by “Instig8r”

What is a “special hit”?

One of the most frequent arguments heard from believers in psychic medium John Edward is that he is real because he gets those “special hits”: A lot of precise information, seemingly from out of the blue, which he did not get from the cold-reading techniques he usually employs.

Given that the names and addresses of at least 25% of the gallery members are known a week or two prior to their appearance at the “Crossing Over” (John Edward’s syndicated TV show) gallery, I maintain that this could easily account for the “special hits” that he gets every once in a while. Many believers have scoffed at this notion, and seem to feel that it would require lots of employees and investigators to pull it off. Thus, to prove my point, I have done a bit of research on my own.

How to do it

I used LexisNexis to conduct my search. The following is a partial listing from their website, as to what LexisNexis can enable their subscribers to do:

“….search 10 unique nationwide databases to locate information on individuals, verify addresses, and find telephone numbers – plus they work seamlessly with the full service of public records and news materials available. Begin your search with a name, address, or just a phone number – even if you don’t have the exact spelling or complete information – and in a single search cover:

  • Over 1 billion total records
  • Over 200 million households
  • Over 700 million phone numbers
  • Results arrive on your desktop in seconds in an easy-to-read list format.”

If your local library has a Lexis account, I would recommend that you give it a try. You will be amazed at how fast it is, and how detailed the results can be. A name and address fed into the search engine gets detailed results immediately. Anyone who has access to this type of database will never again scoff at the idea that John Edward has advance knowledge of “Crossing Over” gallery guests.

The Not-So-Special Hit of “Michael Kelly”

It is not often that first and last names of people read in the gallery are available. However, I located a New York Daily News article about John Edward, by Robert Dominguez, dated December 13, 2000. In it, the author relates an anecdote about the reading of a retired NYPD homicide detective, named Michael Kelly, whose 18 year-old son, Shawn, was killed in a car accident that summer. Kelly appeared on “Crossing Over” and obtained a reading from John Edward. The following is an excerpt from the article:

“I absolutely believe it was Shawn,” says Kelly of the voice coming through Edward. “I was just so overwhelmed when John hit so many things on the head. He knew things about me and my family that there was no way he could have known – unless he was talking with Shawn.”

Having obtained the name of the sitter, Michael Kelly, from the article, I immediately entered his name into a database search engine, specifically seeking death records/obituary information in the New York and Long Island region for the period covering the past ten years. In spite of the fact that I didn’t have the sitter’s address, it took me less than 5 minutes to locate information about the sitter, his wife, other children and family members; their friends, the circumstances of the death of his son.

It appears that this death was the result of a horrible drunk driving accident on Long Island in June 2000. It was plastered all over the media a very short time before Mr. Kelly was read by John Edward. Kelly’s son, Shawn was killed when he was a passenger in a car being driven by a drunken 19 year-old friend. A Newsday article published at the time of the accident gave details about the family, including information about where he went to school and quotes from his 20-year old brother Christopher, his 22 year old sister, Susan. They described their late brother’s love of sports, how he liked to make others laugh, etc. His aunt, Carol Harrison, also made statements about him to the Newsday reporter.

As a Long Islander, I immediately recalled this case as soon as the articles began to appear, even after 2 years have elapsed. I am sure that John Edward, my fellow Long Islander, had the same reaction as me, especially when only a few months had elapsed when he read this young man’s father.

It is amazing just how much information a non-professional like me can find on the Internet in a matter of minutes, just being supplied with a name and a general location. I have a laptop computer and no professional staff. Imagine what I could find with a name, a specific address, and two weeks advance notice?

The special hits are sporadic, and quite precise. They are few and far between, but it is the precision about some of them that I find so fascinating. In no way am I satisfied that the issue of “hot reading” has been adequately addressed or disproven.

With this, I merely wanted to demonstrate that it is quite possible to dig up plenty of information on people who have died, just by entering the names of their next of kin. This is what I did in the case of Michael Kelly, the father of the boy who was killed. (I did not attempt to obtain information by running the search in the name of the decedent, Shawn, since John Edward would not have had access to his name.)

I had no address to work with, but since the article said sitter, Michael Kelly, was retired from New York Police Department, I just ran the search on him by beginning in the downstate New York area. In that way, I got the obituary for Shawn, his son. From the obituary, I got the names and domicile of father, mother, sister, brother and grandparent. Also, since I had no way of knowing who in that family could have called “Crossing Over” for the gallery tickets, I then ran the search using the names of other family members, (i.e., the boy’s mother, sister and brother). These searches still lead me to the tragic death of Shawn, and back to the lengthy articles about the tragic accident, the deaths and the injuries involved, and the criminal charges against the 19 year old driver.

