WPTV NewsChannel 5
May 10, 2007 12:11 AM
Seeing the dead
Reported by: Kelley Dunn
Photographer: Tom Special
The NBC show "Medium" is based on the real life of Allison Dubois who helps police in Arizona solve crimes. Did you know there's a town just north of Palm Beach County that’s filled with psychics and mediums?
Joan Piper talks to the dead about life. She says she's been communicating with the spirit world since she was a kid.
“When I was five, my grandfather passed and I was very close to him, I loved him. He died and my parents said I had to go to the funeral. I said why? He’s not there. He still comes and sees me.”
While growing up Joan hesitated to share her extraordinary talent. She said it wasn’t always accepted.
It was when her two daughters were grown and after 20 years as a school teacher that she decided to be a full time medium.
She moved to Cassadaga, Florida, a place where mediums and psychics are not only accepted, they’re admired.
Cassadaga is a quaint Central Florida town located between Daytona and Orlando. It’s small with only about 500 people living there. But more than 100 mediums and psychics work there. You can see why some people say Cassadaga is where Mayberry meets the twilight zone.
Joan says she sees all kinds of things on the streets of her small town, “Lots of times we see stagecoaches going up and down, and see people going up there."
With so many choices how do you know if you're choosing a good medium?
Look for those, like Joan, who are certified, meaning they've completed four years of study.
Joan's partner Lawrence is very accepting of what she does probably because he's a medium too. They say they can read each others minds!
“It makes for a truthful, honest relationship. I’ll put it that way,” says Joan.
No secrets between the two of them, but it’s the mystery surrounding the after life that attracts 100,000 visitors a year to this town and to people like Joan.
“Sometimes the spirits come to me ahead of time and sit and talk," says Joan.
"Hold on, they come to you and sit and talk like we are having a conversation, like this?" says Kelley Dunn.
"Well, I hear them and see them. Absolutely. They also give me feelings and emotions,” says Joan.
We may not be able to hear the dearly departed but Joan’s clients say the messages come through loud and clear.
Marge Clauser, a client says, “I mean I felt like I was blown backwards in the chair.”
Marge’s first husband committed suicide decades ago. During her reading Joan referred to a family debate over his open casket.
“I think other than my husband now, and I’ve been married for 35 years, I told him about it, but what a time that was deciding between open versus closed,” says Marge.
Two years ago, Toni Klothe's son Aaron, died in an accident. He was fourteen. Again, Joan knew funeral details no one else would have known.
Toni says, “It kind helps you get past the deep, deep sorrow that part. You realize one day you will see him again.”
Joan does most of her readings in her home at this table. Usually they last about an hour. She agreed to do a 15 minute reading for me.
"My spirit guide that works will me always shows me colors and tells me about your personality,” says Joan.
During the first three minutes she describes Kelley Dunn to a tee.
“You like things organized. That's not always what you are but when you listen to spirit and intuition it puts it in order," says Joan.
Then the moment Kelley Dunn was hoping for and Joan says, “This male comes in feels like a father.”
Kelley had told Joan on the phone that her dad had passed away seven years ago.
“Even with his passing he didn’t want anyone to be sad that he was leaving, not the other way around. He didn’t want all of you to be sad that he was leaving.”
She went on to talk about her brother and two sisters that were never mentioned. Also, her children she described precisely.
“There’s also an artsy part of your daughter -- a creative part that has to be the balance of her,” says Joan.
It ended with more from her dad.
Joan says, “That, that’s the gentle part. You are so connected to him in that part. You really understood him and he understood you.”