John Edward is an internationally acclaimed psychic medium. At the age of 31, he has attained the ability to touch the deepest aspects of the human spirit: longing and curiosity.
The debut of his highly rated cable TV show, Crossing Over with John Edward, on the Sci Fi Channel, went from a large audience of 275,000 households to more than 614,000 households within a year and was moved from late-night to prime-time, five days a week. His overwhelming popularity bought him syndication and a network spot on CBS.
Born and raised John MaGee Jr. in Long Island, New York, to a father who was a policeman, Edward remembers exhibiting at a very young age an uncanny ability to "know" family history and events that took place before he was even born.
It wasn't, however, until Edward had a reading with Lydia Clar, a famed psychic from New Jersey, that he embarked on developing his abilities. At age fifteen, it was Clar who made him aware that his psychic abilities were extraordinary and should be used to help and assist others. Before his reading with her, despite being somewhat aware of his childhood abilities, Edward said he was actually quite skeptical. He did not believe Clar when she said his destiny was to be a medium.
Attributing the nourishing environment and acceptance of his family to "psychic phenomena," Edward found it easy to flourish and eventually fine tune his gifts. Graduating from college with a degree in public administration and health care administration, he was able to maintain a management position in a health care facility in the Northeast, while continuing his research in the field of parapsychology. He also made time for lecturing, teaching, writing, and doing readings for others, until the demand for his time and ability grew to such a point that he decided to devote himself exclusively to "speaking to the dead."
In a June 18, 1998, interview with Larry King on Larry King Live, Edward explained:
Basically, I act as a bridge, I go between the physical world and the non-physical world. And what I do— I'm somewhat of a waiter—I go to the other side, not literally go there, but I go to the other side and get information and I bring it out and I serve my client the information and hope that they understand it.
Elaborating on "how" the energy comes from the "other side," Edward says it comes in different ways: "clairvoyance" (clear-seeing), "clairaudience" (clear-hearing), "clairsentience" (clear-sensing), "clairalience" (clear-smelling), and "clairhambience" (clear-tasting). Then it is up to him to interpret what is being communicated through these various senses, or what the loved ones on the other side are trying to communicate.
Detractors such as James Randi, a.k.a. "Amazing Randi" (of the James Randi Educational Foundation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida), say that Edward does nothing more than do "cold readings"—using the same technique that has been long used by magicians to entertain and mediums. The technique involves posing a series of questions and suggestions, each shaped by the subject's previous response. For example, a generic statement might be uttered, such as, "I sense a father-figure here," and when that gets a response, adding something like, "I'm getting that his death resulted from a problem in his chest" (which Randi says can be anything from a heart attack to emphysema to lung cancer). If the subjects answers "no," then the response is normally, "Well, I'll get back to that.…"
Others say Edward's show benefits from the use of "creative editing." They argue that many of the "misses" are left out of the final airing and the successes "enhanced." Some even suggest that a lot of information comes from detailed questionnaires filled out by the audience members, who go through a stringent selection process before being accepted on the set.
The skeptics haven't deterred the vast numbers of people who feel that John Edward has helped them deal with loss, grief, and closure, and given them the ability to move on with their lives. Edward's book One Last Time, released in November 1999, hit number one on the L.A. Times' best-seller list. Edward has also been featured in the HBO documentary Life Afterlife and appeared not only on Larry King Live, but on Leeza, Roseanne, Maury, Sally, Entertainment Tonight, The Crier Report, and Charles Grodin—among others.