Echo BodineNot all ghosts are scary, says Echo Bodine, despite what Hollywood horror movies might have us believe-although she admits that some are "not nice." Bodine, who first discovered her psychic abilities at age 17, is the author of seven books on spiritual healing, ghost-busting, and psychic ability, including "The Gift." She recently shared with us her thoughts on the popular television show "Medium," the film "White Noise," ghost sightings of tsunami victims, and her own encounters with the dead.

"Medium" is based on the life of Allison Dubois, a research medium who has worked with the police to help with unsolved cases. From your perspective as a psychic, what does "Medium" get right or wrong about the way psychics work?

I would say that they're getting it right so far. The thing that I like about it is that they're really portraying this as realistically as possible. I think the show is going to do a lot to educate people about life after death.

I also like the fact that they show how confusing this is for Allison. You read about John Edward, James Van Praagh, Rosemary Altea, or you read my books and find out that none of us really understood at first what was going on. What are these pictures in our head? Why do they come true? Did we make that happen? Who are these dead people that we're seeing? In the show Allison gets angry, she yells at her husband because she doesn't know what else to do with her frustrations.

And it's good that they're showing people how choppy [messages from the dead can be]. If you watched John Edward's TV show, you'd get the impression from that that spirits are just talking in full sentences, that he's getting all this easy information.

But really what a psychic is doing is piecing it together, just like a jigsaw puzzle. You know we get one piece, then another, and then we interpret it.

On a recent episode of "Medium," the police officer Allison was assisting didn't take her psychic abilities seriously at first. Yet he prided himself on his own gut feelings, his intuitive abilities. Is there a difference between intuition and psychic ability, or are they different degrees of the same thing?

Psychic abilities and intuition are different. Intuition is like the truth that's being spoken to us. Whereas psychic abilities are visions and hearing spirits communicating to us.

Why do you think people, like the cop character character in the show, tend to consider intuition acceptable but dismiss psychic ability as not credible?

I'd like somebody out there to answer that for me!

In the Bible, it says that God can be found in "the still, small voice within." So the Bible validates intuition, but the Old Testament [also] puts down fortune tellers and anything considered supernatural. So that may be the basis [for that kind of thinking].

But even with intuition, if I say to somebody, "My gut tells me." most people don't take that seriously either. Rational thought is king in our country.

Can anyone tune in to messages from the dead, or just mediums?

It's not easy because we are all used to talking to people that have a physical form and an audible voice-so for people to suddenly go from that kind of communication to the kind of communication with a deceased person is very difficult. That's why it's more likely to come through people like Allison or those of us who have developed that ability.

What are some of the ways you believe the dead communicate with the living? Do they leave signs, communicate through dreams, knock pictures off the wall.

There are different ways our loved ones will try to communicate with us. For example, if we have their picture on the mantle they'll move the picture or try to tip it over. Maybe they'll come into the room and they'll have a scent on them like the smell of Old Spice which reminds you of Grandpa or a bunch of peonies [like] Grandma had in her garden. They will think of a smell that you would associate with them, and they will actually project that smell to us.

They will think, "I really need to communicate with my granddaughter or my daughter or my son and let them know that I'm really doing great and that I'm here visiting them." And they can get very creative.

The one way it's easiest to communicate to us is through dreams.

Why is that easiest?

Because that's actually [how they] communicate to our soul. At night when we're sleeping, our soul will come out of our body and communicate, and our deceased loved ones will come and communicate with our soul.

And then it comes through our conscious mind, but we just think it's a dream. But most people will wake up from those kind of experiences and they'll say, "Holy smokes, I just feel like I had a conversation with my grandma!" People will say "That dream felt so real to me" and that was a real conversation that took place.