Three Parents Reveal the Truth about Psychic Thomas John

Susan Gerbic

One of my team members just got back to me with extensive research of another of Thomas John’s readings. This time it was three grieving women, Linda M. McCarthy, Beth West, and Tracy Soussi, each of whom lost a son. Soussi is currently Thomas John’s assistant. All three women state that “some” of the information about their sons and family is available on the internet but not all the information. Really? That sounds like a testable claim to me. We wanted to know how easily it would be to locate information about these people, and the results are below.

But before I get into that analysis, here’s a bit of background. Thomas John Flanagan (TJ) and I crossed paths in March 2017 when I set up a sting to see if he was using Facebook to find information on his sitters. This is known as doing a “hot-read.” The sting was profiled by journalist Jack Hitt in the New York Times article “Inside the Secret Sting Operations to Expose Celebrity Psychics.” I and my team have since researched and written multiple articles about Thomas John, repeatedly showing that he is using hot-reading tactics to appear to know things that no one could possibly know. In the article “Thomas John Revisited,” I include screen shots of Thomas John’s computer desktop showing his Google searches for obituaries as well as his use of a website called, a “confidential way to find people.”

Now that our articles have been published and are available online, when someone searches for Thomas John they now see these articles and more. Even his Wikipedia biography includes all this information. It’s going to become more difficult to believe that the media that continue to support him are not themselves complicit. Speaking of popularity, since the Thomas John Wikipedia biography was published in November 2018, it has been viewed only 17,297 times. That’s nothing in the world of celebrity and next to nothing for someone who claims to be communicating with the dead. In the same period, another TV medium, Tyler Henry, received 339,492 page views. But to put both these pages in context, the Wikipedia page for “cat” received 1,670,523 views, which just proves who the real celebrities are: cats.

With that said, I should announce that Thomas John has a new TV project. Yep! Not another run with Seatbelt Psychic but some unnamed project. The producer, Fulwell 73, apparently is a friend of TJ’s. This show has been picked up by CBS Interactive (CBS All Access), and if it gets produced, it should air by the end of 2019 or early 2020. Filming is happening in Las Vegas, where TJ should be moving soon unless unexpected events happen. I should mention that Fulwell 73 is hiring—just sayin’. Looks like TJ is doing pretty well these days. My thoughts on the subject are that the more attention he gets, the more people are going to search for his name and learn all about him. Pretty soon it won’t be just unknown Susan Gerbic and her team researching and writing about him but the big investigation teams of Inside Edition and 60 minutes.

This video of the three grieving women is one that I suspect that TJ was boasting about in a Facebook live video that was supposedly proof of his mediumship abilities. It was released on March 24, 2019, only a few days after the New York Times article was published.

For time’s sake I’m just going to focus on one of the three women, Beth West. She states in the video, “I got a lot of validations from Thomas that are not found on the internet. I mean some can be found, but there are some that aren’t on the internet. First, I never had a Facebook account until my son transitioned, and I don’t post very much.”

Beth then goes on to list all the evidence she has that validates that Thomas is communicating with her son, Tyler, and other people in her life. We don’t have audio of these readings, and we don’t know if this was from one reading or more.

Here is a breakdown of the validations in the order she lists them:

Younger male in spirit … Saluting … tied to the military … family in Air Force … Method of his passing … His intentions were never to hurt you … He is sorry … William “Bill” is grandfather … Billy is father … Macie is Grandmother … Great grandfather is Leon … Elderly gentleman, 104 when he died … Amy is sister … Jane is grandmother … Two of my friends, Sue and son Gavin … Michael is coworker … Tony is Michael’s mother … Grey … Black Van shoes … Niece got married … Lots of pairs of shoes (3 at Christmas) … Necklace that is heavy and gold … Bracelet in is honor of son … in Dominica: angel bracelet lost … Taking a trip soon … Turks and Caicos … Scuba diving … A young female is having a hard time … Who is Taytay? … Jim is Tyler’s stepfather and then  “I am sorry I went on your bed and scared you” (she was in a hotel room and asked Tyler to come visit her.  At 3 am he sat on the end of her bed, and the bed went down. It scared her so bad.



We can learn a lot about Beth and her son from her bio on the website Helping Parents Heal. I’ve written about this website before but didn’t choose to name it. I’ve been told by a member of their group that they allow mediums to belong to the private group. This is something that should be reserved only for grieving parents. In my opinion, TJ and those like him are preying on vulnerable people who meet online and share personal stories about their pain and memories of their children. In “Thomas John Revisited,” I explain how he reads “Joan” in a video that he claims was a scientifically controlled experiment; we found that everything TJ “got right” about Joan was on her Facebook page or in an online obituary. 

I will bold the hits we find within these citations.

