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Wife Swap Mom: 'I Wouldn't Put Anything Past' Balloon Boy's Dad

Sheree Silver is the psychic who, for an episode of the TV series "Wife Swap" left Florida for a week to live with the Heene family in Colorado earlier this year.  In that episode, which originally aired in the spring, Silver remarks on camera that the show will be her destiny. Still, she didn't quite expect that the Heenes would make world news yesterday when it was feared that the youngest member of the family, six-year-old Falcon Heene, had accidentally flown off in his dad's makeshift silver balloon. He was later found safe at home and speculation grew that the whole incident had been a publicity stunt. Silver, reached at home in St. Augustine, was gracious enough to answer a few questions:

As a psychic, did you predict this at all?

Yes. This morning I woke up and felt the need to call First Coast News [the TV station in Jacksonville].  My children had been cast in an Edgar Allan Poe play at the Limelight Theatre. They were all set to put me on the news for that, and within two hours, [I saw on CNN that Falcon was feared to be in the runaway balloon]. But you know, I didn't sense danger; I didn't pick it up. I wasn't panicked.

Did you stay in touch with the Heene family after filming was over?
I actually did. I sent presents to the boys, care packages.

People are now speculating that the father, Richard Heene, may have staged a hoax.
I wouldn't put anything past Richard...

He really was a fearless man, no sense of danger or worrying. At one point he was acting out and being very aggressive -- much ruder than they even showed you on the episode. He was yelling, and I asked, "Don't you care that you look like a lunatic?" And he said, "No, I don't care about anything."

My job as his "wife" was to take care of his flying saucer -- carry it, clean it.  One of the boys jumped in the saucer then!  He had an actual spaceship that too up the whole garage -- which was a mess, I don't even know where Falcon got to hide.

Richard was so eccentric, so out there.  He would do everything to advance his science. I mean, unles you're a funded scientist, you have to raise money yourself.

How much did you make to be on "Wife Swap"?
We were paid $20,000 to be on the first show, and a little bit more for the second episode.

Was Richard Henne being himself all the time, or was he exaggerating or acting?
I absolutely believe some of it was acting. Both [he and his wife] took acting lessons in Hollywood. That's what he told me. They moved to Colorado because of the tornadoes.

How did you find out about the Heene family being in the news today?
You know how, during the show, he threw milk at me? Then [the producers] took me to the hairdresser? Well, that hairdresser called me and said, "Turn on the news! Richard's pulled a major publicity stunt!" And I saw the spaceship flying.

Well, I hope the episode ends up being good for your business.
Thanks. I would very much like to help more people. Most of what I do is psychic readings, hypnosis; I help people with childbirth, pregnancy. On my first episode of "Wife Swap" [when I was placed with a different family], I hypnotized the dad to stop gambling and the son to sleep in his own bed.  I'm the breadwinner of the family but everyone's been on edge due to the economy.  But I didn't stage this!  

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Deirdra Funcheon

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