Mediumship – What is a Medium?
A medium is a person able to communicate with the dead. This ability is known as mediumship. A mediums primary objective is to give proof of the survival of the human personality after physical death. (Synonyms: spiritualist, spiritist, necromancer, channeler.)
Article by Craig Hamilton-Parker:
Most mediums hail from Spiritualism – a religion started in 1848 after the spirit world made contacted through the mediumship of the Fox sisters at small house in Hydesville USA. This is considered by Spiritualists to be the first demonstration of modern mediumship. Margaret Fox went on to give the first public demonstration of mediumship in the Corinthian Hall, Rochester, New York.
For many years it was illegal to practice mediumship and many of the early Spiritualists had to practice in secret. Mediums were championed by many great men and women during this period despite the fact this could easily discredit their careers and was considered scandalous by many.
Some of the most famous people to stick their necks out were Robert Owen, Socialist reformer and co-founder of the Co-operative Society, the scientist Sir William Crookes, Sir William F. Barrett who founded the Society for Psychical Research, the great physicist Sir Oliver Lodge, the famous journalist Hannen Swaffer and perhaps the most known by people today – the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (In fact the name “Sherlock Holmes” may be a play on the name of the greatest psychic medium of all time, the levitating psychic medium Danielle Douglas Home.
Many great minds believed in the power of mediums and proclaimed their allegiance to Spiritualism but it wasn’t until 1951 that it became legal with the passing of the Fraudulent Mediums Act which made mediumship legal by removing practitioners from the laws of the Witchcraft Act 1735 and the Vagrancy Act of 1824.
For Jane and me presenting mediumship to a modern television audience was initially a challenge. When we were commissioned to work as the resident psychics on the Big Breakfast we were told in no uncertain terms that we were not to give any mediumistic information. We were allowed to make predictions but nothing more. This was because the media were governed by a body called the ITC and the Broadcasting Acts. When the fledgling BBC first looked for moral standards for their broadcasting they turned to the church for advice which was quick to brand mediums and mediumship as ‘occult’. It was a form of necromancy so was therefore excluded from transmission.
Fortunately things have recently changed and it is possible to show some mediumship on cable channels so long as it is treated as entertainment. When shown on mainstream television such as the BBC, ITV, Channel 5 and Channel 5 it has to be challenged by the presenters to give ‘balance’ to the programs. This gives the comedians and closed minded materialists such as Richard Dawkins a field day. It is a shame that the same rules are not also applied to science – imaging a David Attenborough programs having to have equal comment from a vicar!
Misconceptions about mediumship and the word in common usage
To become a practicing medium within Spiritualism is not easy. The psychic mediums have to know a lot about their topic, complete courses and most importantly be able to demonstrate in front of a discerning congregation who know their subject. You cannot get away with the flannel and baloney that you often see passing as mediumship – particularly on the ghost hunting programs. Also you will see mediums that were discredited within Spiritualism working on television with impunity.
Jane and I love working on television but we have also worked for many years as platform mediums within Spiritualism. We have also been tested by skeptics on many shows and fought hard to prove that mediumship is real. Most of the fake mediums avoid the challenges.
It is also today confusing for the newcomer to know if psychic mediums are what they say. Since the recent interest from the media many people who in the past would have been called a fortune teller now claim to be psychic mediums. It makes financial sense as the public are realizing that mediums can also give powerful psychic messages as well as communicate with the dead. On this site I have written many additional articles about the differences between a psychic and a medium and how to spot who is real and who is a fake.
The video below gives a very simple explanation of the difference between a psychic and a medium.
The Difference Between a Psychic and a Medium
(And a problem with my hat!)
Terms and definitions of mediumship
People love to enhance their brand so you will find other terms for a medium. Some of these can be a little confusing but here are some of the typical deviations to the definition of a medium:
- Psychic Medium: A medium who also has psychic powers such as the gift of prophecy.
- Mental Medium: A medium who perceives the spirit through their mind using the skills of Clairvoyance (Clear Seeing) Clairsentience (Clear Sensing) and Clairaudience (Clear Hearing)
- Physical Medium: Rare nowadays, this is a medium who can manifest ectoplasm so that you can see the spirit
- Transfiguration Medium: A medium whose face will cover in a spiritual veil and show faces of people in spirit.
- Direct Voice Medium: A Medium who can manifest discarnate voices in the séance room
- Trance Medium: A medium who allows the spirits to speak directly through him or her. Americans call this Channeling. Channeling should also contain proof and evidence of survival so watch out for those who are simply speaking 'psycho-babble'.
- Spiritualist Medium: A medium who is also a Spiritualist
- Metaphysical Medium: A silly Americanism that hijacks a branch of philosophy simply to sound good. Watch out also for other phony and grandiose sounding titles such as Celtic Medium, Accurate Medium, Medium for the spirit of St Germain, Counseling Medium, Angel Medium and so on. These people probably just want to sound better than they are!
Learn More with us
If you would like to know more I suggest you have a good look around my website where you will find many well-written articles and properly edited videos about what it is to be a medium and how to develop your own mediumistic abilities. We also have our own Online School for Mediums with a Distance Learning project and classes that that operate from within out chat rooms. Join up and you can also watch me and other mediums demonstrating online.
References and Works Cited
- New Age Dictionary by Robin Western (31 Dec 1998)
- Isis Unveiled: Science: 1 by Helena Petrova Blavatsky (2 May 2011)
- Alan Leo's Dictionary of Astrology (1929) by Alan Leo and Vivian E. Robson (24 Jan 2003)
- Dictionary of the Occult by New York Geddes and Grosset (1997)
- Spiritualists National Union - The UK organization to support and unite Spiritualists and promote Spiritualism.
- Arthur Findlay College - The Worlds Foremost College for the Advancement of Spiritualism and Psychic Sciences
- The ‘Medium’ Is Not the Messenger - Skeptic conjurer James Randi's opinion.
Mediumship is also known as channeling in the USA. It is the practice of Spiritualist Mediums to purportedly mediate communication between the dead and the living.