EVANSTON — Grief and the hope that lost loved ones are still with us somehow are emotions that most people have probably experienced. For the dozens of people who attended an event with Jo’Anne Smith, known as the Salt Lake Medium, at Evanston’s Roundhouse on Thursday, Sept. 13, those emotions played a role in that attendance.
Smith, who said she has been able to communicate with spirits since she was a young child, spent a couple of hours that evening sharing her skills, along with lots of tears and even some laughter, with those who went to the Roundhouse that evening hoping to receive a message or some kind of sign. Grandparents, parents, spouses, siblings, children and friends — Smith said she was receiving and passing on messages from all.
Smith has made several other visits to Evanston for “Spirit Connection” events. She said she loves the Roundhouse and the abundant energy of the place. In fact, her website said she will be returning to the Roundhouse later this fall for another event.
Smith’s sister, Jane Lancaster, provided the introduction and some background information on her sister. She said psychic and channeling gifts run in their family, with a grandmother from Scotland possessing abilities.
According to both Lancaster and Smith, these abilities made for a difficult childhood when Smith saw and heard things “she didn’t want to see.” For most of her life, Smith said she tried to repress them until about six years ago when she decided to embrace them in an effort to help people find healing.
Lancaster said her sister has psychic abilities, meaning the ability to sense things and see events before they happen, and is also a medium, meaning she is able to receive messages from those who have passed on, including animals. Lancaster said Smith’s channeling abilities include all five senses, meaning she can see, hear, smell, taste and feel what spirits are sharing with her.
Smith said her ability is “like a game of charades in my head.” She said oftentimes she doesn’t understand what is being shown to her but the living people she speaks with usually do. “You leave your mind at the door and just say what you see,” she said.
While at one time she felt as if her abilities were a curse, Smith said she now views them as a gift because she’s able to help people heal from past events and losses. She said she also works extensively with people with addiction issues or thoughts of suicide. She said the spirits help her get to the root of what is bothering people and help them find healing as well.
Although there are certainly those who are skeptical about such things as psychics and the ability to communicate with the dead, there was no shortage of believers at the Roundhouse that evening. Bridger Valley residents Barbara Roitz and Summer Brown said they were convinced Smith was speaking to their loved ones, and Chris Hutchings described herself as a “groupie,” having been to numerous events with Smith before.
Smith herself said it’s still difficult to have her gifts.
“It’s a 24/7 job that never stops,” she said. “I never sleep.”
However, she said she believes the healing her gifts are able to bring to people, especially in small communities where she does most of her events, is worth a great deal of sacrifice.
“I get Facebook messages from people who were at events who didn’t themselves get messages from loved ones,” she said, “and they tell me it changed their lives.”