There are many stories of religious officials who benefited from spiritual medium gifts — Baptist preachers who would hear from their deceased relatives or other spirit guides, and many other religious figures whose belief in some form of communication with spirits is verifiable. This means that not all spiritual mediums are of the Voodoo or Caribo-African religious variety.
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.
Speaking of readings, the first thing to know is that there actually are two different types of Tarot readings: question readings and open readings. In question readings, you are addressing a specific question. Tarot is not intended to answer specific yes or no questions. Most say it also shouldn't be used to make decisions, but instead should be used as a guide to help you make the decision yourself. For this reason, the way a question is stated is very important. Tarot reader and teacher Joan Bunning gives this advice:
Undoubtedly, on some level Spiritualists recognized the Indian spectres that appeared at seances as a symbol of the sins and subsequent guilt of the United States in its dealings with Native Americans. Spiritualists were literally haunted by the presence of Indians. But for many that guilt was not assuaged: rather, in order to confront the haunting and rectify it, they were galvanized into action. The political activism of Spiritualists on behalf of Indians was thus the result of combining white guilt and fear of divine judgment with a new sense of purpose and responsibility.
Losing our loved ones can be one of the hardest experiences we go through in life, especially when they may have been the people we would have turned to for advice and who we dearly miss. A Medium reading can be one of the most comforting encounters you can have, and although many think that it could be emotional, it is actually an uplifting and wonderfully reassuring experience that you will cherish. Spiritual Mediums are compassionate and understanding people, fully aware that the gift that they have is an open door for the living to connect with their loved ones in the afterlife and one that they must use in a sensitive and loving way.
In 1991, Wendy Grossman in the New Scientist criticized the parapsychologist Stephen E. Braude for ignoring evidence of fraud in mediumship. According to Grossman "[Braude] accuses sceptics of ignoring the evidence he believes is solid, but himself ignores evidence that does not suit him. If a medium was caught cheating on some occasions, he says, the rest of that medium's phenomena were still genuine." Grossman came to the conclusion that Braude did not do proper research on the subject and should study "the art of conjuring."
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.