Admit it — when it comes to psychic mediums, you’re curious but perhaps skeptical. How does it work, exactly? Does it work, or is it merely some smoke and mirrors illusion? I, too, was curious, so I arranged to interview local certified medium Amanda DeShong.
When you think of mediums, the famously-coiffed blonde one from Long Island may spring to mind. Amanda, however, isn’t that “Hollywood-ized,” as she likes to refer to made-for-TV medium shows. Her hair is short and unfussy, and her favorite place in New York is not Long Island, but a spiritual community named Lily Dale.
I began by asking Amanda when she first knew she had a special gift. She said she spent much of her life thinking that each of us had the same experiences she had. As a child, Amanda felt most comfortable outdoors in nature, where she found a spiritual peace as she learned to enjoy and respect all living creatures. Amanda was raised in a conservative, Pentecostal family where matters of spirit and psychic super-powers were never discussed. It would be many years before Amanda learned the names for her gifts — clairvoyance, a word derived from the French language meaning “clear-seeing”; clairaudience, meaning “clear-hearing”; and claircognizance, meaning “clear-knowing.”
From a young age, Amanda found that people would come to her for counsel and help with problems. Somehow she always knew precisely the right solution or word of advice. In college, strangers began to seek her guidance as word of her talents spread. A student she had never met before once asked her what he should wear to impress a new suitor on a first date. Without a second thought, she suggested that he wear his green tie. He was stunned that she knew he owned such a neck-piece.
Spirit also began visiting Amanda in the form of automatic writing, or psychography. Words and messages would suddenly manifest in her mind, and she would feel an urgent need to put them on paper. Often, the handwriting would be unrecognizable to her. Many times the words she was receiving would form poetry.
Amanda’s psychic gifts blossomed over time as she began to understand and embrace them for what they were. She traveled extensively, meeting and studying under the tutelage of other established mediums to hone her skills and learn to use them to help others. She was also taught a strict code of ethics for performing readings and delivering messages from Spirit. Amanda radiates positive energy and asks Spirit to show her only positive messages and “white light” during readings. Sharing negativity isn’t something that she does unless doing so can somehow impact the outcome of a situation in a positive way.
When Amanda speaks of “Spirit,” she is referring to anyone who has been here among the living and has since passed on. “Spirit can also refer to angelic presences who have not been here on Earth with us,” she says. Though she no longer attends a Pentecostal church, Amanda still believes in God. “God is the Great Spirit,” she says. In fact, Amanda believes that the Biblical dictum to “love one another” is at the heart of every one of the world’s religions. Her childhood upbringing remains at the foundation of her spiritual life today, but she also believes that all religions, including Buddhism, Judaism, the Hare Krishna movement and others, are more alike than they are different. “Love is the key. Love and compassion are taught by every religion. If I could tell parents one thing, it would be to teach your children love. All the education in the world is of no use if we don’t understand the love we are meant to have for one another,” she declares.
According to Amanda, we leave the imprint of our personal energy on all those with whom we come in contact. She says we can’t begin to know what impact our energy could be having on a total stranger. Amanda relayed the story of a reading where a woman who was quite short in stature appeared to her. Amanda’s client did not recognize the woman as anyone she knew, but the diminutive woman’s spirit let Amanda know that her client had once helped her to reach something she needed from the top shelf of a grocery store. The short woman wanted to thank the client for helping her buy what she needed to make the last holiday dinner she would share with her family before she passed away. Hearing such stories definitely makes you consider what kind of energy you’re putting out into the universe and what kind of impact you are having on those around you. Amanda’s personal energy makes you want to be the sort of person who realizes that everyone is fighting a battle that others are unaware of, and that how we treat one another matters tremendously. A little kindness does more for the soul that we can even imagine!
Speaking of souls, Amanda assures me that all of God’s creatures have souls and spirits that transcend death. “Pets are often the only family that some people have,” she says. For that reason, Amanda is never surprised when the spirit of a beloved pet comes through at a reading, either alone or in the company of a human loved one.
With all of these images, messages and thoughts bombarding her constantly, I wondered how Amanda is able to quiet her mind and rest. “I ask Spirit to visit only when I’m ready to receive,” she told me. “It’s almost like turning on an ‘Open for Business’ sign in my mind, and Spirit honors that.” Having a designated space to receive messages also helps — she has a dedicated work area at home for telephone readings and an office just outside of Wheeling where she performs her local in-person readings.
Having lost my mom just short of two years ago, I decided to make an appointment for a reading with Amanda to confirm my feeling that my mom was still with me. I joined Amanda in her space at A Journey Within, 4235 National Road in Triadelphia. She offers half-hour and full-hour sessions, and though I wasn’t convinced I needed an entire hour, I opted for the 60-minute reading anyway. My choice turned out to be the right one, as the time flew by and was filled with an abundance of “white light.”
Amanda typically asks only for a client’s first name, although she obviously knew just a bit more than that about me. She opened my reading with a silent prayer to ask Spirit to join us — and did it ever! Not only were my mom and several other loved ones with us, but so was a very special neighbor and friend I lost last year. Prior to her death, my dear neighbor Sue, a devout Catholic, had shared with me many of her religious beliefs and taught me most of what I know about Catholicism. When my mom became ill, Sue offered to give me a set of her rosary beads and teach me to pray the Rosary. But shortly after her offer, Sue herself became terminally ill and never did give me the beads or the lesson.
After her death, I kicked myself numerous times for not getting those beads from her, as they would have been a treasured keepsake of our nearly 30-year friendship. At the time of my reading, not even my husband or closest friends knew this story. So you can imagine how my heart leapt when Amanda told me, “There’s an older woman here, and she’s holding a set of rosary beads. This might sound odd, but not only is she holding them, but she’s almost waving them at me. Are you Catholic, or do these beads have some meaning for you?” I laughed out loud with delight at the thought that my old pal also was apparently regretting the fact that we’d never had that Rosary tutorial!
In the interest of full disclosure, there were a couple of folks who “came through” at my reading who I still can’t place. On the other hand, some of the things Amanda relayed to me from my loved ones were so incredibly personal and poignant that I was moved to tears. Without a doubt, I’m a believer!
In addition to her work as a medium, Amanda is an intuitive life coach, a hospice chaplain for Amedisys Hospice and a registered minister with Universal Light Church. She is also a visiting medium at the Lily Dale Assembly in Lily Dale, N.Y., where she serves at both Inspiration Stump and Forest Temple in their public mediumship services.
Lily Dale is a community of spiritualists where many world-renowned mediums reside, visit or teach. The town has become a place of pilgrimage for those who practice Spiritualism, a religion that believes the spirits of the dead exist and possess both the ability and the desire to communicate with the living.
If Spirit moves you to connect with Amanda, visit her website at www.amandadeshong.com. Amanda is available by appointment to perform readings, officiate at wedding ceremonies or funeral services, and offer life-coaching sessions.
(Photos by Ellen Brafford McCroskey)
• A lifelong Wheeling resident, Ellen Brafford McCroskey is a proud graduate of Wheeling Park High School and the former Wheeling Jesuit College. By day, she works for an international law firm; by night, (and often on her lunch breaks and weekends) she enjoys moonlighting as a part-time writer. Please note that the views expressed in her writing are solely her own and do not necessarily reflect those of anyone else, including her full-time employer. Through her writing, Ellen aims to enlighten others on causes close to her heart, particularly addiction, recovery and equal rights. She and her husband Doug reside in Warwood with their clowder of rescued cats, each of whom is a direct consequence of his job as the Ohio County Dog Warden. Their family includes four adult children, their spouses and several grandkids.