John Edward Takes Other Side Coast to Coast

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According to self-proclaimed psychic medium John Edward, he hasn't spent the years since the end of "Crossing Over With John Edward" -- which aired on Sci-Fi Channel and in syndication -- obsessing about how to get back on television.

But, he says, every now and then he'd get an e-mail or letter from one of his ardent viewers urging him to do just that.

"Every time I'd get to that point [of not going back on television]," Edward says, "I'd have one of those e-mails or one of those messages come up again, and I'd be like, 'Errr.'

"My definition, it was John Edward and television, comma or semicolon, after 'Crossing Over' wasn't picked up. I felt like I needed to make it a period, and every time I made it a period, somebody erased it and said, 'No, no, make it a comma. It's just a comma right now.'"

So, on Friday, March 17, the half-Irish Edward hopes for a bit of luck with the premiere of his new show, "John Edward Cross Country," an eight-episode documentary-style series on WE: Women's Entertainment.

In Edward's previous series, participants came to a TV studio in Manhattan, and Edward did readings for them concerning deceased friends, family and loved ones. In the new series, Edward gives a series of seminars across the country, then visits the homes of some of the participants to follow up on information he says he received during a reading.

"Sometimes it's like catching up with an old friend," he says. "I'm not in front of 300 people or 3,000 people, there's no microphone, and I can't just say, 'Tell me about that,' or 'How did this help you?' And it doesn't feel like 'John Edward the psychic medium' asking the questions; it's John the person."

Among the many charges leveled at Edward and other mediums is that they offer false comfort to grieving people. Although Edward doesn't defend his profession, he does acknowledge that what he does is not a cure-all for losing someone near and dear.

"People will say, 'How do I get over this?'" Edward says. "And I say, 'You never get over it. You get on with it.' So, can you find closure? I think it's healthy to find closure to the experience, but do you find closure to the person? Never."

To those who hope Edward can provide them with all the answers, he says, "I'm pretty diligent in saying -- and I say this all the time -- mediumship is not a cure for grief. I can't fix things for you. I can make it better, but I can't fix it."

Edward has also developed a thick skin for the other charges that come his way, including that he obtains information on clients by surreptitious means or that he uses a technique called "cold reading" to elicit information.

"When I did 'Crossing Over,'" he says, "I sat my family down and said, 'You are going to hear me attacked. You are going to be in places where people are going to talk about me, and you are going to want to, but you can't. Just let it go.' I said, 'I understand that by making this decision, I am walking out. And the normal bull's-eye that's on my ass is going to be huge, because people are going to want to take potshots. And that's fine.'

"But it's usually, honestly, their issues that they are shooting down, not mine. It's their lack of a belief. So for me, it's not my job to help create a belief system. It's up to them to go find one."

Somewhat helping Edward's cause is the success enjoyed by NBC's "Medium" and CBS' "Ghost Whisperer," both dramas about female mediums who communicate with the dead.

"I'm excited that there are shows like 'Medium,'" Edward says, "and I'm excited that there is 'Ghost Whisperer,' because it keeps the subject matter in the culture. It keeps a dialogue. That, to me, is so important. It is so important because people 15, 20 years ago would not talk about mediums. They would not talk about their connection.

"But there's nothing new to what this is. This has been around for a long, long time, because people have been dying for a long, long time. And the other side has been coming through to people in dreams and making connections for a long, long time.

"So, in certain cultures, it's more accepted. In the Hispanic culture, they celebrate the Day of the Dead. In other cultures, they choose not to look at it. It's different."

But that doesn't mean that Edward -- who says he discovered his psychic skills as a teen -- thinks parents should keep an eye out for any signs that their children might be budding mediums.

"I don't think I ever felt cursed," Edward says. "I think I felt weird, honestly. When I have people come up to me and say that they have children that are exhibiting this type of ability, and how do they develop it? I encourage them not to. I encourage them to let them be kids.

"Because while other kids were hanging out in parking lots in high school, I was doing group readings on Friday and Saturday nights."

And as for all those letters and e-mails from fans impatient for his return to television, Edward says, "I'm hoping to achieve, honestly, a large audience. I'm excited about that. I'm hoping to bring my fans from 'Crossing Over,' because I'm tired of getting e-mails that say, 'Where are you?' 'I'm on WE. That's where I am.'"

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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