Lilliana Morrow was so excited that she almost jumped out of her skin on Saturday afternoon
The 12-year-old Waterloo girl was outside the Embassy Theatre, waiting to see Theresa Caputo, star of Lilliana’s favorite TV show, Long Island Medium.
I’m addicted, Lilliana said. I just love her accent and her long nails and her poofed-up hair.
The Morrows – her mom came, too – bought two balcony seats just for the entertainment value. They seemed to be in the minority.
Caputo, who claims to talk to the dead during her cable TV show on TLC, attracted a sellout crowd of about 2,450 to downtown Fort Wayne. Ticket prices ranged from about $40 to $90 before Ticketmaster charges, when applicable. It’s unknown how much people paid on the secondary market.
Many audience members came to the show in hopes Caputo would select them for a message from a recently departed loved one.
Gloria Cook believed the show date wasn’t a coincidence.
Her 16-year-old son, Tyler Cook, was buried one year ago on the same date after he died in a motocross accident.
The Spencerville woman has been sending emails to Caputo for the past year, hoping to establish a connection. When Cook heard that the medium was coming to Fort Wayne, she desperately tried to buy tickets as soon as they became available. Her boss and a co-worker also went online, trying to get through.
Cook’s boss scored the connection first and bought four tickets for the Cook family as a gift. Cook, her husband and two daughters have had a pretty hard year, full of ups and downs.
Before the show, Cook said she’d just like to hear from Tyler that he’s OK and living life to the fullest up there, still touching people’s hearts like he did down here.
Kelsey Phillips and Kortney Lakins were at the show, hoping for a message from their mother, Trena Lakins, who died a little more than a year ago.
She had been sick, but we didn’t know it would be that soon, said Phillips, 27.
The Bremen woman wants to know just that she’s OK and that she’s watching us and watching our dad. And that she’s our guardian angel.
Lakins, 26, agreed. She traveled from South Bend in hopes of hearing from her mother before her August wedding. The sisters were part of a group of eight family members who attended the show.
Beth Conner’s grief is even more raw.
The 41-year-old Fort Wayne woman lost her mother right after Christmas. The funeral was on New Year’s Eve.
Her friend, Donna O’Grady, bought tickets for Saturday’s show. I thought it would be a healing process for her, O’Grady said.
The women went into the show figuring it was unlikely they’d be singled out for a reading from their balcony seats, but they thought just hearing messages from other spirits would bring some peace about what happens to loved ones after they die.
Conner admitted she’s not doing well emotionally.
I had a bad week last week, she said. It kind of comes and goes. And it’s very difficult for me not to be able to talk to her every day.
After the show, Conner said, It was so awesome.
She said that Caputo channeled a message during the show meant for someone whose mother had passed. It was something to do with flowers.
Conner believes the message was meant for her. She couldn’t stand the smell of the floral arrangements at her mother’s funeral Dec. 31. But since then, Conner will be driving along and suddenly smell flowers in her car – even though none are nearby. Conner believes it’s been her mother’s way of reaching out to her.
I do feel a little more at peace after Saturday’s show, she said. I totally believe the spirits channel through her.
Skeptics have gone online to outline possible methods behind the medium, including the ability to research ticket buyers’ Facebook pages to learn more about people in the audience.
Organizers allowed media members to attend only the first 10 minutes of the show, which consisted of Caputo’s introductory spiel but no actual readings. Online doubters have also noted that many of Caputo’s comments are vague enough that they could apply to numerous people.
Reached after the show, Gloria Cook found nothing vague about the medium’s messages that included the numbers 10 and 13, tattoos, balloons, a fingerprint and a death on a motorcycle.
The Spencerville woman wears her son’s fingerprint on a necklace around her neck. His friends have tattoos of Tyler. His birthday was in October – the 10th month. The family released balloons on the anniversary of his death. And one of his sisters was 13 when he died.
Even though none of the details was delivered directly to Cook, she believes Tyler was one of the many spirits surrounding Caputo.
It went great, Cook said. We didn’t get a personal reading, but there were a lot of signs that he was trying to push through.
We all know that he’s OK now. We know that he was there.