As one of the nation"s most well-known psychics and mediums, John Edward has made quite a name for himself. This success has landed him book deals, television fame and overall notoriety, as individuals anxiously looking to interact with their deceased loved ones regularly flock to him for answers. TheBlaze spoke with Edward about his career, special abilities and the "spirit guides" that purportedly help him connect with the dead.

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Of course, along with these accolades and career highs has come a plethora of controversy. Many critics allege that Edward is fraudulent -- and that he simply doesn"t have the powers and skills he claims to possess. TheBlaze spoke with the celebrity psychic to better understand his career and perception of his purported powers.

To begin, we asked how he first discovered his alleged abilities. Edward explained that he first became aware of his psychic capabilities at the age of 15. He described himself at the time as a questioner who was always poking fun at family members" consultations with clairvoyants and those with seeming-elevated sensibilities.


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Psychic John Edward (Photo Credit: John Edward Media)

"I have a hard time using that term angels in that realm. I don"t feel comfortable doing that," he said. "One of them is an American Indian."

Certainly, this may seem odd to some, but for Edward, interacting with these beings is apparently a daily reality.

Naturally, one wonders what he knows about heaven and hell, so we asked. Of the "spirit world," Edward said that haven is an "...alternative dimension that we can access portals, a place of communication and connection, a place of learning." He likened it to a "spiritual, energetic internet."

"It"s like Facebook," he said of the dead"s ability to interact with the living. "They see our updates and whats going on."

EDWARD"S RELIGIOUS VIEWS

Edward considers himself a "recovering Catholic." While he doesn"t embrace the church"s teaching as it is traditionally understood, he was born and raised a Catholic. He said his grandmother brought him to mass every day up until he entered the first grade.

The famed psychic noted that he asked a plethora of theological questions all of the time as a child, never settling for or simply accepting what he was told.

"I explored lots of religions. I wanted to know the difference between being Protestant and Catholic," he said. "Religion is language that you communicate with God. There"s no best language in the world."

While he described himself as having "a strong belief system," he doesn"t necessarily believe that Jesus is God"s son, the central tenet of the Catholic Church (and of any Christian denomination, for that matter).

"I"m a questioner. That"s who I am as a person," he said. "I believe that God exists and that there was this really cool guy Jesus, but I think he"s one of many."

CRITIQUES

In 2009, Sean Hannity interviewed Edward about some of the controversy and critiques surrounding his work. And there have been in-depth explorations surrounding his alleged abilities. Among them, the Center for Inquiry devoted a great deal of research in 2001 to debunking some of Edward"s tactics.

In 2002, Shari Waxman also wrote an excoriating rebuke of Edward, describing how he relies upon probability to appear as though he is clairvoyant and connecting with the dead. She writes:


As it happens, he is more than a psychic medium; he is also a master statistician. The smoke and mirrors behind his self-professed ability to communicate with the dead is a simple application of the laws of probability. Basically, if you keep trying something whose results are independent, your odds of getting your desired result increase.

For example, the odds that you will roll a 3 on any one roll of a six-sided die are 1 in 6, about 17 percent. After six throws, the chance that you will have thrown at least one 3 has increased to about 67 percent. After 12 throws, it"s nearly 90 percent.

Lucky for Edward, most audience members on his television show are too hopeful and trusting to pull out a calculator and expose the charlatan behind the prophet.

The temptation to believe that Edward, a self-professed medium, can connect with the deceased and foretell future events is great, especially for those who are vulnerable and in need of comforting. Many members of the show"s audience, hoping to connect with deceased loved ones via Edward, are mourning recent losses. They come with the expectation, no doubt, that being "read" by Edward on national television will yield healing revelations from those who have "crossed over." Inevitably he reports that the dead are at peace, happily and lovingly watching over those left behind on Earth.

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There"s plenty of critique out there of the psychic"s work, but Edward told TheBlaze that he doesn"t feel the need to defend himself too fervently. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.