Top national psychic medium with Maine roots plans visit. Do you believe?
The author and reality TV star who was written about by the New York Times says ‘It’s almost like carrying a pager back in the day. That’s how I feel as a medium: I feel like sometimes, I’m just getting paged by heaven.
Matt Fraser expects you to come in skeptical. He expects you to come in with your arms folded, your face a mask of disbelief and your words demanding that he prove to you that he can really communicate with the dearly departed.
Fair enough. Billed as America’s Top Psychic Medium, Fraser has no beef with agnostics. This is a man who was once a target of a sting operation aimed at exposing celebrity psychics as frauds — an operation that failed and which only cast Fraser’s work in a more credible light.
So now that has been addressed, can we get on with things?
Fraser, author of the best-selling book “We Never Die” and star of the hit television series “Meet The Frasers” on E! Entertainment, will be coming to the Merrill Auditorium in Portland in June.
His shows almost always sell out and it already looks like the Portland appearance will be no exception. That’s plenty fine with Fraser. The more people there are, the more healing he can achieve.
And Matt Fraser is all about the healing.
“When we lose a loved one, the saddest thing is that there are so many questions left behind with their passing,” he said in a recent interview. “How did my loved one die? Are they OK? Are they at peace? Who are they with in heaven? Are they able to see my grandchildren? Are they able to see me in the house I’m buying? I love these events because it really answers all the questions that people might have when they lose a loved one. It shows them that there is another side. The reason I’m able to do what I do every day is that I know my loved ones are there. I know that heaven exists. And I want to give that same peace and comfort to the people who attend my shows. What I’m really hoping to show them is that yes, your loved ones are with you. They are by your side every single day. They’re already trying to reach you with messages. I just tell you what they have to say.”
Fraser’s shows tend to be raucous events, with the medium dashing from one section of a venue to the other as the spirits guide him from one person to another.
Believer, doubter or outright non-believer, it doesn’t matter. Fraser takes all comers.
“People write to me all the time and their biggest stress is about where they are sitting,” he said. “They say, ‘Oh my God, Matt, the only seats that are left are in the back or are in the balcony. You’re never going to be able to see or connect with me.’ And that’s not true. What I try to tell people is that it doesn’t matter where you sit. It only matters that you are there. As long as you’re there, you’re part of the experience. It’s not me who runs the show, it’s actually the spirits on the other side.”
Fraser refers to his show as “like a family reunion in heaven.”
“One minute, I’ll be talking to someone in the front row who had lost their mom and the next thing you know, I’m being called to the back with someone who had lost their dad,” he said. “Next thing you know, I’m climbing up to the balcony because someone up there had lost their son. I’m all over the room during the event, going as many places as I can. I feel like I’m doing postal delivery in heaven, just getting out message after message after heaven. So it really doesn’t matter where you sit. It’s the souls on the other side who decide who comes through, what they say, and what they talk about.”
Fraser hails from Rhode Island, although he has family roots all over Maine. His father grew up in Millinocket. His grandmother lives in York Beach, his great-grandfather in Bangor.
Fraser says he grew up under both a mother and grandmother with psychic abilities. It’s no surprise that the young Fraser inherited the ability to communicate with the dead, he says.
But it wasn’t any easy thing for a young boy to take on.
“When your biggest concerns are what flavor of ice cream to choose, strange voices calling out to you in an empty room are not exactly on the menu,” Fraser wrote on his website. “I remember being terrified to go to bed because almost every night I would hear whispers and voices in my empty room, all trying to get my attention. I’m lucky I had a mother and grandmother to soothe my fears, but I remember vividly that having to accept these unwanted visitors was a difficult process for me.”
The older Fraser got, the stronger his abilities became. Among other things, by some accounts, he had long conversations with his maternal grandmother, who had died when he was 3.
“Soon after, I began seeing full-body apparitions standing in my doorway and passing through my room,” he wrote. “This sparked a whole new level of concern and anxiety for me as I knew these occurrences were increasing but I didn’t know what it meant . . . or how far they would go to get my attention. If you recall the movie ‘The Sixth Sense,’ you’ll have an idea of what I was going through — and trust me, it’s scarier in real life!”
Eventually, of course, Fraser grew to accept his gift, and to use it to ease the pain of others. But it’s not as simple as jotting down messages from the dead and passing them on. The dead don’t work that way.
“I consider this like learning another language,” Fraser explained. “Souls don’t communicate the same way that we do here in this world. They don’t speak English or Spanish on the other side. They communicate through me, as a medium, through signs, symbols, intense feelings and visions, and that’s how I’m able to deliver these messages. I see things, hear things, feel things, and I put everything together to form the message that the spirits will have me say.”
The thing is, to hear Fraser tell it, the spirits of the dead have a lot to say. He isn’t working a 9-5 job and shutting out the voices at the end of the day. His communication with departed souls isn’t limited to those hours when he’s under the bright stage lights in a packed auditorium.
