The Psychic & the Medium
What is a psychic?
It is highly likely that we are all psychic in some way. We are all familiar with phrases like "I knew that you would call" and "I had a feeling that this (or that) would happen." Most people dismiss this without giving it much thought. It is also likely that in the past, before the evolvement of modern man, we were more finely attuned to these things and this enabled us to stay ahead of the game in more senses than one! In some, these abilities to attune to the energies of people and the world around them are closer to the surface than most. This is the psychic.
This ability enables them to link into the feelings and emotions of those around them. Normally they are not able to form a link with the Spirit realm. It is usually said that they are obtaining information from the 'aura' of the person receiving the reading. This enables them to make informed statements about them and may lead to past and present information being used to provide a possible future outcome or insight to a given situation. This includes objects, rooms and buildings, and is because the psychic is working on the material level in the physical world. A well-known observation that you are likely to hear is; "All mediums are psychics, but not all psychics are mediums." It must be said that we have no fondness for this saying as it implies a superiority over one discipline by the other. This is not correct, for each is of equal value when used appropriately.
Research into Psychic phenomena is undertaken by the scientific community and this study is known as Parapsychology. In particular research is carried out by members of the Parapsychological Association which is an international professional society founded in 1957. Researchers tend to have a broad base of interest in the subject and come from many disciplines including, physics, psychology, philosophy, statistics, mathematics, computer science, chemistry, anthropology, and history. Their definition of Parapsychology "is the scientific and scholarly study of certain unusual events associated with human experience."
You may also come across the term Psi. This is a neutral term developed in the study of parapsychological phenomena. It can be a useful phrase to use when trying to describe psychic and mediumistic functioning as a whole and is found in most parapsychology reporting.
The reason that we find it appropriate to mention parapsychology when discussing the difference between the psychic and medium is because of the profound implication eventual scientific acceptance of such phenomena has upon our understanding of both ourselves and the world. This is demonstrated in the Parapsychological Association's own literature where they list the specific interest for each scientific discipline:
Physicists tend to be interested in parapsychology because of the implication that we have a gross misunderstanding about space and time and the transmission of energy and information.
Biologists are interested because psi implies the existence of additional, unexplained, methods of sensing the world.
Psychologists are interested for what psi implies about the nature of perception and memory.
Philosophers are interested because psi phenomena specifically address many age- old philosophical problems, including the role of the mind in the physical world, and the nature of the objective vs. the subjective.
Theologians and the general public tend to be interested because personal psi experiences are often accompanied by feelings of profound, ineffable meaning. As a result, psi is thought by some to have "spiritual" implications.
These may be heady scientific realms for most people's tastes, but they are revealing and important to us as progressive scientific thinking and supportive results counter the criticism that "all this stuff is the result of weak minded people, wishful thinking and even fraud."
For example, research into one area, telepathy, has demonstrated in over 7,000 sessions conducted world wide, by twenty four investigators, that test subjects scored an average of 34% in selecting the correct target image when transmitted by a sender. The statistical average for random selection would be 25%. Although this doesnt sound much, this is described as being a "highly significant result" and is probably more so if you consider that laboratory conditions are not the best environment for this type of work and that 34% was an average, so some people were scoring much higher that this at times.
It is both correct and proper that the scientific community at large is sceptical about psychic research provided this unbiased, after all it is the job of science to measure and evaluate until an absolute proof of certainty can be demonstrated. Unfortunately, despite some of the findings that have been available for over one hundred years in some cases, acceptance of some of the things that are regularly demonstrated by gifted people would shake the very foundations of scientific wisdom. In so doing, it demolishes the egos of many powerful figures by showing what they had been teaching and holding as absolute truth is wrong. Therefore, there is powerful lobby that will resist, ridicule and seek to bury such findings that prove an embarrassment. At its very least, this is "sweeping under the carpet"; at worst it actually harms the scientific advancement of human understanding. A very simple example of this prejudice is the fact that sciences leading organ 'Nature' will not publish any PSI research what so ever.
In other sections of this website you will find information about various types of divination that may be used by psychics and mediums, scrying in its many forms, tarot, runes and many other forms of focus. For this is what it is, a method of opening up to the subjective clairvoyance of the experienced practitioner who can then make an interpretation of events past, present and future. (or at least possible outcomes, but this is an area worthy of its own essay) Once again we are forced to consider this concept of psi functioning being independence of time and space.
Marlene will sometimes use tarot for those wanting private sittings. Often a person will ask for a tarot reading almost as an expectation as to how things are done, even though it is not necessarily the case. A tool such as tarot may be useful where the practitioner knows the sitter, because the cards will take the reading into areas that are unknown to the reader. Marlenes own use of cards tends to be as a focus for subjective clairvoyance which then takes its own direction as Spirit links form. Tarot cards also have another very down to earth attribute, they give the sitter something to look at during the reading!
What is a medium?
Mediums are often referred to as "Spiritualist Mediums." This implies that they follow the Spiritualist Religion, many do, but others do not. Marlene does not wish to knock this worthy faith but she does not have any desire to be labelled as a Spiritualist, rather as a spiritual person (as we all are!) As a communicator correctly pointed out to us when discussing this subject that "labels are for pots of jam."
The medium has the abilities of the psychic but has attunement with and is able to link to the Spirit Realm under the right conditions. These abilities manifest themselves in the many forms of mediumship, such as Clairvoyance, clairsentience, clairaudience, healing, trance control etc. As the medium develops they will become attuned to one or more of these functions and able to control them better.
