John Edward says to think of the dead as Facebook friends.
They're in your life, if not so much in the room.
"You are tethered to them and they get your updates," said Edward, 42, star of the former show "Crossing Over with John Edward." These days, he's an author and traveling psychic medium who does in person what he used to do on the show: He conveys messages from beyond.
He is scheduled to travel to Maine on June 24 for a $150-a-ticket event at Portland's Holiday Inn By the Bay.
He's quick to say what a ticket won't get: He can't guarantee a reading or who comes through.
"There are times that I'm doing a reading for somebody (when) I'd rather do a reading for someone that's going to be more appreciative," Edward said in a phone interview last month. "I feel like I'm more of a dentist doing a tooth extraction than doing a reading. They don't want to hear from their ex-mother-in-law, but I can't control that."
He's written seven books and has a two-year-plus waiting list for private readings at $750 a session, though Edward doesn't call it a waiting list; it's an "interest list." People are read in the order in which they're supposed to be read.
Same with his live events.
"I believe the other side orchestrates it," Edward said. "I've had so many people who wind up getting a reading (after) they found out they were coming to the event 15 minutes before."
His abilities work by interpreting energy seen, felt and heard from spirit guides. Edward makes the analogy of being showered upon when it comes from his own guides and blasted with a fire hose when someone else's family member tries to get through.
Spend two seconds on the Internet and you'll find people calling the New Yorker a hustler and a fake. Cynics have made up their minds, Edward said. Skeptics, he can work with.
"'(It's) lucky guesswork; there's verbal intonation,' he quoted. "Explore all that and then watch me work, that's what I tell people," he said. "Twenty years into this, I know what I'm doing, I know what I'm seeing, I know what I'm feeling."
It's about validation versus "New Age 'fluffisms,'" he said. "Last week, I said to a woman: 'Someone in your family signed the Declaration of Independence.' There were like 75 people in this very small group. She just nonchalantly said, 'Yes.' (I said,) 'Did you just hear her? Can we have a moment here?' That was pretty cool. That was a 'hose' moment."
He does some peering into the future but doesn't claim 100 percent accuracy. Last presidential election Edward said he told a cousin, "Well, we can clearly say that Obama isn't winning." Over the winter, during a family vacation, he felt an impending high-profile suicide, one with international ramifications. Two weeks later, Whitney Houston died.
"She brought about her own passing by the way she led her life; I saw it as being that," he said.
Edward encouraged people to not come to his events if they feel like he's a last hope to reach a late loved one.
"When you lose somebody, the natural order of things shouldn't be (to) find a medium, get a reading," he said. "It should be: Honor your feelings, honor your grief, work through it. I always tell people it's more about the living than the dead. It's about honoring people while they're here and not waiting for a medium to have to do it for you."
Weird, Wicked Weird is a monthly feature on the strange, intriguing and unexplained in Maine. Send ideas, photos and recommended reading to firstname.lastname@example.org.