From its earliest beginnings to contemporary times, mediumship practices have had many instances of fraud and trickery. 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. 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. Lewis Spence in his book An Encyclopaedia of Occultism (1960) wrote:
Likewise, the entire audience can affect the clarity of the spirit communication at a psychic medium demonstration. If the audience as a whole is very open, accepting and light-hearted, this helps the psychic medium, as it would help any speaker on stage. If the audience as a whole is skeptical, apathetic or angry, this can negatively affect the psychic medium, as it might affect any speaker in front of such a group. Spirit communication is about energy. If the energy in the room is low, it makes it more difficult for the psychic medium to raise his or her energy to connect with spirit. If the energy is high, it can assist the psychic medium to raise his or her energy.
The first documented tarot packs were recorded between 1440 and 1450 in Milan, Ferrara, Florence and Bologna when additional trump cards with allegorical illustrations were added to the common four-suit pack. These new decks were called carte da trionfi, triumph cards, and the additional cards known simply as trionfi, which became "trumps" in English. The earliest documentation of trionfi is found in a written statement in the court records of Florence, in 1440, regarding the transfer of two decks to Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta.