Do you think that grief opens you up to this experience?
I think that people who lose loved ones really want to communicate with their deceased loved ones. Here's the problem with grief: it opens people up to do things like the Ouija board, or they'll look around to see if they can go to a séance, or they'll start going to a lot of different psychics. It doesn't necessarily mean that any of it is going to work. So being in grief doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to open up psychically, it just means you're going to want to.
Would you say that it's potentially dangerous?
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.