Mary Ann Winkowski is a paranormal investigator from Cleveland, Ohio. She's best known for having inspired the CBS drama The Ghost Whisperer, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Winkowski, 62, works as a consultant for the show, drawing on her lifetime of experience communicating with "earthbound ghosts," those who have yet to cross into the white light (yes, Winkowski says, it exists). She's not to be confused with a medium—a person who can communicate with those who've already "crossed over."
YourTango caught up with her recently via phone to find out what relationship insight she could share, given her unique ability to talk to ghosts. Suspension of disbelief fully in place (as Winkowski says about naysayers, "the world would be awfully dull if we all believed the same thing"), we covered everything from Michael Jackson's whereabouts to why estate-sale diamonds might make for a troubled marriage.
More from YourTango: Dinner For Two: A Heartwarming Valentine's Day Dinner
YT: Ok, just out of curiousity. What do you think about Michael Jackson? Did you see the CNN "ghost" tape?
I heard a producer say that it was ultimately the shadow of someone walking across the room. So that was definitely not a ghost. Now, I was not invited to Michael's funeral, but I have to think he has not crossed over at this point. I doubt if he's going to cross over until he's 100 percent satisfied that his kids are going to be OK because I think he was an ultimate father.
YT: Do you have a sense of where Michael is?
Probably 85 percent of the time, he's watching where his kids are. And then the rest of the time, he's having a grand time running around spying on everyone else's houses, just seeing what they're doing. He's pure energy. He can go wherever he wants just by thinking about it.
YT: So you attend a lot of funerals to help tie up loose ends. How do you help people get over losing a spouse?
I can bring closure, especially if it's an unexpected death. If it was a long-term illness, they've likely already prepared for this to happen. I get invited to funerals, and sometimes it's just "where's the key to the safety deposit box?" and other times it's "does he want me to sell the house?" or "what school does he want the kids to go to?" It can be something that's just that simple.
YT: How long do earthbound ghosts stay around?
They stay around usually until their business has been resolved. People can be attached to their personal items. You do not EVER want to buy diamonds from an estate sale. I'll almost guarantee you'll bring an earthbound ghost home with you. Women like their diamonds whether they're alive or dead.
More from YourTango: 5-Minute Survey: What Are Your Best Qualities? Enter To Win $100!
YT: Have you dealt with someone who's bought an engagement ring only to find a ghost comes along with it?
Oh yeah. Even had it reset and there's still an issue. And that's never going to be a happy marriage because that ghost is just going to aggravate and aggravate until they end up getting a divorce. The Lure of the Engagement Ring