The real-life Phoenix woman who inspired the new TV drama "Medium" can indeed contact dead people, according to scientific - and controversial - tests performed on her at the University of Arizona.
The abilities of Allison Dubois - who claims she can see dead people, receive information from them, and even hear the thoughts of the living - are showcased in the new NBC Monday night show, with actress Patricia Arquette.
In real life, Dubois, 33 next week, has used her paranormal talents to help police in Phoenix and in other states solve crimes - the main plot of "Medium," along with her life as a wife and mother of three young children.
But what few may realize is Dubois' prime power - making contact with people after death - has been subjected to three years of UA research scientifically designed to determine if she is an authentic "medium" or a fraud.
Although the studies have stirred controversy nationwide and have been slammed by several skeptics, the Harvard-trained UA professor who ran them strongly defends their legitimacy, as does Dubois.
"There is no question this is not a fraud - some people really can do this, and Allison is one of them," said psychology professor Gary E. Schwartz, who directs the UA's Human Energy Systems Laboratory where the experiments with Dubois and other well-known mediums - including John Edward of TV's "Crossing Over" fame - have been conducted.
"Many people claim to do this, and there are clearly frauds out there. Allison was repeatedly tested and passed every test.
"As a scientist, I approach all this as an agnostic - I don't believe it; I don't disbelieve it. After testing her under conditions that ruled out the possibility of fraud, I came to the conclusion she's the real deal." (cont.)