Inside the Secret Sting Operations to Expose Celebrity Psychics
The New York Times
The Valley ForgeCasino in King of Prussia, Pa., is one of those modern revenue-enhancement ecosystems whose carpets ease the crushing of your soul with faded earth colors. The wall décor is best described as bankrupt-dentist’s office. Down a football-field length of sterile corridors is a conference room with a poster outside of a beaming Matthew Fraser.
To open his show, Fraser deployed some self-deprecating jokes, salted with some spicy obscenities, to warm up the crowd. The audience was sizable and mostly women; the few disgruntled husbands in the crowd wore the faces of men who had been blackmailed. Zoe and Ed and the other Guerrillas sat near the front in hopes of being noticed. I sat alone, about four rows behind them.
Fraser walked down the aisle and straight to my row. Right off, he said he had a vision and asked the dozen or so of us to stand. I was momentarily terrified, not only because I had prepared nothing, but also because if he asked me why I was there, I would feel obligated to tell him I was there to observe a secret sting operation.
The crowd was older, and without much trouble, Fraser easily divined the very likely fact that someone’s mother on the row had passed. He quickly identified a woman near me and handed her a microphone. “Your mom is acknowledging that I have to speak to my daughter,” he said, and then let the woman know that Mom was O.K. in the afterlife. “Your mother says that she wants you to know that she loves and cares about you.”
It was a classic cold reading, all generalized notions searching for something slightly more specific to move to. Fraser often nodded his head as if to nudge her to go along. “Your mom tells me that she was angry before she left this world, and you don’t want to talk about that.” Fraser stepped back, held her gaze and encouraged her, “You understand that?” She agreed. As he teased the story along, Fraser might, oddly, crack a joke to ease the tension but then take the room right back to this quiet place. Fraser said, “I need to apologize to my daughter because every day she deals with the stress and the burdens.”
Suddenly, the real sorrow of this stranger’s loss was here, near me, on my row. And then the whole room felt it. “Your mom says I am taking responsibility for that.” I could barely look up. This little moment felt so intimate and private. Grief is one of those emotions that doesn’t happen publicly too often, and so when it does, the mood easily dominates the room. With each reading, Fraser was, in fact, summoning the dead because all these middle-aged people had lived lives. We all knew death, family death, deeply felt. One by one, everyone in the room was reliving some loss. Helplessly, I thought of my own father, who died when I was 11, and those old emotions, stored away but never far off, took hold of me as if I were graveside.
By the time Fraser inched his way to the other side of the auditorium, people were even more forthcoming. Fraser came to a middle-aged woman dressed in a colorful scenic sweater. Her burly husband with a snow white goatee and veteran’s cap was beside her as she revealed losing two of her sons, in tragic ways. She said she missed them every day.
The audience was with her; our grief held her. We were all wrapped in rich, old memories of aching pain. Maybe dead spirits aren’t real. But these emotions were. My exhausted father waking up early on his Saturday off to watch cartoons with his little kid. Decades disappeared. I squeezed back a little boy’s confused tears. “Sonny boy,” my mom said one morning, “I have something sad to tell you.” I so miss him.
Fraser consoled the mother with news. “Your son says he’s O.K.,” Fraser said, speaking in the voice of one of her deceased boys. The mother sobbed and sank into her husband’s big chest. “More important, they are together on the other side.” Fraser learned that Christmas was no longer celebrated at home, and Fraser crushed the room: “He says you have another son, who needs you?” The husband nodded; she nodded. “He says to me, just because we’ve passed, it doesn’t mean my mother stops her life.”
Even the most stoic of men were overwhelmed, heads turned away, into shirt sleeves. Fraser stepped toward the couple and took both of them in a long, sobbing group hug. Then he moved away.
There were a few more readings, each a little bit easier emotionally. Fraser was a brilliant performer, cooling off the room. With a couple of light jokes salted with naughty words, he bolted onto the stage, and then disappeared into the wings. Eventually, Gerbic’s Guerrillas will produce an account, and Operation Peach Pit will be online with the hope of reaching a future audience with logic. But there was no denying the real power of what we all felt in the room. “Reason,” wrote the philosopher David Hume almost 300 years ago, “is and ought only to be the slave of passions.”
The real world was out there, in fact, just down this hall, but it was hard for me to get there as the crowd inched along. Fraser appeared in the corridor at a table with stacks of his book, “The Secrets to Unlocking Your Psychic Ability.” On the cover was oversmiling Tom Cruise bathed in heavenly light, clutching a gigantic key longer than his forearm. Out the corner of my eye, I caught a blue wig in the line of fans. Zoe couldn’t quite get out of character as Fraser signed one of his books for her: “Trust your own psychic voice.”
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WORCESTER — When Matt Fraser walks into Mechanics Hall on Sunday for his event “Psychic Medium Matt Fraser LIVE,” you might wonder if he picks up on any vibrations from the venerable building that’s over 160 years old.
