STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Rest In Peace is kind of a misnomer.
To hear medium Kim Russo — from Lifetime Movie Network’s “The Haunting Of …” — tell it, many of the departed souls in the spirit world (and those who haven’t yet crossed over) are often like little kids trying to get a grown-up’s attention.
She said in a phone interview that it would be perfectly normal if she were randomly flagged down by any resident ghosts of Phoenixville’s Colonial Theatre, where she is appearing June 24, or by a spirit in the hotel where she’s staying. “I do what I can just to send them on their way. I do try to set some boundaries. I have to tell them kindly: ‘I’m working; I hope you understand.’ If you give them the floor, they will take it,” she said.
That communication is done mentally. It’s when Russo is cleansing a house of a spirit that needs to move on, that she makes a point to speak out loud to it. “I want them to hear the tone of my voice; just like when you talk to a child and let them know you mean business,” she said.
Although Russo feels like a doctor who’s always on call, she is choosy how often she’s “tuned in” because performing a reading is mentally taxing. She compared it to hopping on one foot for 10 minutes.
With a recently-released book, “The Happy Medium — Life Lessons from the Other Side,” Russo — who likens her gift to what a sign language interpreter does for the hearing impaired — will roam the theater in the presence of the audience, getting a feel for the spirit energy in the building and listening to those spirits of the deceased, in hopes of connecting people with loved ones. “I like to call it a spirit demonstration,” she noted.
She’ll then gather information from those who have passed away, and from their loved ones in the audience, relating details on how the deceased passed over and who they are sharing their time with on the other side. “I see them waving their hands over people’s heads I’m speaking to. I start to see names and initials,” Russo said. Sometimes the spirits make startling revelations, such as “this person is sick … this person needs to get their liver checked.”
Russo, who has also appeared on A&E’s “Paranormal State” and “Psychic Kids” and Biography Channel’s “Celebrity Ghost Stories” Loretta Lynn episode, has met a wide variety of celebrities who have had unexplained paranormal experiences, and helps them to understand what they mean. Big names that have appears on “The Haunting Of …” include Regis Philbin, Chazz Palminteri, Gina Gershon, Fairuza Balk, Elisabeth Rohm and Michael Rappaport.
Not every reading that happens on the show resolves smoothly, however. Actor Anthony Michael Hall was hostile to Russo on camera and walked off the set for several hours. “The tension you could cut with a knife,” she recalled, adding that she feared, at times, that “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Weird Science” star was going to hit her. “It was the network’s call (to air the episode) to show the authenticity of the show. We can’t script this stuff,” she said.
To the skeptics, Russo says: “I’m skeptical myself. I tell them to open their mind and don’t be skeptical of something they just don’t understand.”
Raised Catholic in Queens, N.Y., she revealed she was terrified that being able to communicate with the dead was something evil coming for her. In her 20s, she met with a priest that reassured her she had a God-given talent. “God will put people on your path where it will just resonate,” she commented.
Russo’s “The Happy Medium” book is a “broad spectrum manuscript” on demystifying the world of the dead, with never-before-shared details from her celebrity readings and tips on accessing your own abilities to access the world beyond our own. She said she has enough material to follow it up with a second, third and fourth book. “The veil between the worlds is getting thinner,” Russo said. “People (who have died) can see through people. If they use the tools with the right type of intention, they will soar. If it’s not pure and authentic, it will crash and burn.”
IF YOU GO
What: Point Entertainment presents Kim Russo.
When: 8 p.m. June 24.
Where: The Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St., Phoenixville.
Tickets: $22-$39.50, with VIP meet-and-greet available.
Info.: Visit www.thecolonialtheatre.com or call (610) 917-0223.