This link to the spirit realm comes through the subconscious mind of the medium and is translated by the conscious mind into sensing, seeing and hearing, enabling the medium to describe the things that the Spirit Communicator is trying to convey. This process can break down if the conscious mind gets in the way of the communication and that is why development and good practice are so essential.
As you can see, both psychic and mediumistic of functioning require you to be able to tune, control and limit the ability or communication to the appropriate times. Picking up psychic information when walking around the supermarket, for example, is not a good thing and can reveal a lack of discipline. Once a link has been established, Spirit communicators will often be very keen to work with the medium and this may be inappropriate and intrusive at times. This is usually over enthusiasm on their part and they may not be aware of their links own situation at the time. It can be a particular problem when they are relaxed prior to sleep, a time when the conscious barriers are at their lowest. If this is the case the communicator or influence must be told politely and firmly "Not now."
This is why it is essential to be of sound mind and able to make balanced judgments and be able to exercise self-discipline when working in this way.
That is just a brief overview of mediumship. If you care to read on, we will look a little more closely at the many facets of mediumship, what might be going on and what can get in the way.
We will use this term as a useful phrase that covers the following three facets of mediumship - Clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, that being where the medium is working without the aid of any tools such as Tarot Cards. Obtaining links cold is a wonderfully pure way to work, but it must be recognised that it gives the medium an equally wonderful opportunity to fall flat on their face!
To see without the eyes. Harry Edwards used a term the mirror of the mind onto which images of people, places, events are projected subjectively onto this inner mirror or screen. For many, this may start off as just a blank image or a mist which eventually begins to clear revealing the information that has been provided by the Spirit communicator or workers. Some mediums report that everything they see is never completely clear of this veil and therefore are obliged to make a degree of interpretation in what they are describing. Others see perfectly clearly on most occasions that influences draw close. That is assuming that the communicator wishes or desires to be seen and at times those in Spirit can be unwilling or unable to come forward sufficiently to enable the medium to accurately describe them or deliver the message that they bring.
Some mediums posses the ability to objectively see Spirit people and this objective image is overlaid on their normal field of vision along with events and situations. If you attend a good demonstration of mediumship, the medium may ask if they can come to a certain member of the audience and go on to describe in detail a person that is standing next to them along with information that they want passed onto the recipient. If you talk to this type of medium, they may well tell you that they have always had an ability to see those who are in Spirit.
A ball of light may guide some mediums to who they need to speak to in an audience, even though they may not be able to see objectively the Spirit communicator. This was the experience that inspired a friend of ours into many years of personal research and becoming a member of The Society for Psychical Research.
At the time he and his wife were seeking The Good Life existence and had moved to the Isle of Man. One evening our friend was drawn to attend a demonstration of mediumship. Feeling rather shy and self conscious, he slipped into the back row, hiding behind a large fellow in front of him and listened to what was going on. The usual unambiguous (to him) messages were delivered until the medium call out; I would like to come to the man at the back. (?) No, no, the man in the very back row, behind the very tall gentleman. He then went on to deliver to our friend a message that was meaningful and thought provoking. After the meeting our friend spoke to the medium and asked him how on earth he knew he was there! His reply was surprising. Because I could see a light above your head.
To hear without the ears. This is the ability to hear voices and sounds which come outside of our normal audio senses that enable us to listen to what is going on in the world around us, hold a conversation or if required, flee from danger. Clairaudience is the voice or sound that appears in the head of the medium, providing a flow of Spirit communication or information that the medium will then verbalise as the message from the Spirit communicator. It may be remembered that many famous mediums were clairaudient and would be seen on stage at demonstrations, holding conversations with an unseen third party. Instinctively, they will look towards the direction that the voices seem to be coming, this will often be towards the side and up slightly, as if addressing someone in the royal box. You will see some of the new generation of television mediums working in this way, such as Colin Fry. It was certainly the way in which those in the past have worked, such as Doris Collins, Mary Rogers and Ena Twigg.
As with all types of demonstrations, this cocking of the ear to one side can be quite theatrical and can be used by those who are less than genuine to put on a good act. As always, it is the credibility of the message that is important, not the messenger or its delivery.
Whilst speaking of clairaudience, we must provide a little warning here. When we talk of voices in the head, we are drawing a clear distinction between those who are genuinely mediumistic and those poor souls who are suffering from a mental aberration. Genuine communication will never be destructive or cause you to act in a way that is harmful to yourself and others. If an insidious little voice is telling a person to do harmful or destructive things, this is not genuine loving and noble Spirit communication and professional psychiatric help should be sought for those who are unfortunate enough to be afflicted by this dreadful condition.
To touch without the hand. (include taste and smell) This sensing ability is probably the most common among mediums and they can provide information by way of a sensing or intuitive knowing about a person, situation and event. The medium may experience physical sensations around their own body relating to the Spirit persons that draw close, this is particularly so in association with that persons passing, or what most would term as death. This may be a side effect of the process of drawing close, the act of which triggers memories within the discarnate person that they relate to the physical plain of existence. It may also be a deliberate act that enables the medium to pass on very evidential bits of information. The clairsentient may also become aware of feelings or symbols that require interpretation on their part to enable the message to be delivered to the recipient.
As Marlene is also a trance medium we have included a separate essay on this subject that you may wish to go back to. Briefly, the trance medium allows their own consciousness to be set to one side in a demonstration of complete trust in those that work with them, this enables Spirit communicators and workers to assume responsibility for control and well being of the mediums body and will then proceed to speak directly through the mediums vocal chords. This is also known as direct voice phenomena.