Actually, Fraser has been to Mechanics Hall before. “Spirit is always present, but when I walk in I’m hearing more from the people than the building,” he said. In particular, he said he’s hearing from “the souls in the audience.”
Sometimes Fraser said he’ll hear from them before an event, because they know a loved one is planning to attend and they urgently want to send a message. “A father passed away before he got to say goodbye … I feel like a messenger delivering all these messages from heaven,” Fraser said.
Fraser, 27, is from Rhode Island, where he still lives, and said he initially suppressed his sixth sense of being able to see and hear the dead.
“It started with my grandmother. My grandmother was a medium, so was my mom. It was considered taboo … Later in my teens I realized they (spirits) were coming to me because I could see them and hear them.”
Fraser got a job as an EMT in Boston, but out of curiosity “I saw a medium for myself. I realized I didn’t have to be an EMT to help people. I could use this and help people emotionally. Word traveled quickly. I had to leave my full-time job.”
Fraser is the author of “The Secrets to Unlocking Your Psychic Ability” and been featured on NBC Morning News, Fox News, CBS Radio and many other media outlets. His website states, “Matt passionately believes that his job as a psychic medium is not only to help those connect with their loved ones but to help inspire and encourage others to embrace and be thankful for all the blessings that life has to offer.”
At his events, Fraser said he finds that both the living and the spirits of the departed are seeking validation and closure.
For the living, “I don’t ask for information,” he said. “I will literally see a soul standing behind somebody. I try to ask spirit for information that no one else will know.”
There is often humor during the proceedings as “people remember the good times with their loved ones,” Fraser said.
Deceased loved ones in the spirit would “watch over every part of our life. Many times they send signs to let us know that they are with us.”
But it is not everyone who had a good relationship with a deceased relative in this life. “Many times if someone didn’t have a good relationship, it’s really about healing, comfort and closure. Some of them are apologetic. Sometimes it’s that there’s a misunderstanding.”
Regarding his faith, Fraser said, “I was born and raised Catholic. I guess now I would consider myself more spiritual.”
His perception of the afterlife is “an energy plane. No more pain. Everyone’s united and there’s peace.”
Asked if there’s a hell, Fraser said, “I’ve never communicated with anyone in hell. All I’ve been told is God has a divine way of handling those who did wrong in their life.”
Fraser acknowledged that skeptics are a part of the life of a psychic medium.
“Skeptics are always welcome,” he said of attending his events. “A lot of times it’s the skeptical ones who receive a message. It’s an eye-opening experience for them.”
Whether or not psychic medium Matt Fraser can channel the voices of the dead is a subject I’ll allow the pundits on the web to debate ad infinitum.
Since, I didn’t have the chance to have a reading from Matt Fraser at his Jan. 6 appearance at Foxwoods Resort Casino, I can’t judge how his words lined up with my own experiences.
But, if you were looking for a scam artist in action at the Grand Pequot Ballroom, Fraser didn’t appear to fit the bill. Yes, he shilled his book and autographs at the end of the afternoon.
However, mostly what I saw, was a young man facilitating a conversation with women and men who are hurting.
Fraser’s arrival at the casino was an opportunity for those gathered to speak about a common human experience– the grief people feel after someone has died. It also tapped into the desire for many to believe there is something more to life than birth and death— a desire that buoys all of our religious institutions.
The guests were the true heart of Fraser’s appearance. There were many moments where I found myself on the edge of tears as the guests– who were primarily women – shared their stories of loss and how they longed to hear from their husbands, fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers. The grief in the room was palpable and jarring in its familiarity. The stories shared easily could be the stories of you or me.
Fraser is a charming young man. He is funny when there is a need to calm the nerves of those he says the spirits urge him to address. He is serious when the messages he must convey are serious. He expresses compassion when the grief of his subject is too overwhelming.
Setting aside his psychic abilities, Fraser appears to be a shrewd judge of human nature. He is able to cajole people to express emotions that may have been bottled up for too long.
And Fraser’s spirit seems genuine.
Sometimes when we are hurting, we need to talk. We may turn to a therapist. We may turn to the clergy. We may turn to a sibling. We may turn to a bartender. We may turn to a strange.
If there was any value of Fraser’s appearance Jan. 6, it was that people were given the chance to talk about their pain. And if you believed in Fraser’s abilities, there was someone listening from beyond who truly cared.
Matt Fraser will be making the following local appearances over the next six months. For details, go to MeetMattFraser.com
When psychic Matt Fraser’s grandmother and mother grew up, he said it was a different world.
Both women were psychic, he said. But in the 1950s and 1960s, when his grandmother was growing up, and later when his mother was growing up, there was no social media, or internet. Without those avenues, the women didn’t have any way to learn about what they were experiencing or to help others understand it.
So although both his grandmother and mother had the gift, Fraser said they kept it secret. They never spoke about it, he said.
Fraser said his grandmother kept the revelation so close to her chest that even her own husband, Fraser’s grandfather, had no idea that she had the gift.