I entered the name “Michael Kelly” and “Islip Terrace” into the search engine. I am posting the 4 results that the name and town search turned up. Given that the article about Kelly’s reading was written in Dec. 2000, which said that the death occurred that summer, I didn’t have to look at the Items numbered 1 and 2, which list events in 2001.

“1. Newsday (New York, NY), December 31, 2001 Monday, ALL EDITIONS, Pg. B08, 16423 words, Passings, 2001; 9; 11; 01: The Lost….

2. Newsday (New York, NY), July 29, 2001 Sunday, ISLIP EDITION, Pg. G34, 1253 words, MILESTONES; BIRTHS, COMPILED BY LEIGH ANNE FIELDS ….

3. Newsday (New York, NY), June 5, 2000, Monday, NASSAU AND SUFFOLK EDITION, Page A20, 277 words, 1 VICTIM IMPROVES, By Zachary R. Dowdy. STAFF WRITER ….

4. Newsday (New York, NY), June 4, 2000, Sunday, NASSAU AND SUFFOLK EDITION, Page A03, 594 words, TEEN DIES, 4 INJURED IN CRASH, By Michael Rothfeld. STAFF WRITER ….

Documents 1 – 4 of 4.”

If I had run this search in the year 2000, there would only have been those two articles about the boy’s death, despite the fact that “Kelly” is such a common name. In one of the articles, the boy’s family speaks of his great love of sports. As for the father smelling the son’s clothing, well, that appears to be a universal behavior, especially when it involves the death of a child.

When I entered the name of the father (Michael Kelly) and his domicile (Islip Terrace) into the Lexis search engine, it turned up only 4 hits, (two of which didn’t apply because they were dated after Mr. Kelly’s reading).

However, the boy had completed his Freshman Year to Iona College in New Rochelle. Apparently, he was a student who was quite active in sports. If you had the appropriate database tools at your disposal, you, too, could ascertain these details… and possibly more!

The Not-So-Special Hit of “Russ Brunelli”

There was another episode of hot-reading on the November 1st, 2002’s episode of “Crossing Over”. The sitters were relatives and partners who owned and operated Brunelli’s, a restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The restaurant bears the name of one of the partners, Russ Brunelli. I was able to find an enormous amount of information about him and his family via internet databases, far more info on him than the other partners. They were a virtual treasure trove of information. All I had to do was enter the telephone number of the restaurant into my search engines. I strongly suspect that the partner who called for the gallery tickets had called from the restaurant, but I cannot prove it.

John Edward often says that there are no coincidences, and I agree in this instance. Russ Brunelli, the restaurant partner with the most information available on the internet, was the one partner who was unable to attend the taping of “Crossing Over”. However, his partners/relatives recognized that the reading was for Russ, since his parents seemed to be coming through. Therefore, John Edward called him on the telephone at the restaurant.

John Edward’s subsequent “reading” of Russ Brunelli was a close parallel to the data that I was able to find out about him, his parents and their businesses.

Just to illustrate the information that is available, John Edward stated that someone had a “double name”, and this was validated. One of the sitters present was Ignazio Leone, a cousin/partner/executive chef at Brunelli’s restaurant. He is known as “Yan-Yan”. If you would like to verify that Ignazio is called “Yan-Yan”, and read other information about the Brunelli family and their business, visit the following site on the internet:

Italian Cooking & Living: Ignazio Leone

You will also be able to see a recent photograph of Yan-Yan. You will recognize him immediately if you saw the episode of “Crossing Over”. Yan-Yan was sitting right up in the front row of the gallery when the spirits pulled John Edward over to him. I guess they recognized his photograph, too!

I found the information that Chef Leone is called “Yan-Yan” from an article in NY Newsday, written by Sylvia Carter, dated July 21, 1999 on Page B11 in the Food and Dining Section:

“When Brunelli and his cousin, Ignazio (Yan-Yan) Leone, who are backed by another cousin, Matthew Degli-Antoni, looked for a restaurant location in Manhattan…”


My point in writing this article is just to illustrate that before we jump to a conclusion that John Edward is communicating with the dead, we need to eliminate the more obvious sources of his information. In the very least, I hope I have shown how simple it is, and how much pertinent information can be gained.