This is not a direct form of controlled mediumship, but a quite rare, spontaneous event. We know of one very respected and reliable person that has experienced this phenomena a number of times. It is where a voice appears out of thin air and is independent of the medium, although they are usually present. It is more likely to appear in a place that is charged with energy or the people experiencing the phenomena are capable of providing lots of physical energy that would enable it to occur. This voice will appear to be in the room as opposed to a voice or sound heard in clairaudience. The voice is often completely unexpected and audible to all those present.
In the case of our friend, he was sitting along with his now deceased wife and mother in the kitchen of their small terraced house. This was a few feet away from their séance room (front room) and at the time they where seated around the equally small dinning table drinking tea, The events of their last sitting were being discussed, when suddenly the conversation was interrupted by a loud, clear voice within the room that addressed them.
This is a remarkable form of mediumship where the facial features of the Spirit personality manifests over that of the medium. When genuine, this is quite extraordinary and clear for all to see and is effected by the generation of ectoplasm from the medium that forms a mask across their face. The features of Spirit personalities are then moulded or formed onto this pliable mask. Unfortunately, in most cases and due to the inability of ectoplasm to withstand direct, white light these sittings or demonstrations are held in very low or red light. This makes the formation difficult to see at times and is open to fraud, delusion and wishful thinking. It must be said that we have seen it demonstrated by some in a manner that left much to be desired, transfiguration must be discernable to all those who are seated in a position where they can clearly see the mediums face and all must be able to see the same thing. However, we also know that it can and does produce very dramatic results when demonstrated by a competent transfiguration medium..
Marlenes Spirit team has attempted transfiguration several times and we have witnessed some reasonable results during a couple of experimental sessions.
The most remarkable and unexpected transfiguration happened to the writer in a regular development circle. On this evening, numbers were low and due to the leaning of those present, it was decided to sit for the trance development of the two ladies concerned. As the sitting progressed it was quite obvious that one lady had a number of people with her and subtle facial changes were clearly discernable in the low, white light. Suddenly and fleetingly my late uncles face passed across hers, instantly recognisable and complete with glasses. Not full transfiguration in the most pure sense, but a very recognisable overshadowing.
Michael Bentine provides the most remarkable transfiguration account in his book The Door Marked Summer. The year is 1938 and it is an experiment conducted by his father, Adam and research colleagues, who where photographing proceedings with three different cameras. At the time they were working with the medium Edith Balmer who, during the sitting, sat in the Bentines drawing room in the light of a late summers afternoon with curtains half drawn to provide a little shade for the sitters eyes. During the experimental sitting they witnessed all manner of different faces appear over that of Mrs Balmer including a elderly judge in flowing court wig. Photographs were taken of Mrs Balmer, before, during and after the sitting. When independently developed, and with the exception of the first and last images which showed the medium sitting in the chair, all of the prints were fogged! Not one manifestation had been recorded by any of the three cameras present, despite what researchers had personally witnessed.
Also known as Materialisation. Another rare form of mediumship and one that is controversial, due in the main, to many supposed mediums who were proven to be fraudulent during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Unfortunately, this bad press still stigmatises this form of mediumship today and very few mediums are prepared to demonstrate their ability. The few who do, ensure that their séances are held under tight protocols that prevent, or at least reduce the chance of fraud on the part of the medium. (It must be said that this is not always deliberate) And that the sitters or guest can bring nothing into the room that could cause harm to the medium or other people present. These physical mediumship circles tend to be closed groups and the sitters tremendously protective of their medium or link. They are trusted and responsible individuals who are well aware of the dangers that the medium faces and the harm that they may come to if things were to go wrong, for example if someone shone a torch on the medium when they are producing ectoplasm, they could be very seriously burned by the rapid return of the substance to the body. The group will follow the correct procedures to the letter and remain dedicated and loyal to an experiment that will probably last for years with little or nothing to show for it at times. Least of all monetary gain.
All this effort does have a reward, if developed to a level that Spirit entities can use the ectoplasm generated by the medium (and sitters at times) to materialise into the appropriate shape and density required to make up a recognisable figure or part thereof, this can produce the most evidential of experience for the sitters or visitors. The conditions created in the séance room are arguably the closest environment that the realms of Spirit and physical can come together, working as one in harmony.
Not all mediums can produce ectoplasm, although it is believed to be present in all of us and those that do, may not be prepared to allow themselves to be used in such a way. It can be unpleasant to all concerned, medium, sitters and those coming through. Séances are conducted in total darkness, with the exception of low, red or infrared light as directed by the Spirit team working with the group. Total darkness is outside the normal experience of most people and many cannot tolerate being in such an unusual environment. Irrational fear of the darkness and claustrophobia can overtake them. We have seen a tough builder so unsettled that he wanted to leave the room and that was before anyone came to speak with us from Spirit or manifest. When they did, the communicator reassured the anxious gentleman that he had nothing to fear and that he was no more than an old dead man! Others may be apprehensive about what will actually take place during the séance. All these concerns are quite natural human emotions and are alleviated by familiarity and building the vital bond of trust and love that forms between the Spirit team and the group.
During a physical séance items are likely to be manipulated around the room by ectoplasmic rods, these articles will usually have small luminous tabs affixed to them so that they can be seen in the darkness and are objects deliberately left in the room as experimental tools. Anything not required in the proceedings is usually removed. Despite the speed in which things can move, great care and dexterity is demonstrated by the Spirit control, avoiding hitting or crashing into the sitters, even in tightly packed rooms.
