THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
His television appearances have made millions of people believe in the afterlife—and in his ability to reach it. Now psychic medium John Edward's legion of fans can read his remarkable true story.
With a fresh, honest—and at times even skeptical—approach, John discusses how he first discovered, then gradually developed, his psychic ability to foretell events and communicate with the deceased. He also provides accounts of his most compelling readings, how they helped heal the scars of grief and gave way to more fulfilling lives for the living—lives where loved ones never cease to love you, and never really die...
In an all-new chapter, written especially for this paperback edition, he also empowers readers to tune in to their own psychic abilities—and read and understand signs of spiritual contact they may be experiencing every day without even knowing it.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
John Edward is an internationally acclaimed psychic medium. He has appeared on national television and a number of talk shows including Larry King Live.
Read an Excerpt
"When did you realize you could do this?" That's the question every medium is asked first and most often. "When did you first know you had the ability to straddle the physical and spiritual worlds and actually make contact with the dead?"
For me, there are really two answers. If I view it through the eyes of the child that I was, I would say I was clueless until I was a teenager. But if I view it in restrospect, I would say that on some very deep level I had an inkling at a much earlier age. Maybe I didn't recognize them for what they were, but the signs were there. Subconsciously, I knew something was up. I just didn't know what it was.
As a child I was always drawn to television shows featuring characters with amazing abilities and special otherworldly powers: The Six Million Dollar Man ... The Bionic Woman ... Wonder Woman ... Spider-Man ... Bewitched. I was obsessed with I Dream of Jeannie. An uncle of mine bought me a bottle like the one in the show. Smoke came out when you rubbed it. In my mind I was living in that bottle. I imagined I had those powersblink and make things happen. Was it that on some level I identified with otherwise ordinary people with extraordinary gifts? Was it my spirit guides preparing me for something I would not understand for many years? Impossible to say. All I know is that I was very specific in my taste in superheroes.
Not that I really believed I had any powers of my own, or that I was anything but an ordinary kid living an ordinary life. Until I was 11, I lived in an apartment in a section of the New York City borough of Queens called Glen Oaks. Both my parents commuted to their jobs in Manhattanmy father was a cop, my mother an executive secretary. They separated when I was in the sixth grade, and I moved with my mother to my grandmother's house in Glen Cove, Long Island. My mother's side of the family was the one I always identified withthe Italian side, all open arms and loud parties and family, family, family.
I was an only child, but it never felt that way, especially when my mother's younger sister and her husband moved in with their new son, James. We had three generations living in the same house, and on weekends there would be an invasion of aunts and uncles and cousins, all coming to Grandma's housethe hub. My grandmother, Josephine Esposito, had eleven children. So I never felt like I had one mother; I had six. Besides my mother and grandmother, there was Aunt Anna, Aunt Rachel, Aunt Theresa, Aunt Roseann. And cousins too, looking after me like big brothers and sisters. I think growing up in such a large and close-knit family was another preparation for my life. I came to appreciate those closest to me, to understand how important they are. Knowing firsthand how badly it hurts when you lose someone close has helped me do what I do. We all yearn to know that when our loved ones go, they're not gone. They've crossed over, and they're safe. I know how important this is because I have been there. I have yearned for this too.
One member of my family who had a major impact on me was my uncle Joey, my mother's younger brother. He was a '60s-type guy who was always taking me hiking or to the beach, teaching me the value of the earth and the universe, and opening me up at an early age to the idea of psychic energy. He meditated, did yoga, took seaweed bathsa free spirit unlike anyone else in the family. I would watch him meditate, and he would explain what he was doing. When I was young, I would laugh and think he was a nut, but now I realize that he taught me how to have an open mind, how to imagine a world beyond what we can see and touch, how to believe that anything is possible, and to appreciate life, energy, God. He never talked down to me. And I think he was placed in my life for a reason.
Joey's second wife, Debbie, was a card reader. She'd read for everyone in the family, and I'd watch her and ask her what she was doing. "I get feelings from the cards," she'd explain. "It's like they talk to me." I'd look at her and say, "Okaaay." I was open, but not that open. Even though by the time I was ten, I had been having my own weird experiences for several years, I just didn't connect them with so-called "psychic phenomena." When you're young, everything you know is fragmented. It takes a while to put it all together.
There were times when I knew things I shouldn't have known. Simple things, like who was coming over, or who was on the phone. I knew about family history nobody told me about. I would talk about some family situation, and my relatives would say I couldn't know that because I wasn't around then. And I would argue with them. "Yes, I remember being there," I would say.
