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It has to do with the fact these people lost somebody and they want to connect with them. But there does appear to be a cult of personality swirling around him. The website johnedwardfriends. People on the street stop him for his autograph, or sometimes they just want to touch him. He says that celebrity hasn't altered him a whit.

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He still goes to the same gym. He still lives in suburban Long Island with his wife, Sandra, and their newborn baby and two dogs. Changing gears, Edward asks, "Do people think that you would know Nicole Kidman because she's Australian?

As it happens, I did interview Kidman some years back. He is the Seinfeld of psychics. In his opinion, there are three types of people: the 20 per cent who believe outright, the 20 per cent who will never believe, and the 60 per cent who remain undecided but can be swayed. Though he claims to be in favour of healthy scepticism, Edward bristles at criticism.

No, they don't use mikes to eavesdrop on people, he says. Yes, they edit the show but for time, not content. Controversy aside, Edward does contradict himself at times. He tells me that what he does is more an art than a science but claims elsewhere that he regards his energy reading as scientific. Then, despite taking part in scientific tests on paranormal activity orchestrated by an Arizona university, he told the CNN interviewer Larry King that evidence of spirit contact might well turn out to be elusive.

As the magician Harry Houdini once stated, "It is not for us to prove the mediums are dishonest, it is for them to prove that they are honest.

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He makes it look easy, and it's not. We're all switching on to life after death in the 21st century, and he'll certainly go down in history as one of the bravest pioneers. Growing up in the New York borough of Queens and suburban Long Island, Edward's Italian mother was open to the metaphysical sphere she hosted psychic house parties , yet his Irish police officer father was not. The couple divorced when Edward was 11, and he has since lost contact with his father.

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During his early years he saw blue auras around people and experienced prophetic dreams and out-of-body travelling. At 15, a psychic foretold his career and he thought her deranged. As some of her predictions transpired, he began studying the paranormal. His early dalliances stretched to reading people at fairs and in private, but it was always treated as an avocation.

At 18, he met his master guide, an Indian chief, who appeared to him in a photograph. In the early days, his job description entailed being a psychic. The medium part came later as more phantoms flew into his headlights. His mother has appeared to him in dreams and, working with other mediums, Edward has received numerous messages from her, including three symbols they agreed upon before she died.

In , the same year he met Sandra, a ballroom dancing teacher, he decided to leave his hospital job and focus on readings. When she told her family she was dating a psychic, they were hardly delighted, labelling him "that witch guy". Edward, the charmed charmer, won them over with an emotional reading. After writing his autobiography, he hustled his way on to radio shows, out of which stemmed his own TV program. Movies such as M Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense, about a child who converses with wayward spirits, demonstrated there might be an audience.

Anyone who's watched Crossing Over knows that Edward's ministrations are akin to a game of charades. He sees and feels symbols that he interprets for the audience who have brought the ghosts along with them. As to why certain spirits show up on his radar and others don't, Edward says, "It's all about the bonds of love that we have here that make this possible, and sometimes those are unspoken. Otherwise, why wouldn't Elvis show up tonight?

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Rarely do the deceased impart useful advice, or apologise for cutting their relatives out of a will, or admit to lusting after their best friend all those years. Instead, they discourse on subjects as prosaic as renovations or an old television program. When Edward connected the American journalist Lynn Darling with her late husband, Lee Lescaze, a former editor at The Washington Post who died of lung cancer, she was more irritated than relieved.

How OK is that? Edward says people are searching for validation. If you strip his message back, it is a positive one. That life is precious, that we should tell the people around us that we love them. And, perhaps the hardest point to swallow, that there is an accessible afterlife. Australian medium Trudie Moore recently equated channelling to counselling, but while Edward doesn't doubt the therapeutic value, he doesn't claim to heal people. As he instructs the Marriott gathering, "My job as a medium is not to tell you that your family love you.

My job is to let you know that your family and friends have survived physical death as we know it, that they're still a part of your life, they're still there. A psychic provocateur, he delivers the message even if the recipient isn't interested in hearing it. Few things tick him off more than when "somebody disrespects their family on the other side". The archetype of the brazen New Yorker, Edward is likely to become incensed should that occur.

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There was the time he ranted at a woman, "Sit up, uncross your arms and pay attention to what's happening! Fortunately, he knows to soften his brusqueness with humour and a quick wit. If Edward is a fraud, and his spectral visions are the ravings of a madman, there's no denying that his myth-making would make a sensational movie.

On the flipside, if he can provide closure for someone mourning a loved one's death, is that so bad?

Or you're delusional if you think you can do this. So I'm going to opt for delusional. Then, after a long night of arguing with Peggy Elisabeth Moss and drinking until he puked, in Season 4's "The Suitcase," Don was visited by a vision of Anna Draper Melinda Page Hamilton , his oldest friend and confidante who had died of cancer 3, miles away. Photo: AMC. In the wake of Lane Pryce's suicide, Don was haunted in Season 5's appropriately titled "The Phantom," by his half-brother Adam Whitman Jay Paulson , who also took his own life and whose most significant appearance came while Don was gassed up at the dentist's office to remove a rotten tooth.

Photo: AMC And, most recently, Don's ghosts got a little more entertaining as he watched Bert Cooper Robert Morse sing and dance his way to the other side, complete with a chorus line of secretaries, in Season 7's "Waterloo. During a one-night stand with one of a seemingly endless string of new partners since Don's marriage to Megan Jessica Pare ended, Don dreams that Rachel Menken Katz Maggie Siff , Don's mistress from Season 1, is auditioning for the commercial he's currently casting for Wilkinson lotion.

The very next day, while trying to reach Rachel to discuss placing another client's product in her department store, Don learns that Rachel died just days before of leukemia. After they inevitably hook up in an alley behind the diner she mistakenly believed Don came to collect on a very generous tip previously left by Roger Sterling , Don eventually explains his fixation and his recent dream.

Gallery: Check out the most memorable Mad Men moments. When someone dies, you just want to make sense out of it, but you can't. Indeed, while Don might still be lamenting that Rachel was the one that got away all these years later, he most certainly seems like a man trying to make sense of his life. And perhaps Don is asking himself the same question the song that plays twice in this episode asks: "Is that all there is?

It is the greatest issue of our life. Why am I here? Who am I? What was the purpose?

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Is there an afterlife? Is there no afterlife? What will my kids think? Was I here at all? That is the biggest question of life. However, Hamm links Don's obsession with death to the most significant turning point in his life: the day he stopped being Dick Whitman on that battlefield in Korea.