The principles of mediumship grew out of the suffering of persons undergoing the loss of loved ones. In deeply grieving their losses, people have always longed to reconnect. Nothing prepared the world for the rush of pain and sorrow the 19th and 20th centuries brought on by its wars. Millions died on battlefields or in bombed cities. Survivors were often wiped out by plagues like the Spanish flu. The West was under the powerful grip of grief. Thus the desire to reconnect: Could the dead still be alive somewhere, someplace? Some were willing to find out.
Conan Doyle and Principles of Mediumship
No one was spared from the carnage of the World Wars. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is an example. He was first deeply affected by the death of his son. Then his brother killed in the trenches in the First World War. He turned to spiritualism and studied deeply the principles of mediumship as a method of coping with his pain. Learn more about that here.
Mary Todd Lincoln
At the end of the 19th century, contacting the dead had become something of a fashion. It was frequently discussed at social gatherings. Ouija boards and séances were familiar terms often time used in conversation. Mary Todd Lincoln held several séances in the White House during the American Civil War. President Lincoln often attended. Much of Mary Todd’s effort was an attempt to contact their son who had died.
At this time the principles of mediumship grew into what they are today.
Spiritualism or the delivery of messages by a medium on stage to a wide audience became very popular at the end of the 19th century. Arthur Findlay’s college in England, founded in 1871, was later organized as a formal college for the advancement in psychic research since 1964; it has been teaching the principles of mediumship through spiritualism. Today’s celebrity mediums such as John Edward, John Holland (an Arthur Findlay’s graduate) or the Long Island Medium Theresa Caputo all practice a form of spiritualism.
Trance mediumship is another method of contacting the dead. Trance mediums have the capability of manifesting the dead. This was described in the movie, Ghost, where the actress Whoopi Goldberg played a psychic who allowed Patrick Swayze, a character who had been murdered, to use her body to communicate with Demi Moore, who played the wife of Patrick Swayze . Suzanne Northrop is a trance medium.
Physical mediumship is a type a mediumship that manifests in the form of apparitions and apports. Physical apparitions can happen during a séance and apports of objects are often noted. This form of mediumship, more than any other, has been placed under scrutiny by numerous skeptical groups.
Then there is mediumship as a private affair. A one-on-one reading practiced by a medium like George Anderson is one of the most profound experiences a person can have. The level of accuracy of some practitioners can be extraordinary.
There is also a new form of mediumship called scientific mediumship. It can exert a profound effect on sitters.
Scientific mediumship uses techniques such as controlled remote viewing, held in double blind settings, and in remote readings to bring forth facts and validations about a dead relative. These can be followed by emotional messages. This form of mediumship is the more reliable form of connecting with consciousness. It does not require the sitter to be present. It thus eliminates the old skeptical argument of cold reading; it opens the door to scientific experiments and replication, while still reconnecting loved ones in the process.
Dr. Gary Schwartz, professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Arizona, describes his formal experiments that employed scientific mediumship in his book, The After Life Experiments. He concluded that a trained scientific medium has a level of accuracy on average of 83%, versus a control group of non-trained mediums with an average level of 36%. More experiments in different settings and by other scientists–such as physicists– are needed to further this research on the phenomenon of mediumship.