I have since thought about what that could have been. For instance, I could have been tuning in to the energy they were talking about and been shown pictures of the past by my spirit guides. But from an early age I also had the sense of having had a prior life, of having done things "before I came down here," as I used to put it. If someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and happened to mention college, I would tell them, "I've already been to college." It became a running joke in my family: Oh, Johnny's already been to college. Before he "came down here."
I knew how to get places I'd never been to. And I could see words. Even before I could read, I would see words in my head and spell them out. My father thought this was terrific, and he would show me off to peoplethe little spelling whiz. One day, he started giving me words: mahogany, machine, lawyer ... and I'd spell them. And then I spelled the word phlegm. And he said, "What?" Phlegm wasn't on the spelling list. I'd never even heard the word, let alone known that it was one of those words that seem to be spelled wrong on purpose. I just saw the word in my head and spelled it out.
I saw auras around my elementary school teachers. I would sit in class and see colors happening around them. I once told a teacher, "You're blue." She looked at me and said, "Excuse me?" I said, "You've got blue all around you." She asked, "What do you mean?" I said, "Especially on this side. You've got blue around you." I've been told that I was doing this as early as five.
One day I was in Macys department store with my mother and said to her out of nowhere, "We've got to go home now." My mother said she wasn't finished shopping. "We've gotta go home right now," I insisted. "Phyllis is going to call. She's waiting on a corner. We've gotta go!" My mother gave me one of those exasperated-mom looks. Phyllis, my older cousin, lived in Florida. "What is it, you have to go to the bathroom?" my mother asked. I had big problems with public restrooms. "No!" I said. "Phyllis is waiting for us. She's calling." In my head I saw Phyllis calling us from a phone booth on a corner near our house. My mother rolled her eyes and took me home to go to the bathroom. We got inside, and within five minutes the phone rang. It was Phyllis, calling from a block away. She was up from Florida, a surprise visit. But we had moved and she didn't have our new address. Could we come pick her up? I thought this was a normal thing. Whatever my mother's private reaction, she didn't make a big deal out of it.
Another time, I came home from school for lunch and asked my grandmother, "Where's Uncle Joey?" My grandmother said, "In Pennsylvania. Where else would he be?" I said, "No, he's here, he's here." And I actually went looking from room to room, thinking he was hiding. "Johnny, I think you're cracking up," my grandmother said, laughing as she made macaroni. With that, my uncle walked in the door. I thought my grandmother was going to drop to the floor.
What was the source of these whispers? I had no clue. Nor did I have much interest in thinking too much about it. At night I'd go back to my dreams and fly around, down the stairs, out the door and over my neighborhood, everything below me a blur.
MAKE SURE JOHNNY'S NOT HOME
You'd think that with all these strange experiences, I'd have been more interested in my mother's hobby. She was a psychic junkie. I thought she was looney.
My mother was constantly getting readings from psychics, reporting back to Uncle Joey and Grandma when she had a "good one." I didn't believe any of it. "Ma, what are you doing?" I'd say repeatedly by the time I reached my early teens. "Are you nuts? You're paying good money to these people to tell you a story." And she'd say to me, "Mind your own business. I like it. It's like going to a cheap psychiatrist."
Sometimes my mother brought psychics to the house for what I later learned was known in the trade as a house party. There was one, a short, old, and very feisty woman we knew only as Reverend Craig who did a séance that went on all night. Of course, I wasn't allowed to stay. She looked at me and said, "You, outta here! You'll have enough time for this later." You can consider that either ironyor prescience.
Once a year my mother would bring in a psychic and invite people over for coffee and cake. One by one they'd go into the room with the psychic. My father would tell my mother, "Make sure Johnny's not home. I don't want him around that stuff." And one of my cousins would come pick me up and take me out for the day. My father thought it was nonsense, and I think it scared him. But as I got older my mother would let me stay. "Listen, don't tell your father we're doing this," she'd say. But I was with my father on this one: I thought it was just nutty, despite my childhood infatuation with TV characters with special abilities. That was TV. This was real life. And psychic stuff struck me as some sort of guessing game. You couldn't see it. You couldn't touch it. Yet, there was always a part of me that was intrigued by it.
Everything began to change around my fifteenth birthday, triggered by a scary incident. At my school physical that year, the doctor found my thyroid levels off and sent me to an endocrinologist for further tests. My cousin Roseann took me to the appointment. The specialist feared I might have a tumor, and Roseann called my mother at work with the news. Seeing how shaken she was, a colleague said to my mother, "I don't know if you believe in psychics, but there's one who works upstairs. She doesn't like people to know about it, but I can see if she'll see you." Lydia Clar said yes, and my mother went. I told you she was a psychic junkie.