A wealth of information is on her son’s obituary: dates, military school and how he wanted to be a pilot for the Air Force. In lieu of flowers the family asks for donations to Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. The obituary mentions his maternal great-grandfather, William “Bill” West, of Jonesville, S.C who was predeceased by his maternal grandfather, Billy Wayne West  (April 17, 1939–February 4, 2011). We also learn that scuba diving is listed as one of Tyler’s favorite pass times.

Here is the obituary for Beth’s father Bill. In it they mention that his wife’s name is Macie, and she has also died. We also learn that Beth’s sister is named Amy, and that Beth’s husband is Jim

And this is the obituary for Leon Alter, who was the great grandfather and was 105 when he died. (Beth said 104.)

Within that obituary one can find all sorts of info about Beth and her siblings: “He is survived by two children, Jim (Phyllis) Alter and Jane (Ron) Yohe.”

Tyler’s Facebook page is still active. Although closed to non-friends, it is public enough that we can see him in multiple military photos, at the beach, and—oh yeah—a photo of those Van shoes that his mother didn’t think anyone would know about.

Posted on Beth West’s personal Facebook page is a photo of Tyler and his cousin. In the comments Beth calls her niece “Tay Tay.” Beth states that these two were very close—almost like siblings.

In multiple places we can discover Beth’s son Tyler died, and that he and the rest of the family have many ties to the military, including the Air Force. In the obituary, we learn that he committed suicide. We know all Tyler’s family member’s names from various obituaries. We also know about the scuba diving and how old his great-grandfather was.

From Facebook posts on Beth’s and Tyler’s pages, we know all about the niece’s wedding, the Van sneakers, and also the nickname Tay Tay.

From the video, Beth says, “Macie is not on the internet anywhere” and “The name Leon cannot be found anywhere.” Sorry, Beth, but we found all this information and more in a couple minutes on The rest was from Facebook. Beth for some reason thinks it is relevant that she didn’t have a Facebook account before Tyler’s death and that she seldom posts now. What does that matter? There is plenty to glean from her Facebook page (even though the settings are for friends only). We can move between her page, her son’s, and the niece’s. If we wanted to, we could find a way onto these pages from one of her friends Facebook pages. They are all listed on the Helping Parents Heal page and we could easily create an account, a fake backstory, and become one of the people in the group. We don’t even have to post, just lurk, read, and take screenshots. If we could do it, then anyone can do it. Don’t assume that everyone on social media is who they say they are.

There were lots of personal confirmations about how Tyler was so sorry about what he did, that he didn’t mean to harm his mother, and that now he sees his stepfather in a new light and has learned so much from him. These are all those feel-good statements that we can’t confirm but are in essence things that pertain to most parent-child relationships but can seem very specific.

So, what we don’t have are links to are the stories about a heavy gold necklace, an angel bracelet, an upcoming trip, Turks and Caicos, and Michael and Toni (Beth’s coworker).  If we were to spend some time on Beth’s Facebook page as a friend, or on the Helping Parents Heal group page, we might find that these were all discussed. About the story about the hotel room and Tyler coming to visit with her and the bed going down: Beth says, “Tracy you know this story” and Tracy confirms “yes, I remember this story” and we should all remember who Tracy is … Thomas John’s assistant.  If she told Tracy, then she probably told other people, possibly people in the Facebook group.  You don’t have to think very far beyond Tracy to figure this one out.

Going back to Linda McCarthy for a few minutes, she states in this video that she was taking Thomas John’s classes. In other words, TJ had access to her name and any social media she or her friends and family had posted. So when she says “I love Thomas John! I have validations here that are not on the internet. There’s no way that anyone could find them; it’s just that simple.” I would say, yes there are many ways to know what you think is hidden. It is just that simple, Linda.

It breaks my heart to listen to Beth say, “He had so many validations; he had to get them from Tyler.” I don’t know if she will ever read this article—and if she does, will she blame me for challenging her validations? To take advantage of a grieving parent in this way is why we call performers such as Thomas John grief vampires.

I am often asked why people are so gullible. Why do people who can be skeptical about most things in their lives—like when someone is trying to sell them a bad used car—why can’t they see what is so obvious to us? The answer has nothing to do with intelligence. It has everything to do with grief. I spend hours and hours researching these grief vampires. I see patterns and know the verbal tricks. We can’t expect that the average person has ever considered psychics before they lost their child. And when you throw in religion and a belief in life-after-death, then it isn’t a far step to believe a psychic medium when they say they are in contact with your child.

