Cindy Kaza Of ‘The Dead Files’ On The Five Things She Wishes Someone Told Her When She First Started
…Honestly, I would emphasize the practice of true presence. In that state, we’re not living in our traumas or in scarcity, and we’re not anxiously living for the future. Being truly present allows us to connect with everything and tap into a sense of oneness, which is extraordinarily healing.
I had the pleasure to talk to Cindy Kaza. Cindy is widely known for her significant contributions to the world of paranormal investigation, leveraging her profound intuitive abilities to understand and explain the unexplained. Notably a prominent figure on Travel Channel’s shows like “The Dead Files,” “The Holzer Files,” and “Ghosts of Devil’s Perch,” Cindy has built a reputation for her meticulous approach to evidential mediumship. This method, practiced globally, centers on bringing forward highly specific evidence during readings to reduce skepticism and affirm connections with the spirits she communicates with.
Cindy’s journey into the spiritual realm began unwittingly at a young age. At just 10 years old, she had her first significant encounter with a spirit, an experience that, at the time, she perceived as a dream. This event marked the beginning of a series of psychic and mediumistic experiences that continued into her early twenties. During this awakening period, Cindy embarked on a path of self-discovery, seeking understanding and explanations for the phenomena she experienced. Recognizing her innate abilities as a psychic medium, she committed herself to honing her skills, a journey that led her to train not just in the United States, but also at the renowned Arthur Findlay School of Intuitive Sciences in Stansted, England. Embracing her abilities as a clairvoyant, clairaudient, and clairsentient medium, Cindy has dedicated herself to helping others with her gifts, always emphasizing the compassionate sharing of these skills and encouraging others to tap into their intuitive potential.
In her current role on “The Dead Files,” Cindy collaborates with former NYPD homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi, forming a formidable team that utilizes a blend of investigative skills and psychic abilities to assist homeowners plagued by paranormal activities. While Steve undertakes the fact-finding mission, delving into the history of the haunted properties and interviewing relevant individuals, Cindy employs her psychic gifts to communicate with entities and understand their reasons for lingering. Together, they strive to provide answers and potential resolutions to those seeking help.
About The Dead Files:
Travel Channel’s “The Dead Files” explores the realms of the paranormal and forensic investigations, focusing on unexplained phenomena reported in various homes across the United States. The series features two investigators with different backgrounds — psychic medium Cindy Kaza and former NYPD homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi. Together, they blend stringent investigative processes with intuitive insights, attempting to understand and possibly resolve the mysteries reported by property owners.
In “The Dead Files,” Cindy Kaza and Steve DiSchiavi work to unravel paranormal mysteries affecting homeowners across America. Cindy Kaza employs her psychic abilities, including clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience, to communicate with entities and explore the reasons behind their presence in the properties. Steve DiSchiavi uses his background as a former NYPD homicide detective to research each property’s history, consulting with witnesses, historians, and experts to gain a detailed understanding of the situations surrounding the reported hauntings.
Each episode features separate investigations conducted by Cindy and Steve, providing a rounded perspective on each case. They independently delve into the histories and energies of the haunted spaces before coming together to share their findings with the homeowners, aiming to offer answers and potential paths forward.
In the upcoming season, Cindy and Steve continue their efforts to explore paranormal activities affecting homeowners. The series emphasizes empathy and a deep understanding of the spiritual realm as they maintain a committed approach to their investigative roles, seeking to provide relief to individuals experiencing distress due to paranormal occurrences.
The all-new episodes of “The Dead Files” will premiere on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the Travel Channel. For more details and updates, interested individuals can refer to Travel Channel’s official social media handles on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok using the hashtag #DeadFiles.
Yitzi: Hello, Cindy, thanks for joining us. Before we dive in deep, I’d like to learn about your background and your origin story. Can you share with us the story of your childhood and how you grew up?
Cindy: Absolutely. I grew up in New Hampshire, in a Catholic family. My first experience with the spiritual realm happened when I was just 10 years old. A girl from my elementary school was hit by a drunk driver and died. After her death, I saw her standing next to my bed in the middle of the night. It scared me so much that I pulled the covers over my head, but when I looked again, she was still there. It was my first experience with something beyond the ordinary, but at that age, I didn’t know what to make of it. My family never really talked about spirits or anything like that.
For years, I kept it all to myself, not really understanding what had happened. I was always intuitive, though; my mom used to say I was very sensitive and could sense things about people. I even saw things that were going to happen before they did. But it wasn’t until I was 19 that things started making sense. I met my first mentor, Bonnie. She looked at me and said, “You’re a psychic medium.” I didn’t believe her at first and thought, “What are you talking about, lady?”
