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Monica the Medium on 'Connecting With Spirit,' Her Reality Show, and Her Catholic Upbringing

by on June 06, 2015 7:30 AM

Penn State student Monica Ten-Kate has two things very few people ever get.

One is her own reality show, Monica the Medium, premiering on ABC Family on July 13 at 10:00 p.m.

The other is even more rare. Ten-Kate says she has the gift of extrasensory perception, which allows her to connect with those who have left the physical world.

She doesn’t light candles. She doesn’t say mystic chants. She doesn’t see the future or read tarot cards. But Ten-Kate says that, ever since she was a young girl, she could hear voices and see images that she couldn’t explain.

But growing up in a Catholic family and attending Catholic school made her wary to explore this gift, so she suppressed and feared the otherworldly premonitions.

“But when I went to a public high school, I started to have a lot of interesting experiences; I started feeling, and sensing and hearing things around me. I thought I was crazy,” Ten-Kate says. “People would tell me stories from their childhood, or about loved ones that had passed, and I would hear the ending of the story before they said it.”

These unexplainable experiences began to pile up on top of each other: Ten-Kate says she heard her loved ones calling her name when she got into a car accident; she says she knew the exact moment her grandfather passed away before anyone told her; she successfully connected with the dead father of a thoroughly skeptical co-worker, astonishing him with details there was no way she could know.

But Ten-Kate says what astonished her was the way her new reality show on ABC Family "just fell into my lap unexpectedly, without me applying or anything."

Several producers reached out to her in the same week over a year ago, prompting a flurry of Skype interviews before flying out to LA. After signing a contract with the Lionsgate production company, cameramen followed Ten-Kate arrowed State College earlier this year to produce a pilot episode - "which went amazingly well," she says.

Ten-Kate, despite her gifts, can't see the future, so she doesn't know if she'll get a second season -- but don't be too surprised if you see a production company following her down College Avenue one of these days.

When Ten-Kate makes a connection “with spirit,” she says it’s not like having an ordinary conversation. A ghost doesn’t appear before her, sit down in the chair opposite, and tell Ten-Kate what message to relay to their family.

Instead, she says she experiences a series of almost dreamlike sensations. If, for example, she connects with someone who died of lung cancer she’ll feel a burning in her own lungs. If they died of a heart attack, she’ll feel her own chest constrict. She’ll see disconnected images from the person’s life that relate to the message Ten-Kate is supposed to relay.

Ten-Kate admits that her own family members, loving and supporting as they are, sometimes find it a challenge to reconcile their Catholic faith with their daughter’s gift. She says her mother has even wondered if her visions may come from an evil source.

“So I prayed to God, saying ‘if this isn’t from you, then take it away from me. I know you can trump any devil,’” Ten-Kate says – but the visions kept coming. “… I’m more spiritual now, and I believe in God more now, than ever before in my entire life.”

So Ten-Kate decided to try to use her gifts to bring comfort to those in need, quitting a job at Lockheed Martin to give her more time to do physic readings. As she helped more people come to peace with losses in their lives, word of her prowess spread and spread – reaching the ears of some high-powered television producers.

One successful pilot later, Monica the Medium is ready to proudly display her gift to a wider audience than ever before. When her reality show begins airing on ABC Family, she knows she’ll be exposing herself to a greater number of skeptics and haters, but she also knows she’ll be able to touch a greater number of lives.

“If I can bring a little comfort to even one more person, or help them peel away a layer of grief, then I’ll know I did my job,” Ten-Kate says.

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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