The Danish medium Einer Nielsen was investigated by a committee from the Kristiania University in Norway, 1922 and discovered in a séance that his ectoplasm was fake. In 1923 the Polish medium Jan Guzyk was exposed as a fraud in a series of séances in Sorbonne in Paris. Guzyk would use his elbows and legs to move objects around the room and touch the sitters. According to Max Dessoir the trick of Guzyk was to use his "foot for psychic touches and sounds".
Magicians have a long history of exposing the fraudulent methods of mediumship. Early debunkers included Chung Ling Soo, Henry Evans and Julien Proskauer. Later magicians to reveal fraud were Joseph Dunninger, Harry Houdini and Joseph Rinn. Rose Mackenberg, a private investigator who worked with Houdini during the 1920s, was among the most prominent debunkers of psychic fraud during the mid-20th century.
Playing cards, imported into Europe from Egypt, consisted of four suits similar to the ones we still see in tarot today: cups, swords, wands (or staves) and coins. As early as 1227 C.E., symbolic meaning was attributed to certain cards, some of which began to take on names such as “The Sun” and “The Moon,” etc. This attachment of symbolism to the cards heralded the development of the trumps. Occultists suggest that this evolution of the tarot coincides so closely with the rise of both the Kabbalah and the Inquisition that the symbolism entrenched in the tarot is really the hidden remnants of Pagan Europe struggling to survive.
However, using cards for playful divination probably goes back even further, to the 14th century, likely originating with Mamluk game cards brought to Western Europe from Turkey. By the 1500s, the Italian aristocracy was enjoying a game known as “tarocchi appropriati,” in which players were dealt random cards and used thematic associations with these cards to write poetic verses about one another—somewhat like the popular childhood game “MASH.” These predictive cards were referred to as “sortes,” meaning destinies or lots.
The British journalist Ruth Brandon published the book The Spiritualists (1983) which exposed the fraud of the Victorian mediums. The book received positive reviews and has been influential to skeptics of spiritualism. The British apport medium Paul McElhoney was exposed as a fraud during a séance in Osset, Yorkshire in 1983. The tape recorder that McElhoney took to his séances was investigated and a black tape was discovered bound around the battery compartment and inside carnation flowers were found as well as a key-ring torch and other objects.
In our modern day, just like King Saul of old, people seek counsel from psychic mediums. Several fortune-telling channelers have become wealthy celebrities as a result of predictions published in supermarket tabloids and through counseling well-paying clientele such as Hollywood movie stars, politicians and industrialists. The psychics sometimes claim to be channeling 'Jesus Christ', 'Jehovah God', and 'the Virgin Mary'. But what is the real source of the messages uttered by these spiritists?
These trump, or triumph, cards were often painted for wealthy families. Members of the nobility would commission artists to create for them their own set of cards, featuring family members and friends as the triumph cards. A number of sets, some of which still exist today, were created for the Visconti family of Milan, which counted several dukes and barons among its numbers.
St. Augustine of Hippo, considered one of the greatest Fathers of the Church, converted to the Catholic Church upon hearing a boy tell him" "Take, read; take, read." He recounted that "I took (the epistles of Paul the Apostle), I opened, I read in silence; it was as though the darkness of all my doubting was driven away by the light of peace which had entered my soul."
Even if you aren’t familiar with tarot-card reading, you’ve likely seen one of the common decks, like the famous Rider-Waite, which has been continually printed since 1909. Named for publisher William Rider and popular mystic A.E. Waite, who commissioned Pamela Colman Smith to illustrate the deck, the Rider-Waite helped bring about the rise of 20th-century occult tarot used by mystical readers.
One frequent obstacle with spiritual reading is the question of where to start. There are so many writings of saints, magisterial documents, and enough devotional books and pamphlets to fill a library. Choosing what kind of books to read should have a multi-pronged approach, depending on each individual. I think a great way to organize it is an adaptation of St. John Paul II’s recommendations in Pastores Dabo Vobis. The encyclical was on the training of priests, and he called attention to four basic areas of formation: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. Even though most of us aren’t ordained priests, we can still apply this to our spiritual reading habits. Good spiritual reads will ideally aid us in all four of those elements—or at least focus on one or two.
When most people consider consulting a psychic, they often want to know information about the future outcome of a given situation. Generally these questions are related to money, career and relationships. The reader must tune into a probable reality to receive this information. This is just what they are – probable realities. You live in cosmic sea of probabilities at all times. The way you think and act in the present, along with the karmic threads and karmic debts that you carry with you, is what determines your outcomes in any given situation. However, once a being awakens to the power of the Light and allows this Light to enter their being, they begin to take responsibility for everything that is occurring in their life — good and bad. They are now able to see the divine teachings present in every event.
Scientists who study anomalistic psychology consider mediumship to be the result of fraud and psychological factors. Research from psychology for over a hundred years suggests that where there is not fraud, mediumship and Spiritualist practices can be explained by hypnotism, magical thinking and suggestion. Trance mediumship, which according to Spiritualists is caused by discarnate spirits speaking through the medium, can be explained by dissociative identity disorder.
From our personal experience and what has been shared with us, Spirit Guides are souls that have been chosen to guide you throughout your life. Some Guides will remain with you from birth to when you return to the other side. And some Guides come in during specific times in your life – during hardships, releasing blocks, finding a certain path, etc.
The medium Henry Slade was caught in fraud many times throughout his career. In a séance in 1876 in London Ray Lankester and Bryan Donkin snatched his slate before the "spirit" message was supposed to be written, and found the writing already there. Slade also played an accordion with one hand under the table and claimed spirits would play it. The magician Chung Ling Soo revealed how Slade had performed the trick.
After I had my own private conversation with him, remembering those gallery visits and happy times we’d shared, and how I was blessed to have him as a friend in my life, it was time to say my goodbyes, and I knew I would see him again. I went downstairs, and of course, I just had to ask Amanda, “While you were upstairs, did you ask Michael something about money?” I knew it sounded very personal. She looked at me with a look of surprise and said as she put her head down, “Well . . . yes, John, I guess I was being selfish. I asked Michael if there was anything he could do to help me out financially over there; and if there was any guidance he could send me, it would be of great help now.” I was amazed that he’d answered her so quickly.
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