One question that is often asked is whether there are any good mental mediums. People ask the question in various ways, inquiring about honesty or native talent, but what they really want to know is whether we know of a medium who can clearly demonstrate to them that a loved one has survived. Having had test-readings with dozens of mediums and been disappointed almost every time, I have concluded that most professional mediums are honest, and many have considerable talent; but few develop their abilities to the point where it is impossible to deny that they are talking with our own dead loved ones. That certainty is what we crave! We don’t want, “Your grandmother is here. She says you should eat your vegetables.” Instead, what we hunger for is something like, “Your grandmother is here. She wonders if you remember the day when you let Grampa’s goat into her henhouse and it chased the chickens and upset them so much they didn’t lay for a week.” Now, you might remember that ancient day when you were only six, or you might not. But this message is specific and detailed, and it is the sort of intimate and trivial thing that no amount of research could find. So if it clicks with you, it will transform your life! Never again will you be able to believe that dear ol’ Granny is not alive somewhere.
A good evidential mediumship reading is the Biblical pearl of great price (MT 13:45-46). Every working medium knows it! So, why is it that so few mediums will deliver what everyone is desperate to hear? There seem to be a number of reasons:
Mental mediums are mind-reading with dead people. Pause for a moment and let that sink in! Since all human minds of both the living and the dead are part of the one eternal Mind that continuously manifests reality, it should be as easy to communicate by mind with the dead as it is with the living. But that doesn’t make it a walk in the park!
Mediums rely heavily on the help of their guides. Nearly all mediums’ guides have ceased to incarnate, so they must be at least somewhat advanced; but still, they might not know as much as you and I would wish they knew about how to help our loved ones think about and then produce the deeply personal and very specific bits of evidence that we all crave to hear.
People who are spiritually sensitive can be easily attacked by negative entities. Good mediums are at special risk, so most will practice rituals. Some might burn sage, recite mantras or incantations, and surround themselves and the person being read with “a white light” or “a bubble of protection.” But rituals and chants are not enough, when what is needed is an adamant refusal to have any contact with dark entities. I know of a talented medium who began to see negative entities around her, and she seemed to think of them the way you might think of wild animals you had managed to tame. The next thing I heard was that her personality had been dramatically transformed overnight: now she was sharp, enraged, irrational, and impervious to anyone’s reason. And since these fear-based demons partially supplanted the work of her love-based guides, her mediumship abilities declined.
Maintaining mediumistic skills in top form requires dedication. Being a genuine medium is more physically and emotionally draining than most of us realize! The best mediums have to be obsessive about everything, from what they eat and how they exercise through how they maintain themselves spiritually, how they keep negative beings away, and when and how often they feel able to do readings. Some are so stressed by the pressure to perform for individual clients that they drift toward doing mostly group readings.
Even very good mediums will have “off” days. This is the opposite of an exact science! What a medium should say if she isn’t getting much information is something like, “The spirits aren’t cooperating. My guides and I sometimes have a bad day. Would you like me to refund your fee, or shall we just reschedule?” But mediums also need to eat, so we seldom hear of one of them giving a refund when a reading has not gone well. Some will even try to convince us that what we are hearing is evidential, and the fact that it isn’t clicking with us is our own fault. One medium who offered me a free reading in hopes that I would recommend her to others described some people and events of which I had no memory. When I told her I didn’t have a brother who died in Vietnam (nor did I have any brothers at all), she told me hotly it was someone I thought of as a brother. Maybe it was a cousin. “Keep listening to the recording of the reading and it will all come back.”
Arranging for key words and phrases with the dying won’t work. I don’t know of a single instance where a dead person remembered the desired key phrase and delivered it through a medium. One early researcher is recorded as having brought up the fact there was something he was supposed to remember, but now he couldn’t retrieve it. The leading expert on early-twentieth-century mediumship, the venerable Michael Tymn, gives us a good explanation for this problem that I will quote below, but we should note that other kinds of spiritual testing also routinely come up empty. Some operating rooms have signs that can be read only from ceiling-height in order to test whether people who claim to have left their bodies actually have done so; and to my knowledge, that has never worked, either. Spirits flat refuse to be tested! You can almost see a gang of them sitting around some celestial bar drinking nectar and sharing a laugh about all these silly earthlings who keep trying to catch them out.