We personally received what appears to be a communication from Marlenes grandmother written on the inside of two childrens chalkboards that were taped together. We have experienced physical manifestation and have been shaken by the hand by manifest visitors who displayed small child like hands, then large, manly hands in quick succession. The very first time we sat in a physical séance the very solid form of Marlenes late uncle came through, took our hands and swung them around. In life he had Downs and eventually passed away in his 50s He was always a great fan of football and was singing Football, football when he came shuffling up to us in his usual clumsy manner. He then proceeded to provide evidential information about his life that could not have been known to the medium. At the end of the sitting the medium, who was restrained in a quite heavy fireside chair by plastic cable ties, was levitated out of the cabinet in his chair and deposited with a thump in the middle of the room. No one was touched or had their toes squashed by the movement of the chair, no mean feat in such a very small room.
These are a few of the experiences that we have had, nothing we could say about this would convince the sceptic. Any experience of this nature is only meaningful to those present and in particular the recipients of that evidence or information that may have been given.. At times the most trivial sounding references can provide the most evidential proof of the survival of the human spirit. Most delightful was the ecstasy that a gentle kiss on the check brought to a friend, when her departed husband came through for her, provided the most evidential of information, then kissed her in this familiar manner before withdrawing.
Some time ago we were privileged to attend a talk given by Tom Harrison about the physical circle that was formed for his late mother Minnie in 1946, sitting until the mid 1950s when failing health forced her to stop.. The circle came together in the tiny back room of their friends bakers shop in Middlesbrough, at the time Minnie Harrison was 51. This group is unusual in that they achieved physical phenomena and full materialisation very quickly indeed, they had numerous visitors included several deceased relations and a North American Indian, Sunrise`. Many photographs were taken using infrared film in the total darkness and in subdued red light using fast Kodak film with a two minute exposure setting. Some show ectoplasm being generated from the mediums mouth. A photograph of Aunt Agg is very convincing as it show the figure of an elderly lady wrapped in what looks like a sheet with and overlarge head onto which a very clear and normal size face is projected. What is really interesting is that the figure becomes less dense towards the floor! As the materialised figures withdrew, they are reported to have melted back into the floor as if going through an invisible trap door, continuing to speak until they had almost disappeared.
Some may scoff at these descriptions and point to some sort of illusion or trickery, but what has to be remembered is motive. What motive would anybody have to collude with theirs fellows to produce these tricks over a sustained period when no one would see them and no financial gain was to be had?
Tom Harrison has produced a small book about the experiences of his mothers circle entitled Visits By Our Friends From The Other Side. His opening words say it all;
The purpose of this book .. To raise money for those admirable Charities dedicated to the nursing care of long suffering victims of cancer - which ravaged both my mother and my first wife for so many years
It happened as I have recounted it - without any financial or material gain ever being contemplated. My mother would have been abhorred at the very thought. Any motive therefore for deception, trickery or having to make something happen was completely non-existent.
My personal notes made immediately after each weekly sitting are the major source of information for this book. What you read are Facts not Fiction. Genuine eye - witness testimony.
Tom is very plainly spoken and we would guess that his words sum up just about everyones sincerity and dedication in connection with physical, materialisation mediumship.
It would be inappropriate not to mention the United Kingdoms most well known physical medium somewhere in this essay . Her mediumship and the eventual miss-carriage of justice that led to her demise is well reported, so nothing is to be gained in the retelling of the story on this page. But you can visit the official Helen Duncan website at www.helenduncan.org.uk
The Noah’s Ark Society was the body that represents this branch of mediumship and are “A world wide educational society for the promotion, development and safe practice of physical mediumship” They also produced a periodical entitled The Ark Review. Sadly the Society has closed up after many years of research.
The New Spiritual Science Foundation (Scole Experimental Group) is another group which has been closed. They produced A Basic Guide to the Development of Physical Phenomena using Energy which was very good. This is a different discipline, but the principles of good working practice are universal and this is a very informative handbook. It is possible that there are used copies around that are worth seeking out. See also ‘The Scole Experiment’ by Grant and Jane Solomon, which is a good overview of their work and ‘Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research’ Vol. 58, part 220. Dated November 1999. (This report runs to 452 pages).
Tom Harrisons book Visits by our Friends From the Other Side (ISBN0951453408 - paperback) is probably available from the Arthur Finlay College at Stansted Hall, Essex. www.snu.org.uk E-mail email@example.com
The New Spiritual Science Foundation www.psisci.force9.co.uk (Scole Experimental Group) also produce A Basic Guide to the Development of Physical Phenomena using Energy. This is a different discipline, but the principles of good working practice are universal and this is a very informative handbook.
SIR OLIVER LODGE (1851 - 1940) As a result of his research, concluded;
I have been in touch with the minds of certain people who have parted from their bodies. How can a mind get in touch with us when it has no body? It must borrow some material form; But because Spirits are discarnate it does not mean they have no bodies. They have substantial bodies, not made up of matter, but as I think of as ether."
We have used the term ectoplasm in the essay on physical or materialistation mediumship and indicated that it a material that is drawn from the medium and at times, sitters to enable work to be do in the séance room or provides the substance with which materialised manifestation can use to form.
Sceptics will often complain that no one knows what this elusive substance is, because no one has ever analysed any of it in a scientific manner. This is completely untrue. There is in fact, an abundance of evidence from top scientists that ectoplasm is real and is the motive force behind many psychic phenomena and materialisation.
