A private investigator continued to make claims this week that Long Island Medium star Teresa Caputo is actually a big time fraud. Private investigator Ron Tebo claims that Caputo does not have psychic powers, and engages in the kinds of con games that fake psychics have been using for hundreds of years.
Tebo claims the Caputo uses techniques like cold reading, eavesdropping, and plain old background checks on audience members to get her information. He has been interviewing Caputo’s clients and associates for over a year now, and has come to the conclusion that she is perpetrating a fraud on the public.
Teresa Caputo has just completed her fifth season of Long Island Medium. The show, which is one of TLC’s highest rated programs, is a mix of scenes from Caputo’s home life, her encounters with random strangers in public, and her group readings. Caputo’s shows are edited to remove all of her misses. Many of the complaints against the Long Island Medium are similar to those leveled against John Edward, host of the show Crossing Over, and phone psychic Miss Cleo. Edward, who admitted to using tricks to appear psychic in a Dateline NBC episode. Miss Cleo was brought up on federal charges for fraud.
One of the more tried and true methods of faking being a psychic is cold reading. Cold reading is a technique where the so called psychic will throw out bits of information, looking for people to confirm what the medium says. After the medium gets a hit, they will use context clues to make it seem like they are speaking to the person’s dead relative or friend. For example, a young woman wearing a wedding ring could be at an event looking to hear from her husband. A cold reader will say, “I am hearing from a young man,” hoping that the young woman has lost a husband. Or for an older woman, the cold reader could talk about an older gentleman who died of heart trouble. Heart disease is the number one killer of men in the country. It is not exactly a crap shoot. Eavesdropping is even easier. A false psychic can send out assistants into the crowd before the show and pick up information. It does not get any easier than just sending out someone to ask strangers, “Who do you hope to hear from?”
Perhaps the assertion that is most troubling for fans and believers of Caputo is that she does background checks on her audience members. When purchasing tickets to a Long Island Medium event, audience members give up their phone number and address. The venue will then feed Teresa Caputo this information, allowing her to come into appearances prepared. It does not always work, though. Tebo talked to people who attended Caputo’s April 5 show and were disappointed. They said she was disjointed and stuck only to the first floor of a three tiered arena. The audience members remarked that this seemed awfully convenient of the ghosts.
While it is impossible to say conclusively that Teresa Caputo is not psychic, all evidence points to the Long Island Medium being a big time fraud. How TLC and her fans deal with the situation remains to be seen.
By Bryan Levy