Fraser said his mother feared “they would call her crazy.”
Since this was something both women did not want to discuss, Fraser said they did not use their gifts professionally or with family or friends.
Times changed, however, as Fraser, now 27, grew up. And these days, he shares his psychic abilities on radio and television as well as live appearances across the country.
Fraser said his ability to reach to the other side started to reveal itself from ages 3 to 5.
But, he said, his gift began to find focus when his grandmother passed away and he began to converse to her from the other side. “That was my first true connection.”
The conversations with his grandmother became regular occurrences. He said his mother told him that many of the conversations he recalled for her were quite detailed. She figured the conversations could not be imagined.
As he got older, Fraser said he wasn’t just speaking with his grandmother. “Other souls would come to me.”
Fraser said he would see people standing at the end of his bed. They weren’t just ghostly apparitions or silhouettes but fully formed. “It was very real to me.”
However, Fraser said he didn’t think he was psychic. Since he had no perspective on the gift, he thought the house was haunted. It wasn’t until he realized the appearances of these souls were specific to him, that he had an inkling he was psychic.
But Fraser said he didn’t embrace this gift. “I was pushing it away.” Seeing these souls and hearing voices were “scary.”
In a way, Fraser said, he initially missed his calling. He knew he wanted to help people. But instead of using his gift, he trained to be an emergency medical technician.
But still the souls spoke to him, said Fraser. Trying to get a handle on what was happening, and since his mother refused to give him insight into her abilities, he went to a psychic for the perspective he needed.
Finally, Fraser said, he learned about what his gift meant.
“It changed my life,” he said.
Initially, said Fraser, he only did readings for close friends. The questions were simple, such as, who would they marry.
“I didn’t really know what I was doing,” Fraser said.
But then word spread, he said. The parents of his friends would ask for readings. From there, he said the parents began to organize group readings for Fraser. The questions became more urgent. Then he was called in to speak on radio programs and started making appearances on national television.
“I realized this could be my job,” said Fraser.
“Heaven has led me on this journey,” said Fraser.
When he does readings, Fraser said there are questions that typically arise. The first thing they want to know is if their loved one is okay. He said they are seeking some sort of closure.
Fraser said clients also want to know if their loved ones can see what is happening in their lives. They want to know if their loved ones can see the choices they make and if they are close by.
At events such as the one at Foxwoods, Fraser said he selects as many people as he can—but not all—to help reconnect with loved ones who have passed to the other side.
“I never know what the message will be,” said Fraser.
When audiences leave the appearance, Fraser said, he wants them to walk out with a sense of hope, renewal, and inner peace— even if they weren’t selected by Fraser that night.
“They’re not alone,” said Fraser. “Their loved ones are just a thought away.”
Matt Fraser will appear in the Grand Pequot Ballroom at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket on Sunday, Jan. 6 at 2 p.m.
For more information, go to Foxwoods.com or MeetMattFraser.com
Who’s NEXT? Television Psychic Medium, Matt Fraser! Matt is an internationally-renowned psychic medium and best-selling author of The Secrets to Unlocking Your Psychic Ability.
We had such an inspiring show with this talented rockstar.
Booked two years out, Matt is traveling globally to offer intimate readings from the states to Australia!
Over Matt’s dynamic career, he has conducted thousands of readings for clients around the world, performed at sold-out events across the country, and appeared on numerous televisions shows and media outlets… all with the mission of reconnecting friends and family with the spirits of those who are no longer with us.
We learned on the podcast how he connects with the other side. His positive energy is so assuring and comforting no matter what state you have been through. He also offers some great blogs on his site that you can access sooner then a reading that give great information and insight as well!
Matt Fraser is headed to Foxwoods Resort Casino to present his “Medium with a Message” event on Sunday, Jan. 6. His mission is to connect those who have passed with the loved ones they left behind.
Fraser says people who attend the two-hour event, which takes place in the Grand Pequot Ballroom, will find it to be an uplifting experience. The messages he’s asked to deliver often include names, dates and locations he couldn’t possibly know, the casino said. A psychic medium, Fraser likes to use his gifts to help people find a sense of peace, and feels it’s an honor to be able to do what he does.
He has been featured on television and radio shows. One thing Fraser often tells people is: “Don’t let grief rob you of joy.” He says remembering loved ones and sharing memories about them is a good way to feel their warm presence around you. He also recommends performing an act of kindness in their honor.
“When you’re feeling sad, it helps to get out and help others,” he says. “Focusing on those less fortunate gets you out of your own grief, and you can take things a step further by picking a charity that your loved was involved in and cared about. Plant a tree, help out at an animal shelter, bring toys to a children’s hospital – and while you’re at it, imagine how happy your loved one would be to have you carrying on their good work.”
Grand Pequot Ballroom at Foxwoods Resort Casino, 350 Trolley Line Blvd., Mashantucket. Sunday, Jan. 6, 2 p.m. $50-$45. 800-200-2882, foxwoods.com