One early and very notable researcher was Charles Richet (1850 - 1935) who, in 1913 was awarded the Nobel Laureate in Medicine in recognition for his work on anaphyaxis (hypersensitivity of tissues to a dose of antigen) He was the person that invented the term ectoplasm to describe the substance he was analysing and it comes from the Greek meaning literally 'exteriorized substance'. He found that ectoplasm in its first stage in both invisible to the naked eye and intangible, yet could still be photographed in the infra red spectrum. In its second stage he found that it became vaporous, liquid or solid and produced a smell similar to ozone. We ourselves, have been told by Spirit communicators that it contains high levels of ammonia which also adds to its rather unpleasant odour.
Richet was obviously perplexed by the enigma of his findings and observed;
There is ample proof that experimental materialization (ectoplasmic) should take definite rank as a scientific fact. Assuredly we do not understand it. It is very absurd, if a truth can be absurd.
Baron Von Schrenck-Notzing, a Munich physician, showed that ectoplasm is composed of leucocytes, which are white or colourless blood cells and epithelial cells from the various protective tissues of the body. Professor W.J. Crawford found that during a séance the medium, who was his test subject, reduced in weight very considerably. He also found that all the movements within the room where the result of manipulation by ectoplasmic rods. Research into the nature of ectoplasm is still undertaken today by a few who are prepared to risk reputation and ridicule by their peers. It does take a fair degree of personal research to find such information, but the International Survivalist Society www.survivalafterdeath.org site is very informative as is Victor Zammits site www.victorzammit.com
A key feature, or weakness of ectoplasm is it sensitivity to light and physical injury it can cause to the medium if something should go wrong. This can lead to burning, bruising and haemorrhaging of the mediums body, we must be in no doubt that, in the severest case, this could be terminal. We personally know a medium who was left covered in blood and haemorrhaging, when someone tried to enter the door of a temporary séance room that should have been locked. Even after they were cleaned up, it took several weeks before they recovered. The séance room must also be very clean, as there have been cases where fibres and other small pieces of debris have been found inside the mediums body after being inadvertently collected during the return of the ectoplasm.
Having thoroughly discussed materialisation, it is worth looking at other forms and aspects of physical phenomena.
Apports and Asports
These are material objects that appear or disappear in the séance room. The object are brought forward and materialised by the Spirit workers as small token gifts for the sitters present, at times they can be personally meaningful and we know of those who treasure some small item that they have been given by Spirit. When enquiring where they come from, we have been told that they are lost objects or have been borrowed from somewhere that they will not be missed, such as the red artificial rose given to one of our friends that had been removed from a funeral directors window display. Quite appropriate really!
Sometimes a small item is removed and this is termed as an asport, it is usually found at a later date in an unexpected place away from the room from which it was removed. The Scole Experimental Group, which are discussed in the Bottom Drawer section had an incredible and diverse number of objects apported into their sittings, including a fresh copy of a 1936 Daily Mirror newspaper. The paper was tested and found to be genuine in origin and actually browned with age as time passed as would be expected of the paper used at this time.
The manipulation of material or objects without the psychic or medium touching them. This was demonstrated under laboratory conditions by a number of people including Matthew Manning and Uri Geller during the 1970s . It is also known as psychokinesis (PK) These phenomena, along with dematerializatation or teleportation are also common features of poltergeist activity and are usually centred around an individual who is entering their early teenage years, a time of great physical changes within the human body.
The point here being that physical phenomena is occurring, empowered by unseen physical energy in a way science believes should not happen.
To expand on the theme of psychokinesis, it is as well to consider levitation. It must be said that at the time of writing we have never personally experienced this phenomena, although we would be very pleased to see it demonstrated. Levitation (and dematerialisation) certainly seems to have been an aspect of the Enfield Poltergeist case as noted in the Bottom Drawer.
The most impressive report of this phenomena must concern that of the Scottish medium, Daniel Dunglas Home. (1833 - 1886) Home famously performed an extraordinary feat of levitation at the London home of Lord Adare in 1868. After entering a trance, Home was witnessed to have floated out of a third floor window and then back into another window in the same room. At other times he handled red hot coals and put his head in a fire without being burned. Perhaps these things could be performed by modern illusionist, but these feats performed before Victorian researchers are impressive to this day.
As further validation, Homes was tested by none other than Sir William Crookes. The great scientist found no evidence of fraud and concluded that Home possessed an independent psychic force. A conclusion that never the less earned him ridicule and scorn from his peers.How might mediumship work?
It is believed that information of a psychic nature comes to us from the subconscious side of our minds and this is accepted as being a right brain hemisphere function. This information is then processed through the analytical left hand side so that it can be relayed to the person who desires the information or communication.
In the case of Spirit communication, Spirit tell us that they do this by drawing close and entering the aura when an influence (guide or communicator) wishes to impart some piece of information. As we know the aura is that field of energy that surrounds our bodies and all other living things.
The deeper the penetration into the aura, the greater the level of control and therefore the clearer and more precise the communication will become. Interestingly, we are told that the higher aspects of the aura are those closest to the body and around the head, rather like a dome. The further away, the more attuned they are to the physical being and therefore, ego. Taking this into consideration, it becomes clear that the more attuned that we can allow ourselves to become to the realm of Spirit and they to us, the quantity and quality of information will increase.
When a person in Spirit draws close it may be sensed as a presence or a feeling of someone entering the aura, such as coldness or heat in certain areas, a tightening around the head or the feeling of being pulled backwards. To begin with the medium may experience headaches or slight feelings of nausea when working that usually subside after a short period of time. In other words the medium may become aware of a number of unusual sensations when working and must be prepared for them if and when they occur.
