Allison: I think society is definitely more accepting than it was 30 years ago because when I was growing up -- I was a child in the '70s -- there was virtually no information on this. So my mom didn't know what to do with me then. I think as certain generations get older, they get a little bit more ... when you get closer to your death date and face your mortality, people tend to open up because they want to understand [death]. I also think people have to lose someone that they love in order to have that part of themselves naturally open up because otherwise, you don't really care. And obviously society is more accepting because if you turn on your TV, you can't really flip channels without finding something about the paranormal. Some shows have more quality than others though, and some perpetuate what I'm trying to get rid of, as far as the stereotypes. But also, in your poll, it would be kind of interesting to see the ages of the people being polled, because if a lot of them were younger people in their twenties, they usually haven't lost somebody yet so maybe they don't believe it. It doesn't mean they won't believe it, it just means right now they really have no reference.
Evelyn: Since the infamous Miss Cleo, and long before her, we've heard lots of talk about psychic phonies. How are consumers supposed to spot a fraud?
Allison: I actually wrote a chapter on that in my book Kiss Them Good-bye which didn't make me very popular among other people with abilities. But I know that there is, like with any profession, a certain amount of people who are going to take advantage of others. There are people who impersonate doctors, there are people who impersonate police officers, there are cops who do the wrong thing. I mean, in any profession, you're going to have a percentage [of fraud]. That doesn't mean it should speak for the entire profession. Miss Cleo was a corporation if I'm not mistaken but as far as phone calls, it's not something I would personally go for [as a client]. It is very possible to do readings over the phone, I just don't know what their process is. I've never toured these companies to see how they secure talented psychics. I've done phone readings. But I'm actually able to do it because who died is "with" me so it doesn't matter how far you are. I prefer word of mouth myself: ask somebody you trust who's been to somebody. So in that chapter of my book, I talk about if they try and sell you a candle for $95, where they say if you don't buy it, your soul is not going to be cleared? Things like that are big red flags. If somebody is trying to sell you their products like that, walk away. I also know some of the people in the industry who will say it's $10 for a reading. Then they read you for five minutes and say "oh, I have information about your child" and I hate people who do this, let me just say it's beneath contempt: "there's something that's going to happen with your child and if you come back, I can tell you what it is, they're in danger." I think that is effed up. And I wouldn't even pay them. That's not them reading you, that's them reading you a line. I would say if you open the yellow pages, you'll see more psychics than mediums. The reason for that is mediums give information that can be validated on the spot. Psychics are predicting something that you have to wait for to happen.
Evelyn: Okay, so if I understand correctly, psychics predict what's to come whereas mediums can communicate with the dead as well as predict future events? So a medium can validate if they're actually talking to your dead relatives by sharing information only the family would know?
Allison: Right. Psychics can predict the future, they can see what's coming. Mediums tend to be both a medium and psychic but mediums give on-the-spot validation, so you know what they're telling you is true and you know what they're doing is real. With a psychic, you have to wait for it to unfold and they've already gotten paid.
Evelyn: And then you wait three months, and oops, didn't happen.
Allison: Exactly. If I brought somebody through for you and I'm giving you information, you'd be able to say "yes, that's absolutely my dad" but if I'm doing a psychic reading for you and I'm predicting things for you, you would have to wait for it to unfold. So that's why you see more psychics in the yellow pages than mediums because it's easier for people who aren't legitimate to go under the guise of being psychic because what they predict has yet to happen.