Bertoldi is a psychic medium who makes a living straddling this world and the next. Her clients include the Baldwin brothers, England’s royal family, and the cast of The Sopranos. She’s also the author of the popular book, Do Dead People Watch You Shower? A sequel, Do Dead People Walk Their Dogs?, hits bookstores in April.
Classified a “clairsentient” in 1976 by the Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies—a foundation in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where psychics and mediums go to hone their skills—Bertoldi has a form of what parapsychologists call extra sensory perception. Despite this talent, she can’t always predict how the other side will communicate with her. “It’s always different,” she says. “I have visions. They [spirits] sometimes make me smell alcohol, or I can hear someone clear as a button.”
As a child, Bertoldi’s parents knew there was something different about their daughter. “From the time they could remember, I was talking to people no one else was talking to,” she says. “I used to tell them things that only deceased relatives would know.”
At age 11, while walking home from school one day, Bertoldi received a personal message. “I heard them clear as a bell,” she says. “They told me we were going to lose my brother in life.” She ran home to find her 12-year-old brother, Harold, watching television in their Montville home.
“I didn’t know whether they meant right now or when,” she says. “But I watched him like a hawk from then on.”
Bertoldi never told her family what she heard that day. “I thought that if I denied it, it wouldn’t happen,” she says. But despite her denial, her prescience proved correct. In 1991, Harold passed away from complications associated with AIDS. He was 38.
While Bertoldi may be well-versed in life beyond the veil, that does not ease the pain of losing a loved one. “I’m selfish just like anybody else,” she says. Her mother, Eleanor Hackett Ferrell, passed away last Thanksgiving. “It’s easier in the way that I know she’s not dead,” she says. “I’ve heard her—I hear her. I know she’s with my father…but I miss her so much. Her sweetness, the sound of her voice—it can never be replaced.”
Bertoldi’s knowledge of things otherworldly has reached far beyond her New Jersey roots with the help of celebrity endorsements, her books—and the intervention of her late father and brother. “Harold encouraged me to please hand out messages,” she says. “And by the time I lost my father in 2001, they became my best dispatchers [to the other side].”