Introducing Spirit Communication To The Masses
By Bob Olson
About eight months after my first reading with Vicki, I completed a book tour for my first book, Win The Battle, The Three Step Lifesaving Formula For Conquering Depression And Bipolar Disorder. I was weary from doing an average of three radio, newspaper, magazine or television interviews per day. The exciting part of the book promotion was that I got to do the interviews with Melissa since she was such a big part of that book. Since we did more radio than anything else, not only did we get to know a great bunch of people (the radio hosts and producers), but we also became well-practiced at being on the radio.
Radio wasn’t as easy as I originally expected. The most difficult aspect is competing with the time restraints. You never realize how many commercials there are on a radio show until you have tried to tell your story in between them. An average one-hour talk show has twenty minutes of commercials and news. That leaves only about eight minutes to talk between commercials. By the time the radio host reintroduces the guest after each commercial, gives the radio call-letters, announces the call-in telephone numbers and then asks the question he wants answered, it gives the guest about five minutes to give a concise, interesting and intelligent answer. If you talk too long, the next commercial break cuts you off while you’re talking and makes you feel like an idiot.
Since Melissa and I became fairly competent doing radio due to all this practice, one radio host asked us to fill in for him one day while he was on vacation. His name is John Alexandrov, and he has become a good friend. Melissa and I hit it off with John the day he interviewed us. He was one of the most compassionate radio hosts we ever met. Plus, unlike many, he had actually read the book; so his questions were intelligent and well thought out.
“Are you sure the station manager is okay with this?” was my first response.
“Sure, why not, you and Melissa know what you’re doing,” said John.
“Yeah, but I never had to bring us in and out of the commercials or give all the telephone numbers and stuff. I don’t know how to coordinate all that,” I said.
“Clyde will help you out. He’ll signal you to keep you aware of the time. You’ll do fine,” John assured me, “I wouldn’t be asking you if I didn’t think you could do a great show.”
After convincing me that the station was willing to take the chance, I agreed to do the show. To my surprise, the show came off smoothly with plenty of caller response. It was a success even if Melissa and I sounded somewhat amateur. The board manager that John mentioned, Clyde, handled all the commercials and music before and after the breaks. He’s such a calm, kind soul that he made the two-hour show easy for us. Since the entire show was about my first book—a subject that we knew inside and out—the Friday night rush-hour event went off without too many blunders. In fact, John’s response from the station’s managers was so good that he asked us to do it again a couple months later.
This time I didn’t want to talk about our book again. I wanted to interview someone else. The first person who came to mind was Vicki. John and the station were open to the idea of having a psychic on the air (although I don’t think they understood what “psychic medium” meant). And Vicki, who was as excited as she was nervous, agreed to give it a try. So we planned the show which would air live on the same night the movie The Sixth Sense was to open. The timing was perfect.
By the night of the show, Vicki hadn’t slept in days. This was her first radio show and she had no idea of what to expect. Would her gift work on the radio? Would she be able to give a reading by phone? All her client readings thus far were in person. I was sure she could do it because she had given me readings numerous times over the phone. Vicki just didn’t see those as normal readings since I wasn’t a client. For two months Vicki fearfully imagined humiliating herself on live radio, and now the moment had arrived.
The show ran from five to seven o’clock on a Friday night. We arrived at the station like a rock band—me, Melissa, Vicki, her husband Bret and her mother Nancy. We were early, but the studio was empty so we piled in. Melissa and I introduced Vicki to the controls, the headphones and the microphones. We picked out where we would all sit—first me, Melissa to my right and Vicki to her right—so I could ask the questions and see both of them at the same time. Once I got my outline in front of me, we were ready to roll.
Clyde arrived, and carefully instructed me on what to say before and after each commercial: the station call letters, the telephone numbers and the time. When the moment arrived, it reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe’s, “The Telltale Heart,” where the heart could be heard beating from under the floorboards. In this case, it was three hearts pounding into our microphones. Clyde held up his hand as the introductory music began playing. He slowly closed one finger, two, three, four and then five; and then he pointed to me to begin. I knew Vicki wanted to get up and run out of the studio, but there was no turning back.
