Why the Dead Want Our Attention

Real-life psychic Echo Bodine talks about messages from the dead in TV's 'Medium,' the film 'White Noise,' and her own life.

BY: Interview by Lisa Schneider


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I don't know if I'd say dangerous. There are a lot of earth-bound spirits, souls that have chosen not to go on to the other side. Those are the souls that haunt people's houses. The thing about a lot of ghosts is that they're not evil but they can be tricksters, they can be people who like to mess with your head just because they think it's funny. So a lot of the earth-bound souls, they're just not nice people. They're immature, they're self-centered-it's more about them being entertained than it is about helping people who are looking for answers from their deceased loved ones.

I advise people to give it six months before you start to communicate, in order to let the other person get used to their life on the other side and you get used to your new life here. Don't start doing it right away, like after the funeral go home and just sit and wait for a sign, because you're both really raw and you're both going through your own changes. At some point when you're feeling better and they're feeling better, then the two of you can try to communicate with each other.

On your ghost-busting trip with Beliefnet columnist John Spalding back in 2000, you said, "Ghosts are a lot like us," complete with unresolved issues. Is that another reason they may be trying to communicate?

Yes. They might want to get a message that they're sorry. Or if they were murdered they might want the murder solved, there are so many reasons.

So they're like us but in another place. How do you imagine where they are? Are there different stages to the afterlife?

Yes, there are different levels to heaven. Now they're saying that there's eight levels to heaven.

Who is "they"?

"They" are the spirits that I communicate with. As we continue to grow spiritually, we're growing higher and higher.

Do you move from one level to the next by resolving these issues?


It sounds similar to the idea of the bardo, what some Buddhists believe is the in-between state after death and before reincarnation. There have been stories recently about survivors of the tsunami disaster in Thailand, many of whom are Buddhist, seeing ghosts. Do you think that because of the way people died there that their spirits have more unresolved issues?

First of all, there's probably a lot of them that don't even know that they're deceased yet. They don't quite get what's going on. Then there's probably a lot of them that are staying earth-bound because they want their families to find their bodies in order to find peace. There are some that want to hang around to let their families know that they are OK. They might see their families looking all over the place going, "I'm sure she's alive someplace we'll just wait," and she may be saying "No, I'm dead but I'm OK, don't worry about me." So a lot of the souls could just be staying here until they see a [resolution] coming for their families, and then they'll move on to the other side.

In "White Noise," Michael Keaton's character is advised by a psychic not to tamper with spirits of the dead, because of the potential of inviting "bad" spirits into his life. Have you ever encountered bad spirits?

I've seen spirits that are not nice, and I've told clients, "Don't invite these spirits into your home." Some people will encourage negative spirits to come around their home by playing the Ouija board, having séances and calling them in. They think it's fun and entertaining. But I've said, "Don't do this."

I was really disappointed in the movie, and so were other psychics that I know. They even say in the end that [only] one in 12 EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) experiences are negative experiences. So my question to whoever made this movie is, Why do you focus on the one in 12 rather than the other experiences that are good?

Can you talk a little bit about EVP?

Yes, I've seen it myself. I remember when I was in my psychic development class back in 1966, and my teacher used to say, If you think there's a spirit in the room take a tape recorder and put it in that room and turn the tape recorder on and walk away. And then go back later and see if you can hear voices. We would get voices on the tape recorder. EVP does work, spirits can communicate with us electronically. They can manipulate energy because they are made of energy. That's the easiest way for them to communicate with us, through electrical energy. So using TVs, radios, computers, they'll play with energy. They'll play with lights, lights will go on and off. I don't know how they do it, but it's probably the easiest way to get our attention.

Why are the messages from the dead so cryptic? Why can't they just say what they mean?

That's a really good question. Why can't they? Why don't they? I don't know. Sometimes I look at these spirits and I think, Why can't you just give us something that's really valuable that would mean a lot to this person? And they'll just stand there and stare at you just this blank look on their face.

What advice do you have for people who feel as if they're being haunted, and definitely do not want to make a connection with these ghosts?

[Laughs] It's always the people who want to see the dead that don't, and the ones who don't, do.

They can tell these deceased people, "Look, I would prefer that you don't bother me, that you just go away and leave me alone." We have to be really firm with them. The thing is most people get scared, and that can actually encourage the spirit to stick around. so They have to be really firm, treat them like an intruder and say, "No, I don't want you here, and I want you to leave now."

So you wouldn't say the dead are any more or less dangerous than the living?

No. The only thing that would make them more dangerous is that we can't see them. As a matter of fact, they're less dangerous. They can't pick up a hammer and smack us with it, they can't shoot us with a gun.

Why not? If they can move physical objects like a picture frame.

When they move physical objects, they usually have to take energy from someone in the room in order to make that happen. So in order to pick up a gun-holy smokes, that would take up a lot of energy. I just don't think they could get that much energy.

In the last episode of "Medium," Allison psychically knows about the surprise her husband has planned for her birthday. Have you had similar experiences?

I actually had a surprise party, and it was a riot. My secretary planned it, and I "saw" her plan the entire thing. I saw who was going to bring the pop, I saw who was going to bring the food, I saw my secretary buying the streamers, everything. But I went along and acted surprised because I didn't want to disappoint them.

Sometimes it's a real bummer. In fact sometimes if my birthday's coming, I'll actually block myself, because I do like to be surprised!

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