Psychic Thomas John, who is openly gay, has said that he started at an early age communicating with dead relatives, including his grandfather.
After graduation from the University of Chicago with a degree in psychology and human development, he moved to New York to become the Manhattan Medium.
He wrote a book in 2015 called Never Argue with a Dead Person: True and Unbelievable Stories from the Other Side, and hosted his own radio show on Sirius XM called Psychic Nation with Thomas John.
He currently travels around the country with his "An Evening of Spirit" show, during which he reads members of the audience.
Windy City Times: Where are you from?
Thomas John: I am from Massachusetts, originally. I live between New York and LA right now. I go back and forth.
WCT: Have you always spoken with dead people?
TJ: I would say since [I was 4] I started to get impressions of things. People would visit me in my dreams. I did share that with my parents. I wouldn't say they were skeptical, but they didn't encourage it. I stopped focusing on it for a while, because it would always create turmoil in my house. I got more in touch with it in college.
WCT: Have you ever met anyone similar to you with these gifts?
TJ: I think a lot of people who are professional mediums, psychics and healers have had similar experiences like that. They were aware when they were young that they were different.
I think we are all intuitive really. We all have a connection to the spirit world. Some of us choose to tap into it and some of us don't.
WCT: What are some misconceptions about it?
TJ: That I know the answers to everything.
WCT: "Why don't you play the lottery?"
TJ: Right. Someone asked me at a funeral why would I be upset because I can still talk to the dead person. I still miss people!
WCT: Do people test you all the time?
TJ: At this point, my friends know not to do that. It does come up and goes with the territory, to an extent. People are naturally inquisitive. They have a strong opinion about it. Either they believe in it or they don't.
WCT: What are some challenges that you face in this business?
TJ: Skeptics. People have a certain perception of you. It is a lot of responsibility. I treat it like that because when someone comes to you for a reading they are going to take that information and go out into the world with it. I teach workshops to people that are trying to build their practice with their gift. I tell people to treat this in a certain way and be respectful.
WCT: You do private readings?
TJ: Yes I do those, and my events like I am doing in Chicago. They are big events. Even if someone doesn't get a reading, they find it helpful to hear messages through other people's messages.
WCT: At these big events do they just come and talk to you on a microphone?
TJ: I will be on a microphone and talk about the person coming through. For example I will say, "There's a woman named Wanda here who died." Two people might raise their hands but then I narrow down the time frame. As it builds up, there are more messages that come through.
WCT: You have read many celebrities. Does one stick out?
TJ: I went on Jenny McCarthy's radio show and felt Joan Rivers in the room and she had a message for her. I asked if she had worn a dress backwards. The color ran out of her face. One of her interactions with Joan was on a red carpet, where Joan said her dress was on backward.
I've read Courteney Cox, Christina Aguilera, Goldie Hawn and a lot of the Housewives, which is always crazy.
WCT: Talk about Seatbelt Psychic.
TJ: It is on the Lifetime Channel and from the producers of Carpool Karaoke. They approached me a few years ago with the idea of doing readings in the car. I don't work like that obviously. I work in an office with crystals and candles.
At first I was against it because I thought it is sensationalizing what I do. It is regular people thinking they are going on a rideshare then I tell them I am giving them a reading. What is interesting is they might not know what a medium is or don't believe in it. It reaches a whole new audience.
Some of the other psychic shows, which are are great, really target people who believe in it. Hollywood Medium is about celebrities who believe in it already. Long Island Medium has people waiting to see her so they believe in it. This one has a lot more skeptics.
WCT: Sounds like an interesting ride.
TJ: It is. I have definitely learned a lot about people's perspectives. You get emotion and loss, all those things.
WCT: Tell our readers about your book.
TJ: It's called Never Argue with a Dead Person. It's stories from the other side where I have connected people. It is a good summer read because it doesn't have to be read cover to cover. You can just read a story or two.
WCT: Do people ask you about recent celebrity deaths, like Kate Spade or Avicii?
TJ: I do get asked about that. I think, in our consciousness in the world, we are still learning and evolving in terms of what we know about brain chemistry and things like that. A lot of celebrities that die in odd ways have a soul contract to teach the world things. So much of what we learn in life is from people in our life.
I had a friend that was very close to Robin Williams and part of his work here was to show depression to people in the world. It is part of a greater learning that goes on.
WCT: My Grandma Nunn passed away years ago and I never told her I am gay. Do you know what she thinks about it?
TJ: Is there a Don?
WCT: Yes, that's my dad's name.
TJ: That's her son? And he's still here?
WCT: Yes and yes.
TJ: I feel like she's a guide for you. It is not so much with that part of your lifestyle, but just the way you are in life is so different than her. I feel like she has a different energy. It feels like she is very connected to you. Was she around you a lot when you were growing up?
TJ: She was very family-oriented?
WCT: Oh, yeah.
TJ: I keep hearing the name Betty. Is there a Betty at all?
WCT: Maybe. She had a lot of sisters. [Note: It turned out later, after calling Don, there was a sister named Betty].
TJ: She is aware of you being gay. On the other side, sexuality, gender and things like that are not as significant as here where we put a lot of focus on it.
WCT: Did you have LGBT folk riding in your car for the TV show?
TJ: There's a few. We had several transgender passengers. I don't know if this made it onto an episode but there was a transgender woman who got into the car. We were talking and her grandfather came through. He was a minister. He was really hard on her when she was younger. He was difficult even in the end on his deathbed and said terrible things. She got a lot of closure after he apologized through me.
There are a few on Seatbelt Psychic that are pretty poignant.
Keep up with John at MediumThomas.com . His new show, Seatbelt Psychic, is on Lifetime on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. CT.