Millions of people around the world are familiar with Long Island’s most popular psychic mediums—celebrated author and talk show host John Edward and sassy mom Theresa Caputo, star of the hit TLC television show Long Island Medium.
Yet what many don’t know is that Long Island is a hotbed of paranormal activity, psychic energy and human conduits, ranging from psychic mediums, past-life regression therapists, tarot card readers and even animal communicators—who claim to relay messages from alive and deceased pets.
So in the spirit of the holidays (and to satiate our own curiosities), we sat down with eight of Long Island’s other, perhaps lesser-known clairvoyants, entering their oft-whispered-about world to experience whatever it may hold for us firsthand.
What we learned was enlightening, astonishing, a bit bizarre—and in some cases, flat-out hard to believe.
Deceased ancestors professing they’ve found our Prince Charmings, a past life as an Aboriginal wanderer scouring the dense jungles of Brazil, children in the near future—besides gaining new insights about the afterlife, we also discovered new truths about ourselves along the way. (Though we’re still coming to terms with whatever those realities exactly mean.)
Here’s a few of our experiences.
Licia’s Lifetimes of Love
Past-life regression therapist Richard Scheinberg’s home office in Islip is a warm color, with framed diplomas on the walls mixed with kids’ paintings and flowers throughout.
“It’s very New Age,” he tells me as I nervously kick off my black UGG boots in an attempt to get comfortable for the two-hour session. “You’ve got to free your mind. I know it’s hard and as a reporter you may be thinking of notes to jot down and remember, but try not to, try to relax.”
He grabs his notepad, makes sure his recorder is cued, and turns off one of the lamps nearest to the door.
“Breathe in,” he says as I cover myself with a blanket and recline on a couch. “Two, three, four, five, six, seven—hold. Two, three, four, five, six, seven—breathe out. Two, three, four, five, six, seven—hold. Two, three, four, five, six, seven…”
Scheinberg says to imagine a bright light shining through my body, cleansing my body, relaxing my body. His voice leads me down steps into a “peaceful garden” where I am free to recover memories from childhood.
“If you want you can just float above the scene as if watching from a distance,” he says. “Or you can be in it, feeling it, seeing it vividly with colors and details, with emotions and feelings, this is always up to you.”
Soon, I see visions of kindergarten. A red, blue and green beaded bracelet.
“I want to give the beads to my teacher, the bracelet, but I can’t,” I say from within a trance. “She makes me too scared, so I give it to my friend.”
“I want you to look at your friend right now and tell me what you see,” responds Schienberg.
“She has bangs, long brown hair; she’s wearing a collared dress.”
“What’s her name?” he asks.
“Okay so here you are getting ready to leave and you’ve met your friend Kristen and you’ve given her your bracelet but you’re a little disappointed that school wasn’t what you thought it would be, and what happens next?” he asks.
“I go home. I tell my mom that I gave the bracelet to my friend Kristen,” I say. “I’m just laying on my bed crying.”
I was also crying as I lay on the sofa.
About a half hour later, Scheinberg guides me back further.
“There is no limit to your memory,” he says in a monotone, rhythmic, calming, soothing tone. “You can go back as far as you wish. In this lifetime you can go back to your infancy, to your birth, perhaps even in utero. This is not limited and you can remember everything. I’m going to take you to a place where all past memories lie. There’s those energies from past memories including previous lifetimes that all reside deep inside you.”
“I feel like I’m in a jungle,” I tell him. “That I’m with a few people and we’re on the ground. There’s really tall pieces of grass and trees and we’re running through that, like a light gray tree, trees that are really tall, we seem small compared to what’s around us.”
“Tell me more,” the voice says.
“I feel like we’re wearing brown leather-like dresses, or skirts and carrying something in my hand…some sort of blade…I’m a woman and I’m in the front of the people…I don’t know where we are going but I’m scared. I just feel like there might be like a tiger…I’m really tan, dark skin and I have really dark hair, I see it, long black hair…someone screamed ‘Tiger!’”
“Okay, so somebody spotted the tiger,” responds Scheinberg. “Okay, so you knew to get out of the way before the tiger surprised you, that was smart. Okay, so now you feel safe and you’re all together with the people behind you? Tell me more about the people that were behind you, what do they look like?”