However, as we spent more time together, she taught me about different concepts in the field of metaphysics. Even then, I was hesitant to fully accept my abilities. It took until my 20s for me to truly embrace them. I’d say it was about 13 years after my first experience that I finally owned this part of me. It wasn’t an easy journey; many people who are sensitive or empathic struggle with anxiety, as I did. But I’m grateful that I finally decided to acknowledge and embrace this part of myself. So, that’s my origin story as a medium.
Yitzi: Can you share with us the process of how you turned this into a career?
Cindy: It’s funny when people say I’m famous. I really don’t feel that way. I still feel like the same old Cindy. But turning it into a career did take some time. I spent years studying mediumship. People often ask me, “Can anyone become a psychic medium?” My response is that everyone is born with the ability to connect to the spirit world and feel energies around them. Unfortunately, many people are told it’s not real as they grow up, so they shut it down.
I like to say everyone can play the piano, but not everyone will be a concert pianist. I even went to this place in England called the Arthur Findlay College, which I jokingly call “Harry Potter School” because it’s in a castle. You stay there for a week or more and study mediumship all day, like 12 hours a day. It’s both fun and challenging. I wanted to understand the energies, how to be grounded, and the ethics involved in mediumship. I still consider myself a lifelong student; I’m always learning and growing.
As for making it a career, I started by doing private readings and live events where I’d bring through messages for an audience. Eventually, a production company reached out to me about the Holzer Files, which became the first television series I was part of. I was hesitant at first. There’s often a disconnect between paranormal investigators and mediums. Some prefer gadgets over mediums, but I think of myself as a human spirit box.
The show intrigued me because Hans Holzer, the man it was based on, believed in using mediums in his investigations. That’s how my TV career began. But it took many years of working professionally before that happened, and I’m grateful for it. Those years gave me the chance to strengthen my abilities and learn new ways to connect with the spirit world. I believe everything happens exactly when it’s supposed to.
Yitzi: You probably have an incredible amount of amazing stories. But can you share with our readers one or two stories that happened in the course of your career where you were able to use your powers and skills?
Cindy: Well, it really depends on what kind of story you want me to tell. Do you want a scary story? An interesting one? I can share a story that truly opened my eyes to the soul’s ability to travel, even before death. I was doing a live event in California about seven or eight years ago. I approached a woman in the audience and described a man on the other side who had been in trouble with the police and was a drug dealer. I mentioned that I was hearing the name Garrett. The woman then told me that she had just had lunch with her friend Garrett and that the man I was describing was Garrett’s best friend, who was going to be taken off life support the next day. Garrett had told her he wanted to say goodbye to his friend. So it seemed the soul of this man, on life support, came to me to deliver a message through her for Garrett.
I find it fascinating because there’s so much we don’t understand about the other side. The beauty is in the mystery, and it’s hard for us in this realm of duality to fully grasp it. I’ve learned that mediums can communicate with people in comas or with late-stage Alzheimer’s and dementia. These souls sometimes seem to have one foot in this realm and one foot in the other. I don’t think the spirit world is above us; it’s around us. It’s all about shifting our awareness into that space.
In my paranormal investigations, particularly on The Dead Files, we often help families struggling with paranormal activity. Most of the time, it’s not a demonic spirit but rather an angry spirit with some unfinished business. I think maybe it’s just a fragmented, angry part of the spirit that wants to rejoin the oneness. This belief comes from reading about near-death experiences, like the book “Dying to Be Me” by Anita Moorjani. She could be in five places at once during her NDE. So, it makes me wonder, can the entirety of a soul really be trapped in one place? It doesn’t energetically make sense. I think when trauma happens, a part of the soul may fragment off and stay in that place.
As mediums, we encounter these fragments, and it’s an opportunity to help not just them but also the living. It’s all very thought-provoking. When I teach mediumship, I always tell my students to treat the souls they encounter with compassion because they are still people, even the angry ones.
Yitzi: Is there a connection between spirituality and the ability to connect to the spirit world?
Cindy: Yes and No. You don’t have to be spiritual to feel these energies. It’s more about the ability to tap into another vibration or realm. Being religious or spiritual isn’t a requirement. Some people think that mediums must be super spiritual or nice, but that’s not always the case. I’ve met some mediums who are neither spiritual nor nice. Most of the mediums I know aren’t like that, but religion or spirituality doesn’t dictate whether you can connect with these energies. When you do feel them, you might start looking for explanations and searching for a spiritual practice to help you understand what you’re experiencing, but even then, can we ever really fully understand what’s happening? I do believe that having a spiritual practice, or a belief in God, may make it easier for a person to trust the energies they’re feeling. Spiritual practices can give people guidelines on how to shift their awareness to these other realms. But again, I don’t think a person has to be religious to connect to these energies.
