Every waking moment, Christopher Allan lives with an inescapable white noise, like a refrigerator humming, or background music at the supermarket.
When he tunes in, the quiet sharpens into focus. His physical world fades away. And, in a meditative state, he hears them — the voices whispering in his ear.
They belong to mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, lovers and friends, all attempting to communicate from what Allan calls “the great beyond” — with he, a psychic medium who claims to communicate with the dead, as their conduit.
“I think it’s important to show that there are no such things as goodbyes and that love simply doesn’t die,” Allan said, “and I’m merely an instrument to convey that message.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 death toll, Allan said his work is more critical than ever, and he will host his first live event since the start of the pandemic on Saturday night at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center — marking the first show of this kind in the theater’s 23-year history.
“The fact that I live and breathe this, it’s not just a matter of faith for me. It’s a matter of knowing — and I’m here to pass along that knowingness to people who might not get things as clearly as I do,” he said. “Being such a big skeptic myself, I feel like I’m the best person to empathize with the uncertainty of things. Now, with all the conflicts in the world, people are looking within more than ever, and looking for answers.”
Allan’s gifts began manifesting when he was just an infant, the 34-year-old said, while growing up on Long Island — the stomping grounds of “every medium who’s worth noting,” he pointed out. At 2 months old, he emigrated from Bogota, Colombia, and into the arms of his adoptive parents, who brought him home on the Fourth of July and hosted a big meet-and-greet in his honor, surrounding him with love.
But before long, they would be rushing their baby to the hospital, over and over again, as he struggled to breathe, his skin turning blue from severe asthma. And as the doctors evaluated him, Allan says he remembers leaving his body and hovering over himself, watching.
“That has nothing to do with talking to people that have passed on,” he said, “but looking back, I realize that was showing myself that I, at least, was more than just the skin and bone version of my physical self.”
By age 8, the young boy could sense and hear spirits around him, he said. They would distract him from his schoolwork in class and affect his mood — and so he finally decided to tell his father, a steadfast skeptic, and his mother, who had a foundation in faith and spirituality.
“I had both parents kind of looking at me going, ‘Either we have to commit him, or embrace him and go along this journey with him’ — and thank God my dad decided how much he loved me, that maybe I had something to teach him,” Allan said. “It snowballed into something I couldn’t keep to myself.”
As a teenager, his depressive and anxious spells intensified, only relenting once he passed along each spirit’s message to their designated loved ones. Then, on September 11, 2001, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center killed nearly 3,000 people — some related to Allan’s classmates.
And with that, the floodgates opened, he said.
Overwhelmed by the volume of messages, Allan leaned on his guidance counselor and chorus teacher for support, who helped him arrange readings with his grieving peers.
“Watching the towers come down and seeing all the death and sadness around me from that event helped me open up and embrace my ability and be able to share it with people,” Allan said, “and I have been doing so ever since.”
These days, Allan is able to be “as normal of a person as I try to be,” he said with a laugh, having developed enough control over his abilities in his day-to-day life. A reading never feels like an earth-shaking experience, or a surge of electricity, or physically talking to dead people, he said, like how it’s sometimes depicted in pop culture.
But it’s always on standby, he said, and it can’t be shut off.
“It’s not this crazy jolt of information, it’s just this very subtle experience — and that’s why so many people miss it,” he said. “But if you pay attention or you learn just to calm down and focus within and don’t be so distracted by what’s around you physically, you’ll pick up on it. It’s really like having a daydream awake.”
To date, he has channeled his ability tens of thousands of times, from private readings and live events — even bachelorette parties on the East End, he noted — to reading audience members on “Maury,” where he has served as the talkshow’s resident medium since 2017.
“To this day, I’ve never had a scary memory or experience with a spirit. It’s never that,” he said. “I know it sounds corny, but I feel, all the time when I do this work, the feeling of love, and there’s nothing scary about that. Whenever I’m doing a reading, I feel I’m being hugged by my mom.”
He paused, taking a deep breath. She first fell ill about a year ago, he explained, and he not only saw it coming, but he warned her. It would be a fall, he said, and she shrugged him off until his vision came true. Her pacemaker had corrected an irregular heart rhythm and jolted her in the process, causing her to slip and hit her head on a coffee table.
Allan found her in a pool of blood, he recalled, and while she survived the fall, her health deteriorated during her four-month stay in the hospital. When he sensed her time was nearing, he brought her home — just as she had done for him all those years ago.
“I kept on thinking, ‘I’m able to pay it forward to my mom,’ I was able to bring her home,” he said. “My mom was my biggest fan, always sitting in the back of the audience of all my shows — and this will be the first show where I feel like my mom will be on the stage with me, helping me.”
With every reading, Allan comes closer to answering one of humanity’s most-asked questions: “What happens when we die?” he said. From his understanding, the afterlife does not exist in the sky, or on a cloud, or another stratosphere, he said. It’s right here, “kind of like Facebook or the internet,” he said, and it’s accessible to everyone.
“Everybody has this ability in some way,” he said, “and in a perfect world, mediums would not exist because everybody would be mediums and everybody would know that we’re always surrounded by love — and our loved ones are always next to us.”
The first time Allan connected with his mother after she died, she told him that she had stepped outside her house and “felt everything” — from the bushes to the soil beneath her feet, as if Earth was a living, breathing being that could communicate with her, he recalled.
“She said she felt that before she met my father and went to the next place. So that’s such a cool thing,” Allan said. “Even pets live on, even insects and spiders that we all love and hate, they live on, too. Anything that has energy cannot be destroyed. It is alive in some form and it continues to exist after the physical ending.
“My mom and my beliefs and my work have taught me nothing dies, nothing can be destroyed, it just changes form,” he continued. “And the next world is a lot closer than we think.”