It turned out I didn't have a tumor. But considering what it led to, in hindsight I've come to think there was a reason for this medical scare. My mother was so impressed with Lydia that she arranged for her to come out to the house and read for the family.
My mother set Lydia up in my bedroom, of all places. There were eighteen or twenty relatives and friends in the house, all waiting their turn to meet the psychic. One by one, they went in, emerging some time later with these glazed-over looks on their faces. Despite my mother's warnings to be on my best behavior, I smirked. I thought my entire family was nuts. I watched TV, trying to ignore the whole thing, although Lydia had startled me even before she started the readings. If you're so good, I thought to myself as she sat at the dining room table, drinking coffee and preparing to go upstairs, tell me what I'm thinking now. I was shocked when, a moment later, Lydia asked, "John, is there something you'd like to ask me?" "No," I stammered, "nothing, not a thing."
Lucky guess? At this point, I had to wonder. My cousin Roseann, known as "Little Ro," came out of her reading and told me, "John, she's good." Roseann was 30 but looked 15. Everyone who met her thought she was a teenager, and every psychic she went to talked about what boy she was going to meet and what college she was going to go to. Meanwhile, she was married and had a child. But this psychic was different. "She even knew I lost a baby," Roseann reported. She wanted me to go in and have a reading. I was old enough now. I resisted; I really had no interest. But Roseann kept it up and I finally relented, just to humor her, especially since she was paying. And I would prove Lydia wrong.
I sat down on the bed, and after a few pleasantries Lydia said to me, "You're the reason I'm here." I didn't know what to say. I'm fifteen years old and there's a woman in my bedroom telling me I'm the reason she's here. I thought maybe she just meant that it was my medical situation that had sparked her meeting my mother. But that's not what she meant. "I agreed to come here because I'm supposed to put you on this path in your life," she said. "What path?" I asked uncomfortably. She said, "You are very gifted. You have wonderful psychic abilities. You have highly evolved spiritual guides and they are ready to work with you. I was sent here today to introduce you to this world, to open you to your future." Lydia explained that she didn't normally come to people's houses but that something had led her here, and when she saw me in my mother's reading she knew I was the reason.
At this point I truly expected Rod Serling to walk out of my closet, accompanied by the theme music from Twilight Zone. I thought it was psychic shtick that she was laying on just a bit too thick. I'd always been such a skeptic, always pulling apart the things people like her were telling my mother. Now I was supposed to believe I was going to become one of them.
Lydia continued talking about my future in the spirit world, ignoring the fact that she was talking to a kid who aspired to an afterschool job in the neighborhood deli and whose main concern was what girl he was going to go out with. But I decided I would have some fun with this. I'll play with her, I thought.
She began to read me. She started out with a few things that were generally specific to my age group, nothing that I even remember. Then she talked about some details about my family. They were on target, but she could have found this out from my mother. She asked if I had any questions. "No," I said, "I think I've heard enough." She said, "Really?" and laughed. "You don't want to know what's going to happen with Rebecca?"
That stopped me. I was somewhat precocious in those days, and was occasionally seeing a girl named Rebecca who was quite a few years older than I was. I kept it secret from my family because I'd have been in a serious jam if my mother knew. "I don't know who that is," I said with a straight face. She said, "Well, you don't have to acknowledge this, but I'm just going to give you the information." I said, "Go ahead, but it's not gonna make any sense to me." She said, "Well, you're not going to wind up with Rebecca. That's obvious. Nor is she going to wind up with Mark. He's the other person she's seeing, right?" I shrugged. I knew she was right.
"She's going to marry someone she works with. Who works with food. And I see him with her," she said. "She doesn't work with anybody who works with food," I replied smugly. Lydia just smiled knowingly.
A month or so later, Rebecca told me that she had broken up with Mark and was seeing someone new. I asked her where she'd met him. She told me she'd been working part-time as a waitress in a restaurant and had met him there. He was the chef.
Although I could only laugh at Lydia's preposterous prediction about my future life as a psychic, I couldn't deny that she had something here. And in retrospect, it's clear to me that she did what she set out to do. She put me on the path.
If I believed in coincidenceswhich I don'tI would say this is one: A few weeks after my encounter with Lydia, my great-aunt Louise visited and gave me one of those twenty-five-cent books they sell at the supermarket checkout counter, How to Predict Your Future with Playing Cards. I thought the timing of this little gift was pretty strange, but it seemed like harmless fun. I started doing "readings" for friends and relatives, predicting their futures after sorting through the playing cards. I would shuffle the cards, pick out seven of them, and then just make up a story. At least that's what I thought I was doing. I would say whatever came into my head. I'm not sure who was more amazed when many of the things I said turned out to be true. My cousins started calling and asking if they could come for another "reading," and would I mind if they brought ten friends with them? Of course, the idea that I had some unique ability never crossed my mind. I thought it was all in the cards.