Yitzi: So from your perception of the other side, do you get a sense of what it means to live a good life in this world? What behaviors, patterns, and habits should we have to be happy in the spiritual world?
Cindy: That’s a great question. Going back to what I mentioned earlier about fragmented pieces, most people have experienced some form of trauma in their lives. The more inner work we do to heal those pieces, the better. Forgiveness plays a huge role. It’s not just forgiving other people, but also forgiving ourselves. A lot of people find it easier to forgive others than to forgive themselves.
It’s also important to be mindful of our intentions. Sometimes you can have the best of intentions and still end up with a bad outcome. In that case, I believe that your intention counts for a lot. I always emphasize the importance of being present. If we’re constantly dwelling on the past or worrying about the future — even about death — we miss out on the beauty of the present moment.
Being present is challenging, especially given how many of us have been socialized to adopt a scarcity mindset, fearing that there isn’t enough of whatever we think we need. That mindset creates a lot of problems, including greed and war.
But if I had to pinpoint one thing, it would be finding forgiveness — for both ourselves and others. Doing so can help us reintegrate those fragmented pieces of ourselves.
Yitzi: It’s unbelievable. Are you saying that being forgiving toward yourself and others, being intentional and present, will lead to a more peaceful, serene, and eternally happy spiritual life?
Cindy: Well, I can’t say that for certain, because I haven’t connected with every spirit that’s ever existed on the other side. But what I have found is that even spirits who have done terrible things often feel anger, or feel overlooked, or feel like they missed out on something. A lot of the time, these feelings drive the harmful behaviors we see. Common threads include feeling inadequate, misunderstood, or like you don’t belong. But don’t quote me as saying I know the exact formula for eternal happiness on the other side. I just think it’s important for us to look within ourselves while we’re here and focus on kindness and forgiveness.
Yitzi: You mentioned the Oneness. Is that just another way to say the Creator or the Almighty, or is it something else?
Cindy: That’s a great question. This might seem a bit out there, but I really feel that everything is happening all at the same time — past, present, and future. They’re all here. We all come from this oneness, and I believe we’re all going back to it. Being part of the oneness is this state where you’re connected to the past, present, future, and all dimensions at once. It’s fascinating and quite beautiful and I hope to live in that space more often. It’s hard to fully comprehend because most of us are raised to live in a world of duality, thinking we don’t have access to all these other layers and dimensions. But I don’t think time and space are linear. We’ve sort of created these concepts, haven’t we? If we could remember this and try to exist in that state of oneness, the world would probably be a very different place. But again, these are just thoughts I have now. Ask me in ten years and I may have a completely different answer. I’m a work in progress and a seeker.
Yitzi: We would certainly have less fighting and arguing if we were more united. You know, Dante’s Inferno describes three spiritual realms: heaven, hell, and purgatory. Heaven is the good place, and purgatory is like a limbo stage. Do you get the sense from spirits on the other side that some are in purgatory, some are in what we call heaven, and some are in a bad place?
Cindy: That’s a tough question. Yes, I do get different senses, but it also depends on which aspect of the soul I’m encountering. For example, if I’m doing a paranormal investigation where someone was murdered, I might encounter an angry aspect of that person, which could be in what some people call purgatory. But who’s to say that another part of that person, maybe the aspect from their childhood, isn’t somewhere else or in a better place?
Do I think hell is a burning inferno? Absolutely not. My experience is different. I’ve encountered souls in various states. For instance, I’ve connected with people who have taken their own lives. They want to apologize and show they’ve learned from their actions. They seem to be in a state of healing and love most of the time. So it really depends on which aspect of the soul I’m encountering at that moment.
I don’t believe that any one person is damned for all eternity because, well, I’m not God. I teach my students that our experiences with spirits are influenced by our upbringing and socialization. If you were raised with the concept of heaven, hell, and purgatory, you might interpret a spirit’s emotional state through that lens. In other cultures, they have different interpretations. For example, I’ve spent a lot of time in Indonesia, where they believe in creatures called Jinn. So when I think I’m interacting with a human soul, the locals might say, “No, that’s a Jinn.”
We’re influenced by our upbringing and beliefs, and that shapes how we describe our encounters with spirits.
Yitzi: Are dreams part of this conversation? Are they like a taste of the spirit world and maybe messages from the other side, or are they just biological phenomena?
