A Medium Describes The Moment She Started Receiving Messages From The Dead

Photo: Courtesy of Santiago Betancur.
From dire warnings to business advice, Erica Korman has heard it all in her time as a medium — a profession she only came to after years of working as a psychotherapist in both clinical and hospital settings. That might not mesh with the mainstream image of a medium (beaded curtains, crystal ball, an overall macabre and mystical appearance), but trust us, Korman's unique background plays a major role in her work now.
Korman recently spoke with Refinery29 about her process, the first experience she had with the other side, and why her background as a psychotherapist is an advantage as a practicing medium.
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Interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What was it like when you started receiving information from the other side and how did your journey into mediumship progress from there?
"When it started, I was receiving what I know today as a 'download' which is where I receive all this information in my head that I have to write down. The first [spirits] were relatives of my husband and [I received] words like 'Frogger' — [their message] was about a Frogger watch. I just kept hearing things in my head. I was able to see these clues and know who [it was for]. Then I’d see a vision of a person, whether it was my husband or a friend of mine, and I knew this information was connected to them. I was a trained psychotherapist and had worked with every psychiatric disorder there is, so I knew I wasn’t becoming schizophrenic or anything like that. I know what that looks like.
"Most of my life, I just knew things about people. I knew I was psychic, but I was still super confused, super scared, super anxious. I had two great friends who knew more about this stuff than me and they said, 'Erica, you’re receiving. You’re channeling.' They said, 'You're a medium.' I’m like, 'What are you talking about? What is that?' But I was a little less scared because I had them."
So, you can hear things and you can see things — do you experience or receive information from the other side in any other way?
"Some people have one [sense], some have two, some have all. I pretty much have all: seeing, hearing, feeling — I didn’t really like taste and smell. They’re a little bug out for me. You can close things off and they go away, but once in a while I’ll have that — all of a sudden, I’ll smell cigarette smoke and that’s a spirit working with your senses to try to show that this person was a smoker or something like that."
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What does a regular session with a client look like?
"Everybody’s different. Some people come because they’re curious. Some have one specific person they want to hear from. Some are just really open and psychic, and know that they’re feeling their people and just want a confirmation.
"I work with crystals a lot. Crystals have different vibrations and energies and they really help me work. One of them grounds my energy (because I’m working in another dimension, if you want to call it that). One helps to open my psychic abilities. One helps to relax me. I usually have a couple of crystals in my pockets or in my hands. Then, just to ground and relax them, we do a five minute breathing meditation... It’s like a three way connection — the people that have passed’s energy, my energy, and then the person that I'm sitting with, they have to be open and relaxed. Some people are super easy reads because they’re so open. Then others, the meditation helps.

I hug, I cry, I say how sorry I am. It’s always weird to me when [other mediums] don’t do that.

"By that time, the spirits are ready to go... And that’s not only coming from relatives that have passed. We all have guides and spirits that are giving me that information... We just open up to whatever comes through and I've never had people not come through... There’s so many spirits or loved ones wanting to connect all the time, even if you think you haven’t had a lot of losses, they want to connect with you... Maybe people that weren’t so good when they were here come back with a lot of apologies. Sometimes the spirits give advice."
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"If I feel like we need to meditate after [making contact] or just relax, we’ll do that. And that’s about it. It’s not like I’m blurting out information, saying goodbye and having no warmth or empathy. I’m aware while I’m doing this what it’s freeing up in the person."
How, specifically, does your background in psychotherapy inform your work as a medium? Are there certain “tools,” so to speak, that you implement in your work?
"Empathic listening. People feel when you’re with them. They feel your empathy and your warmth. I’m there. I hug, I cry, I say how sorry I am. It’s always weird to me when [other mediums] don’t do that. I get that they’re focused and that’s not their job — they aren’t psychotherapists... Most of us were taught way back when, 'You’re a clean slate. Don’t bring any part of you [into the session].' I do the complete opposite now. I share details from my life...
"This isn’t like getting a service done, like getting your nails done, this is super emotional. After we have a session, I always ask them how they’re feeling. I usually check in after, like the next day or the day after, whether it’s just a text or whatever to see how they’re feeling, because I know it brings up so much."
Now that you’ve made mediumship your profession, do you still receive random downloads?
"Rarely, mainly because I don’t really want to. I have a busy life. I have kids. I have friends. This is now my work — it’s still my passion, but I have good boundaries now. [The spirits] were just doing that to open me up... It’s very rare [to happen now], but I know if it’s happening it needs to happen for a reason."
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If you mention that you work as a medium, will people ask you to channel spirits at the drop of a hat?
"Yeah, all the time."
Is that annoying?
"Yeah... I just laugh and brush it off and try to explain that’s not how it works."
What do you hope people take away from working with you?
"[I just hope they] feel better knowing that it’s real and that their loved ones are around them. I want them to just feel happier — more at peace, more healed... If I could add just a little more healing, happiness, closure, and peace to someone’s life, that is what I’m doing."
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