John Edward on social media, South Park, and paranormal studies
John Edward was 15 when he had his first reading. A psychic came to his grandmother’s and in trying to debunk her she revealed to him that he too had psychic abilities. After divulging I was a skeptic, Edwards shared an anecdote about his first reading.
“The truth is I felt like someone robbed my house--because this woman was in my space. I equate it to that because when people get robbed the main instinct is to put a security system in so it doesn’t happen again--that was my instinct,” Edward said. “I had to validate the fact that someone had violated my energy in some way. I wanted to put my security system in so that wouldn’t happen again, which meant I had to learn about what she did. Then in the process of learning--I thought that’s not psychic, that’s common sense. Then I started asking kids in high school, haven’t you seen your dead grandfather? That was my first moment of, wait a second…”
John has over 30 years in the business working as a medium, author, and lecturer. In the early 2000s he appeared on the Syfy network with “Crossing Over with John Edward” and “John Edward Cross Country.” Though he no longer has a television show, he has a global online following called “Evolve.”
High Plains Reader: I’m sure you run into skeptics all the time in your line of work. How has social media affected your credibility?
John Edward: For me, part of the evolution has had to be to adjust to social media. I was very anti-social media. I didn’t want any part of it whatsoever because I’ve been doing this since 1985. The advent of social media in my world was very a uncomfortable thing.
Someone younger than me in my office told me I needed to get on facebook. I said I don’t want one--they’re like why? If I have a facebook page I have direct contact with my clients or perceived contact with my clients. It’s going to look suspect-- it’s going to make me uncomfortable. Now we have over one million people on facebook and it’s been a really amazing lesson. I was really anti-twitter, now Twitter is one of my favorite forms of communication.
HPR: Yeah, social media is kind of a double edged sword-- it’s a great tool for promoting or educating, but when things go awry it seems to bring out the worst in people…
JE: I block a lot of people to be honest--and I’m not talking skeptics. I have a low tolerance for people not being respectful of somebody else’s belief system or perspective. I’m not a fan of someone attacking someone. I guess for 33 years of doing this I’ve been that person who’s been maligned or attacked--lampooned or parodied. Whether it’s mean or funny it comes with the territory and it’s a polarizing subject matter--either they believe or they don’t believe. Back to what you originally asked…
The way that I deal with not skeptics--because I am one, but cynics--cynics are people no matter what they experience or see they’re never going to shift their opinion. I don’t deal with those. I respect the fact that people don’t believe and I only ask them to respect that others do.
So, for 30 years I’ve been living in that world and it’s a weird juxtaposition of the climate that everybody’s now living in, like, I’m listening to people talk about the politicizing of our world over the past two years. There’s such polarization in belief and perspectives and people arguing--I’m like wow… these people could never be a medium. They could never do this for a living because it’s what my life has been everyday.
HPR: Speaking of being maligned, attacked, and parodied. The popular animated series South Park dedicated a whole episode to you in 2002--how did that feel or rather what was that like?
JE: It was the year my son was born, so it was a very interesting moment to realize that an entire episode of South Park has been dedicated to you where you’re “the biggest douche in the universe.” I was never a fan of South Park before that--it’s not my kind of humor--moments of it I can appreciate the wit and the humor, but I don’t like mean, intentional humor. I find truth in humor, I don’t find meanness in humor.
I don’t like to see it happen to anybody--even if I agree with it to be honest, because it deals with the energy of intention and where somebody is coming from; which goes back to being respectful. SNL did a parody that was not a positive display of me but it was funny. Family Guy did it, Mad TV did it, but South Park was different. It had a mean intention so that wasn’t cool, and it kind of dovetailed to the year my son was born, and it alerted me to the whole--wow--this kid’s growing up with his dad being labeled “the biggest douche in the universe,” so that was something that was not cool to be honest.
Now it’s 2017-- I am not on TV, I haven’t been on TV in nearly a decade, and that same episode in repeat is bringing me a whole new clientele of young people coming in as a result of that one episode, so it’s actually turning out to be a positive thing.
HPR: Is it true that you’ve done some experiments with the paranormal?
JE: I did! A number of years ago, I’d say around 1999-2000, HBO was doing a documentary called “Life after Life;” it was an “America Undercover” documentary and they asked me if I wanted to be a part of that. I was like maybe…
I didn’t really have an interest in being on TV at the time, then they said there’s a professor who actually wants to study mediumship. My background is in Healthcare Administration. I worked in the clinical side of healthcare before I went into administration. I have a scientific mindset and a very analytical way of looking at life, and thought--wait a minute… a real scientist wants to really, actually study this? I thought, now--how do I say no to that? I felt like I couldn’t say no, because how do you have the right to do what you’re doing in the realm that you’re doing it in and not take at least the opportunity to explore it some.
I went out to the University of Arizona and it was all documented for HBO. Myself and four other mediums as part of the initial studies. There’s a book written about it called, “Afterlife Experiments” by Dr. Gary Schwartz. I’m really happy and proud that I did that. It was interesting to have that experience because it kind of felt like the academic community was now taking a look at this and not in a seance-y parlor-like manner, but under laboratory conditions with double-blind studies extending the data and replicating it. I think it made me better at what I do to be honest.
IF YOU GO:
John Edward comes to Fargo
Thursday, September 7
Holiday Inn Fargo, 3803 13th Ave S
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