In light of A&E diving head first into the unexplained paranormal universe with its stellar list of programming, the network has revived its series, Celebrity Ghost Stories with psychic-medium, Kim Russo at the helm of new, mysterious cases alongside a slew of stars, including Ice-T, Coco Austin, NeNe Leakes and Terry Bradshaw. After the show ended following a lengthy five season run in 2014, Russo tells PopCulture.com exclusively that the reimagining of the fan-favorite "has been a long time coming."
"I'm so excited to share with everyone what I've been working on," Russo told PopCulture. "There's a pretty big time lapse between the other show that I did and this show, and people are just emailing me, and social media, [saying] 'We want more, we're not done.' The fans are just as excited as I am, and this season is amazing, I've seen some sneak peeks, I'm excited!"
Fluent in the language of the spirit world for nearly two decades, Russo explains what exactly she feels when coming across the kind of energy she reads when an entity wants to make itself known, explaining how many will come in "different forms" to her.
"I sometimes hear an external voice, but it's not a physical voice — it's my own thoughts that are not warranted. They don't come from me. The thoughts themselves take me by surprise, so that's how I know to start listening," she said. "When they're not my thoughts, I could be going about my day doing something so mundane and the most radical information just starts to pop in. It's as if I'm taking dictation, so a lot of the times, I do get out my paper and my pen and I write down predictions or channeled messages."
Russo explains that when she's doing a reading, she is also connecting "with the spirit itself," adding it's "just as if you would close your eyes and have a memory of a daydream."
"You see that vision on your mind screen," she said. "That's how I try to really see and understand what the entity, or the energy — I like to call them energies — what they are trying to convey."
While paranormal investigators or even psychics might have their own wording for the spirit world, Russo stresses how she calls them "energy, because that's what they are."
"They are energy, they're souls. The soul is energy," Russo explains. "These energies start to play a movie on my mind's screen a lot of the time along with saying things, like sometimes if they want to show me how they passed away, they'll make me feel it inside of my own body. Just for a quick second, if they died of a heart attack, I'll get this jolt in my heart, and they're all symbols that I've learned over the years, what they mean — it's a different language altogether, it's not English."
With Russo helping people from all walks of life confront the fears that haunt them the most to embrace truths that bring increased light to situations, she admits the energy drawn on every case does take its toll at the end of the day.
"Make no mistake about it, mediumship is not glamorous by any means and it's a job that is taxing — there's a lot of sacrifices involved. Information we receive sometimes can be a curse just as much as a blessing because we are human as well, and there are things we don't want to know, or some things we do see coming and we know we cannot prevent them from happening," she said. "I just sometimes don't want the vision, but once you open that door, it's opened and you see it. It can be very, very taxing and mediums still have to make it a practice to continuously cleanse their own energy from outside energies that are connecting."
In the premiere episode, Russo takes rapper, Ice-T and his wife, Coco Austin to a warehouse in New Jersey that the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star initially visited while filming for his NBC series. With the location acting as a backdrop for his show, upon returning with Russo for the A&E series, he still considers the building pretty creepy. But with the star feeling a certain way about the site, Russo admits that she too does have her own "trepidation" and "hesitation" when approaching certain locations, and taking in those energies.
"Especially when I walk into abandoned warehouses — that is really the heart to spirit activities, like they take up room, it's like an abandoned building, you'll find homeless people there," she said. "[But] that's really where they like to dwell, they don't like to be bothered, they like their own space, and so you really never know what's lurking in these abandoned buildings. Those are hotbeds, abandoned buildings, big warehouses, tall spaces, open areas, not in public view, not a lot of foot traffic, that is when mediums really should be apprehensive and extra careful."
Russo admits she never knows what she's getting herself into, but also takes extra measures to ensure her personal well-being.
"I put on, not a [brave] face, but I never know what I'm going in and going to be dealing with," she said "I put on the protection of balm, I do all my prayers, I ground myself, I bring in my invisible army of all kinds of light workers and angels. For humanity's sake I guess, is just to bring the truth to light. People know there is way more than what we see with our physical eyes."
As a self-proclaimed skeptic, Russo stresses how she always wants proof before she believes anything. "Whenever I'm skeptical of something, when I don't understand something, I live by the philosophy, 'People are afraid of what they don't know or don't understand.' It's a lack of knowledge, is all it is," she said. "If they go a little bit deep and read about energy and how energy cannot be created or destroyed, I think they would accept mediumship more as a science-based practice than any other religion or supernatural or anything like that."
The certified medium and author of The Happy Medium – Life Lessons from The Other Side, adds that everyone is in some way connected to these kinds of energies felt through unexplainable phenomena.0comments
"I think most people know that and I think most people, even if they're not 'psychic,' they've had some type of experience that they cannot explain in their lifetime, whether a repeated dream, a visit — some kind of appearance they cannot explain. People are just not so ready to admit these things."