She then turned over another two cards that were meant to be situations I was currently dealing with. They both ended up being cups ("You've got three of the four. I've never seen that!") with one being the Sage and the other being the Child. If I came for a reading that focused on my emotions and relationships, I got way more than I could've expected. The Sage card is about feeling confident about your knowledge and beliefs. "If there's some dry place in your emotional spectrum, water it. Give yourself what you need and don't necessarily expect someone else to do that." She explained the child card, saying that it's meant to tell me to allow myself to acknowledge my emotions and truly let myself feel them, even if they're not always the most pleasant.
Combining Buddhist practices with ancient spirit worship, the individuals profiled in "Transcendents: Spirit Mediums in Burma and Thailand," are mostly biological men who, during religious ceremonies, wear makeup and clothes traditionally associated with women. A number of the mediums live permanently as women, with most of them openly and exclusively attracted to men.
In the typical deep trance, the medium may not have clear recall of all the messages conveyed while in an altered state; such people generally work with an assistant. That person selectively wrote down or otherwise recorded the medium's words. Rarely did the assistant record the responding words of the sitter and other attendants. An example of this kind of relationship can be found in the early 20th century collaboration between the trance medium Mrs. Cecil M. Cook of the William T. Stead Memorial Center in Chicago (a religious body incorporated under the statutes of the State of Illinois) and the journalist Lloyd Kenyon Jones. The latter was a non-medium Spiritualist who transcribed Cook's messages in shorthand. He edited them for publication in book and pamphlet form.
The exposures of fraudulent activity led to a rapid decline in ectoplasm and materialization séances. Investigator Joe Nickell has written that modern self-proclaimed mediums like John Edward, Sylvia Browne, Rosemary Altea and James Van Praagh are avoiding the Victorian tradition of dark rooms, spirit handwriting and flying tambourines as these methods risk exposure. They instead use "mental mediumship" tactics like cold reading or gleaning information from sitters before hand (hot reading). Group readings also improve hits by making general statements with conviction, which will fit at least one person in the audience. Shows are carefully edited before airing to show only what appears to be hits and removing anything that does not reflect well on the medium.