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Is the Long Island Medium a hoax?

Here’s what a local pastor, grief counselor, theology professor and medium have to say.

Whether it’s the hair, the accent or the supernatural ability to communicate with the dead, you’ve probably heard of Theresa Caputo.

She’s a Forever-Family Foundation certified medium and the star of “Long Island Medium,” the TLC show that follows her life as a Long Island wife, mom and medium.

This weekend, she’s leaving her Long Island life behind to perform interactive readings and share personal stories with Central Pennsylvania during a live show at Hershey Theatre.

The first show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night sold out so quickly that a second show was added for 2 p.m. Sunday to accommodate more people. That show is now also sold out.

There’s no denying Caputo’s popularity in the region. But there are skeptics as well.

As she continues to wow audiences with readings that report information about her clients that she could not have otherwise known, it makes you wonder, is it really true or just a hoax?

Here’s what a local pastor, grief counselor, theology professor and medium have to say.


While Austin Eschenwald, youth pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church, said he is not an expert on the subject, he believes there are some things that can’t be explained.

“I’m willing to bet my opinion is different from a lot of other pastors,” he said, “But, personally, I think there’s definitely some kind of ghosts, some kind of spiritual realm that can be contacted to a point.”

Every major religion – particularly Christianity and Islam – have sects focused on the spiritual realm, he said. For Christianity, they’re called mystics – people who have stronger connections to the spiritual realm.

“There are definitely mystics out there who can’t explain what they see or what they know,” he said.

Grief counselor:

Patti Anewalt, licensed counselor with Hospice & Community Care’s Pathways Center for Grief and Loss, said she isn’t surprised that live shows like “Theresa Caputo Live!” continue to sell out.

“Part of why it’s such a popular thing is because it’s something that (people) don’t understand fully and there’s enough intriguing stuff there that makes them curious,” she said.

And when people are deeply grieving, they will desperately look for any opportunity they can find to stay connected to their loved one, she added.

Even Anewalt buys into it.

“I can’t explain it, but I think it’s pretty phenomenal how they can discover or point out or identify something that there’s no way they could have known otherwise,” she said.

But, as a professional, seeing a medium is not something Anewalt said she would recommend.

“I’d be concerned that people would get so caught up in seeking (a connection) that it would interfere with their ability to start to adapt to the fact that they do have to live without the person in the present sense,” she said. “I wouldn’t be totally concerned if they tried it once. But people who make regular appointments aren’t trying to figure out how to live life.”

Theology professor:

While some mediums have been criticized as frauds over the years, Lancaster Bible College theology professor John Soden said the Bible suggests some mediums do have real power.

“But I would see that power as being satanic power,” he said. “It wouldn’t be an appropriate way of finding information you can’t find otherwise.”

Soden referenced a number of Old Testament Bible passages – including Leviticus 20:27 and Deuteronomy 18:11 – that forbid Israel from using or practicing as a medium.

In one passage, God took King Saul’s life because he reached out to a medium to talk to Samuel, who was dead, Soden said.

The New Testament emphasizes the same teachings.

“From a New Testament perspective, comfort for (family and friends of) the deceased should come from who God is and what is revealed in scripture.”

Local medium: 

As a psychic medium and animal communicator in York and Hanover, Jacqui LeBeau said she believes the work Caputo does is genuine.

“She’s such a character and makes it fun for people,” LeBeau said. “I absolutely believe she’s genuine. She gets things for real.”

LeBeau, who has been a medium for more than 10 years, said it’s difficult for some people to believe because our minds are trained to put things aside that we can’t explain.

“Even when I was starting, I thought this can’t be, but then it keeps coming through,” she said. “People try to explain it away and when you can’t, you have to open yourself to the fact that there are things people can’t explain. You might not be able to see or hear it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real.”

However, Francine Milano, a medium for more than 20 years in Lancaster, said there are some mediums that are fakes. One of the tell-tale signs is when the medium says you have a curse over your head or that you have bad luck around you.

“There are people out there than have an MO,” she said. “Everybody’s reading is the same.”

Another sign is if the medium says they need to see you several times. No medium needs to see a person more than once unless they’re a life coach, she said.

Milano encourages people to ask questions about the medium’s training or services before setting up an appointment. Genuine mediums will have gone through training.

“It’s like a musician,” she said. “You might have musical inclinations, but you’re not going to play the clarinet without lessons. When beautiful music comes out, how could you deny this?”

If you go

What: Theresa Caputo Live! The Experience

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19 and 2 p.m. Sunday March 20

Where: Hershey Theatre, 15 E. Caracas Ave., Hershey

Tickets: Sold out

More info: Visit

On TV: “Long Island Medium” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on TLC.