humphries. And more recently she made a beeline for the medium during her attempts to become pregnant, later crediting his tips with helping her conceive Saint West — “He gives the best advice,” said Kim.
Of the reality star, John says: “I think Kim is a very special person with an amazing heart and an amazing energy. She’s been very generous and kind when she has spoken about me in the past, but that was the past … I don’t have an ongoing relationship in that sense.
“I don’t love the world of celebrity to be honest,” he says matter-a-factly. “Even when I did 'Crossing Over' they wanted to go down the celebrity route … I have celebrity clientele, but the celebrities I read know I’m never going to talk about them, which is why they come to me. They get me, they get who I am and what I do and they trust me.”
He’s only had one really scary encounter in his lifetime
Despite talking to the dead for more than three decades, when probed about frightening experiences there’s only one example that really had an impact on the world famous medium. After visiting his cousin’s new house in the late '80s, John was left shook up by a series of unexplained incidents.
“The first time I visited I was in the downstairs bathroom and literally had performance anxiety!” he remembers. “I felt like I had four people watching me and all of them wanted me to leave.
“Weird stuff happened there and on my last visit, I was alone sitting down near the fireplace and looking at a battery-operated musical clown ornament. I picked it up — saw that there were no batteries in it — and put it down. Seconds later it started to play music! I left and never returned.”
His kids are following in his footsteps
The father of two believes everyone is psychic to some degree and his kids are no exception.
“My son is 14 and he’s approaching the age that I was when I developed my abilities, so he’s noticing more now himself and we’re having more conversations about it. Maybe it’s like psychic puberty, I don’t know!” he says, laughing.
“My daughter Olivia has the ability to see auras and she too is extremely intuitive and psychic.” And unlike her camera-shy dad, she relishes the spotlight and is already forging a career as an actress in TV sitcom 'Better Things' — despite only being 10-years-old.
“She’s very much the performer, the song and dance girl — so she’s not remotely like me in that respect! I look at her and think: ‘I wish I had a little of that!’”
John Edward is touring Australia nationally November.