Q & A

'Long Island Medium' Theresa Caputo Talks Life, Death and the In-Between

We caught up with Caputo ahead of her April show at the Van Wezel.

By Kim Doleatto February 27, 2024

Theresa Caputo

As a 4-year-old child, Theresa Caputo says she saw and sensed things others couldn't. Those things came to her through "Spirit," a presence she says speaks to her through a sixth sense. As she grew older, Caputo learned more about her capabilities, and for more than two decades she's translated Spirit’s signs and symbols to deliver messages to those grieving their deceased loved ones. 

Sure, there are skeptics. But the self-professed medium has a two-year wait for those seeking her insights. Plus, she's doing a live national tour and has a new TV series in the works. In other words, she's in high demand.

Born and raised in Hicksville, Long Island, and known as the "Long Island Medium"—also the name of her reality TV show—Caputo, 56, now has a new Lifetime series called Theresa Caputo: Raising Spirits. She’s also a New York Times best-selling author, has a podcast called Hey Spirit!, and has showcased her talents on TV shows including Dr. Oz, The Kelly Clarkson Show and The Wendy Williams Show, among others.

We caught up with Caputo to learn more about her process ahead of her upcoming event at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota on April 11. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Caputo on stage during a live show.

Caputo on stage during a live show.

What can the audience expect from a live show? 

“I start with a speech, explain how I communicate with spirits, share some of my background, and then I get started. Spirit guides me toward someone specific in the audience, I stop in front of them, and Spirit validates messages with specific information that only that person would know. It can be information from the past or even something that happened since [the person's] loved one died. Then I channel their departed.”

“I love the experience of large shows, because there might be thousands of people in the room who share in it. To watch someone heal in front of you, in real time, also helps other people heal. It still amazes me to watch someone receive the messages."

Do you believe in heaven, hell and purgatory? You use terms like "chakras" and refer to God. What’s your belief system?

“I’m a practicing Catholic, and even if [the church] doesn't agree with what I do, it takes my money every week! There's always going to be something that we don’t agree with in religion. I believe in an afterlife and a higher power.

"But faith can change for people. I can be in contact with the most faithful person, and all that goes out the window when tragedy hits. I know that my gift is more than talking to the dead. When we die, our souls are greeted by those who went before us. When I talk, it's from what Spirit made me experience. There’s often guilt and burdens the living have to carry when a loved one dies. Spirit might validate someone's healing message by sharing something that happened after [a loved one] died to let the person know that [the loved one] is still there—like, 'Tell my loved ones that my mom came for me.' Then I'll learn that before the person died, they were calling for their mother."

How about hell?

"A soul has never said to me 'It’s so hot down here!' But I've had a soul where I felt their energy, but couldn't hear it because it was locked up. I couldn't lower my vibration to their level and connect with them. That means their spirit needed to grow."

Do you see souls, or just hear them? What are you experiencing during the process?

“I start sensing things that mean nothing to me, but something to someone else. I get 'bond energy' and 'relationship energy.' I might feel father energy, for example, and then the soul brings me through their departure. If I feel pressure on my chest, for example, it could mean that something with the lungs or a heart attack caused them to die.

"Then I get a sign or symbol of burden or guilt that says the soul can't heal. They need the opportunity to say good-bye. They often say to the grieving person, ‘Please know that anything you said to me in your private thoughts and prayers was heard.’ A common [message] I get from a soul is to permit the person to start to heal when [the soul knows] they’re suffering. I once had a deceased father say, 'You were upset because you found out things I did after I died, but I just need you to know your whole life wasn't a lie because of that.'"

What are the most common messages you channel? 

"The most common message that Spirit conveys is, ‘Please let my loved one know I'm OK, I’m safe and at peace,' or ‘You were there for me, and you did what you could.’ Another one is, ‘If you got to me sooner, it doesn't mean I would still be alive today' or ‘Tell my loved one I died on my terms when I chose to stop treatment,' and that soul thanks their loved one to have allowed them to leave. 

Do the readings stay with you?

"Every reading I do stays with me in some capacity. Some people don’t want to go on after the death of a loved one, and to be able to give them that will to live back, and connect them to their loved one, stays with me forever."

Is there any especially memorable experience you've had?

"A couple whose marriage was mended after they'd lost their young child. Their son, Shane, slipped through the sliding glass door and drowned in the pool while his father, who was watching him, took a call. The wife blamed [the husband] and it almost led to divorce. But I channeled Shane, who wanted his mom to know he had escaped through that same door many times while with her, too; that it wasn't dad’s fault; and to forgive him so they didn't lose each other, too.”

Where are the souls? Are they watching us? 

“They’re not really watching us in the sense we might think. Men often ask me if they’re being watched in the bedroom. 'You know, your sex life isn’t that impressive,' I tell them."

“Many times, I’ll connect with souls in the shower, but that doesn't mean souls are watching me shower. They’re preparing me for that day and what’s going to happen. In the first episode of Raising Spirits, I felt like I was outside my body, and for a second I was in a car. The soul of girl’s mother who had died made me feel what she was feeling at the time. The mom was kidnapped and stored in a trunk for nine hours and had that same out-of-body feeling—that’s how she survived it. She asked me to ‘tell my daughter this is how I survived what I went through.' The message she wanted her daughter to know was that she didn’t know what was happening but that she didn't feel afraid, and to stop worrying about that. She was at peace.”

Can any ordinary person cultivate this kind of sensitivity?

"We all have the ability to connect with our departed loved ones. Anyone that reminds you of them, that’s their soul reminding you they’re with you. I don’t think we realize that sometimes because we’re so stricken with grief. When Spirit shows me a red cardinal, butterflies or rainbows, it means the living are missing the signs. So I'll ask, 'Are you seeing the hummingbird that buzzes in your window in the morning? That’s your mom.' People just don’t know what to connect with. Sometimes it’s through smells or nature. It’s a sensing or just a knowing. Sometimes it’s a song that reminds you of them. The song isn’t them, it’s their energy getting you to notice the song and make the connection to them.”

What do you wish we knew more about our dead loved ones and death?

“My hope for everyone is that they know there is an afterlife and we have the ability to embrace that. There's a statement I hear [a lot], which is ‘I had no idea what to expect from the live show. I did not get read but what I witnessed was life-changing. And other people needed to hear from loved ones more than I did.’" 

It seems like it can be draining. Why do you do it? 

"I never thought in a million years that I would be approached to do a show, and then I figured it would be short-lived and nothing like what I’m doing now, with live shows and everything. It just shows it's needed. People connect with my gift. My book Good Mourning is about how we grieve everyday things in our lives. When we lose a loved one, it’s harder. You have the right to grieve a friendship or a job after retirement. We deserve to grieve daily. We can even grieve our choices and decisions in the physical world. "

How would someone get in touch with you if they can’t make it to the show? 

"They can submit through my website or call the hotline at (866) 822-7886 and leave a message. That’s how we pick people for the podcast." 

Click here for tickets to see Theresa Caputo Live: The Experience at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Thursday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m.

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