The VERITAS Research Program of the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health in the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona, run by the parapsychologist Gary Schwartz, was created primarily to test the hypothesis that the consciousness (or identity) of a person survives physical death.[186] Schwartz claimed his experiments were indicative of survival, but do not yet provide conclusive proof.[187][188] The experiments described by Schwartz have received criticism from the scientific community for being inadequately designed and using poor controls.[189][190]
Most people turn to a clairvoyant medium, spiritual life coach, tarot reader or astrologer when they feel they have exhausted every possibility they can think of themselves. It is often when we are needing to make important choices regarding our love life, career direction, buying a home, trying to have children, going through a breakup , a divorce, a job loss, or a spiritual crisis - a crisis of meaning. 
As an informal movement, spiritualism does not have a defined set of rules, but various spiritualist organizations have adopted variations on some or all of a "Declaration of Principles" developed between 1899 and 1944 and revised as recently as 2004.[6] In October 1899, a six article "Declaration of Principles" was adopted by the National Spiritualist Association (NSA) at a convention in Chicago, Illinois.[7][8] An additional two principles were added by the NSA in October 1909, at a convention in Rochester, New York.[9] Finally, in October 1944, a ninth principle was adopted by the National Spiritualist Association of Churches, at a convention in St. Louis, Missouri.[6]
The magician Samri Baldwin exposed the tricks of the Davenport brothers in his book The Secrets of Mahatma Land Explained (1895).[90] The medium Swami Laura Horos was convicted of fraud several times and was tried for rape and fraud in London in 1901. She was described by the magician Harry Houdini as "one of the most extraordinary fake mediums and mystery swindlers the world has ever known".[91]
The exposures of fraudulent activity led to a rapid decline in ectoplasm and materialization séances.[199] 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.[200]