Melissa and I spent the first half-hour telling the story of how we met Vicki and interviewing Vicki about her gift. John Alexandrov told me that the key to a successful radio interview is to get the guest to tell stories. I made the mistake of asking questions that could be answered with a yes or no; and in her fright, that’s how Vicki answered them—like a shy child talking to a stranger.
“Is it true that you can actually see and hear spirits, Vicki?” I asked.
“Yes,” Vicki answered. Then there was dead silence. I could see her hands were shaking.
“Could you elaborate on that a little?” I said with a big smile on my face. I thought it was amusing seeing Vicki so nervous.
“Sure, well, I usually see and hear the spirits, but sometimes I just hear them,” she said. That was it. More dead silence followed.
After a few more questions that went nowhere, it took everything I had not to roll in the isles laughing, especially when Vicki twice answered by only nodding her head (she’ll kill me for telling you this). I’m sure Vicki would have rolled along laughing, too, because she has no problem laughing at herself. But we were both new to this radio experience and felt we needed to be serious. So all I could do was start answering the questions myself and asking Vicki to confirm my answers with a yes or no—which, in her defense, she was really good at giving.
“Is it true that spirits don’t like to be considered as dead, but prefer the term ‘crossed-over?’” I asked.
“Yes, that’s true,” Vicki answered.
“And the reason for this is that one of the key messages they want to convey is that they are still alive, still with us, only they are with us in spirit rather than physical form. Is that right?” I said.
“That’s correct, they often say they are closer to us now than they ever were,” Vicki answered.
This system where I gave the question and answer and then Vicki confirmed the answer as correct wasn’t really too bad. But Vicki quickly got better as she became more comfortable. However, just as she was beginning to relax, it was time for Vicki to take callers. People were to call the station and Vicki would give them a three-to-five-minute reading on the air. Before the first commercial, I gave out the studio’s telephone number. This was the first time I gave out the number because I didn’t want people calling until the interview was over.
When I asked Clyde during the break if we had any callers yet, he laughed at me. “Bob, all the phone lines have been jammed since ten-minutes after you started the show. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Clyde. That was reassuring to Vicki. Her first concern was that nobody would call. Now that she didn’t have that to worry about anymore, her eyes became glossy knowing it was time to perform.
I have this theory about doing something in front of an audience for the first time: if you are excited and prepared, there is something magical about the newness of the experience that gets captured in your enthusiasm. Even if you are scared silly, this edge-of-your-seat enthusiasm will result in one of your best performances—not necessarily the smoothest, but one you will forever recall with a smile.
That’s what happened to Vicki this particular Friday evening. I kept watching Clyde’s face as she did each reading. Every time she nailed a detail like “you have two daughters who are deaf?” and the caller replied affirmatively, Clyde would look at me and mouth the words, “Oh my God!” He had a smile planted on his face the whole night. Vicki’s readings were dumbfounding. Despite her tenseness, she plowed through her fears and showed twenty thousand listeners what a reading from a psychic medium was supposed to be like—not vague generalities, but accurately detailed messages about people’s lives that she could never have known if not for a dead relative whispering them into her ear.
As expected, there were a few skeptics who called. Their voices were tense, serious and distrustful. As a former skeptic, I understood why some of the callers were so resistant, almost defensive, with the messages Vicki gave them. Even with denial in full tact, hearing a gifted psychic medium offer evidence that we survive death shakes up a skeptic’s world. There were a lot of people who’s belief systems got rattled that night. Some people were relieved, some extremely grateful, and others disturbed that a lifetime of learned beliefs were now in question. I always find the calls from skeptics humorous. I used to be there, so I remember what they are thinking. Unfortunately, the couple skeptics who called that night added to Vicki’s stress. Nonetheless, she gave them powerful readings that I’m sure got them thinking over the next few days and weeks.
