Just what we need – another weird reality show from Discovery’s TLC that promotes “irregular” lifestyles. First it was Sister Wives which tries to portray polygamy (which is illegal in the U.S.) in a positive light, now it’s an eight-week series that peaks into the life of a Long Island woman who claims she can talk to the dead.
Long Island Medium is set to debut on September 25 at 10 p.m. ET on TLC and will follow the real-life psychic medium Theresa Caputo. Caputo claims she can see spirits everywhere, when she’s grocery shopping or getting her nails done, and they are forever trying to contact her in order to pass a message on to their grieving loved ones. Each episode of the new show will focus on a day in Theresa’s life where the audience will watch her conduct private and group “readings” and give out messages during the course of her day to any number of complete strangers. She claims to be able to “feel” the spirits who stalk her, as well as see their shadows and hear their voices.
Caputo is married and lives in Hicksville, NY with her husband of 22 years and two children. She has been practicing mediumship for 10 years and is a “certified medium” with the Forever-Family Foundation, an organization that claims to be dedicated to connecting science with the afterlife (which could explain why certification with this outfit means absolutely nothing).
All of this might sound like just another flaky TV show, but necromancy – which is the occult practice of contacting the dead – is actually quite dangerous both for the medium and for the client.
First of all, necromancy is a special mode of divination through the evocation of the dead. Derived from the old form of the name, nigromancy (niger meaning black) suggests it to be a form of “black” magic in which the workings of evil spirits are present. The fact that demons are behind the practice of necromancy is hard to dispute. Remember, the dead, otherwise known as disembodied souls, no longer have a body or the “equipment” necessary to contact the physical world, and they can only do so with the help of a preternatural (angel or demon) or supernatural (God) being. And because the deceased can only appear to the living with the express permission of God – and He blatantly forbids necromancy in numerous places in Scripture – He is not likely to contradict Himself and allow an angel to facilitate the appearance of a deceased person who is being called upon through some kind of medium (which He also condemns in Scripture). This leaves only one other preternatural spirit available to do the job – a demon.
That’s what’s so dangerous about these popular psychics who claim to be able contact the dead – such as Sylvia Browne, the recently discredited James Van Praagh, and John Edward of Crossing Over fame – all of whom regularly appear on national television claiming to receive messages from the dead relatives of members of the audience. The encourage to vulnerable to seek consolation in a practice that will ultimately result in even more loss.
However, the Church is not alone in its warnings. Some of spiritualism’s most celebrated mediums have been known to give the same advice.
For instance, in The Church and Spiritualism, a book by Father Herbert Thurston, an internationally known authority on spiritualism, he tells the story of a Mrs. Travers Smith who was one of London’s most respected mediums. Smith didn’t hesitate to warn anyone who would listen against the practice of contacting the dead. Once plagued by a spirit of suicide who repeatedly tried to possess her, she warns people to never attempt spirit communication, especially not lightly or for fun.
“You will draw to yourself earth-bound and still evil spirits . . . mischievous messages will follow and oft-times actual mental damage to yourself.”
Fr. Thurston also noted that it was rare for these spirits to speak the truth anyway. After compiling years of study on the subject, he concluded that the overwhelming majority of spirits who speak to the living are “freakish or impersonating spirits,” or what he calls “silly spirits” who deliberately mislead people.
Apparently, there are vast minions of these spiritual clowns, he says, who for “pure sportive fun frequent circles, counterfeit manifestations, assume names and give erroneous and misleading information. . . . And yet, it is through channels such as these that spiritualists bid us seek the solution of the most profound mysteries of man’s existence and destiny.”
These spirits are very good at what they do, he says, and can be extremely deceptive, going so far as to mimic the exact sound of the voice of a deceased loved one, as well as recall many personal details that could only be known to an intimate. (Remember, the devil is an angelic being possessed of enormous powers that are beyond our comprehension. In other words, for a demon, mimicking a dead loved one is a cakewalk.)
Aside from being horribly misled, dabbling with evil spirits comes with much more dire consequences. Father Francesco Bamonte, an exorcist based in Rome and the author of The Damages of Spiritualism, has seen manifestations of all kinds of physical and mental problems in people who have dabbled in necromancy.
These physical manifestations include strong stomach pains, pains in the forehead and bones, vomiting, epileptic fits, pins and needles in the legs, sudden attacks of heat or cold, increasing sense of anxiety, depressions, constant nervous tics, and being unable to eat.
He goes on to cite: “(The) inability to sleep night or day, inability to study or work. To be agitated, to have nightmares, to be afraid of the dark, to have sensations of being grabbed by the arms, or the sensation of someone sitting on our lap. One also feels invisible slaps and bites, as well as blows to the body.”
Addictions, anti-social behavior, suicidal ideation, also manifest in people who have become involved in contacting who they think are the dead.
But one of the best proofs that these spirits are evil comes from what they supposedly tell us – or, better put – what they neglect to tell us.
“Note that the messages from the ‘dead’, from the spirits, and from channeled entities never encourage people to believe the Bible, never urge people to trust Christ for salvation, and often openly contradict God’s word or even speak derisively of Christ as Savior,” says New Age and occult expert Marcia Montenegro in “Spirit Contact: Who is on the Other Side?”
Having said all this, I don’t think we can aptly call Theresa Caputo’s story a “reality” show because it’s nothing of the kind. It’s a completely unrealistic portrayal of a very dangerous lifestyle.
Let’s keep Caputo and her unsuspecting clients/audience in our prayers.