She sees dead people. For Theresa Caputo of Hicksville, communicating with the dead is her life, and it's brought her a huge following -- there's a four-year waiting list for a reading -- thanks to her hit TLC series, "Long Island Medium," which returns for its fifth season next Sunday at 9 p.m.
Now, she shares stories of her life and her readings in "There's More to Life Than This" (Atria Books), which comes out Tuesday. She'll be signing copies at Book Revue in Huntington Wednesday. Caputo chatted by phone with Newsday about life after death, her TV show and why her husband, Larry, can't get a good night's sleep.
What is the biggest thing you want people to learn from the book?
The title says it all -- "There's More to Life Than This." They don't have to believe in what I do, but I want them to know there really is more to life than in the physical world, and that people are still with us in a different way. That our soul still lives on.
Did you expect the show to become this popular?
Noo! I thought I was going to film a couple of episodes, and then I'd go on with my life. You know the show "Little Shop of Horrors," where the plant is out of control. That's "Long Island Medium." Young kids have said to me, that's our family time. That's the only show we can watch together.
How do you pick up messages from the other side?
It's just a feeling, a vibe. If I know that I'm going to read someone, I prepare. I do a meditation, I always protect myself from God's white light, I say the rosary. ... Listen, I know my gift comes from God. I've never seen him, but I've felt his presence. ...Then, I start seeing flashes of things, almost like a movie strip. I have certain signs and symbols that I translate for the person I am with, and that's life-changing for them.
In the book, you write that when you were first married, you'd wake your husband in the middle of the night by screaming things out. Is he sleeping better now?
It just happened a couple of weeks ago. I yelled, "Why is it so dark in here?" He said I was trying to turn the lights on in a panic, and I was screaming. And it wasn't dark in there, by the way.
You realized there was something different about you when you were 4. How did your family react?
My mom was always very calming and spiritual. She never made me feel like I was crazy or a freak. If I said I hear someone talking to me, she'd say, it's probably God trying to guide you. My cousins used to always make fun of me. One time, we were at my Nanny's house after she died. We were all sitting around, and I was just talking to a chair. And they said, "Theresa who are you talking to?" I said, "I'm talking to Nanny." And they said, "She's dead." And I said "She's right there." So after that, they would say things like, "Oh, who is the witch talking to now?"
What happens if you visit a place like Sagamore Hill? Do you pick up the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt or someone else who lived there?
That's so interesting that you said that, because I just told my husband a couple of weeks ago that I used to love going to Sagamore Hill. There's a particular room -- I can see it, although I haven't been there in about 20 years -- and I felt like I lived in that room. I felt everything was so familiar to me. Did my soul live in that time period? Or was I picking up the soul of the people or the furniture, because wood holds onto energy more so than anything? I felt such a strong connection there.
What can we expect on "Long Island Medium" this season?
We traveled to Philly, and I was affected by a lot of the energy there. We also had construction going on at our home, and it is still going on. Victoria went back to college. My son, Larry, is sowing his oats and wants to move out. And we've got a lot of great surprise readings in some on-the-road specials.
You've lived in Hicksville your whole life. What is it about Hicksville that you find so attractive?
Well, it's where I'm from, and I still have family here. I live next door to my parents.
It sounds just like "Everybody Loves Raymond."
It is. Everybody loves the Caputos.
WHAT Theresa Caputo signs copies of her book "There's More to Life Than This"
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Wednesday, Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington
INFO 631-271-1442, bookrevue.com