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Off the Shelf: Eerie encounters

ASU grad who can contact the dead signs book tonight

 by Kristi Eaton  published on Thursday, April 21, 2005

Allison Dubois will be at Changing Hands bookstore today for a book signing of her new book 'Don't Kiss Them Good-bye.'/issues/arts/693008
Danielle Peterson / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Allison Dubois will be at Changing Hands bookstore today for a book signing of her new book 'Don't Kiss Them Good-bye.'


For a lot of people, the phrase "I see dead people" is just a famous movie line, but for Allison Dubois, it's a fact of life.

Dubois is a medium, which means she can contact the dead, and is the inspiration for NBC's new primetime drama, "Medium," starring Patricia Arquette. She also is the author of the new book, "Don't Kiss Them Goodbye," which she will be discussing and signing at 7 tonight at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe.

Dubois, a Phoenix native and graduate of ASU, says she became a medium when she was 6 years old. She says when she attended her great-grandfather's funeral, she saw her great-grandfather and he began speaking to her.

"He told me that he was not in pain, and to tell that to my mother and the rest of my family," says Dubois in a phone interview.

During her senior year at ASU, Dubois says she realized what a truly unique gift she possessed and decided that she needed to put it to use. She began helping with Phoenix police investigations and missing persons.

Events in Dubois' life have most recently played out in "Medium." Arquette plays Dubois.

"Patricia does a great job pulling off my sarcasm," she says. "I'm extremely proud of the show, as well as the writing."

The road to "Medium" was a long one. A few years ago, Dubois heard that NBC was auditioning people for their ability to contact the dead.

"I think they were interested in seeing if we were normal, or if we all had a crystal ball," she says.

One hundred finalists were narrowed down to 18, who were tested on camera. NBC then narrowed them down to five before executives chose Dubois.

"I made sure it was clear that I didn't want to do a reality show," she says.

The series premiered on NBC on Jan. 3 as a mid-season replacement. Dubois continues to have a large role in the production of the show. She is a consultant and flies out to Los Angeles on a regular basis.

"They try to keep it as real to life as possible," she says.

She makes sure the show keeps the authentic feel of her homeland.

"It's important that the Arizona flavor is kept," she says. "Even though it's all shot in Los Angeles."

In fact, a huge backdrop of Phoenix was constructed and is used on a regular basis. A large replica of the Maricopa County Courthouse was also constructed to keep the show as close to her life as possible.

In her new book, "Don't Kiss Them Good-bye," Dubois explains what it's like to be a medium. It made USA Today's top 150 Best Selling Books list on March 24 and peaked at No. 30. It is currently No. 120 on the list.

"It explains what it's like to be a medium," Dubois says. "I explain how I help with missing-persons cases, readings that I have done and the tests I went through at the University of Arizona."

Dubois was referring to numerous tests conducted by UA psychology professory Gary E. Schwartz. He is studying mediums and different types of mediums.

Dubois' book also describes her work with the District Attorney's Office, as well as her work with Phoenix police.

In the book, Dubois briefly describes her family life. She left home at a young age, she says, and lived in an apartment with a friend. After college, she met her husband, Joe, an aerospace engineer, and together they had three daughters. Each of her daughters possesses the same power to speak to the dead that she has.

In one chapter, she describes the first time one of her daughters realized she was able to communicate with the dead. She explains that her daughters sometimes have difficulty understanding that their power is unique.

"Sometimes they don't understand why other people can't experience the same thing," she says.

Dubois continues to do readings for people, although she is no longer accepting new clients.

"I currently have 3,000 people on a waiting list for me to read. I have to try to fit that in in between everything else," she says.

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