Seeing the other side

Medium Veronica Hart has harnessed her line of communication with the spirit world

Spiritual medium Veronica Hart held her show in sponsorship of breast cancer research in honour of her mother.
Spiritual medium Veronica Hart held her show in sponsorship of breast cancer research in honour of her mother.
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What would you do if you suddenly had to accept that you were everything you didn’t believe in?

This is what Veronica Hart had to grapple with when, 15 years ago, she discovered she was a spiritual medium.

Hart first learned of her ability to communicate with spirits through a series of unusual events that began infiltrating her daily life.

She started seeing people and family members on the other side.

“I didn't accept it because I’m a non-believer, so I wasn't someone who believed in psychics or mediums,” Hart said. “I'm the type that I've got to see it to believe it. I know it sounds terrible but I'm still a bit of a skeptic.”

As I watched one of Hart’s group readings last week, I was ready to have my own wavering skepticism challenged.

Though I initially ignored the many tissue boxes arranged among the seating, they should have warned me of the emotional gravity the night had in store.

“When I first started doing this years ago, I used to cry with everybody because it was so emotional,” Hart said. “It’s like you're a doctor and you have to tell somebody they have cancer ... you’ve got to put a front on, and once they leave then it hits you and ... I've got nobody to talk to about it.”

Hart said that her toughest readings are for parents who have lost a child.

“They get to me ’cause I’ve got three boys ... that is the most difficult one to do, but it’s also the most rewarding,” Hart said. “It’s good but at the same time I just look at them and I think, ‘I don't know how you’re sitting here,’ because it wouldn't be me.”

Once each reading is finished, Hart said she discards it from her thoughts and memory.

“You couldn't keep all that stuff up in your head, you’d go crazy,” she said.

While connecting with a loved one who has passed can cause overwhelming emotions, Hart said that the emotion doesn’t always stem from sadness. People typically feel relief at having made a connection.

She said that such emotions can be hard to experience through hearsay or television, but that the energy is tangible in the bubble of the room.

Spending two hours in an audience of over 80 people, I understood what Hart meant as she conducted more than 20 readings. The experience was chilling.

Without any visible provocation, Hart was drawn into the audience, propelled by spirits with messages for their loved ones. With only a few pieces of information provided by the spirits, she guided herself to the intended audience member.

“[Spirits will] show me things through my life experience so I can get all the information ... sometimes it’s just trivial stuff but it can mean something really important to somebody that’s receiving the message,” Hart said. “Everything I see is in symbols, sounds — I see them, hear, taste, smell, whatever they want to do.”

Hart explained that during a group reading she has to use the symbols being offered to her as a sort of jigsaw puzzle or charades to decipher who in the audience has a spirit coming through.

When performing readings for a large group, Hart said that she gets bombarded with messages. The communication that comes through the loudest is the one that she will choose to convey.

“I always say imagine if you were invited to a party and you walk into a room, there’s always that loud uncle ... the other side is not very different,” she said. “Your personality stays intact and it doesn't change.”

Hart said that if a two year old passes on, they will appear to her as a toddler who exhibits the level of life experience they had on Earth, regardless of how long ago they passed.

In order to affirm her belief in her abilities, Hart said she needed proof of the spiritual world.

“I’m not afraid, there’s no way on Earth,” she said. “I can only tell you from my point of view, and that could be completely different from others’, but I know what I've seen and it’s just unbelievable.”

During her first few years as a medium, Hart said that spirits educated her about the other side and her ability to connect with it.

“If they gave me everything at once I don't think I could have done it, I couldn't have handled it, so they gave me everything in baby steps,” she said. “I just thought ‘this can’t be happening’, but ... this is what I'm meant to be doing, I’ll follow it.”

Throughout her show, Hart received messages for audience members from loved ones ranging from lighthearted reminiscing, to heavy and heartbreaking matters of unresolved suicides.

“Everybody always asked me if I got hit in the head, if I was in a car accident; nothing like that,” she said. “I get that, I totally get that too because I was questioning it.”

By the end of Hart’s show, I had a hard time denying my belief in her ability. I was dumbfounded by the private and sensitive information she was able to present to the strangers in the audience.

“It’s not good to do it for people that you know, your family members. I’d go to another medium ... it’s just too close to you,” she said. “When people come to me, I don't know anything about them. All I know is the first name and actually sometimes they give me a fake name ... people think I Google things.”

Hart said that she will often receive hate mail and accusations of deceitfulness or evil. However, she said that her experience as a medium has strengthened her character and her belief in pursuing her passion.

“I try to keep it as honest as possible ’cause I’ve always thought it was just people who were frauds that have done this. I just detested anybody in this work and now, oh my God, I can’t believe it’s me,” she said.

Not allowing her abilities to affect her daily life, Hart explains that she remains grounded and in control of her spiritual communications. She said that being a medium is only a small aspect of her life, while her focus is her family.

“If I had the choice I don’t think [I’d be a medium] because it’s not one of the easiest things to do,” she said. “I never told anybody for years and years what I actually did unless I got comfortable enough with you.”

“I always thought I was going to offend people because you've got to be very careful about what people believe.”

Mediums in the media

The idea of a spiritual afterlife has always been an intriguing one, and often the source of much debate. With mediums providing a glimpse into possibility, it’s no wonder our society holds a fascination with those who can communicate with the other side.

Theresa Caputo
With big hair and a spunky personality, she fills the titular role on the TLC show Long Island Medium. Allegedly able to contact spirit, the show follows Theresa in her daily life as she makes spiritual connections.

Oda Mae Brown
Played by Whoopi Goldberg, the character in the 1990 film Ghost discovers her ability to contact spirits, that she once faked, is indeed real as she assists protagonist Sam Wheat to warn his lover Molly Jensen of his killers.

Melinda Gordon
Played by Jennifer Love Hewitt in the show , Hewitt possesses the ability to communicate with earthbound spirits, assisting them to resolve unfinished business from their former lives.

Alison Dubois
In the 2005 television show Medium, Patricia Arquette plays Alison Dubois, a mother balancing family life and solving mysteries with her gift of spiritual communication.

John Edward
A famed professional medium, Edward has hosted talk shows Crossing Over with John Edward and John Edward Cross Country.

Cole Sear
Played by Haley Joel Osment in the suspense thriller The Sixth Sense, Sear is troubled by his ability to see the dead as living beings, especially when the ghost of a young girl approaches him for help.

— Katie Grandin Sources: imdb.com, johnedward.net, tlc.com

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