Can John Edward Stand Up to a Skeptic?

ByABC News
December 4, 2003, 9:09 PM

Dec. 5 -- He's got the swagger of a rock star, and the marquee value of one as well. John Edward has become the hottest psychic in the country by tapping into America's fascination with the afterlife and bringing talking to the dead into the mainstream.

At 34, Edward's life as a medium has him living large. He's got his fourth best seller in bookstores, and his TV show, Crossing Over is so popular, there's a yearlong waiting list to get a seat in the audience.

How good is he? Stringing together some of his "hits," he appears to be pretty impressive.

Validating His Audiences Energies

He talks to total strangers, bringing up random items from their personal lives, and he says he's getting his tips from their relatives who've passed away. He tells his audiences that he is here to validate their energies, and assure them that their loved ones and friends are still connected to them.

"She wants to know if you still play the accordion," he tells one of his show guests.

"Don't you have a fur hat that's your dad's?" he asks another.

"You want to know that your brother is watching over your son? I gotta let you know that he does," he tells yet another.

Given the success of Crossing Over, it seems his audiences are pretty impressed.

Edward says he wasn't always a believer. In fact, growing up in New York, the son of a cop, he was a skeptic, not a psychic. Then one day, when he was a teenager, a friend of his mother's gave him a reading.

"She launched into this whole monologue about I'm psychic. I'm going to be doing this work. I'm going to be a teacher in this field. I'm going to write books," Edward said. "And I'm sitting there looking at this woman, thinking this woman has to be on drugs."

But soon after, Edward went into the business. This medium had gotten the message.

Accuracy Isnt Everything

So how does Edward do what he does? Well, he tells his audience up front that he's often wrong.