The problem might be you. Twenty years ago I spent thousands of dollars having readings with well-recommended mediums. All those readings were disappointing, and the most famous and expensive medium I tested was awful! It has taken me most of the intervening two decades to realize that for someone as skeptical about mediums as I am to have a reading or two every week over months of time is a guaranteed way to get nothing. The medium who did best was the one who read me first, perhaps primarily because a lot of my dead loved ones were happy to show up; but after the first few months, it was only my mother-in-law and brother-in-law, both recently dead, who loyally continued to answer the call. Don’t make my mistake! To hire a medium while assuming she will be a dud is a sure way to make your most pessimistic views into self-fulfilling prophesies.
Sir William told his wife that he had needed to learn how to slow down his vibration in order to communicate. He said, “Sometimes I lose my memory of things from coming here (he means closer to the earth’s vibration). I know in my own state, but not here. In dreams you do not know everything, you only get parts in a dream. A sitting is similar; when I go back to the spirit world after a sitting like this I know I have not got everything through that I wanted to say. That is due to my mind separating again.”
Sir William told his wife a century ago something that now is commonly known. When we are in an earth-body, our subconscious mind is separated from our conscious mind. As you and I know from abundant evidence, when we transition back home, our two minds come together again and make one complete mind that knows and remembers everything. So apparently Sir William is telling his wife that when we lower our mind’s vibration and bring ourselves back into the physical sphere so we can communicate, our conscious and subconscious minds will again naturally separate just as they separate when we first enter an earth-body. So we immediately forget a great deal, and we can’t recall it again until we leave the earth’s influence and the two parts of our minds rejoin. (This is fascinating!)
When Lady Barrett asked Sir William to elaborate further, his interesting explanation was that we have a fourth-dimensional self that cannot make itself exactly match our third-dimensional self. He said, “It’s like measuring a third dimension by its square feet instead of by its cubic feet, and there is no doubt about it I have left something of myself outside which rejoins me directly I put myself into the condition in which I readjust myself.” He told her at a later sitting that when he was in his own sphere he would remember a name, but when he rejoined her through a medium it would slip his mind. “The easiest things to lay hold of are what we may call ideas. A detached word, a proper name, has no link with a train of thought except in a detached sense; that is far more difficult than any other feat of memory or association of ideas. If you go to a medium that is new to us, I can make myself known by giving you through that medium an impression of my character and personality, my work on earth, and so forth. Those can all be suggested by thought impressions, ideas; but if I want to say, ‘I am Will,’ I find that is much more difficult than giving you a long, comprehensive study of my personality.”
The dead are used to communicating with one another by thought, so apparently ideas are easier for them to share than are specific words! But fortunately, a good evidential medium doesn’t need many words to give you the certainty that those you have loved in life have survived.Five years ago, a medium described a scene to me in which two important things occurred:
My mother pointed at her eyebrow. The medium said, “Why is she pointing to her eyebrow? Oh. She says she doesn’t have to paint them on anymore.” My mother had virtually no eyebrow hairs, which fact was a private bane to her that she covered up by painting big eyebrows onto her face every day. Her assuring me that she didn’t need to do that now was my mother’s loving confirmation that after I had spent my whole early life chatting with her while I watched her go through her morning ritual, she knew that this particular bit would be highly evidential for me. It was the most significant post-death communication from a loved one I have ever received.
My grandmother displayed an oyster shell with both hands. I had no idea what that was about! She was a simple farm wife; I was sure she had never even seen an oyster. When I said she couldn’t possibly be holding an oyster shell, the medium said, “But that’s what it is. And she insists it’s important! Maybe it will come to you later?” And so it did. Within a few days it occurred to me that my mother’s maiden name was “Ostergaard.” As Sir William tells us above, specific names are hard for beings in spirit to convey! And how else could my mother’s mother have given me some approximation of that name?
Two brilliantly evidential details had been coaxed from my loved ones by that medium’s guides. Few words were needed, and both communications involved such odd and obscure facts that it is hard to see how any medium could have independently discovered them. If I had not already known that human life is eternal, these two ideal bits of evidential mediumship would have sealed the deal for me forevermore!
Oysters with pearls photo credit: Max Garçia <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/62474890@N04/18739862869″>Oysters with pearl</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
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