I was curious, if not quite hooked. With Lydia's visit fresh in my mind, I went to the "occult" section of the library and began to read everything I could get my hands on, absorbing what I could about psychic phenomena, spiritualism, and metaphysics. I read about spirit guides, that we all have them, and that it was supposedly from them, not any playing cards, that I was getting my psychic information. As I read books by authors such as Ruth Montgomery, I began to wonder if it was possible that what Lydia said was true.
But I also thought, Wait a minute, this isn't psychic stuffthis is normal. These books were talking about the kinds of things I had been doing my whole life, using words like "clairvoyance" and "clairsentience" to describe abilities I thought everyone had. At school I began asking teachers I trusted whether they had ever been able to know things that hadn't happened yet, whether they ever felt as though they had been transported out of their bodies or thought they were flying during sleep. Of course, they would look at me and say, "Uh, no." And I would start explaining some of the things that had happened to me since I was a little kid.
Susan Blind was one teacher who listened to me without passing judgment, and unknowingly had a hand in nudging me toward my life's work. I met her when my best friend, Mark Misiano, dragged me to an after-school meeting of the high school's Human Relations Club, for which she was faculty advisor. I sat inconspicuously in the back of the room, but at one point Ms. Blind looked at me as if she knew me and said, "John?" We had never met before, and she later said she had no idea how she knew my name. We became friends, and I considered her a role model: one of the few people I felt comfortable enough with to talk to in depth about what I was learning about myself. She didn't laugh or scoff at me. Her words were supportivean example of the maxim that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
Ms. Blind was a teacher and a friend, but she was not a spiritual teacher. The only person I have thought of in that way is someone I also met at this point. Her name is Sandi Anastasi, and she ran the Astrological Institute of Integrated Studies in Bay Shore, Long Island. (She has since moved to Port Charlotte, Florida, where she and her husband operate a New Age bookstore.) I began studying tarot and other metaphysical philosophies with Sandi, and she, too, told me that I was gifted. She gave a psychic development class, but told me not to come because, she said, I was too advanced.
Lydia Clar put me on this path but Sandi was the one who guided me. She helped me realize my strengths and weaknesses, and laid an important foundation: She helped me develop a sound understanding of metaphysics, and taught me the importance of keeping my ego in check.
Even as I explored this new universe, I was in most ways just a typical teenager and I didn't really take seriously the idea that I would one day make spirit communication my life's work. But I was curious about the legitimacy of psychics, especially on the subject of girlfriends. At one point I decided to go to another psychic, to kind of test what Lydia had said to menot a test of her prediction about my supposed future in the field but of what she said about my life as a teenager with raging hormones. At least that's what I told myself.
My friend Mark's mother went to psychic seminars and gave my mother information on several practitioners. I decided to go to one, Maria D'Andrea, who used an old Nordic divination method known as rune stones to help her with readings. I went to see her and waited to see if she knew the same truth Lydia did regarding my social life. Without any prompting she began telling me just what Lydia had told meabout my future work. "You have a gift," she said. "You'll be doing this work." I thought, Here we go again. Another one who wants me to join the ranks. Is this what they tell everyone? She got up and called a woman who ran psychic seminars on Staten Island, New York. "You have to have this guy come work for you," she said into the phone. I thought, What? I had zero interest. Two weeks later I found myself at a psychic seminar on Staten Island, thinking, What am I doing here? I can't do this for real. I do it for fun, I do it as a joke. You know how one thing leads to another and things sometimes happen on their own, especially when you're young? Everyone told me I had nothing to lose by going to this woman with her psychic fairs. So I went.
Sheila Knies ran the show, which was located at a cultural center known as Snug Harbor. She took me into a cavernous room that had a dark, hollow, almost dungeonlike feel. "Okay," she said, "what is it that you do?" I said, "I don't know, really. I don't know what I do." She asked, "Why don't you show me?"
Oh, great, I thought. I don't even think I can do this and she wants to test me. I took out some tarot cards I'd brought with me (I'd graduated from regular old playing cards) and tried to "read" Sheila. I was terrible. But she smiled and asked me if I could stay. "Stay today?" I asked. "Yes, stay and read," she said. "Like do readings?" I said. "Yeah, I'd like to have you on," she said. "Are you serious?" I asked. "Yes, I'm very serious," she replied.
Years later, I asked Sheila why she had let me stay when I had given her a completely terrible reading. "You're right," she said. "The reading made no sense, no sense at all. But I know when people can do this and I could sense it from you. I knew you would be able to do it."
