The most popular trance lecturer prior to the American Civil War was Cora L. V. Scott (1840–1923). Young and beautiful, her appearance on stage fascinated men. Her audiences were struck by the contrast between her physical girlishness and the eloquence with which she spoke of spiritual matters, and found in that contrast support for the notion that spirits were speaking through her. Cora married four times, and on each occasion adopted her husband's last name. During her period of greatest activity, she was known as Cora Hatch.
“I first met Catharine a number of years ago for a reading. She described my husband and told me that he would be taking 4-6 weeks off work and relaxing. I have to admit I was skeptical…my husband is a complete workaholic and this was definitely not him! A few weeks later he hit his head on a staircase, ended up with a concussion and, yes, had to have 6 weeks off work to rest. I was hooked. Since then, she has described holidays that we would be taking, described my children’s mannerisms down to a tee and also work activities that I would be getting involved with. The rest of my family think that I’m strange for wanting to have readings like this…but it’s amazing how interested they all are when I get home to find out what she’s said and what’s going to happen in their lives. Thanks Catharine!
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.