Some producer spotted the footage, made it part of the Court TV trailer for "Haunting Evidence," and voilà: Oliver became Creepy Eye Guy.
In Richmond, he's more than that. Oliver, who grew up in Charlottesville, is a familiar face here as part-owner of the Aquarian Bookshops in Carytown and Willow Lawn. He's a mega-star in Japan, where people know him as "Action Adventure Psychic," his two-hour specials draw as many as 23 million viewers. Now he's starring in the new, unscripted, half-hour show on Court TV wherein two psychics and a ghost hunter investigate unsolved crimes.
Oliver, a medium, joins psychic profiler Carla Baron and paranormal investigator Patrick Burns at long-cold crime scenes to see what they can detect. The June 14 premiere involved the mysterious murder of Amanda Tusing one rainy night in 2000 along an Arkansas highway.
The investigators, Oliver says, are given only the most basic details of the case: where the girl's car was found and where she was found dead.
Baron is given to sharing emotional impressions: "I hear her here. She hasn't crossed over. That poor thing."
Burns plays a small part. With an arsenal of ghost-hunting gadgets, he detects a 10-degree spike in temperature he says means a haunting.
Oliver steals the show. He describes Tusing accurately (delicate with auburn hair) and says correctly that she died with no signs of violence. "She just quietly goes to sleep," he says. "She very quietly goes into death."
Baron and Oliver both conclude that the murderer posed as a police officer to get Tusing to come with him, then drugged her. At the end of the show, Oliver actually describes the killer and gives detailed directions to the house of the man he believes was involved in the murder. But the cameras don't go there.
Aw, why not? That's for legal reasons, Oliver explains psychic conclusions aren't sufficient evidence for police to search a house.
"It's very frustrating," he admits.
In a forthcoming episode, however, Oliver says he discovered a piece of physical evidence connected with the death of a teenager. Police found blood on the object he won't say what it was and may use it for their investigation.
What Oliver hopes to do with the show, he says, is bring psychic abilities into the mainstream.
"I want that 12-year-old living in the West End of Richmond who saw dead people, who's having psychic visions, to see people like me on TV," Oliver says. That way, young psychics can work from an early age to develop their abilities, he says.
"The next generation, 20 years from now, is going to be scary," Oliver says, narrowing his eyes. "That's what I think."
"Haunting Evidence" airs at 10:30 p.m. Wednesdays on Court TV. SClick here for more News and Features