“Psychic ability runs in families,” says psychic Mary Occhino, host of the SIRIUS Satellite Radio show Angels on Call and the new reality series Mary Knows Best, airing Thursdays beginning July 15 on Syfy. And, she notes, it certainly runs in hers, as she tells us in this exclusive interview.
When did you realize you had this gift? Was your family supportive? Did this make growing up hard?
Mary Occhino: I never realized I was different until I went to school. My entire family is intuitive, let’s put it that way. As a child I didn’t know what a psychic was. I went to a Roman Catholic parochial school. We were a very close-knit family. My mother had seven brothers and sisters, and I had 19 first cousins. We didn’t have much to do with other people. We didn’t have time for other children other than family. And I felt all children could hear their mother’s speech in their head. I would answer her back telepathically. When I was in kindergarten, I never understood why other kids had to be told once or twice to behave, or what the nun or teacher wanted. I asked my mother, “Why do they have to be spoken to over and over again? Don’t they know?” My mother said, “Not everybody can see what we see.” I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “Our intuition.” So she never made me feel odd.
I would try to tell the other kids what to do or not to do. I could feel [trouble] coming. They’d say, “OK,” and that was it. It was a feeling. Telepathy is not a paranormal gift. Everyone has telepathy.
My father used to call my mother a witch because she could see things before they happened. … She’d get these feelings and I learned because of her.
In my family, psychic ability is like a genetic factor. My mom still gets feelings, although she is very sick. My father passed away last year, and, two weeks later, she heard him and walked into the kitchen and saw him sitting there and had a massive heart attack. She fell and broke her hip, shattered everything. She hadn’t been in a hospital for 37 years. She took care of my father, who’d had three strokes, for 30 years. She was strong as an ox but was so shocked when she saw him, she had a heart attack.
How does your family feel about letting the camera in for this show?
They don’t mind. And I’m so used to being live with the radio. My family has always been in media and entertainment. … We don’t even notice the cameras. And I zone out things to stay focused on what the job at hand is. When I’m doing a reading for someone [at the studio], I may have a hundred people on hold. I have to zone out all the thoughts of anybody else listening and just think of the person on the phone.
Do these images just bombard you all the time?
Most of the time, I keep very, very busy. I have to keep going or I get bombarded. I have to keep my hands busy.
How do you sleep?
I don’t. Three hours solid is the most I’ve ever gotten, probably in 10 years.
Are there things you find out about people that you just don’t share with them?
If I am getting something about a person that is literally none of my business, I’ll concentrate on something else. What I’ll do is I’ll ask the universe or my angel or guide, or whatever — I really do a lot of praying. If I get a gut-wrenching thought or feeling, sometimes, or if I know a person needs to know something, I get nagged. Even if I try to concentrate on something else, I’ll get nagged back in to that person, and I’ll say, “I have to say this.” If I know a person is cheating on someone or vice versa, I will be careful but I will address it.
You have a wonderful quote on your website on a key chain sold there. “Check your karma today. Be an angel to someone.” Lovely sentiment, but in your experience, is the adage “what goes around comes around” really true?
Absolutely. I was speaking at Duke University with all these scientists, and I was the only non-Ph.D. or M.D. speaking. [And] what I said was, “Let’s put it this way, karma will either kiss you or kick you. You decide. I’d rather be kissed.” We should do things just because, not because we’re looking to get credit or to have our karma bank filled. We should do good for others just because we are acting as Earth angels. Whether you believe in angels or not, just be a good person.
Anything to add about the show?
I want to explain to people that you don’t have to be known as a psychic medium or intuitive and be this hocus-pocus kind of person. You can be the regular man or woman next door. … I see so many people who believe in their intuitive or spiritual advisor. I’m not judging that, but you don’t have to be reverent to a person who has just got an ability.
I’m just a messenger. I’m not making things happen. I’m like a reporter. If someone is covering a tsunami, they didn’t create it; they’re just reporting it. … I just have good ears.