A.k.a. The Long Island Medium
We have a hard time deciding what counts as the most disgusting job description there is, but “celebrity medium” is certainly in the running. Theresa Caputo, the Long Island Medium, is precisely that, and portrays herself as a medium on the television show Long Island Medium, featured on the Orwellianly named The Learning Channel. Caputo claims to have seen spirits since she was four and claims that in her family this is a normal thing. If correct, "hereditary ability to see spirits" would probably not quite be the right medical term for it.
Her sessions are glittering examples of cold reading and the Forer effect at work and, needless to say, no evidence of special abilities beyond those she share with any charismatic pyramid scheme pusher. Caputo’s chats with those who have passed away and are on “the other side” are usually wrapped in loving and moving messages that say precisely what her victims want them to say (as all mediums and predators in the wild Caputo preys on and targets people in difficult situations – and the sheer evil of it should break your heart; and no, it’s not harmless). Indeed, in 2014 Ron Tebo publicly accused Caputo of going far beyond mere cold reading; she also sends staff members to interview audience members in advance in order to be able to pretend that she acquires knowledge from communicating with the deceased.
Dr. Oz is apparently a fan. At least Oz brought Caputo on his show to use a brain scan to “prove” that her “psychic” powers are real and true while she performs bad cold readings (no, really – he did). The scan was performed by Daniel Amen. Amen admitted that there could be multiple explanations for the results, so he concluded that Caputo likely has psychic abilities (yeah, that’s how it works). The test, accordingly, tells you nothing about Caputo, but quite a bit about the quality of Dr. Oz’s critical thinking skills (or honesty) and thus about the trustworthiness of his medical advice in general.
At least Caputo is the proud recipient of a Pigasus Award.
Diagnosis: Another “unsinkable rubber duck,” as those who understand how psychic scams work call them. It doesn’t matter that these mediums are wrong, and caught in the act; they tell the audience – who has no clue how subjective validation works – what they want to hear, and any criticism is accordingly interpreted as persecution.