Not everyone loves talking on the phone, and sometimes it’s just impractical: when you’re at work or in a public place, when you don’t want to be overheard, when you don’t want to take notes while you are getting your reading. Connecting with a psychic online can feel different from connecting over the phone. For some, it feels easier to initiate the first conversation using a familiar texting interface. You don’t connect through your voices, yet exchanging messages in real time can be very intimate and revealing.
The fraudulent medium Ronald Edwin confessed he had duped his séance sitters and revealed the fraudulent methods he had used in his book Clock Without Hands (1955).[167] The psychical researcher Tony Cornell investigated the mediumship of Alec Harris in 1955. During the séance "spirit" materializations emerged from a cabinet and walked around the room. Cornell wrote that a stomach rumble, nicotine smelling breath and a pulse gave it away that all the spirit figures were in fact Harris and that he had dressed up as each one behind the cabinet.[168]
Senses used by mental mediums are sometimes defined differently from in other paranormal fields. A medium is said to have psychic abilities but not all psychics function as mediums. The term clairvoyance, for instance, may include seeing spirit and visions instilled by the spirit world. The Parapsychological Association defines "clairvoyance" as information derived directly from an external physical source.[37]