Latham: She hears dead people and they’re all doing fine

SAN ANTONIO — Is Teresa Caputo, the famed Long Island Medium of television, really talking to dead people? I don’t know and neither do you.

What’s more, she doesn’t give a hoot what you think, anyway.

Sitting among a crowd of about 2,000 mostly adoring fans at this city’s Tobin Center, Caputo certainly seems to be in touch with someone or something from the “other” side.

Caputo does not claim to be a fortune teller. She tells no one of their future, advises no one in love or business, sends no one to the doctor to look for some horrible illness. Her mission, at which she succeeds unfailingly, is to ensure you that those who have crossed to the other side loved and still love you.

On face value this does not require much of a leap of faith. Do you believe in an afterlife? Most religions do and, of course, most of those in the arena were Christians.

The Christians I know, including me, believe in at least the possibility of miracles and even believe we’ve been witness to one or two. The connection between real life and afterlife is not a such far-fetched idea.

In that regard, there’s nothing unbelievable in what Caputo does. You may have felt the same connection with someone who has gone before yourself. This need not be mumbo-jumbo.

On the other hand, well, Caputo’s act could be nothing but mumbo-jumbo. I don’t know and neither do you.

Whatever is real, it doesn’t hurt anyone to believe that someone dearly departed wishes you the best and wants you to feel no guilt for the fact they are dead.

All these spirits are in heaven, so what’s not to love? Could you be in heaven and be unhappy? Nope. It’s us Earth-bound souls who have problems.

A remarkable number of those in attendance feel the heavy weight of guilt for those who have died. It’s the way of humans, it seems, to find ways to feel guilty concerning just about anything.

Sometimes those at the arena didn’t have the chance to say goodbye before death.

“Know that I knew you couldn’t handle seeing me die and I waited to depart until you left,” Caputo says is the message from the other side.

Other times it is that the living survived while the other person died.

“I’m glad it was me,” she would say, speaking for spirit on the other side. “I wanted you to live on.”

Or perhaps it was that they argued shortly before the death.

“I knew you loved me. I never had any doubts. We were both under stress.”

The list of guilts goes on. I believed every one of the people who said they felt them. Caputo might be skilled at putting on before a crowd but I did not see the same slickness in the audience members.

Could there have been some shills in the audience? Sure. There was a teenager in the crowd whom Teresa “connected” with his father. It was one of those stories that seemed just a bit too good to be true and the teenager a bit too perfect, but it maybe it just seemed that way.

Caputo actually came back to the kid later and his mother interjected a question.

“I was just wondering, my husband had all those things to say to my son, didn’t he have anything to say to me?”

Hmmm, well, sorry, no. Caputo thought for a few moments.

“Wait,” she said, “did he really like your a--?”

True or not it was a great line and the crowd roared, particularly at the son’s expression.

Caputo wasn’t shy about sprinkling her performance with some edgy material, including dropping a few F-bombs here and there.

I sat in fear that she would approach my row and say something that hit home but, fortunately, she did not. Did my family members long to speak to me but just couldn’t get heard amidst all the ghostly chatter?

I just don’t know and neither do you.

— Phil Latham is editor emeritus of the News-Journal. His column appears Wednesday. Email platham@news-journal.com .

Today's Bible verse

“Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.”

— Psalm 95:2-3

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