Cindy: Well, it’s all of the above. People do have visitation dreams, which are incredible. In my experience, visitation dreams are the kind of dreams you’ll never forget. You see your loved one on the other side, and you’ll always remember what they looked like, what they were wearing, and how you felt. They’re extraordinarily vivid. You’ll wake up thinking, “Wow, that was a different kind of dream. I know my loved one was there.” I believe those are mediumistic experiences that people are having. Absolutely.
People also have premonition dreams where they can foresee things happening before they actually do. Those are psychic dreams. A lot of people don’t know the difference between psychic and mediumistic experiences. Being psychic involves picking up on the past, present, and future, while mediumship is about connecting to energies in different realms. So if someone has a dream about something happening before it occurs, that’s a psychic experience — it’s a premonition.
Yitzi: Are there certain practices that you’re okay with, and some that you consider too dark or part of the dark arts? Are there categories of things that you find forbidden or dangerous?
Cindy: I’ve encountered a wide range of practices. I’ve met people who aren’t acting with integrity and others who dabble in various things. I’ve seen all sorts under the umbrella of, let’s say, paranormal or metaphysics. There are definitely practices that I wouldn’t engage in because I don’t think they serve the greater good of humanity. For instance, I’ve come across people involved in black magic. So yes, I’ve seen my share of it.
Yitzi: Is that harmful? Have you seen that cause people to turn to the “dark side”?
Cindy: Well, there’s that aspect, but I’ve also seen the psychological aspect. For example, in cultures where people strongly believe in black magic, they may feel as if someone has gone to a practitioner to put a curse on them. A lot of the damage in these cases is psychological. The thought that someone is trying to harm you, or that some unseen force is after you, creates a tremendous amount of stress. I do believe that people who practice black magic can harm others. I can’t speak directly from a black magic standpoint, but from doing many paranormal investigations, I sometimes feel energies sticking to me. I’ll wonder, why do I feel so anxious? I don’t feel right. Then, I go to my friend who does energy healings, and after a session, I feel immediately better. Is that psychological? I don’t think so, because my energy feels totally different afterward. But I try not to focus on those things because concentrating on that aspect of the work can create fear.
Yitzi: I feel like the powers of the mind, such as being able to interact with the world through telekinesis or bending a spoon with your mind, are fascinating. Are those things related to what we’re discussing here?
Cindy: Absolutely, I’d say they are related in some ways because it’s all about using energy to influence the space around you. Now, have I personally seen someone bend a spoon with their mind? No, I haven’t, but I know it’s been done. I always encourage people, especially my students, to keep an open mind. Just because something hasn’t happened to you doesn’t mean it’s not real. And don’t dismiss your own experiences either; they’re also real. Additionally, it’s worth considering how culture might impact this. For instance, if a certain phenomenon is particularly prominent in a culture, could that make the energy behind it more powerful?
Yitzi: Can you talk to animals in the spiritual world?
Cindy: It’s not exactly the same as communicating with people, but yes, I can see and sense them. It’s genuinely beautiful because there are instances where people feel a stronger connection to their animals than to their human relatives. I’ve delivered messages where I bring through a relative, and when a pet comes through, the person is significantly more excited. However, my communication isn’t akin to a verbal conversation. It’s more about perceiving their presence, hearing names, understanding how they passed away, and getting a sense of how their owner cared for them. It’s a profound experience. I even have a friend who specializes in mediumship exclusively for animals, delivering messages from pets.
Yitzi: How about when they are alive? Can you communicate with animals while they are alive and understand their feelings?
Cindy: Absolutely, there are people who work as pet psychics, specializing in reading pets’ energies and understanding their emotions. Instead of connecting with humans, they choose to focus their abilities on helping people understand their pets better, bridging a kind of communication gap between the owner and the pet. It’s a real and fascinating field.
Yitzi: Okay, so you have so much impressive work. Can you share with the readers the exciting projects that you’re working on? Tell us about the show.
Cindy: Absolutely, I’d love to. I’m super excited to be a part of “The Dead Files.” I am really grateful to Amy Allen for recommending me to take her place; it is an honor. Amy is an amazing medium, leaving me with big shoes to fill, but I truly enjoy being a part of the show because we have the opportunity to help families.
We are doing more than just exploring historical locations to see what’s there; we are stepping in to assist people who are genuinely struggling. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to sit down with these individuals and assure them that they are not crazy and what they are experiencing is real.
I am thrilled about the episodes we’ve filmed and I can’t wait for everyone to watch them. “The Dead Files” airs Thursday nights at 10/9c on the Travel Channel, and is also available for streaming on Max and Discovery Plus.
