Forget the voice. Forget the hair. Theresa Caputo's attention-grabbing attribute is that she claims to speak with the dead. TLC has been airing her show, Long Island Medium, for a few weeks now, and last night she was on Jay Leno's show, joking about how those who have passed on may send her messages, but they don't watch her have sex with her husband.

Captuto's show is a mix of funny and sad; mostly she seems to be a grief counselor, urging people to move on after a loved one has died. But when you're watching, you cannot stop wondering: Is this woman for real? Personally, I doubt it. Caputo, like many so-called psychics or fortune tellers, seems to use a technique called cold reading. This involves using clues and cues from the client to make some educated guesses (phrased like questions) about the dead individual who "steps forward" with a message.

For instance, when a young, brown-skinned woman and a young, brown-skinned man came to see Theresa about their young, deceased, brown-skinned friend, Theresa asked if the guy was into hats, or caps. The answer was yes. Imagine that! A young black guy into caps. What are the odds. In another episode, she asks a a couple of brawny, blue-collar Italian guys if their late friend liked to drink and party. He loved hanging out and booze, they agreed. It really seems like she's shotgunning and shooting for easy stereotypes. Also, she did a whole mess of readings at her husband's job — a motorcycle repair shop — and magically knew all about the guys her husband works with.

John Edward, who used to have a TV show called Crossing Over, and also lives on Long Island, has also been accused of doing cold readings and shotgunning; he's been accused of "hustling the bereaved." Ten years ago, Time reported that producers manipulated clips of his show to make it seem like people were nodding when they were not, and that his mistakes or misses were all edited out. In addition, Edward may have used eavesdropping to find out about his audience members, and not some kind of clairvoyant ability. Edward once told a Dateline NBC reporter that he sensed the soul of a father named Anthony in the room, but later admitted that the cameraman, named Tony, had already told him his father had died.

Despite knowing all this, I still watched a few episodes of Long Island Medium. Caputo is charismatic, funny, a spitfire of energy. And being a skeptic actually kept me watching, since I was intent on catching her in a mistake or obvious set-up. (TLC would likely never let these air, but still!) But after visiting Caputo's Facebook page today, I realized that I have got to stop watching this show. I cannot support her suspicious "gift," especially reading all the sad, desperate messages from people hoping to contact dead loved ones.

I need some closure ,some answers...I feel lost and insecure....hope to hear from you soon...

I really need my dad's advice!

would love to hear from an old boyfriend who passed away from an overdose:( i just want to know if he is happy.

And then seeing this, from Theresa Caputo:

To be placed on the waiting list for an appointment please e-mail with your name, phone number, and please note group, private or phone session. The approximate waiting time is 2 years.