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Dead Serious

Mary Ann Winkowski is the basis for Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character on the CBS drama “Ghost Whisperer.” We talked to her about where her televised supernatural world ends and her real one begins.
Whether you believe what Mary Ann Winkowski says she can do is not important to her. She knows it is difficult for some people to accept that she can see dead people who have yet to move on to the afterlife, communicate with them and help facilitate their journey to what lies beyond the world of the living.

“Not everyone needs to believe this,” she says good-naturedly. “I’m not going to try to change your mind.”

If her abilities sound familiar — like the premise of a supernatural-themed TV series, perhaps — it’s because the CBS drama “Ghost Whisperer,” starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, is loosely based on Winkowski’s life. She works as a consultant for the show, and the script for each episode is delivered to Winkowski’s North Royalton home so she can suggest ways to make the stories truer to her own experiences as a paranormal investigator.

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