I did nine readings that day, and for the next year, I spent my Sundays at psychic fairs and seminars, telling people what was going to be happening in their futures. I sure didn't look the part. I was by far the youngest psychic in attendance and heard my share of "He's just a kid." No matter. I had no plans to take it further. My immediate plan was to graduate from high school, then go to college, get a job, have a family.
When I first started doing readings at the psychic fairs, it was always straight psychic work: what was going on in a person's life, what was coming up. I would use psychometry as my primary way to tune in, as I still do. I'd ask my client for a personal object I could hold onto to help key into his or her energy. Or I'd use cards or numerology, which are other ways of helping to unlock the door. As I got more comfortable with the process and the energies I was feelingas I got better at my job, in essenceI began to feel that I was being led in another direction, to the point where I felt as though I was being physically interrupted by a new force. I'd be talking about what might be ahead for someonea marriage, a baby, a job change, a movewhen some other information would come in and just take over, something completely unrelated to what I was talking about, something very different from what I originally felt, as though I was tuning in two different radio stations simultaneously.
It started one day when I was working at a psychic fair and names suddenly began popping into my head. I'd always gotten validating information such as names, but this felt much different. "I'm getting the name Antonio," I said to my client, figuring it was a friend or relative of the woman I was reading. "I don't know if that name means anything to you." The woman said, "My grandfather was Antonio, but he's dead." Strange, I thought. Then, quickly, another name came to me. "Who's Maria?" The woman said, "Antonio's wife, my grandmother, but she's also dead." I asked, "Who's the `L' sound that goes with them?" She said, "Maria's sister is Louise." I asked, "She's dead too?" She replied, "No, she's still alive."
I was as confused as the person sitting in front of me. "What does this mean?" she asked, staring in wonderment. Good question, I thought. I had to come up with something. "Well," I tried, "you know, these are people who were once important in your life or somehow connected with you in the past, and that's why I'm picking up on their names."
This happened more and more frequently, and I didn't like it. I found that it confused matters and somehow changed the rules of the game. (And a game was what I thought this was.) Despite my facile explanation, I knew deep down there was more to it. My early reading on psychic phenomena steered clear of mediumship, so I was groping in the dark. But one thing I knew on an instinctive, gut level was that I wasn't just tapping into this person's life but connecting with what felt like a very different energy. When this happened, I felt I was receiving information on two very distinct tracks, and I was trying (not very successfully) to join them together.
Mostly I tried to ignore it. It wasn't that connecting with the dead scared me; it was that it just didn't interest me very much. I was sixteen years old; why would I want to talk to dead people? Predicting the future: that was cool. The most impressive thing possible. In fact, I had so little curiosity about these names I found popping into my brain that I did not even entertain the possibility that I was reaching the dead. But I did need to rationalize it somehow, so I said, "These were people in your life. That's why I'm getting them." End of story. Now let's get back to that new job you're going to get.
The only thing was, it was more than just names and initials. It was vibrations. I knew these voices were different, and so was their source. And they kept getting louder and more insistent, more intrusive. I found it harder to ignore them. It was like a little kid coming up to you, wanting something while you're having a conversation. You say, "Not now," and five seconds later he comes back and says, "Now?" So there was this constant yanking feeling and I'd wind up trying to, in effect, have two conversations at once. The result was that I'd go off on tangents and the reading would get scattered. The whole thing left me confused and distracted. I'd read enough books by this point(and heard enough from Sandi Anastasi and Lydia Clar) to understand that whatever psychic skill I had was due to my ability to connect with my spirit guides. They were the ones giving me the information about people's lives. So who were these other guys? What the hell was going on here?
Table of Contents
|PART 1: ON THE PATH||1|
|2 Make Sure Johnny's Not Home||8|
|3 The Man with the Barber's Comb||18|
|5 Hitting Home||30|
|PART 2: ENCOUNTERS WITH THE OTHER SIDE||41|
|6 The Language||43|
|7 They're in Charge (Part 1)||60|
|8 Appreciating the Messages||70|
|9 I Don't Censor||80|
|10 Living in This World||88|
|11 Tracy's Love||96|
|12 Keeping the Faith||104|
|13 Andrew's Miracle||111|
|14 They're in Charge (Part 2)||136|
|15 Winds Beneath Our Wings||143|
|PART 3: DEEPER||149|
|16 Sneaking Peeks||151|
|17 "Now He's Your Older Brother"||164|
|18 The Druggist and the Donor||183|
|19 Delivering the Goods||201|
|20 Mikey and Me||207|
|A Few Last Words||219|