“They’re tall, dark hair, dark skin, they’re not, they don’t look African. The skin is darker than white but not so, it’s like a brown…they’re wearing the same skirt I am…I feel like where we are is a rainforest, it’s bigger than a jungle, the trees are so high, and it’s so wet all over…we’re in South America in Brazil…we’re climbing trees.”
“Do the others have names?” asks Scheinberg.
“I feel like one is Nabu,” I respond.
“What do they call out to you?” he asks. “What do they say?”
“What I want to do, because you obviously have to go back down, you have to get food, what I want to do is take you to the next important event in this lifetime,” he tells me. “What I’m going to do is count from five to one, you’re going to tell me about the next important event in this lifetime: Five, four, three, two, one.
“Someone died,” I say. “I think it might have been Nabu. There’s a fire, we’re lighting his body on fire, but he’s already dead. There’s a big group of people around it…I’m really sad, very sad…in my heart and stomach…I don’t want to go on, alone. I don’t want to go on alone and leave him here.”
“I want to take you to the next important event in this lifetime,” he says. “Five, four, three, two, one, you’re there.
“I think I’m dead,” I say, though my voyage doesn’t end here.
“Let’s go to that moment where you’re dying; on the brink of death, let’s go there,” directs Scheinberg.
“I’m older, I’m sick, my family is around me, my son is older…I’m going up,” I tell him.
“As you go up you start to reflect on your life and what your life has been all about,” he says. “How do you see yourself? What lessons did you learn in this life?”
“I’m alone a lot, I feel like I hate to be alone and that’s what I was,” I confess. “It can be a lonely place if you lose people you love, I don’t like to be alone…I feel like I’m always scared to be alone…I worry about it being forever.”
“Certainly understandable, because you know what it feels like…you had a whole life where it felt alone almost all the time,” says Scheinberg. “What lessons about life are there to learn when you’re going up toward the light and you’re thinking about ‘What next?’ What might you learn about being less lonely?”
“To not invest in someone totally, to be okay on your own and be happy with yourself, and not having such deep relationships that they ruin your life if you don’t have them anymore,” I say.
I continue ascending, describing what I see to Scheinberg: a separate world of energies above the Earth, “a light bubble” replete with the transcendental feeling of an all-encompassing love. My mother is there, I say, and so is Nabu, but that’s not his name in this new realm.
“Happiness and peace,” I tell him. “It feels exciting here…I just feel like I’m not alone but I don’t see anyone else. I just feel not alone and very happy. I’m very excited, there’s a lot of energy around me.”
“So in some ways you were never really alone,” responds Scheinberg. “There were all these spirits, all these entities we’ve known for many lifetimes on the other side, waiting to let you know that you’ve been here all along. So you’re never really alone because once you establish a loving relationship, love never dies. Love never dies and you’re never really alone, there’s always love around you even if you don’t see it clearly.
“Enjoy this feeling and know how much you’re loved all the time, take it in, you are very loveable, you are loved all the time by all of these spirits and entities from all of your lifetimes as well as your angels and the divine, you are always loved and you were never really alone even if sometimes it may feel that way,” he says.
Listening back to Scheinberg’s tape, I still can not believe I said the things I did, but I’m beginning to understand why.
Lindsay’s Full House
“This particular deck is from the 1920s, but they were created by mystics, and what they [did] was channel the collective unconscious, the symbols,” psychic medium Cindi Sansone-Braff tells me as I shuffle, then pick from a stack of tarot cards, laying them down one-by-one on a table in between us.
“What you have here, and because you’re a young woman, this is you being a mom in the future, this is two children in the future,” she says of a card bearing the image of two children.
“This is a wonderful husband,” she says of a card with a Prince Charming-esque figure on it. “You’re a little bit old-fashioned, so it’s kind of a wonderful husband here.”
“This is you learning your skill,” she says, flipping over another. “What you’re doing now, you’re reporting. This is oftentimes a writer, but this is you learning your craft and your skill, and eventually making very good money. This is eventually a self-employed person, by the way. What was channeled to me is that self-employed people are the only ones that are going to survive in the new millennium.
