Is the Long Island Medium For Real?

I’ve been watching TLC’s the Long Island Medium, an enthusiastic middle-aged lady who “talks to the dead.” Theresa Caputo does paid readings in her home, and also approaches strangers in restaurants, gyms, grocery stores, etc. and passes on messages from their relatives and friends, who she says are present nearby. Here’s a typical interaction.

“There’s a young male that passed – a brother or a husband?”
“A close friend.”
“Is there a picture of him standing like this? Arms like this?”
“I was just mimicking him to my mom the other day – the picture like that.”
“He asks that you use the word admiring instead of mimicking!”
[laughter from both parties]
“What’s in the month of September?”
“That’s the month he passed.”
“And you did not get to say goodbye to him?”
“No, that’s right.”

And so on. . .

She’s generally accurate, and sometimes interestingly so, for example correctly asking a man if his wedding ring used to be his dad’s, which isn’t such a common thing. But sometimes she’s off the mark, for example asking about the significance of the number 27, which the client can’t associate anything with, or else making a vague comment (“Something about the chest area?”) which the client then gloms onto (“He had a heart attack!”).

I haven’t considered that this is real – for one thing, I don’t believe in an afterlife, and for another, I can’t imagine a system where a ghost could, say, pop over to a private board meeting, and pop back to tell Theresa to sell her Google stock. But what I do wonder is if she believes it herself.

My answer is yes. I think she’s very intuitive, picking up on facial expressions, reactions, and environmental cues. (Three people who look alike working at a bakery? Yep it’s a family business. And yep, it uses family recipes. An obese woman whose mom died? Yep, it was heart disease.) And I think she has always been intuitive, and she interpreted her own mostly correct guessing as messages from the other side. She has several times mentioned seeing ghosts as a child, and not realizing it wasn’t a common thing, and when she talks about this she is so earnest that I really do believe her.

She could be taking us all for a ride, but I’m using my own powers of intuition to say she’s legit – in her own mind at least. What do you think?