Blog Post

The Tarnished Star of the Long Island Medium

RM writes: “I used to love the Long Island Medium show because Teresa Caputo seems so real, but my friends say she’s a phony who uses typical tricks to fool the audience into thinking she’s connecting with their deceased loved ones. Is this true?”

It certainly is. The Long Island Medium’s alleged ability to talk to the dead has long been in question, thanks to the many brave souls who have spoken up about her less-than-accurate “readings” from their alleged loved ones.

The fading of Caputo's stardom began as long ago as 2012 when Inside Edition attended one of her live shows and discovered that she’s not nearly as accurate in person as she appears to be on her TV shows. For example, she would incorrectly “read” that someone’s mother was dead when she was still alive, or that relatives passed “one right after the other” when this didn’t happen. The whole evening was filled with these kinds of gaffes.

One of her more painful blunders occurred in 2014 during the taping of The Ellen Degeneris Show when Caputo called out to the live audience, “Somebody lost a son in a tragedy. He tells me that he’s passed because he shows the doves in his hands.”

According to Radar Online, there was a woman in the audience that day named Pamela Weinstein who lost her three-year-old son Brandon in 1999 to a deranged murderer while the boy was playing in a playground in Costa Mesa, California.

Seeing Weinstein, Caputo went on to tell her, “He’s thanking you for loving him and respecting his choices. You didn’t always agree with him, but you always respected him, is that correct?”

Weinstein just looked at her, confused, then reluctantly nodded.

Even though the audience went away convinced, Weinstein later admitted that Caputo’s reading was way off the mark.

“She was referring to my son as being much older than he was,” Weinstein said. “She was definitely not spot on. I thought, ‘No, this does not sound like him.’ I do not think she was capturing his spirit at all…The reading wasn’t anything close to what my son would have wanted me to hear. It did not offer closure at all.”

In 2018, according to’s Jessica Ramo, Caputo had a similarly disastrous night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, where she attempted to connect with people and kept striking out.

“It went on like this. Any time something was wrong for one person, it was right for someone else and that person stood up. Three mics got passed around. Caputo bounced around all night this way, talking as fast as an auctioneer, leading her own game of spiritual whack-a-mole,” Ramo describes.

Caputo’s gullible fans swear by her abilities, but even her hometown newspaper calls her a phony. Jaime Franchi, writing for the Long Island Press went to one of her shows hoping to connect with her dead father and came away completely disillusioned.

Calling Caputo a good performer, Franchi said “she’s got undeniably likeable sass and charisma. I just don’t think she speaks with the dead. Or she didn’t the night that I saw her.”

Experts aren’t surprised. For example, the former magician turned skeptic, James Randi, offered Caputo his still unclaimed $1 million reward to anyone who could provide any evidence of a paranormal event. Caputo declined, saying, “"I will never prove or defend my gift."

Mark Edward who formerly worked as a psychic and assisted Inside Edition with their report, said he watched Caputo using the same tricks as other psychics, such as “cold reading.” This involves making general statements to a large audience that are bound to get a response, such as “Who has a dad who passed recently?” They also throw out numbers, “who connects with the number 2?” and someone will inevitably say it’s the day their loved one died, or it’s their address, etc.

Because of our penchant for exposing personal details about ourselves on social media, providing seemingly accurate information via cold reading has become a lot easier for today’s psychics and mediums.

“In combination with selling seats through Ticketmaster and the use of credit cards, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and all the rest of the latest places people post private information, our own egocentric fascination with ourselves makes it easy for the techie-smart agent or producer to make seeming miracles happen,” explains Edward.

According to Skeptical Inquirer, the Long Island Medium uses social media along with other techniques. “Caputo places in the front rows those who she already knows, for whom she already has performed in the past and about whom she has already learned everything there is to know. But her great idea (or perhaps that of her staff) was to take full advantage of what modernity has to offer. In particular, it is thanks to the information found on Facebook and other social media that she can astound her public.”

And when confronted about her trickery, Caputo offers no apologies. "I respect and understand skeptics,” she told Inside Edition. “I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone, that's not why I do what I do. I feel, and have been told by my clients, that my gift has really helped them, and that's all that matters to me."

That sounds lovely, but is she really helping the bereaved by duping them into believing things about their deceased loved ones that aren’t true? Even if they do get momentary comfort and closure, what happens when they find out that Caputo is a phony who made it all up? Won’t that just make them experience their pain all over again?

Even worse, how many Catholics are being drawn into her web of deceit? Caputo, who claims to be a practicing Catholic and has a statue of Our Lady in her front yard, has led many into participating in a practice that is explicitly condemned as an “abomination” in Scripture (see Deuteronomy 18:10) and is in direct violation of the First Commandment (see Catechism No. 2116).

We should consider it a blessing from God that the truth about the Long Island Medium and similar scam artists are brought to light. For some, especially the bereaved, it is the only way to convince them away from these charlatans and seek their comfort and peace in the arms of God.

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