Meanwhile, Bret and Nancy watched the show from the hallway through a big window. They could hear everything including the callers’ voices from a speaker which they had cranked up loud. This was the first time Bret had ever really watched Vicki do her thing. It was a breakthrough of sorts, as he finally got to witness the precious value Vicki’s gift offers to people.
Every psychic medium I know has a particular style and quality that is unique to him or her. While the subject matter alone—communicating with deceased loved-ones—lends itself to squeezing out a few tears, Vicki has a style of reading that intensifies the likelihood for this reaction. This is one of the reasons I sobbed like a lost little boy for two-hours during my own initial reading in January of 1999. It is also why Vicki has boxes of tissues handy in her office and at her psychic medium demonstrations so people can dry their faces during her readings. And it is the reason that Bret had to keep stepping from the hallway into the men’s room during the radio show. It must have been a surreal experience as he listened to the readings and gained a newfound understanding for the benefits his wife’s “little hobby” offered to the world.
Nancy, of course, is always beaming with pride for the value Vicki’s gift offers to others. Sometimes we have to tell her a sad story just to get her to stop grinning (I’m kidding). Needless to say, Nancy was radiating with love and delight as she witnessed the show from the radio station’s hallway.
The radio station’s caller lines were gridlocked the entire show. The public couldn’t get enough; everyone wanted to talk to Vicki. Before we could catch a breath, the two hours were over. All of us were exhausted from the stress of it. We went to dinner to deactivate our stress-levels and talk about the experience. Little did we know, this would be the first of many radio shows. It was like the first dip of a roller coaster that is so scary you are ready to call it quits, yet you still have a bunch of twists, turns and somersaults to get through before it’s over.
After Vicki, Bret and Nancy left our house that night just after eleven o’clock, my mind was still completely wired. There was no way I would be able to sleep any time soon. So I suggested to Melissa that we go to the midnight showing of The Sixth Sense. It was the first night the movie opened, and I had been waiting a long time for it to come out. Melissa thought I was out of my mind, but she agreed to go. It was the perfect ending to an evening spent with a gal who “sees dead people.” Little did I know, this movie would catapult the public’s interest of mediumship into overdrive.
If I learned anything from the night’s events, it was that there is an insatiable desire, or need, in this world for insight into the afterlife. Clyde said he had never seen the telephone lines so jammed at the radio station. It was evident that even the skeptics couldn’t turn the radio dial. People were glued to every word blowing across the airwaves into their car radios, home stereos and boomboxes. I’m not sure I fully understood the magnitude of what was happening, but I knew it felt like we had done something positive, something that would help people. Although I thought that this might be a one-time experience, it was just the beginning of a never-ending adrenaline-pumping journey.
BOB OLSON is a former private investigator and skeptic who began using his investigation skills to research psychics, psychic mediums and the afterlife in 1999. This research led him to establish www. OfSpirit.com Magazine (2000), www.AfterlifeTV.com (2011), www. BestPsychicMediums.com (2001) and www. BestPsychicDirectory.com(2007), three of the most trusted and influential sources for understanding and locating trustworthy psychics and psychic mediums.
Today Bob Olson has tested hundreds of psychics and psychic mediums around the world and has become a leading authority on the subject with TV, movie and documentary producers, journalists, book publishers, event promoters, as well as law enforcement agencies and private investigators. Bob’s achievements in psychic and psychic medium investigation and testing has further allowed him to evaluate and isolate the key components that set apart the best psychic medium readings from the mediocre—leading him to create his famous (although secret) 15-point test.
Bob has documented his findings in a multitude of articles. He has authored the Forewords for three books: The Complete Idiot's Guide To Communicating With Spirits, Consult Your Inner Psychic and The Complete Idiot's Guide To Divining The Future. Bob has also been quoted as an expert in How To Get A Good Reading By A Psychic Medium and Empowering Your Life With Angels.