The trance medium Leonora Piper was investigated by psychical researchers and psychologists in the late 19th and early 20th century. In an experiment to test if Piper's "spirit" controls were purely fictitious the psychologist G. Stanley Hall invented a niece called Bessie Beals and asked Piper's 'control' to get in touch with it. Bessie appeared, answered questions and accepted Hall as her uncle. The psychologist Joseph Jastrow wrote that Piper pretended to be controlled by spirits and fell into simple and logical traps from her comments. Science writer Martin Gardner concluded Piper was a cold reader that would "fish" for information from her séance sitters. The physiologist Ivor Lloyd Tuckett who examined Piper's mediumship in detail wrote it could be explained by "muscle-reading, fishing, guessing, hints obtained in the sitting, knowledge surreptitiously obtained, knowledge acquired in the interval between sittings and lastly, facts already within Mrs. Piper's knowledge."
The Christian spiritual life is a journey that doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Christianity requires a community to exist in and teachers from whom to learn the faith, and features a cloud of witnesses cheering us on (Heb 12:1). The Holy Spirit animates the Church and, among other things, gives her the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, fortitude, good counsel, and fear of the Lord, piety. We have an obligation to build on those gifts sealed in us at our confirmation: and one of the most effective ways is spiritual reading. By reading good spiritual books, we can build on each of those seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. In addition, we can come to know the saints better, sit at their feet, and learn from their writings.
Associated with the element of fire, the suit of wands represents passion, inspiration and willpower. The wands imbue their users with primal energy, for it is through them that the cycle of creation can begin. Because of their ability to bring energy into any situation, they are also associated with action, ambition and making plans. At their worst, they can refer to situations that are filled with recklessness and lack of direction. As you follow the journey within the wands, you'll come across these themes again and again.
Every spiritual lesson we meet in our lives can be found in the seventy-eight Tarot cards. And when we consult the Tarot, we’ll get shown the exact lessons we need to learn and master to live an inspired life. It’s like holding up a mirror to yourself so that you can access your subconscious mind and tap into the wisdom (and answers) that lives in us all.
Because the earliest tarot cards were hand-painted, the number of the decks produced is thought to have been small. It was only after the invention of the printing press that mass production of cards became possible. The expansion of tarot outside of Italy, first to France and Switzerland, occurred during the Italian Wars. The most important tarot pattern used in these two countries was the Tarot of Marseilles of Milanese origin.
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.
"Have a little fun with friends," she told INSIDER. "Before going out one night, pull three cards with the intention of the cards giving you some forewarning about the evening. Let it be fun and easy and involve everyone! You can even ask, 'what happens if we go to this spot or this one?' Let the cards decide your night and see if they gave good advice!"
At the same time, if the psychic medium says that Frances is here, and your mother’s name is Francine, don’t say you have no idea what they are talking about. Or if the psychic medium says that your father is wearing a police uniform but your father wore a security uniform, remember that you don’t have to be a psychic medium to mix that one up—anyone could make that mistake. Keep in mind that the clarity of communication may be more like an AM radio station than a telephone. Small inaccuracies are expected. Don’t hold the psychic medium to exact measurements.
Why? You may well ask. Simple: it’s because I have a life here, and I need to be able to enjoy it without feeling as if I’m constantly on duty. In my workshops, I teach that we’re spiritual beings as well as physical beings, and it’s so important that we honor all of ourselves. It takes a really strong spirit to get my attention when I’m not working, as it needs to literally break through my shield, my “off switch,” but on those rare occasions when one does, I’ve now learned that I still must act on it every time.
In the later half of the 20th century, Western mediumship developed in two different ways. One type involved clairaudience or sensitives who hear spirit, and then relay what they hear to their clients. The other incarnation of non-physical mediumship is a form of channeling in which the channeler goes into a trance, or "leaves their body", allowing a spirit entity to borrow their body, who then speaks through them. When in a trance the medium appears to come under the control of the spirit of a departed soul, sometimes entering into a cataleptic state, although modern channelers may not. Some channelers open the eyes when channeling, and remain able to walk and behave normally. The rhythm and the intonation of the voice may also change completely.
