Review: Caputo has impeccable ability to connect with her fans and believers
O may I join the choir invisible
Of those immortal dead who live again
In minds made better by their presence; live
In pulses stirred to generosity,
In deeds of daring rectitude.
— George Eliot
Theresa Caputo came to Great Falls last night and gave readings to a group of 1,800 people who came to get the chance to communicate with their loved ones who have died.
How you perceive Caputo depends entirely on whether you are a believer or a skeptic. I tend to find myself siding more with the skeptics, but I will say that she did make me wonder if she could actually do what she claims and I’ll explain what I mean.
Caputo started on stage in her trademarked sparkly shoes and first asked the veterans in the crowd to stand to be applauded.
She then talked a bit about what she did and how her fan club worked. She referenced scalpers and said that people should only buy tickets from her website or from the venue in which she is performing. She talked about some of the things her fan club has done to give back to her fans including where the money goes, and how every year she offers one fan the chance to come see her in person in New York for a day.
After introductions ended and she made a disclaimer that her goal was not to make people believe in mediums, she started doing the readings.
Much of what she does is calculated guess work. She’ll start with “Who’s father died?” or “Who shot themselves? I’m sensing a blanket, who had a blanket of their loved one?” and then she’ll start asking other pointed questions to the crowd after that first broad question.
What impressed me was that when she didn’t get something right with a particular person’s loved one, someone super close by to who she was speaking with claimed that what she was describing was relevant to them.
Toward the end of the night, Caputo mentioned how crazy it was that there were three women who lost their husbands sitting very close to one another in the back of the main floor.
If you’re a skeptic you could say, however, that there were probably lots of people who lost husbands throughout the venue. It all depends on what you believe.
Part of her talent, I believe, involves playing the odds and coming up with situations that she’s seen before. She works her way through common items or mementos and ways people grieve and talks them through these scenarios she’s faced many times before. Much of her readings had to do with blankets and rings and clothes and journals. All common keepsakes that people keep after someone they love has died.
The highlight of the evening, to me, had to be when she came up to the balcony and started interacting with a man who at first seemed like he didn’t want to be there.
He told her that his mother and his brothers had died and that he had been in prison when one of his brothers died. Caputo asked him “I’m getting a feeling that you’ve done something on your own, like you started your own business or something where it was just you who did it.” And, the man responded, “Well, I was locked up and got out four years ago. I’ve been clean and lawful since then, though,” and the crowd applauded.
Caputo joked with him and said, “I saw you when I got up here and thought, he doesn’t want to be here. His girlfriend must have dragged him here, am I right? And he reluctantly agreed. The more they interacted, the more he started to feel like she actually was connecting with his mom, especially. As they were finishing up, he asked if he could take a photo with her and she obliged.
Even if Caputo was not actually communicating with this man’s mother, she touched him in an authentic way that left him in tears and changed for the better in some small way.
That’s the main point about her that cuts to the core of the experience. Whether I believe her or not, it doesn’t matter so much because the millions of people who do believe in her abilities see her as a person who can help them seek guidance or closure after a loved one’s death.
Caputo later started talking with a woman who claimed her husband shot himself and she was standing right next to him and holding his hand as he did so.
Her story was both tragic and touching. She said it had been 25 years since he killed himself but she still thinks about him every day. Caputo sensed her pain and said that her husband wanted her to know that it wasn’t her fault.
There was more than one instance when after Caputo would ask a specific question, the person responding would laugh and say, “yeah, actually I did have that…” or “No, not quite but this…”
Again, I think a lot of what she does is more playing the odds and fishing for probable connections, however, she is scarily good at connecting with people.
At one point in the night she asked, “I’m sensing a necklace with a fingerprint on it. Who has a necklace with a fingerprint on it?” An elderly woman spoke up and said that she had her dead husband’s fingerprint on a necklace but she didn’t wear it tonight. Caputo said something to the effect of, “your husband knows you have the necklace and he knows you love him and that you miss him, do you understand?” That phrase was one she repeated often, perhaps as a way to connect with people more.
Another time, while talking to the same woman about her husband who shot himself, she said, “I’m sensing a fire helmet, something to do with fire fighting,” and the woman responded, “I started dating a fireman 5 years after my husband died.”
She also interacted with a woman who lost her brother to suicide. She said, “did he leave a note of some sort?” And the woman said that he did and then Caputo said, “Did he say he loved you in this note, that he loved you and your mother,” and the woman responded that yes, it did include that in the note.
Caputo after finishing with her, said, “You know it’s rare for me to get readings about people who have left mentions of love in their note because usually more often then not it’s filled with hatred.”
I’m not sure if I feel any differently about Caputo and her “ability” to communicate with dead people any more now after seeing her than before I saw her. I do, however, think that she’s very good at what she does. The number of things she got right, on face value, makes it hard to question her ability.
Whether that’s done through hidden research before the event, through small tells that she sees before interacting with people, or through some other type of sleight of hand, to me it doesn’t matter all that much because just like a talented magician, sometimes it’s better when the secret to the trick isn’t revealed.
I also do believe in spirits and communicating with the dead in subtle ways. I’ve seen it happen myself as have members of my family. So, maybe she’s actually got the ability to do that, but, I’m hesitant to say that she does.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter how she does it.
She without a doubt touched the people she spoke with last night and made them feel like their loved ones were standing in the room next to them.
I could, if I wanted to, seek them out and tell them how Caputo wasn’t “really” doing it or wasn’t “really” able to see certain images in relation to their loved ones. But, then that’d make me the bad guy because why would I want to ruin that moment for them? They left the Mansfield Center feeling healed, feeling blessed or feeling like they got some sort of closure. Anyone who takes that away from them is just trying to offend them, in my mind.
Caputo impressed me, but not in the ways I thought she either would or wouldn’t going in. She impressed me in how she’s able to connect with a huge venue full of people and make them feel they’ve communicated with their loved ones in a way they might not have been able to without her help.
That’s the real trick, and it’s one she’s got figured out quite well.