For the skeptic turned psychic medium, John Edward now sees his role evolving into that of a teacher.
He’s been connecting audiences with deceased loved ones through 25 years of touring and television. His fame grew large through “Crossing Over with John Edward” on the Syfy network from 2001 to 2004, then “John Edward Cross Country” on We TV from 2006 to 2008. Never really comfortable in the television realm — where he said he was afraid entertainment would usurp the healing he strives to bring through readings — nevertheless, he’s kept growing.
“All of that brought me to what I’m doing now,” Edward, 47, said by phone from his office on Long Island. His latest project is an interactive online subscription service called “Evolve.” Established in 2007, it allows him greater control over production values, as he connects with members and posts a weekly episode for viewing. He said he’s thrilled when his guests tell him they have seen “Evolve” members later on at their own events. That’s a “ripple effect” he said he couldn’t create through the television shows where producers shaped the show format.
“In the landscape of television, I, right now, don’t fit into TV,” he said. “If look at what’s happening on television, what I would do is nothing that’s on there. I think TV is way overproduced and contrived, and I don’t think that the subject matter can be or should be overly produced. It needs to happen and unfold. You need to experience it and you need to revisit it after a while and see how a person healed from it, or what transpired since.” His online programming allows for that ongoing connection.
Touring with live gallery readings also keeps him connecting with people in person. To preserve his own energy level, he prefers to go out in short bursts, with perhaps six events close together. He then goes home and recharges with his wife, Sandra, son Justin, 14, and daughter Olivia, 10, an actress whose latest role is on the new FX show, “Better Things.”
The popular medium will be sharing insights and messages from the other side at 2 p.m. Saturday (4/8) at the Clarion Hotel & Convention Center in Cedar Rapids, in a ballroom that can hold up to 500 people.
The experience will be similar to “Crossing Over,” since that format was based on his live events. He generally begins with “an energetic unification exercise,” he said, followed by five questions chosen at random from the people who sign up for his newsletter that day. That’s “always fun,” he said.
“You watch their look of like, ‘I don’t have a question’ kind of moment, and they always do,” he said. “I feel like, if the universe randomly picked them, that means they have the question in them, they just have to mine for that question, and my belief is that question is one that applies to everybody that’s in that room.”
The remainder of the two hours is devoted to readings, ending with more questions.
He prefers the smaller venues to a cavernous arena full of distractions or a theater that makes audience members feel like they’re at a show.
“I’m not a performer,” he said. “I tell people this is like a class. This is interactive. I want you to leave better than I found you and I want to inspire you. And whether I read you or not, I want you to leave uplifted. I want you to leave knowing that there’s something else, and not just on the other side. There’s something else for you. You can actually walk through that door of energy and make different choices, and have different results as an outcome.
“To know that people have had patterns of repetition in their life shift and change after being read or watching people being read — and to get that feedback online and on social media and ‘Evolve’ message boards is pretty cool,” he said.
No one was more skeptical of psychic abilities than Edward, before his own life-changing encounter at age 15.
“The psychic who was at my grandmother’s house did a reading for me,” he said. “I went to debunk her, to prove to my family that she was not legit, and that she wouldn’t be able to do to me what she did to them. Well, she did, and she did it really well.”
She freaked the daylights out of him.
“Part of what she told me, and her exact words were I had highly evolved beings of white and gold light that were ready to put me on my path so I could change the way millions of people looked at her field.
“Yeah, at 15, she might as well have said, ‘I landed in my spaceship in your grandmother’s backyard, and after this reading I’ll take you for a spin.’ It felt the same to me, like this one’s crazy. I legitimately thought she’s delusional and crazy, but she was so accurate with what she said, and then she made predictions that happened within weeks, so she got my attention very quickly.”
He went to the local public library to do research, but all the books were shelved under “the occult.” Uncomfortable checking them out, he just sat on the library flood to read them. That launched his journey of self-discovery.
Along the way, he’s had to learn to turn off the messages, too, for his own health and well-being.
“You have to know the time and place,” he said. “A surgeon is always a surgeon but he’s not always operating.”
WHAT: Psychic medium John Edward
WHERE: Clarion Hotel & Convention Center, 525 33rd Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday (4/8)
INCLUDES: Group event with question-and-answer sessions and messages from the other side
TICKETS: $150 to $225 VIP for meet-and-greet and other extras, johnedward.net/events