If the word psychic brings to mind images of a mysterious woman sitting in a storefront peering into a crystal ball, then you haven't met Theresa Caputo.
The bubbly mom of two lives with her family in the suburbs of Long Island, New York, and leads a pretty typical life … well, except for the fact she talks to dead people for a living. To her, channeling spirits is something she's been doing for about as long as she can remember, even before she actually knew what the ability actually was. "I can remember specifically at the age of four hearing and seeing things that now I know were spirits, at the time I just thought was normal," Caputo tells omg!. "And then when I got older I would share things with people and they're like, 'I don't get that. I don't hear people call my name.'" And I was like, 'What do you mean? That's not normal?'"
While she attempted to ignore her "gift" most of her life, a little over 10 years ago something Caputo calls "her spirit guide" came to her in a dream and told her she was "needed." She's been channeling the dead for others ever since, quietly leading a successful psychic business out of her home with no advertising, just "a business card and word of mouth." That all changed, of course, when the big-haired blonde was tapped to become the star of the TLC reality show "Long Island Medium."
The series, which debuted last year and begins its second season this week, follows Caputo as she juggles career, family, and the spirits who approach her everywhere from the dentist's chair to the mall parking lot. That means not only do people seek her out to channel a loved one who's passed away, but she might end up approaching a perfect stranger on the street.
"When I go about my day, my thoughts to spirit are: 'If there's someone that's placed in my path that needs to hear a message, give me the opportunity and I'll be more than happy to present whatever you have to say to them," Caputo explains in her heavy New York accent.
Though the show has made her a celebrity of sorts, it also surprised a few people who had no idea that the friendly mom around the corner had such an unusual job. "Just last week a woman that my son played baseball with said, 'All those years I never knew that this is what you did for a living,'" Caputo shares. "I don't walk around going, 'Hey I communicate with people that have died.' It's not something that's a common occupation that you talk about."
She won't reveal how much clients pay for a reading (saying only that she charges "half" of what many other mediums do), but the entrepreneur of sorts now has a two-year waiting list and the popularity of the show is only helping to drive business even more. Having cameras in the house took a little getting used to, but Caputo's family, which includes husband Larry, 21-year-old son Lawrence, and 17-year-old daughter Victoria, were supportive of the idea. "When I was approached to do it, I asked my family and how they felt and they were like, 'Yeah, go right ahead.' They were all for it."
Still, as it is for any working mom, her job can get in the way sometimes. "To have a successful marriage and to have a close, good family, it is hard. Everything's a challenge and things do come first sometimes before a family," Caputo admits. "Like, if we're out to dinner and the waitress is coming over trying to take our order, it might be delayed a little bit because spirit might have something to say. But it's just like any other job. It's hard to balance career, family, husband, children. But somehow I've been able to do that."
The second season of "Long Island Medium" premieres Sunday, March 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on TLC.