“There are no customer service hours when it comes to talking to the spirit world,” Fraser said. “Any time there’s a message that has to come through, they’ll come to me. This isn’t just my job, it’s my life. If it’s 3 a.m. and for some reason the spirits have to reach a loved one, they’re getting me out of bed to deliver that message. I try my hardest to live a normal life but the souls are always there and they’re always speaking. As much as I try to get away from time to time, if there’s an urgent message, they’re still going to try to come through.”
Fraser thinks about this for a second or two before a fitting analogy comes to him.
“It’s almost like carrying a pager back in the day,” he said. “That’s how I feel as a medium: I feel like sometimes, I’m just getting paged by heaven.”
Fraser wrote his first book, “When Heaven Calls,” about his experiences growing up with the ability to communicate with the dead. The book also serves as a guide for those people who believe they, too, have been hearing voices from the other side.
OPERATION PEACH PIT
In 2018, a writer for the New York Times followed a team of skeptics in an operation to determine if Fraser was a fraud. The belief was that Fraser wasn’t a true medium, but just a master of “cold reading,” the art of reading body language and taking educated guesses.
But Operation Peach Pit was unable to produce any proof that Fraser was doing these things. The New York Times Magazine story actually portrayed Fraser’s show favorably and Fraser’s career rocketed.
“I love that this whole investigation went on and when it came out, they saw the real me,” he said of Peach Pit. “Since then, I’ve had an amazing relationship with the New York Times. To be honest, it got me a TV show, because before that article, nobody was really paying attention to me. I was just a small-time medium from Rhode Island and all of a sudden, there’s all this hoopla and I caught national attention.”
When you look at the numbers, it’s not real surprising that Fraser and others like him are able to fill auditoriums with people looking to reach out to their dead loved ones. According to a Pew Research study, 41 percent of adults in the United States believe in psychics such as Fraser — although that number drops dramatically, to 10 percent, when the people polled are atheists. Women, the study found, are more likely be believe.
When we asked our readers whether or not they believe in psychic abilities, none wrote in to scoff, but more than a few — most all of them women — wrote to share their own stories about communications with the dead.
One woman wrote that after her 93-year-old father died two years ago, a beautiful butterfly visited the woman and her sister as they worked in their backyard. Ultimately, the butterfly landed on their welcome mat and seemed to stare at them.
“After several seconds, I quietly said, ‘Dad, is that you?’” the woman reports. “We watched, quite taken aback, as his wings ever so slowly opened and closed! ‘Oh, my god,’ we said as we turned to look at each other, ‘did you see that?’”
Another woman, from Lewiston, wrote to say that she has been contacted by the spirits — both human and animal — many times.
“Deceased have reached out to me,” she said. “Generally they have a message or unresolved worry, want me to convey the message. I can hold an object, signature, or belonging of someone passed, and read it. Then there is automatic and angel writing. Pictures are excellent — see beyond the image. Have held dog hair, collars, etc. of living and deceased dogs to hear what they are thinking.”
Others wrote to report similar experiences or to say that they regularly employ the use of mediums right here in the Lewiston-Auburn area. A few of those spoke in awe one Madame Desjardins, who used to do psychic readings from her College Street home in Lewiston.
“She was spot on all the time,” said Pam Webber Carrier of Auburn. “Had several earth-shaking readings from her. She told a friend of mine and myself something that no one knew. She had all the details down to a T. We both were crying as she flipped the cards telling the story.”
Steve Triggs, formerly of Lewiston and now living in Orlando, Florida, agreed that Madame Desjardins was the real deal.
“My family spoke of her in hushed tones,” he said. “I visited her in the ’70s and she accurately described where I would live, the number and sex of my future children, and my overall career path. The woman had a gift.”
Locally there are those who believe (mostly women, just as the national poll indicates), those who disbelieve and those who keep an open mind.
“I’d like to think there’s something to it,” said Lisa LaFontaine Lothrop of Auburn, “but they haven’t convinced me yet.”
“I know there are plenty of fakes out there,” said Jennifer Marchigiani of Auburn, “even some famous fakes. But I also know there are some that are for real, with scary accurate readings without fed info.”
Not all men are disbelievers. One fellow wrote in to say that he’d been dragged to a medium by his wife only to be wowed by a strange woman who seemed to know intimate details about his past. Eventually, the medium passed along messages from the man’s uncle, who had died in the second World War.
“The medium was feeding back to me answers that only a person very well read on WWII history would ever know about,” he said. “I really wasn’t in control of the conversation.”
He’d gone into that room a skeptic and came out a believer.
Whether one believes or not, Fraser is undoubtedly one of the most established psychic mediums in the world right now. He’s been featured on a slew of television shows, including “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” “The Real Housewives,” “The Doctors” and “Botched.” And that’s not to mention all the television interviews in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Fraser will perform in Portland Friday, June 16, at 8 p.m. and one way or another, he says, he will make some connections with the spirit world and help some Mainers find peace in their lives. And in doing so, Fraser will remain forever linked to those people he has helped.
“It’s not a temporary thing,” he said, “it’s a permanent bond. You’re sharing with them something that is truly life-changing. I never, ever forget someone that I read for. It’s just something that will forever be stitched to my heart.”