Making it work
We have talked briefly about what processes may be at work when mediumistic functioning is taking place, what we have not discussed is how mediums make it work and what can be done to improve the way they work. To work mediumistically we must recognise the need to enhance our senses by training and practice so that we can become attuned to the influence of Spirit - that is to become attuned to the resonance of the vibration of Spirit. Spirit tells us that their vibrational rate is much higher than ours, so both parties have to work to harmonise and synchronise their vibrational rates. This is what is required on an esoteric level and it may appear to be a difficult concept to comprehend, but we must remember that physics now tells us that what we accept as being solid, is not solid at all, but in a constant state of vibration.
On a purely practical level, for anything to work we must be interested in what we are doing. We all know that if we are not interested in a piece of work the end result will not be as good as it could be. To be successful in anything we must have a desire to do it and believe that we are capable of doing what we desire. If we are interested, motivated and believe that we can do something, then it is reasonable that we can expect it to work. Matthew Manning refers to this as the dynamic of functioning. We are solely responsible for this aspect because it is a state of mind, the correct attitude for approaching what we do and how well we perform.
Do not be surprised by this statement, because it is exactly the same attitude of mind that any successful athlete most adopt to win a race and many of you will have come across it during motivational training courses at work.
What gets in the way?
We should be aware that drawing close to our physical world of heavy matter is also a peculiar experience for those in Spirit and not all are able to do it. It must be recognised that as they draw close they are entering into a much denser vibration and there is a tendency of concentration to rob the communicator of thought". To put it another way, such effort is engaged in the act of communication that some of the information may be lost or forgotten. There is no fault on either side, but errors can and do occur. After all, how many times have we said things in our daily lives that could have been more eloquently said, or more thought given to explaining ourselves better. Equally, drawing close may bring back unpleasant sensations or memories to them which they may not wish to be reminded of. Some in Spirit do not wish to engage in communication at all. Like a telephone call, the telephone may ring, but neither party is obliged to pick up the receiver.
As we have indicated, communication takes place by the resonance of vibrations that are attuned to the mind of the medium, these are an energy. Other external energies that interfere or disrupt will have an effect on the communication either by assisting or corrupting it. In our modern world this could includes all our radio, television, electro-magnetic and microwave radiations to name but a few. We must also consider that each and everyones aura is unique and individual, not unlike our individual DNA profile, it is also in a state of continual change depending on the influences acting upon it such as our mood or health. It has been described by a communicator as like baking a cake, the ingredients have to be selected in the right proportions and then blended to produce an edible result. This obviously takes time at the beginning of a mediums development, but becomes easier as familiarity, borne of practice, is established.
Results can be affected if someone is not fully committed to the communication, (sitter or circle member) this will have a detrimental effect on whatever is brought forward. A person who comes to a medium for a reading and is not wholly interested in the outcome, impatient, prickly, or perhaps they are just curious or seeking some kind of personal gratification is unlikely to be provided with anything meaningful. As communication requires considerable effort, the Spirit team is unlikely to waste their energies on someone who is not sincere. The energy will not flow with the effective force that brings enlightenment, upliftment or healing. That which is the true purpose of communication, to bring joy and happiness to both sides of life.
How the medium feels about a person or situation can and will adversely effect the information because their own ego will trying to apply an overlay of their own opinions, biases and beliefs if they are not careful. In other words, a successful medium has to firmly control their own ego and this can be a constant battle during the processing of the information that comes to them.
We can see from these statements that it is important when coming together during a sitting or in a group there is a need to emanate a positive vibration. In this, we would also expect that a harmonious, loving environment will have been created. This is the switch that has to be thrown to make things happen, because a contusive atmosphere has been created which allows Spirit to draw close.
Weather can also have an influence on Spirit communication, periods of high electrical disturbance during thunderstorms certainly have a detrimental effect. There is also an indication that radiations from space effect the clarity of influence. Sounds far fetched? Have you ever considered it a coincidence that the female menstrual cycle and the lunar cycle are both twenty eight days? Statistically, there are also clear links between lunar activity and violent criminal activity.
So we can see from the few short paragraphs above, that quite a lot of things can get in the way of communication. Some revolve around the medium, others due to the prevailing conditions at the time.
The information stream
As the information is directed towards us by the resonance in the vibration, the thought from Spirit if you like, the medium then has to verbalise this information or message into something meaningful to the audience or enquirer. This is not necessarily an easy thing to do for yourself, as it arouses the interest of our conscious mind and therefore ego. This will demand conclusions and want to provide order to things that it does not understand which may be inappropriate and incorrect.
Making assumptions is completely wrong and should be avoided by the medium. With certain provisions, the information should be given off as it is received, as it is intended for the recipient, not the medium. Failure to do this will result in what is termed as an analytical overlay. That is an internally generated overlay that tries to make sense of what you are seeing or sensing by putting the bits and pieces together and filling in the gaps with information that is known or familiar. This will almost always be wrong. For example, if we are aware of something bright and reflective, but are unable to say exactly what it is, it would be wrong to call it anything other than what you are aware of. To assume that it glass or a mirror could be totally wrong, but it may have meaning to the sitter if it was how they saw the sunlight reflecting off the patio at their holiday villa in Spain. If the sitter does not accept the information or cannot understand it, then it would be appropriate to go back to the source and say please give this to me another way because they dont understand this." If the information persists as given, it would also be appropriate to advise the sitter that the information cannot be withdrawn and that they should endeavour to make enquiries to establish its validity. In fact this is really the best sort of information that you could possibly give at times, because it eliminates telepathic links (wonderful in its own right) if the sitter does not know anything about the information and has to have it provided by a third party.