Yitzi: So as you know, “The Dead Files” has a cult following. What is it that captures people’s attention about the show? What is it that people like about it?
Cindy: Well, I believe a big part of its appeal is Steve. He is super interesting, a retired homicide detective, and I absolutely love working with him. What stands out is the depth of research he brings into the show; it plays a huge part. He is skilled at talking to people, really connecting with them. Additionally, our underlying goal is to assist families, which is something perhaps not as highlighted in other shows. We prioritize helping these families, making the content relatable because viewers see individuals just like themselves having these experiences. It resonates with them on a personal level as they can often relate it to their own experiences, affirming that they aren’t alone or “crazy” for having similar encounters. It creates a connection that is both real and comforting.
Yitzi: This is our signature question that we ask all of our guests. You have been doing this for many years now, and you’re very experienced. Looking back to when you first started, can you name five things you wish someone had told you when you began?
Cindy: Yes, let’s see.
- First, I think it would have been beneficial to be advised to work on my own inner self. The reason being, mediums must work through their own triggers and traumas to be able to assist the spirit world in a neutral way. For instance, if you have personal experiences with an alcoholic father and encounter a spirit with similar traits, it could be too triggering to deal with. But avoiding this kind of connection isn’t fair to the spirits or the people still living. So, it’s essential to work through your personal issues first.
- Second, it’s important to know that not every individual with medium abilities is a nice person. I started my mediumship development naively thinking everyone would be kind and enlightened, which isn’t the case. However, it was a good lesson to learn. And to answer the question about whether one needs to be spiritual to have these abilities, the answer is no.
- Third, understanding the role of cultural perspectives in interpreting the spirit world is crucial. Initially, I wasn’t aware of this, but I learned it over time through traveling and learning from various people. Having this knowledge from the start would have helped me to be more open to diverse interpretations of the spirit world.
- Fourth, I wish I had known the importance of having someone you can call for energy clearing and cleansing when needed.
- And lastly, learning to stay grounded and present was vital. In the beginning, I was not grounded and was too absorbed in the spirit world, which wasn’t healthy. I had to learn discipline and understand the importance of being present for my family and friends. Constant connection to the spirit world isn’t healthy as it can lead to escapism. So, anyone looking to work professionally as a medium should prioritize being grounded. My advice to aspiring professionals is to remain grounded; it’s truly essential.
Yitzi: On that topic, can you share with our readers the self-care routines or practices that you engage in to help your body, mind, and heart thrive?
Cindy: Yeah, sure. Sleeping is number one; I love sleeping. Ensuring I get a solid eight hours is super important for taking care of my body, alongside yoga, walking, exercising, and eating healthy. I believe these are vital practices. Do they have to be linked to the spiritual world? No, but I highly recommend them if you intend to pursue this path for a long time.
I’ve also grown fond of dedicating time to activities other than mediumship, like spending quality moments with my friends and family. I enjoy a good binge-watch session too, immersing myself in great shows; it’s a way for me to disconnect.
Moreover, I’ve spent time in upstate New York, connecting with my indigenous friends, including Native Americans and others from Columbia. It’s been a learning journey understanding how to connect with the land and tap into its energies. This experience has been life-changing, significantly altering my perspective on how I relate to the earth.
It’s important because, sometimes we focus so much on the spiritual realm that we overlook the beauty and significance of what’s right in front of us, which is equally important.
Yitzi: This is our final question and it is an aspirational one. So, Cindy, because of the platform that you have built and your remarkable work, you’ve become a person of enormous influence. Many people take your words very seriously. If you could spread an idea or inspire a movement that would bring the most good to the largest number of people, what would that be? Because you never know what your idea can inspire.
Cindy: That’s a really good question. Honestly, I would emphasize the practice of true presence. In that state, we’re not living in our traumas or in scarcity, and we’re not anxiously living for the future. Being truly present allows us to connect with everything and tap into a sense of oneness, which is extraordinarily healing. That would be my answer.
Yitzi: That’s a profound answer. Amazing. How can readers continue to follow your work online and support what you’re doing?
Cindy: You can find me at CindyKaza.com, which is where all my live events and workshops are listed. Also, you can find me on various social media platforms; I’m on Instagram, Facebook, and others. I maintain a presence on all major platforms.
Yitzi: Amazing. Well, Cindy, it has been an honor and a pleasure speaking with you. I wish you nothing but success and blessings, and I look forward to doing this again sometime.
Cindy: I would love to. Thank you so much. You asked great questions.
Cindy Kaza Of ‘The Dead Files’ On The Five Things She Wishes Someone Told Her When She First… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.