“This is you making very good money,” she repeats, to my disbelief. “This is you learning a lot of your karmic lessons in life and you’re a very, very old soul, you’ve been around the planet a lot, this is not your first venture.”
She points at another.
“This is a relationship in which a guy did not necessarily play fair with you,” she tells me.
“Were you in one in the past that didn’t work out?”
“Yeah,” I reply.
“Did you learn your lessons from that? Did you learn that you can’t fix people?” asks Sansone-Braff. “That’s the big lesson for old souls, we can’t fix people. We think we can. Older souls are prone to fall for the princes that become the beast. They have no idea what they sign on for. They believe everybody tells the truth.
“It’s hard for old souls,” she continues. “They want to see the good in everybody. This is you with a wonderful man in the future but you’re a little bit commitment phobic yourself now, are you aware of that?”
“Yes,” I tell her.
“You’re what I call a closet commitment phobic,” says Sansone-Braff. “You’re not out there saying, ‘I never want love,’ but once we’ve been hurt—and your whole generation is becoming commitment phobics of one sort or another, because you’re afraid of getting hurt. But if you learn the lessons that you were supposed to learn, God wouldn’t give you the same lessons again.”
“This year is your year of love coming, if you want it,” she continues. “They’re not going to bring another soulmate if you’re going to run from it, because that will be your fault. You weren’t responsible for the end of that relationship, you were responsible for your behavior. You realized he was going to hurt you. Did you realize that he was going to keep hurting you? So you learned to love yourself. But this is really coming, you know, it will change your whole life, soulmate love will change things.”
I had heard that before; it was the same message foretold by psychic medium Josephine Ghiringhelli, who spent a recent afternoon with me at her office in Selden, amid pink couches, a dream catcher and a large, framed photo of her deceased 21-year-old son, James—whose young, smiling face reminds clients that she knows the pain of losing a loved one all too well.
Her dog, appropriately named Destiny, napped contently on one of the couches as we spoke.
“I feel like in this lifetime you will be married, I do feel children,” she says. “I do feel that particularly your uncle, he’s the main squeeze up here by the way, your uncle. So I do feel he will bring the possibility of love into your life, but you have to open up your eyes to let him in… It’s probably right around, in your 27th year, is when I feel pregnancy by you.”
No way, I tell myself—that’s right around the corner.
“They’re telling me you’re a cat lady,” she smiles.
Well that’s definitely true, I have to admit. I happen to have lost my feline soulmate Misty two years ago, and think about her all the time.
“According to her, she’s still the ruler of the roost,” Ghiringhelli says about my late beloved tuxedo cat. “She’s like, ‘She ain’t ever going to feel more than what she felt for me,’ which I think is hysterical,” she adds—pretty much confirming that my pet’s sassy outlook continues in the hereafter.
Patty Gibbons, an animal communicator who speaks with living and deceased pets, echoes the message that animals do have spirits, and also have a lot to say, if people would just stop to listen.
“I’ve had animals convey when there was an emergency going on at home,” she tells me over a cup of coffee at a local Starbucks. Because unlike typical psychic mediums who require one-on-one, in-person interviews to contact the other side, Gibbons professes she can communicate with critters through a photograph, or even just out of thin air.
“I was somewhere where I couldn’t get to a phone or anything and my horse sent an image that said, ‘Problem! Problem! Blood all over!’ And I’m going, ‘Oh my God,’” she says.
“I couldn’t get there, I couldn’t get to the phone, I couldn’t get to anything, I was stuck where I was at that particular point in time, and thankfully, what you can do too is then talk to another animal,” she continues. “And my cat chimed in at that point. My cat said, ‘It’s okay. It’s not that bad, it’s okay.’ And when I got home, sure enough, there was blood all over, but my horse was okay. It ended up being a tooth, a problem with her tooth.”
And I thought Misty was a handful.
So, according to the hereafter, I’ll be pregnant and wealthy soon, will hook up with my soulmate, and my deceased uncle is not only looking out for me, but playing matchmaker.
Not too bad for an “old soul.” Amirite?
By Licia Avelar and Lindsay Christ