Rosemary Altea

Rosemary Altea (born Rosemary Edwards) is a British author who describes herself as a medium and healer. She has appeared on various programs, including Larry King Live, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and featured in the series premiere of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! alongside mentalist Mark Edward. She has written six books and claims to have a "healing foundation".

Rosemary Altea
Rosemary Edwards

Leicester, England
OccupationSelf-described medium and healer

Early lifeEdit

Altea was born Rosemary Edwards[1] in Leicester, England to Lilian and William Edwards, and has two brothers and three sisters.[2] Rosemary claims to have had psychic visions from a young age, causing parents to threaten to commit her to a mental asylum.[1] Her formal education ended at the age of 16 when she left school and then got married when she was 19. She has one daughter born in 1970.[2] She divorced and fell upon financial hardship at age 35.[1][2]


In November 1981, Rosemary claims to have had a vision at night, after which she felt open to the possibility of a spirit world.[3] The same year, struggling to make ends meet and take care of her daughter, she began charging £3.50 per session for psychic reading and adopted the name Rosemary Altea.[1]

In 2001 Altea inherited a farm in Dorset, Vermont from Llewella Day, an elderly cancer victim. Ms. Day changed her will shortly before she died, thereby cutting her family out and leaving the $740,000 farm to Altea, with the desire it remain a working farm. Altea successfully fought Day's family's attempts to invalidate the will, and—against Ms. Day's wishes—demolished the farm house to make the farm into "a healing foundation".[4][5]

On 26 January 2007 Altea appeared on Larry King Live with skeptic James Randi. When asked on the show to take the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, she argued that she "[doesn't] believe there's $1 million".[6]

In 2009, Altea learned that her bookkeeper, Denise M. Hall, had stolen $200,000 from her over a period of seven years, using four credit cards to obtain cash advances, forging cheques and giving herself unauthorised electronic paychecks all under Altea's name.[7][8]


Altea was featured on Penn & Teller: Bullshit! in the show's premiere episode, "Talking to the Dead." Kevin Christopher of the Skeptical Inquirer wrote that the segment on Altea "was a nice expose of Rosemary Altea during a taped reading arranged by Showtime. Viewers got a clear picture of how she worked the small group of people present for readings prior to the taping in order to glean information for later use. Skeptic and mentalist Mark Edward replicated the cold reading tactics she used and showed how her publicist, Joni Evans, seeded the group with people whose biographies were already known to Altea in order to boost her on-camera success." Critics describe Altea as a clear example of hot reading.[9]

Investigator Joe Nickell believes modern day self-proclaimed mediums like Altea are avoiding the Victorian tradition of dark rooms, spirit handwriting and flying tambourines as these methods risk exposure. They instead use "mental mediumship" tactics like cold reading or gleaning information from sitters beforehand. Group readings also improve hits by making general statements with conviction, which will fit at least one person in the audience.[10]

Skeptic and author Michael Shermer concludes in Why People Believe Weird Things Altea learned cold reading by trial and error, and honestly misattributes her success to psychic ability rather than deliberate deception.[3] However, Shermer also alleges that during his appearance alongside Altea on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1995, Altea used information obtained about a guest through an earlier discussion in a limo ride to the studio, an example of hot reading.[3]


  • Altea, Rosemary; Altea, Samantha Jane (2015) Angels in Training An Inspirational Guide for Everyday Life self-published through
  • Altea, Rosemary (2007). A Matter of Life and Death: Remarkable True Stories of Hope and Healing. Jeremy P. Tarcher ISBN 978-1-58-542553-2
  • Altea, Rosemary (2004). Soul Signs: An Elemental Guide to Your Spiritual Destiny. Rodale Press ISBN 978-1-57-954948-0
  • Altea, Rosemary (2004). Give the Gift of Healing: A Concise Guide to Spiritual Healing. William Morrow & Company ISBN 978-0-06-073811-2
  • Altea, Rosemary (2000). You Own the Power: Stories & Exercises To Inspire & Unleash The Force Within. William Morrow ISBN 978-0-68-815276-5
  • Altea, Rosemary (1997). Proud Spirit: Lessons, Insights and Healing Stories. William Morrow ISBN 978-0-68-814998-7
  • Altea, Rosemary (1995). The Eagle and The Rose: A Remarkable True Story. Warner Books ISBN 978-0-44-651969-4

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Wong, Jan (14 December 2011). Lunch With. Random House LLC. ISBN 9780385673488. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Rosemary Altea: Biography" (PDF). William Morris Talent Agency. 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2007.
  3. ^ a b c Shermer, Michael (1997). Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time. New York: Freeman. ISBN 0-8050-7089-3. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Psychic appeals court ruling". Rutland Herald. 10 September 2001.
  5. ^ "Altea's website". Archived from the original on 18 June 2007. Retrieved 8 July 2007.
  6. ^ "Altea and James Randi". Larry King Live. 26 January 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2006.
  7. ^ "Woman accepts guilt in defrauding psychic". Rutland Herald. 14 July 2009. Archived from the original on 17 July 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
  8. ^ "Feds: Bookkeeper steals fortune from psychic". Rutland Herald. 11 June 2009. Archived from the original on 14 June 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
  9. ^ Christopher, Kevin (May–June 2003). "Penn & Teller series exposes paranormal B.S. and gains audience". Skeptical Inquirer. Retrieved 28 December 2006.
  10. ^ "Investigative Files: John Edward: Hustling the Bereaved". CSI. November–December 2001. Retrieved 12 May 2011.

External linksEdit