From its earliest beginnings to contemporary times, mediumship practices have had many instances of fraud and trickery.[55] Séances take place in darkness so the poor lighting conditions can become an easy opportunity for fraud. Physical mediumship that has been investigated by scientists has been discovered to be the result of deception and trickery.[56] Ectoplasm, a supposed paranormal substance, was revealed to have been made from cheesecloth, butter, muslin, and cloth. Mediums would also stick cut-out faces from magazines and newspapers onto cloth or on other props and use plastic dolls in their séances to pretend to their audiences spirits were contacting them.[57] Lewis Spence in his book An Encyclopaedia of Occultism (1960) wrote: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rrXPtB9sGi67HwXA-JNbF6Z9qXtdSQX8/view?usp=sharing


In 1910 at a séance in Grenoble, France the apport medium Charles Bailey produced two live birds in the séance room. Bailey was unaware that the dealer he had bought the birds from was present in the séance and he was exposed as a fraud.[114] The psychical researcher Eric Dingwall observed the medium Bert Reese in New York and claimed to have discovered his billet reading tricks.[115] The most detailed account at exposing his tricks (with diagrams) was by the magician Theodore Annemann.[116]
Humans have been fascinated with contacting the dead since the beginning of human existence. Cave paintings by indigenous Australians date back 28,000 years, some depicting skulls, bones, spirits and the afterlife.[3] Other cave paintings in Indonesia date back a further 10,000 years.[4] Mediumship gained popularity during the nineteenth century, when ouija boards were used by the upper classes as a source of entertainment. Investigations during this period revealed widespread fraud—with some practitioners employing techniques used by stage magicians—and the practice began to lose credibility.[5][6] Fraud is still rife in the medium/psychic industry, with cases of deception and trickery being discovered to this day.[7]