Matthews’ favorite decks are those with straightforward illustrations, like the Tarocchino Bolognese by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, an Italian deck created sometime around the 1660s. Matthews owns a facsimile of the Mitelli deck, rather than an original, which means she can use them without fear of damaging a priceless antique. “The deck that I enjoy most is the Mertz Lenormand deck because of its clarity,” she says. “The background on each card is a creamy, vellum color, so when you lay them out in tableau, you can see the illustrations very clearly. I frankly get so tired of all the new Photoshopped tarots and the slick art, with their complete lack of any framework or substance.
A very large part is played by fraud in spiritualistic practices, both in the physical and psychical, or automatic, phenomena, but especially in the former. The frequency with which mediums have been convicted of fraud has, indeed, induced many people to abandon the study of psychical research, judging the whole bulk of the phenomena to be fraudulently produced.
By comparing various decks from different time periods, tarot-card enthusiasts can identify the evolution of certain illustrations. “For example,” says Matthews, “the modern version of the hermit with the lantern, you’ll find that that was an hourglass and he was Saturn or Chronos, the keeper of time. You can see how that translates with the Tarot Bolognese meaning of delay or blockage. It was about time moving slowly, though that’s not used as a modern meaning much now.”
Ten mediums—five less expert and five experienced—were injected with a radioactive tracer to capture their brain activity during normal writing and during the practice of psychography, which involves allegedly channeling written communication from the "other side" while in a trance-like state. The subjects were scanned using SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) to highlight the areas of the brain that are active and inactive during the practice.
In my eBook, The Medium Toolkit, we go over the most common ways all the different types of mediums sense, see and hear those in Spirit, if you're interested in learning more. Also, this whole blog is dedicated to new mediumship and processing all the feelings surrounding new and old gifts, alike. So it's Ok. You're here, among peers - take some time to look around.
The exposures of fraudulent activity led to a rapid decline in ectoplasm and materialization séances. 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.
Of course, they don’t just visit when the going gets tough. By the same token, I often receive evidence that spirits were there to see their children get married, or witness the birth of a baby or a daughter’s graduation. Holidays and special occasions are also big for them — they want to see us happy and like to take part in that joy. After all, if they were here physically, it goes without saying that they’d be present at these important events. Being in spirit doesn’t change the fact that they’re still our family and still care about us.
A reading can help you say those last words to your loved one that you never got to say. A reading can give you insight into the path that lies ahead of you and help you open your eyes to see the endless possibilities that are at your feet. A reading can help you find peace in your heart on a mind, body, and soul level and guide you through certain issues in your life. It can help you understand your life purpose and why certain patterns keep repeating themselves. A reading can help your relationships by clearing the lines of communication and bringing you to an understanding from a point of view that you may have never seen before. And finally, a reading can give you answers you have always longed to find out such as your life purpose and why certain events happened in your life.
The medium Frank Decker was exposed as a fraud in 1932. A magician and séance sitter who called himself M. Taylor presented a mail bag and Decker agreed to lock himself inside it. During the séance objects were moved around the room and it was claimed spirits had released Decker from the bag. It was later discovered to have been a trick as Martin Sunshine, a magic dealer admitted that he sold Decker a trick mail bag, such as stage escapologists use, and had acted as the medium's confederate by pretending to be M. Taylor, a magician. The British medium Estelle Roberts claimed to materialize an Indian spirit guide called "Red Cloud". Researcher Melvin Harris who examined some photographs of Red Cloud wrote the face was the same as Roberts and she had dressed up in a feathered war-bonnet.
The Burning Question reading is for times when you have a question that needs to be answered immediately—a burning question, if you will. A card symbolizing the question is placed at the center of the spread with the remaining six cards placed around it, suggesting the shape of a flame as it clings onto an object. Spread created by veteran tarot reader Laura Mead-Desmet.