A very important point that we must consider when information is coming to the medium, especially with visual images, is that they may have no basis in reality. Or they may be familiar to themselves in some way. This is because it is given by Spirit as a means of conveying the message to the medium. Therefore, it is an image or feeling that is given to enable link to describe a person, scene or object to the sitter. This is not always true as in the case of psychic artists, but it must be considered.
So what makes a good reading?
Getting the information right is a good start ! We have seen from our previous discussion that this in itself can be hard enough, but other things have to be considered as well. Such as how the information is delivered, presented, sensitivity to the sitter and how the information given may be used. This sort of empathy and decision making has to come from the conscious mind, so this is yet another aspect that has to be wrestled with during and after the reading.
Some would argue that you should just give off what you have received and that it is up to the recipient to deal with it. It has been given in such a such a way and should therefore, be delivered as such. But is this morally correct when dealing with those who may be very vulnerable? Obviously, no. At all times the medium should be aware of how the information given will be received, at no time should it be hurtful or do harm. This means there are times when it is best to filter the information or rephrase things in such a way that they are rather more positive than perhaps the medium has initially perceived them. It does not mean that they should lie or be deceitful, just aware that each and every situation is different and requires dealing with as such.
So what about the information itself, what should the medium aim to provide if at all possible. This is very simple and we will call it the four ws rule.
Who - Who is the communicator? It is not always possible to tell, as some are unwilling or unable to reveal themselves, but the medium should always try to identify the person who is the communicator when giving a message if possible. Names are notoriously difficult and unreliable, but they should be able to provide some sort of information, be it descriptive or perceptions about how and why they passed.
Why - Why are they here? There may well be a situation around the sitter that is of concern to those in Spirit or some unresolved issue. At times some may draw close to provide support, offer advice or even to say sorry. This may not always be the case, but if it is, the situation will often have a emotional charge to it that is quite palpable to the medium. Issues revolving around these subjects are the ones that can produce deep emotions within the sitter as well and the medium should be mindful of this.
What - What is the Message? The information that the person in Spirit wants to be delivered by the medium. It will come in one or many of the mediumistic senses required to produce a satisfactory end result that is hopefully free of analytical overlay.
When - When did they pass? Not really necessary, but can provide a useful piece of information if some of the other three are a bit patchy and if an extra piece is required to complete the puzzle.
When ever possible, the medium should endeavour to express the information in such a way that it cannot easily be dismissed and if they can produce at least three of the above with a reasonable degree of accuracy and have delivered the information without embellishment and in full regard to the sitter, We would suggest that they are doing very well. If the information is correct, it does not really matter if it took just five minutes or an hour to deliver, the job of the medium has been satisfactorily completed.
A third party?
Just a small point, some times a person is presented from Spirit who is delivering a message for someone else. This can confuse the issue somewhat when the mediums description of the person does not have any meaning to the sitter, but the information does. This can and does happen if the person in Spirit wants to communicate, but is unable to do so personally for some reason. This may be due to them not being able to bring themselves to do so or lack of compatibility with the medium. A third party who is compatible, then acts as an intermediary to deliver the message. An interesting situation that does arise at times and one that we should be aware of before dismissing any information because the description does not match that of the deceased..
Further thoughts and understanding
I will not dwell on this too much because it may not be of interest to some people. A case of not having to know the workings of the internal combustion engine, to be able to drive a car, if you like. However, it is of importance because it may help to improve our understanding of the subject.
If any scientific understanding of mediumship is ever to be established, it will most likely come from the area of quantum theory and mechanics. Simplistically, the study of subatomic particles, specifically the presence of a wave nature in the particles. The vital difference between a wave and a particle is that of the properties of wave superposition and modulation. To put this in layman's terms, these properties allow waves of different frequencies to occupy the same space without interaction. If you like, think of this as being like television transmissions, we know any number exist in the same space, but we can only see them when we have the correctly tuned instrument. In our case the medium. (I am sure that you can see the implication of this by now!) The scientific basis for parallel universes, alternative dimensions and Spirit realms can be seen in this simplified example. What holds matter (this building, your chair, you and me) together has long been the question that has perplexed physicists for many years without any conclusive answers being found. So far over 200 subatomic particles have been identified!
Let us examine the television analogy a little more closely as it has implications for our perceptions and belief systems and how they change over the years by increased knowledge and understanding.
Principally, knowledge equates to eventual acceptance of something. 100 years ago most would not have accepted that a persons image could be transmitted around the world by means that is not detectable by our normal senses, Now, in a relatively short space of time we completely accept that two way video communication is available to anyone with home computer and at very reasonable cost. At times these links have no visible connections, the communication being carried along by our old friend the radio wave. We cannot see these things, but we acknowledge them as a reality, yet many have trouble accepting that we do survive what is perceived of as being death, in spite of tangible evidence having been available through reputable, verified sources of communication with the realm of Spirit before the advent of television.
Scepticism and the Sceptic
"It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, what ever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
From The Beryl Coronet 1892.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 1930)
We should consider Conan Doyles astute statement for a moment. When you embark on the esoteric path, you will always come across people who we would normally regard as being sceptics. Those who seek to deride and ridicule our subject through their own lack of understanding or investigation, those who are close minded, or follow some alternative agenda. Most of these attitudes are based in fear, fear of evidence that rocks the foundations that many academic careers have been built upon. Many of these people will try to expose any paranormal working as dishonesty or fraud and will throw the full weight of accepted thinking behind their posturing. In other words they will try to debunk anything that they do not understand or fear.
