Originally published in The Patriot-News on August 18, 2011.
Quantum physics enthusiast and former health care administrator, John Edward is more than just a proclaimed psychic. He is a teacher, a messenger and according to some, a fraud.
Edward, 41, is coming to a sold-out performance Friday at Harrisburg’s Whitaker Center. with a price of $125 per ticket the feat is commendable.
Here, Edward tackles the issue of cynics, the accusations of being a fraud and his own story of how he went from a phlebotomy specialist to a psychic extraordinaire.
You’ve said the one person you want to connect to most is Albert Einstein. Any luck?
“No, I would have to have someone in his family. There has to be a lightning line. I don’t think he’d come through in a way that I’d want to have a conversation with him, either. He would come through in a way that was personal them.”
What would you talk about?
“I would like to talk to him when he was alive about what he thought of the potentiality of the afterlife and then I’d like to talk with him once he had passed on. I think that would be a fascinating chat. But you know, you’re talking to the person who likes to read books about quantum physics.”
Ahh, but no one understands quantum physics.
“It’s all debatable thought. It’s stuff that’s all hypothesis on what there are theories on. It’s really fascinating stuff.”
What would you be if you weren’t a professional medium?
“I would probably be a teacher. I think I would like to teach health care, medical stuff. I like to teach but I also like the clinical part of health care. It’d have to be a mixture of both.”
What made you leave the health care field?
“It was the convergence of both of my worlds, the psychic world got a bit too overwhelming for me.”
How did you become this worldwide psychic phenomenon?
“That’s the funny part. I started doing this work when I was 15 years old, and in a very quick time made a name for myself in a small circle of people…
Just by nature of having to keep up with the demand of people who want to see me, I thought well, I can do groups where I can teach people. Well this was getting bigger and someone suggested ‘you could do a book.’
It was literally like walking up the next step. It was always to find the next vehicle or medium to teach what I’ve already been doing.
When the book was coming out, the people from the book company said I had to promote it on television. I was like, ‘I don’t really want to do TV.’ I didn’t want to be edited.
So I was like, ‘Let me call the TV shows myself and talk with the producers.’ From there I started creating relationships from people who were on TV. And just by that I became friendly with the producers and then I had dinner with them and they said ‘Would like you to do a television show?’ And within a year ‘Crossing Over’ was on air. It was a 15 year overnight success.”
When you were 15, a psychic confirmed your gift, right?
“Yes, Lydia Clair. It was kind of surreal because I thought she was completely full of [expletive] to be honest.
One by one people were going to have readings with her. And I was completely pulling apart for all of them what it was she was saying in the ways which I thought I could.
In reality it was amazing things she was telling people.
And finally my cousin went and said ‘You have to go,’ and I said ‘No, I’m not giving money to someone to tell me a story.’
She said she’d pay so I sat down with [Clair] and she completely changed my life.”
Did she become your mentor then?
“She did not, which is the really weird part. I remember very clearly asking her ‘So you’re going to train me, right?’ and she was like ‘No, you’re going to find my own way.’ And I was like ‘Wha? Aren’t you supposed to be my Jedi Knight? My Yoda?’
But I found my way and I have to say I think that was part of my journey.
For me that was what my journey was, it was all about discovery. That’s what I teach people. People think ‘Here’s this guy John Edwards who just talks with dead people.’ The reality is I’m a teacher, I teach about metaphysics, talk about energy, empowerment and how metaphysical tools can be instrumental in life.”
How do you react to the skeptics? The critics? You’ve been called some nasty things.
“Depends on the criticisms. I was taught early on to be respectful to other people. I don’t attack people. If someone’s an agnostic or atheist I don’t try to attack them, yell at them or go on the Internet and write nasty things about them. I respect them on where they are in their journey.
I always find the people who are so critical on the subject matter don’t give any respect back. They try to define what you’re doing when they don’t even understand it. That just screams to me ignorance and ignorance leads to intolerance and that’s when dangerous things happen.”
What about the people who accuse you of cold reading?
“That’s the same thing. I think that is somebody who is trying to explain what’s happening, and they won’t. They make statements that are completely ludicrous.
There was someone years ago who took it upon herself to expose me as a fraud. She started following me around, going to the shows.
This woman wrote me such an amazing letter that I actually called her. She said ‘I armed myself with all the tools, and I really did investigate you. And I came to all your events, I came away there more scared about what the skeptics are putting out there than what you are putting out there.’
I’m paraphrasing of course. What she wrote was so eloquent.
I called her and said ‘Thank you for saying that.’
And said ‘You personally don’t do what they say you do.’
Unfortunately maybe there are people who do that.
It’s just an argumentative and attack base. I don’t like eating fish. You could serve it up, you can tell me it’s not going to taste fishy I just don’t like it. But I’m never going to tell you it doesn’t exist.
I think I would just prefer that they just said that ‘It’s not for me.’ I’m totally okay for that. It’s when they take it on the next level and tell the people who do that ‘You’re all … ignorant for being gullible,’ that I have a problem with.”
What do you say to people who say you’re a fraud?
“It brings out the coward in people. I’m constantly asked about ‘Crossing Over.’ I finally just said to one person, ‘Nobody filled out anything. Nobody filled out a damn thing on Crossing Over other than a release form, and there were two of them.’
In the first season of doing the show the producers had people come in, write questions they could ask me. And it happened that they put them in a big bag, a grab bag, and I would pull out the questions and go ‘Oh Suzy, you asked this…’ That blew up to people saying that we were fishing for information. But that’s not factual and it’s not true.
Stuff like that I’ll explain because it’s not correct. I also feel responsibility to people who worked on the show. That would mean all of these people were in on that big charade. It’s just not real.”