Over the phone, Theresa Caputo, Long Island’s favorite medium, sounds like someone you might bump into on line at the supermarket: a voice dripping with Lawn Guyland-ese, a friendliness that pervades every turn of phrase, and a quick kinship born of someone who helps people heal for a living.

Yet, we all know there’s something that sets her apart: She communicates with the dead.

The star of a hit reality show on TLC, Long Island Medium, a New York Times bestselling author of two books, with a tour that takes her around the country channeling the souls of the dearly departed (which stops at NYCB Theatre at Westbury Dec. 17, 18, 19 & 20), not to mention being a wife and the mother to a couple of kids, it’s surprising Caputo has time to chit-chat with those on the other side.

But she doesn’t choose when “Spirit” comes, she tells the Press. “Spirit” does the choosing.

It could be when she’s out shopping, like just last Friday. She’d been out running some errands with her aunt, when the spirit of the salesman’s father came to her with a message.

“Your father’s talking about a money clip,” she’d told him.

It turned out that message had a two-pronged purpose. While Caputo conferred with the salesman, her aunt stood by, dumbfounded.

“’Do you know that I have grandpa’s money clip?’” she asked.

“That’s not really a common thing Spirit usually has me talk about,” Caputo explains. That day was, coincidentally, the anniversary of her grandfather’s death. Caputo’s aunt told her that the upcoming holidays—a tough time for those missing loved ones—will now be easier because of that message.

“That one little thing about a money clip is life-changing,” Caputo says. “And that’s the incredible thing.”

Caputo has been sensing Spirit from the time she was 4 years old, but didn’t come to learn how to translate what she describes as a sixth sense or strong intuition that serves as the communication mechanism Spirit speaks through. She doesn’t hear distinct voices or see images, rather she intuits signs and symbols that she translates to those who need to hear the message.

Those messages could be full of significance that even she doesn’t understand. But that’s not the point—Caputo is the conduit. The messages are for others. Caputo has long understood that the messages she works to convey are only for the healing of those she speaks to. Mostly, they lift burdens from those still living.

“The bottom line is that we’ve lost someone that we have to continue our lives without,” she confides. “And it’s sad and it’s hard. And we don’t know how to heal and move forward because we may be too busy beating ourselves up with burdens and guilt and shoulda, coulda, wouldas, and only-ifs. And then they come through and give us messages that we need to heal. To say ‘You know what? It’s okay. I want you to be able to move on.’”

The healing that comes from these experiences, Caputo says, is life-changing. And it’s something that continues to amaze her, even after 10 years of being an active medium.

“It’s just absolutely incredible,” she says, with her signature booming laugh. “I mean for me, in a theater out of 3,000 people, to stop and just look at someone, and start saying things, is mind-blowing. And it’s so unbelievable that people say, ‘She has to have planted somebody in the audience.’ Because it’s so crazy!”

Indeed, searching Caputo online yields about as many fans singing praises as skeptics doubting her abilities—the latter alleging she utilizes vague questioning and “fishing” techniques or even investigates subjects’ social media profiles and records them in the lobbies of her appearances to learn important details about their lives.

To them, Caputo gives little credence, though her voice betrays an emotion her words don’t let on.

“Listen, people have a right to their own opinions,” she says, “but my gift has helped millions of people. And it has helped the ones to embrace life with happiness and be able to move forward from the loss of a loved one and I’m not asking anyone to believe in what I do. You don’t have to. I tell people all the time. That’s not what this is about.

“But the one thing they can’t deny is that it helps people and to me, there’s nothing wrong with that,” she continues. “Why would someone want to destroy that for someone? To me that’s sad. It is what it is, because no matter what it is in life, people are going to have something negative to say about something, about anything. No matter what it is. So why should what I do be any different?”

This philosophy could apply to a number of different categories, from religion to self-help. If it makes someone feel better, why question it?

The answer to that is as complicated as it is varied. To some, the validation that a message delivered from Caputo is an absolute truth. To others, doubt might creep in, altering an already emotionally charged experience. Whether to believe or not is a highly personal decision. Perhaps a visit to one of her live shows or a personal reading might help to quell some of the desire for confirmation that “Spirit” lives on in the Afterlife.

Either way, we’ll surely find out for ourselves in the end.

For more amazing gigs and performances at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, check out their page in The Island Ear!

NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $59.50 – $96. 8 p.m. Dec. 17, 18, 19 & 20.

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