In recent years, we've seen the emergence of "celebrity mediums," who are people that have become famous simply for being mediums. This, in turn, has led to some fairly intense scrutiny of those who claim to have mediumship ability. People like the "Long Island Medium," Theresa Caputo and Allison DuBois, who inspired the hit television show Medium, have often been criticized for taking advantage of their clients' grief. Still worse, many are accused of being frauds.
The spirit photographer William Hope tricked William Crookes with a fake spirit photograph of his wife in 1906. Oliver Lodge revealed there had been obvious signs of double exposure, the picture of Lady Crookes had been copied from a wedding anniversary photograph, however, Crookes was a convinced spiritualist and claimed it was genuine evidence for spirit photography.
In the 1860s and 1870s, trance mediums were very popular. Spiritualism generally attracted female adherents, many who had strong interests in social justice. Many trance mediums delivered passionate speeches on abolitionism, temperance, and women's suffrage. Scholars have described Leonora Piper as one of the most famous trance mediums in the history of Spiritualism.
The physicist Kristian Birkeland exposed the fraud of the direct voice medium Etta Wriedt. Birkeland turned on the lights during a séance, snatched her trumpets and discovered that the "spirit" noises were caused by chemical explosions induced by potassium and water and in other cases by lycopodium powder. The British medium Isa Northage claimed to materialize the spirit of a surgeon known as Dr. Reynolds. When photographs taken of Reynolds were analyzed by researchers they discovered that Northage looked like Reynolds with a glued stage beard.
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). 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.
If you've decided to hire the services of a medium, for whatever reasons, there are a few things you should keep in mind to guarantee you get the best session possible. First of all, try to come in with an open mind. You may be feeling skeptical, but if you let that be an issue, it can certainly color your results. A corollary to that is that it's important, to be honest about why you're there. If you're only trying to debunk things or to expose the medium as a fraud, go ahead and admit it up front. A medium who's legitimate will probably still be willing to work with you.
Another important distinction is that while psychic readings often focus on predicting future events, mediums primarily tune into past and present issues. It's my opinion that predicting the future, while sometimes helpful, runs the risk of disempowering people. Always remember that you do have a say in how your future unfolds. Despite what any psychic or medium may "see" in your future, it is important to remember you were given the gift of free will when you came into this world, and at any moment in time you can absolutely redirect your course and create the life you want by changing your thoughts and actions. Psychic information is often just insight into what potentially could happen based on the road you are currently traveling—and it should be used only as a guideline to help you make the best choices for yourself.
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.
"The picture reading shows me what goes on in the past life and in this life ... So if it shows me she was your guardian angel at one point, she was a guardian angel," she said. She added that the reading wasn't accurate because I had come in with the intention to trick, that the energy I came in with was one about my sister which is what she picked up on, that the whole thing wasn't very "civilized" of me and that she'd be calling other psychics and warning them about me. She told me she's been tested by people who declared their intentions and passed their tests, and offered to give me a reading that would reveal secrets about me that not even my closest friends know. I declined.
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One, some psychic mediums see spirits. Not every spirit chooses to show himself or herself to a psychic medium who has this ability, but many of them do. If the psychic medium can see spirits, part of the communication will be based on sight. A psychic medium may see something in their mind’s eye (as an inner vision), or they may see spirits the way they see other people (as a physical manifestation, except the spirits are more ethereal, ghostly).
Theosophy is in opposition to the spiritualist interpretation of evolution. Theosophy teaches a metaphysical theory of evolution mixed with human devolution. Spiritualists do not accept the devolution of the theosophists. To theosophy humanity starts in a state of perfection (see Golden age) and falls into a process of progressive materialization (devolution), developing the mind and losing the spiritual consciousness. After the gathering of experience and growth through repeated reincarnations humanity will regain the original spiritual state, which is now one of self-conscious perfection. Theosophy and spiritualism were both very popular metaphysical schools of thought especially in the early 20th century and thus were always clashing in their different beliefs. Madame Blavatsky was critical of spiritualism; she distanced theosophy from spiritualism as far as she could and allied herself with eastern occultism.