When faced with this type of ridicule the best line of defence is knowledge and confidence in what you do. Many, as we have said will criticise, when actually they have no knowledge of the subject themselves, just a second hand view based on the opinion of others. If we have a good working knowledge of our subject and are able to give examples of the positive benefits of our work, combined with a little science based fact, we should at least be able to counter the bar stool criticism of many. There are plenty of examples of positive science based research that can be found through our links pages if you take the trouble to look, as is demonstrated in the following example. It is particularly appropriate, as it appears to reveal an anti-psychic effect in those who do not want to believe:
In the 1980`s a researcher named Gertrude R. Schmeidler worked with believers and non believers of psychic ability. This demonstrated some interesting results, as expected the believers scored consistently higher than would be expected from chance, but most interestingly the non believers always scored below that of chance. This surprising result demonstrates the dynamic of psychic functioning at work in those who believe, but the non believers actually block this ability.
Once again a case of "it cant be, therefore, it isnt." As we would expect, the most successful subjects were those who could relax, allow their minds to become passive and not subject to external distractions.
The truth is that reliable mediums actually have nothing to prove, nothing that requires testing and nothing to be ashamed of if they are honest and sincere. The only people that have the credentials to be judge and jury are those for whom the information provided is intended. The burden of proof rests with them and no other.
"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong!"
ARTHUR C. CLARKE - Clarke's First Law 1969.
Is our initial perception of the term sceptic correct? Well actually no, as it tars us with the same brush of bias as we see in them. The reality is that in truth and honesty, we should all be sceptics. An honest sceptic is one who is able to suspend judgment or withholds it, awaiting confirmation or proof to appear. Therefore, it is quite possible for someone who is actively involved in the paranormal field to be sceptical about the information made available to them or others. In this way they will always try to evaluate, improve and hone what they do so that that become more proficient at it. Those who are not involved can also be honest sceptics, as outside observers, they will be able to make constructive criticism that can be helpful and improve the methods and quality of the work. Just because someone is able to highlight a short coming does not make them a critic. If they are honest we should not resent them, but learn from what they have to say.
So with all the time, patience, dedication, inconvenience, criticism and ridicule a medium can face why are they driven to continue?
Why bother? - The Higher Purpose and Meaning.
"Death is but one of two things. Either it is nothingness and the dead have no consciousness of anything, or as people say, it is a change and migration of the soul from this place to another."
Socrates (469 - 399 BC)
Death is a thing that has been debated for many years. The meaning of life and death has occupied the thoughts of the greatest minds and philosophers that our world has ever seen, to this day no one really knows what the answer is....... Until we make our own journey.
A communicator once said:
"If you were to embark on a holiday or journey, would you not want to find out a little bit about where you are going?"
........and so it is with what we do. In some ways we are like travel agents, providing people with a little bit of information as to where they will eventually be going.
So what is the job of the medium in all this?
The prime and traditional answer to this is to provide evidence of the survival of the human spirit and no other. That is the survival of the part of us that transcends what many people consider to be the final curtain - Death.
Indeed many draw comfort from evidence that their loved ones have survived and may be able to provide proof through the medium if conditions are right. This is marvellous and helps to soothe those who may be grieving or suffering loss.
We believe that there is another and equally important responsibility to be considered and that is to expand peoples thinking beyond that of the mundane and to awaken them to a greater Spiritual Consciousness. This is what our Spirit communicators endeavour to impart in us when we are in contact with them. If we allow this to be so, the quality of ones life is enriched by the knowledge that when our physical bodies die it is not the end, but a transition. It is comforting and enables us to get on with our lives free of the deeply held fears concerning death that bind so many who embrace the materialistic view.
From this, we are able to understand that our physical existence and journey through life is as much of a Spiritual existence as any that we may aspire to. The constant being the word existence, death merely being that instant of transition between the physical and non - physical form of being. No matter what point we are at, we still continue to exist. This acceptance is not some New Age belief or practice that can be bought or traded in some way, it is a truth and as such it is given freely to those who wish to take time to search for it.
This should not be seen as an evangelical crusade, but a quiet revolution. A sowing of the seed if you like, the seed that will lead to a greater Spiritual understanding. Through this understanding, we can truly "know ourselves" as we have been asked to do . That is to acknowledge our true spiritual self that resides within our physical form. When we acknowledge and recognise this in ourselves, we can also help others to discover this about themselves. This recognition will eventually bring about a change for good, not only as an individual, but in all things within our world.
This, we believe, is the true importance of what we do.
"The power of love is very powerful indeed. That is so, the power of love can change the world for the better. If you each have love in your heart and you willingly give love to your fellow man, then the power of that love can move mountains."
The Parapsychology Association.
Websites as noted in the text.
Bentine, M - The Door Marked Summer.
Butler W. E - How to Develop Clairvoyance.
Conan Doyle A. -The Complete Illustrated Short Stories.
Eason C .-Complete Guide to Psychic Development.
Edwards, H - A Guide for the Development of Mediumship.
Manning, M - Recordings and books
Margolis, J - Uri Geller, Magician or Mystic.
McMoneagle J.- Mind Trek.
Morwyn - The Complete Book of Psychic Arts.
Schnabel J - Remote Viewers.
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