Maureen Hancock says she's a pretty typical mom. She gets her two sons off to school each morning, plays kickball in the afternoons and puts dinner on the table at night.
Oh, and she also gets messages from dead people.
Hancock hears voices and sees things from spirits and passes it to loved ones here on Earth. It's specific stuff, she says, with names and dates.
"It's not just, 'Does anyone know of someone who died in a traffic wreck?' '' she said.
The self-described "Medium Mom'' hosts shows to bring the living and departed together using her psychic powers. Called Postcards from Heaven, the next one is set for June 13 at the Don CeSar Beach Resort and Spa.
During the shows, Hancock, 41, scans the audience listening for voices trying to send a message to a particular person. "I'll hear something like, 'I'm her mother. I'm her mother. Ask her about Betty,''' Hancock said.
The messages are comforting, uplifting and never bad. (Only God is privy to that information, she says.) When the mood gets too tense, as it often does, Hancock, a former stand-up comic, throws in some humor.
Hancock hopes people leave with a better understanding of death and a new outlook about living life to the fullest. A practicing Catholic, she wants the living to know death is not the end.
"I have a lot of faith,'' she said recently from her home in Massachusetts. "I'm coming from a different place than a lot of psychics. I don't even like to associate myself with psychics. I'm very upbeat. I help plant the seed of hope that there is something else.''
In addition to Postcards from Heaven, Hancock consoles parents who have a lost a child and works with cancer and terminally ill patients. She also is writing a book, Medium Mom.
While mediums can be entertaining, critics caution against taking too seriously anyone who claims to have supernatural powers.
"As enticing as it might be and as much as you might want to believe it, there is no good scientific evidence that any of these psychics are genuine,'' said Gary Posner, founder and executive director of the Tampa Bay Skeptics.
Hancock says she didn't ask to hear voices and admits the "gift can be a burden.'' She started hearing the voices after getting into a serious car accident in 1992 and believes angels pulled her from the vehicle and guided her recovery.
Since then, she has tried to do everything she can to help others find hope and healing, even if her "family reunions'' sometimes freak her out, too.
"I think people will be surprised that I'm pretty normal,'' she said.
Susan Thurston can be reached at (813) 225-3110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.