Francine Milano meets a lot of what she calls feisty little grandmothers. Milano said she often receives messages from those looking down from Heaven. She knows it might sound strange, but as clairvoyant medium, it's part of the job.
Mediumship has gotten more attention in recent years. Milano said she admires Theresa Caputo, the "Long Island Medium," who will visit Hershey Saturday, April 5.
But what else — besides persistent grandmas — comes with being a medium? Milano offered some insight into her work.
Q: What is a medium?
A: We all have our own little niche. Some people channel feelings as Reiki energy. Some people are very psychic (and do) predictive work. A medium is one who channels information from the other side. That could be a spirit guide. That could be loved ones. (It) is something that can be taught, but if you have a natural talent ... that can be a plus.
Q: Is clairvoyant a similar concept?
A: Clair means "clear" in French, and "voyant" means the ability to see. It's clear seeing. I can see outlines of people (with) my inner eye. I see gestures. I see hair color. I'll give you an example of what one sees: If you were to shut your eyes right now and imagine yourself in your bathroom — the one you got ready in this morning. Now, open your eyes. It's kind of like a memory. It's something you just know, but you didn't actually physically see it.
Q: How did you develop your talent?
A: I had dreams as a child that would come true. A lot of mediums would tell you they had some kind of childhood experience. You get inundated with homework and peer pressure and life starts becoming something you acclimate to. You sort of lose (that ability).
When I was in my 20s, I actually found a Spiritualist church. At some point, I decided to go through their seminary school and become ordained myself. People see reverend (in my title) and they think, "Well, maybe she paid $10 on the Internet with that." I actually went through a three-and-a-half-year program. There is no certification to do what I do. You have to be very careful how you advertise because some people will think you're a therapist. I can be a counselor because of my ministry skills but I know where my limits are when someone really needs a psychologist.
Q: Are there are lot of mediums in this area?
A: In this area, it's not as popular (but) people are open to it. But I'm from New Jersey, and there are quite a few where I was. I think that sometimes it's hard when you're dealing with a very Christian area. I am a Christian, but I kind of consider myself more than a Christian mystic. I think that just adds an element that it's OK to believe in the afterlife and that we can still communicate with Heaven. So, I work with angels. But it scares a lot of people. I do get a lot of clients (including those) who come from New York. A lot are from Maryland. I do a lot of Internet and phone work, so I have a lot of national clients.
Q: Is there a stigma about what you do?
A: There is a stigma and the reason is (that there are people) who do rip people off. Look at the website. (Be wary if) you go into an astrology reading and they want you to upgrade immediately or they tell you there's a curse over your head or if they say, "I need to see you again ... next week." That is someone who is working on your vulnerabilities. (The stigma) is really something that we have to overcome and people who have television shows that show this is real... give me hope.
Q: Where and how do you do a reading?
A: I have a practice in Leola with an office and I have a classroom for workshops. (On) certain days, I'm doing phone readings. It's a regular business. I don't want to know anything up front (before a reading). I don't want to mull things over. I want to be caught off guard. Once I made a friend, I cannot read for them anymore. If a stranger asks me (a) question I have absolutely nothing (I) can go on, so I can trust the information I'm getting. I have been doing this for 20 years. If you are not supposed to know something, (those on the other side) are not going to tell me. It interferes with karma.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: Helping other people in their grief. There is nothing more rewarding than to have somebody come in who just feels broken and they just feel healed. That's why I do this. I guess I would have gone into health care if I hadn't done this.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
A: The big challenge is someone coming to my office and folding his arms or her arms. They are looking for a parlor trick and they're very close minded. You can fool a psychic anytime — just put the wall up. Go ahead and test — you will win every time. It used to frighten me. Now, I know it's not my job to make people believe or not. I only ask for a little bit of an open mind.
'Long Island Medium' in Hershey
Theresa Caputo's 3 p.m. show Saturday, April 5, at Hershey Theatre sold out in a matter of hours of going on sale, according to a news release. Due to popular demand, a second and final show was added for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5. Tickets start at $39.75.
Caputo, the star of the TLC show "Long Island Medium," will give interactive readings to audience members throughout the show and will also share personal stories about her life, according to a news release. Purchasing a ticket does not guarantee a reading.
The SpiritNetwork Festival for the psychic and healing arts is slated for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 27, at Clarion Hotel & Conference Center Harrisburg West, 148 Sheraton Drive, New Cumberland.
The event will include guest speakers, readings, vendors, healing services and door prizes. Admission is $5 and includes vendor areas, demonstrations and lectures. Private readings are $30 for 20 minutes.
For details, visit spiritnetwork.com/festival.