People can be so trusting. Why would the psychic would lie? To realize that this is all a con would mean that the parent has not only wasted a lot of time and money on this scam, but it would also mean all the time you thought your son was talking to you he wasn’t. That’s a pretty powerful thing to admit. I’m not sure most grieving parents would be willing to admit that to anyone. It would be like losing your son twice. This is one reason trying to get a legal hold on these slippery toads is so tough. It is much easier to attack someone like me and say, “How dare you use my son’s memories in this way to further your godless attacks on someone so blessed like Thomas John!” I totally get that. And I hope that before they attack me, they at least read through this article and view the evidence I lay out. I’m truly on their side.

After all, Thomas John is the one putting this content online. This video is from his YouTube channel. No one forced these women to give testimonials. They knew they were being filmed and that it was going to be released to try and sway the skeptics. 

What becomes very clear by the end of the video is that this is a response to the New York Times article. The mothers state over and over that Thomas John knew information about their loved ones that no one could find on the internet. They mention Facebook many times. One says that she is “deeply saddened by the skepticism of Thomas” and that she is okay with skepticism (she herself is skeptical about some things, she says) but Thomas John is just trying to help people. He doesn’t always charge money. Why would skeptics who have not had a reading say such bad things about him? Skeptics are trying to assassinate his character. And for some reason they seem to think that skeptics will just think that they (the mothers) are just making things up and lying to promote Thomas John. At no time would I think these women are lying. You can read all about their losses on the internet.

I really doubt that these women have read about Operation Pizza Roll. I really doubt that they have listened to the full fifteen-minute reading and then looked at the screenshots of the Facebook pages and seen the obvious link between them. They were probably only told that some evil skeptic woman has been saying that Thomas John was reading Facebook pages during a reading and that they should respond with their “evidence.”

One more story before we end. In July 2017, the aforementioned Tyler Henry gave Jenna Dewan a reading in Hollywood Medium, Season 2, Episode 15. Henry told Jenna that her grandparents were soulmates and inseparable and that cardinals (the bird) were sent as a sign from Jenna’s grandmother.

Well in July 2018, Thomas John gave Jenna a “Seatbelt Psychic” reading on The Late Late Show with James Corden. TJ knew a lot about her, her family history (including people’s names), a military connection, an astronaut (Jenna confirmed that this was her uncle Dan), and other various items. All can be found on these links here, here, and here. Her Twitter feed mentions her uncle Dan was an astronaut. There were a couple other very specific things not listed on a website or in an obituary. TJ tells Jenna that he is getting something about cardinals and that the grandparents were inseparable. Pretty much what Henry had told Jenna a full year before. You can make of that what you will.

I asked mentalist Mark Edward about the sharing of information between psychics.

Mediums have always been like some magicians: they share and steal information when they can. It’s not surprising this still continues. It’s a tradition in mediumship that goes all the way back to the early New York street psychics and Madame Blavatsky. In most big cities during the heyday of spiritism, mediums kept hidden rooms, open only to their fellow con artists and crooks, containing written notes and detailed information they could dip into when they needed “a ringer.” Often referred to in Theosophical parlance as “The Akashic Records,” it included all of their sitters’ private thoughts, words, emotions, and intent ever to have occurred in the past, present, or future. Far from being sacrosanct or held to any strict “spiritual” code of honor, (apart from honor among thieves), anyone with sufficient funds and financial savvy was given a goldmine of subjects, personalities, and psychological maladjustments to choose from. Later when this became common knowledge to mentalists and other performers, it acquired the name of “Ash Room” by those in the know. Some say these hotspots of illicit information acquired the “Ash Room” title as a play on the word “ashram” or because when the police raided these places, files were quickly turned to ash. So now we have all this and so much more literally at our fingertips. Push a keystroke, find a spirit.

So now we are done. What can I say? To people who want to continue to believe Thomas John is really communicating with their dead family members, I would say: if you are falling back on the “there is no way he could have known that” argument, I say there are many ways he can know. It you still want to believe, fine, that is your personal business. But when you make testable claims—as these grieving mothers did—that the information that TJ gave them is not located anywhere on the internet, then I hope you will think twice. This “unfindable” information was found and presented here, and it can be found by anyone in just a few minutes of online searching. It’s even quicker if you have an account on a website such as—something we know TJ has because it was bookmarked on his computer.

Now that TJ has a new TV show coming out in a few months, I guess I and my team are going to be more vigilant. People will be learning about Thomas John for the first time and searching on the internet. And they are going to be finding these articles and learning all about him. Stay tuned.

Thank you to my main researcher and also Mark Edward and Rob Palmer for help with this article. You can read more about the harm a belief in psychics can have with Rob Palmer’s articleBelief in Psychics: What’s the Harm and Who’s to Blame?”

Susan Gerbic

Affectionately called the Wikipediatrician, Susan Gerbic is the cofounder of Monterey County Skeptics and a self-proclaimed skeptical junkie. Susan is also founder of the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (GSoW) project. She is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and writes for her column, Guerilla Skepticism, often. You can contact her through her website.