In touch with the afterlife

October 6, 2014

Photos by Heather Rousseau/The Herald

Rick Hayes can sense people who have moved on.
Not only that, the Jasper resident connects with them and shares what they want to convey with those of us still alive.
As a psychic medium, Hayes, who graduated from Heritage Hills High School in 1976 and the University of Florida in 1981, has facilitated that connection for hundreds of people through consultations. He has also shared his abilities on television through several documentaries, on the radio via shows, and by writing four books and two e-books. He was named Medium of the Year by the Paranormal Awards Association for 2013 and 2014 and recognized as one of the ďTop 100 Psychics and Astrologers in AmericaĒ in a book of the same title.

Rick is the owner of LifesGift , a company founded in 2003 through which Hayes shares his gifts. Hayes also has three adult children.

What do you call yourself ó a psychic, a medium?
Based on the industry, Iíd be more considered a medium because itís connections with your loved ones in spirit. But at the same time Iím titled as a psychic medium. Because of the connections, Iím able to hear some things about whatís in a personís life ahead. But Iím not 100 percent right when it comes to predictions. Iím 98.4, but Iím not 100 percent. I feel that we have a gift that is called choice and we can choose how we live our life and how we want to direct our life. So if there is something given to us that is to be, then we have the choice to follow that path or choose not to and go in a different direction.

Do you feel like this is a God-given gift or an ability that youíve developed, or the combination of both?
First of all, I believe in our creator. I know our creator. I make it a point each day to do what people define as pray. I connect with the one that created me. I do that on a daily basis, because I know without that entity, that life would be not what Iím supposed to live it. I believe weíre all created with many gifts, including the gift of knowing that our loved ones are around us, we are meant to know that. As we grow up, weíre taught basically that itís imagination, itís a coincidence, imaginary friends. But we begin blocking these gifts weíve been given. My focus is to share with everyone, to involve yourself in knowing that you have the same abilities.
I donít feel that Iím special because of this; I feel that we all have this. Itís just a matter of believing in yourself and believing in that higher power. So can you develop them along the way? Absolutely. Iíve been in the public for the last 12 years, definitely have developed them even more, even though theyíve always been there. If you do something every day, youíre going to connect with it more every day. And thatís what has happened for me.

Rick Hayes spoke to a room of about 100 people about their loved ones who have died during an event at the Ramada Jasper and Conference Center on Sept. 20.

When did you fully discover you had this ability?
Around 4 or 5. I can recall friends coming over and asking, ďWhere is Ricky?Ē, ďOh, heís back there playing with his imaginary friends.Ē And they werenít. Growing up here, in a conservative area, I kept these abilities to myself. I didnít want people to think something was wrong with me, or that I was weird.

What career path did you pursue originally?
In college I studied architecture; I also took some marketing courses. I went into architecture because I love residential design and I still do; but I wasnít into the commercial side. I got dissolusioned with it because I ended up working in the commercial area. So I switched and went into marketing.
What made you decide to make the leap and share your ability?
That change happened about 12 years ago. I was working in the corporate world and I had a friend that was going through something personally. I was basically told to tell her some things. And I was scared, because I liked my job; I didnít want to get fired. But I did (share). A few days later she came to my office and told me that because of what I shared with her, it brought a lot of comfort to her. Then she looked at me and said, ďYouíre selfish because youíve got something and you could be helping others but youíre keeping it to yourself.Ē I never looked at it like that. But when she said it, I thought that I really am being selfish, I should be sharing this and helping others. So I went for it. That was in the fall of 2002. We started LifesGift in 2003.

How did you start participating in national documentaries?
I had no intentions of doing that, but (it happened) because of what I was given and because of word of mouth, which is amazing. I was first contacted by a Fox News affiliate that was doing a spot about the Navy ship in Evansville about 10 years ago. As far as national television, the first documentary I did was with the SciFi network. It was a documentary on the first possession in America. The producers contacted me because theyíd heard about me. That led to another company affiliated with the Travel Channel contacting me to be a part of the production called the ďMost Terrifying Places in America.Ē And now Iím working on a project with the Discovery Channel now. And it continues.

Has your life changed since youíve started being recognized nationally for your abilities?
Yes, but I really work hard on just being me. If I allow all those things that come along with fame to change me, I know my abilities will change as well, because I wonít be who I am. No matter what happens, I will be me. Thatís the way it has to be.

How do you deal with the skeptics?
I share that it is OK to be skeptical. Itís just simply saying that youíre still learning to understand. I put that in my books.
Weíre all skeptical in some way, in some area, and it is a good thing. If we all believed the same, if we all thought the same, there would be no learning. There would be no growth in life. Weíre created to have our own choice of beliefs and thoughts so that we can learn from each other. So if someone says to me, ďI donít believe anything youíre saying.Ē I say, ďThatís OK. One day you will understand.Ē

What is your day like?
My daily events are private consultations. I also have group events. And then Iím invited to be on radio shows and television appearances. I travel all over the United States. Some of the places Iíve frequented are Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Tennessee, Florida ó it might be easier to say which states Iíve not been to. Iíve also been to Canada. I do have clients overseas, but we use Skype for our consultations. And I have been on British radio (via telephone). Itís an amazing life. I feel very, very blessed.

And you still choose to live in Jasper as opposed to New York or some other big city?
This is home. I left here and went to college and had no intentions of coming back. The way my life circulated, I came back and lived near this area for several years. Fourteen years ago, I had the opportunity to move back here. My family lives here and around here. This is home.

Interview by Herald Staff Writer Candy Neal. For more information about Rick visit

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