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Exploring Physical Mediumship: Psychic Photos, Spirit Voices, & Materializations

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The protocol continues: “If there is to be consideration given to ‘Dark Seances’ then the following is required: More recent research, however, has demonstrated that the distinction between the ideal shaman as a controller of the spirits, and the ideal medium as entirely under the control of the spirits, is often blurred. 86 Wilson has also criticised the classically assumed distinction between spirit mediumship and shamanism, and has proposed that spirit mediumship, and in particular Euro-American Spiritualist mediumship, can be thought of as a variety of shamanism, with mediumship development seen as a form of shamanic apprenticeship. 87 Halloy, A. (2010). ‘Comments on “The Mind Possessed: The Cognition of Spirit Possession in an Afro-Brazilian Religious Tradition” by Emma Cohen.’ Religion and Society: Advances in Research, Vol. 1, pp. 164-176.

More recently, Halloy has argued that possession trance, as a distinct category of trance, is not itself a single, easy to define, phenomenon but rather represents ‘a continuum of psychobiological changes that vary from slight emotional arousal to the ideal possession state.’ 83 Mental mediumship: A mental medium is someone who connects with etheric-world intelligences that cooperate with them medium by presenting information. When you book a one-to-one mediumship reading, it is very likely to be mental mediumship.In mental mediumship, Spirit uses its own energy, and the medium perceives information that Spirit reveals. This is in contrast to physical mediumship, in which Spirit uses the medium's energy. Carrazana, E., DeToledo, J., Tatum, W., Rivas-Vasquez, R., Rey, G. & Wheeler, S. (1999). ‘Epilepsy and Religious Experience: Voodoo Possession.’ Epilepsia, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 239-241. Clairsentience is a French word which means ‘clear sensing’ and is an enhanced form of intuition. The majority of what most mediums perceive comes in this form and it requires some interpretation by them, which is where it can sometimes break down. However, it is the string on which the other two types can be threaded. Most mediums are primarily, or exclusively, clairsentients. The passing of the great materialisation medium Alec Harris in 1974 seems to have marked a watershed in physical mediumship. Since then, there has been no reported instance of full materialisation in light, a mystery over which many of us have puzzled, including our physical mediums.

This explains why there are such variations in the look and quality of the images seen during these sessions. There will be some manifestations that are faint and dull, either due to a poor connection or the ill health of the medium. Ill health and fatigue will play their part on the result. A medium exhausted from one sitting my struggle to replicate the experience soon after. Others will see a much brighter, clearer image with more distinct features. This occurs with that stronger communicative link and the greater abilities and health of the medium. So how does this ectoplasm enter the room and become visible to the sitters in the session? To bring about a spiritual awakening within the recipient of the message. Once the fact of spirit life is assured, the implications should be clear as to the way we need to live our lives here – not in the context of three score years and ten, but in the setting of eternity. Spiritualism offers a rational philosophy to complete its unique offering. 3

Pierini, E. (2014). ‘Becoming a Spirit Medium: Initiatory Learning and the Self in the Vale do Amanhecer.’ Ethnos, Vol. No. , pp. 1-25. Social functionSpirit possession usually performs important social functions, including, for example, enabling marginal groups to protest, and for making important community decisions. In the ethnographic literature, the term ‘spirit possession’ is often used to describe what parapsychologists refer to as ‘mediumship’.A standard parapsychologicical definition of ‘spirit medium’ might be: ‘A person who regularly, and often at will, receives purported communications from the dead (‘mental medium’) and/or causes physical materializations (‘physical medium’).’ 1Now that we have a better idea of what ectoplasm is, and how this etheric energy is manipulated by the spirits, we need to understand more about these physical phenomena that occur. If spirits use this ectoplasm to create a physical, visible manifestation of their form, how does this occur? Jilek-Aall, L. (1999). ‘Morbus Sacer in Africa: Some Religious Aspects of Epilepsy in Traditional Cultures.’ Epilepsia, Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 382-386. Oohashi, T., Kawai, N., Honda, M., Nakamura, S., Morimoto, M., Nishina, E., Maekawa, T. (2002). ‘Electroencephalographic Measurement of Possession Trance in the Field.’ Clinical Neurophysiology, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 435-445.

Cohen, E. (2008). ‘What is Spirit Possession? Defining, Comparing and Explaining Two Possession Forms.’ Ethos, Vol. 73, No. 1, pp. 101-126.

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Arguably, the most widely-known functionalist approach to spirit possession is IM Lewis’s social-protest theory; this suggests that spirit possession groups perform the essential social function of allowing women in male dominated societies (or any other socially peripheral group) to express their discontent in a socially-acceptable manner. When in the possessed state, Lewis argues, an individual is ‘totally blameless’ for his or her actions; the responsibility lies rather with the spirits. 7 This interpretation sees mediumship and spirit possession traditions as ‘thinly disguised protest movements directed against the dominant sex,’ or group. 8 Intriguingly, the protocol states that “night vision viewers” are required to be made available “to watch events live during the séance and so have independent witnesses acting on behalf of those present.” I asked David who would be responsible for providing this equipment and who would select the people to use it in each séance? Firstly, the subconscious mind takes over, manufacturing a secondary personality, or, a genuine spirit intelligence can speak through the medium. You can only distinguish this by the quality of the teaching, which only comes with experience. Many of our most eloquent teachings came via this type of mediumship. For the first time in its 50-year history the Arthur Findlay College (AFC) has issued a formal protocol governing demonstrations of physical mediumship (PM).

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