I don’t generally like to publicize this, but my very first job was as a telephone psychic. Yes, it’s true: each day from 10am to 4pm I would dispense romantic advice, business predictions and sure-fire lottery numbers for only $2.99 per minute (taxes not included). I was quietly reassuring, inspiringly spiritual . . . and completely full of crap.
Given this sordid employment history, I tend to approach psychic phenomena with more than a little skepticism. Those lingering doubts vanished after 30 minutes of conversation with professional medium Matthew Stapley.
Unlike the JoJos and Miss Cleos of tacky TV telepaths, Stapley comes across as a soft-spoken, compassionate and down-to-earth guy who just happens to talk to spirits. He eschews the razzmatazz of clairvoyant showboats, comforting the people who come to him for guidance. It’s a talent and a style the young psychic comes by honestly.
“My grandfather was a medium,” Stapley reveals. “He just did it for family and for himself, though. And my great aunt had sisters who did card readings. It sort of runs in the family.”
Stapley’s first foray into the unknown occurred when he was only eight years old. His father was travelling in Thailand and had phoned home to chat with his wife and kids — a phone call that would change the young Matthew’s life forever.
“I started describing the room that he was sitting in in Thailand,” Stapley says. “I saw these big elephant tusks across the table from him, the colour of the lizards on the wall and the colour of the phone. It really freaked him out.”
As time went on, Stapley learned to focus and develop his talent, experimenting with tarot cards and trances to make contact with the spirit world. Now he reads for clients simply by talking with them, sharing impressions and messages and encouraging questions of any sort — even from skeptics.
“I think that building a rapport even with people who don’t believe is important because it allows us to release some of the stigma about what we do as mediums,” he says. “I just try to be nice to everyone and show them that we’re all psychic in our own ways.”
Oh, and the thing that dispelled my own skepticism regarding Stapley’s gifts? He talked about a child. My child. The one I had recently begun fostering and will soon adopt in the spring. He pegged the month of the impending adoption, the gender of the child and the moves associated with parenting (I’m currently commuting between two provinces). That information has been something I’ve kept quite private and is not at all general knowledge — until now, of course.
So count me a believer.