John Edward is a practicing Catholic and has a degree in public administration. He pays his taxes and, at one time, partook in ballroom dancing competitions with his wife.
For the most part, Edward is just a normal person.
But unlike most of us, he says he has the ability to talk with the dead.
"It's not a gift," says Edward, a psychic, lecturer and medium. "We all have the ability to recognize the energy."
Edward and Suzane Northrop, a trance medium and expert in psychic phenomena, will be coming to the Sharonville Convention Center to teach others to use their ability to predict future events and communicate with individuals who have died.
The two-day event will include a seminar in which the psychics will answer questions and do readings, and a workshop for people interested in learning how to tap into their own psychic ability.
"It is sort of like teaching people not to be afraid of the dark so that they can start the healing process after losing someone," Edward said.
But he said anyone attending the seminar and workshop should not expect to instantly become a professional psychic.
"We all have the ability to sing but that does not mean everyone will get a recording contract," he said.
Edward said that the workshop will teach certain techniques that will produce results after being practiced again and again.
Edward, 29, said that he has always had the psychic ability but never fully realized it until he was about 16 years old.
"This psychic got my attention when she told me something that no one in my family knew, and only a person who had followed me around for the last six months could know," he said.
This same psychic made him aware of his own psychic ability and directed him to use it to help others, he says.
"I found out that I wasn't as normal as I thought I was," Edward says. "So, I started reading and researching it as a sort of self-quest."
When Edward's uncle died in 1987, he began to focus his attention on the spirit world, he said.
"Being a psychic was like having a bullet (target) on my ass," he says. "Reading spirits allowed me to validate it on the spot and instantly made people pay attention."
Edward says he does not speak with spirits but, instead, receives images or messages. It is similar, he says, to when a thought like "I forgot to turn the oven off" pops into people's minds.
He says that he is nothing like psychics people might see on television that give what he calls "general-specific information" about people who have died.
"These psychics do grandstand readings and say things like 'I feel the presence of an older woman who has love dancing in her eyes,' " he says. "That could be anyone's grandmother."
Edward says he usually can give specific information about someone who has died, but it depends on the images he is given. For example, he says that during a reading for a couple, he was receiving an image of Gilligan from the television show, Gilligan's Island. He asked the couple if they knew anyone who was a sailor or who owned a boat.
"It turns out that the woman's father had the last name of Gilligan," he said.
Edward acknowledges that there probably are more phony psychics than credible ones.
His advice about seeking out a reading from a psychic is to do it with an open mind but a skeptical one as well.
"We both work very hard to make sure there is a strong level of credibility," Edward says about he and his touring partner, Northrop. "Because of that, the cynics back down from us and go after the ones that glamorize and Hollywoodize it."
But still, Edward says he usually lies to people about what he does for a living.
"It's an emotional thing, and people can be so invasive," he says.
Edward became a professional psychic in 1995. He has written a book about his conversations with the "other side" and now is working with a team of researchers at the University of Arizona who are studying the psychic ability.
Although Edward does not receive a 401k retirement plan or health benefits, he says there are some perks to being a professional psychic.
"It is very rewarding to make a connection for a parent who has lost their child, or for a daughter that missed the last few years of her father's life because he had Alzheimer's," he says. "But it's not your normal career."
John Edward and Suzane Northrop will hold their seminar April 30 at the Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Rd., and the workshop on May 1 at the Best Western Springdale Hotel, 11911 Sheraton Ln. Tickets for both events go on sale April 9 and are available at any Ticketmaster Ticket Center.