In 1918, Joseph Jastrow wrote about the tricks of Eusapia Palladino who was an expert at freeing her hands and feet from the control in the séance room. In the séance room Palladino would move curtains from a distance by releasing a jet of air from a rubber bulb that she had in her hand. According to the psychical researcher Harry Price "Her tricks were usually childish: long hairs attached to small objects in order to produce 'telekinetic movements'; the gradual substitution of one hand for two when being controlled by sitters; the production of 'phenomena' with a foot which had been surreptitiously removed from its shoe and so on."
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.
As the thirst for all things mystical, spiritual, occult and witchy expands into the mainstream, tarot cards are experiencing a huge, almost cultish following. Tarot cards are a form of divination, which literally means working with the divine, or your higher self, which is the ultimate purpose of tarot cards, just like yoga. We’ve broken down everything you need to know about them, from types of decks to what each card represents.
Taking a step back, we should be thankful that we live in an unprecedented time in the history of the Church. Literacy is taken for granted, but it was not so in earlier times. Access to books used to be far more limited; in Marsh’s Library in Dublin, for example, books were so rare and expensive that they were chained to desks inside of cages. Compare that to modern times, where we have some of the greatest works of literature and theology available online at our fingertips. How blessed we are! The tradition of the Catholic Church and all the writings of her saints are priceless aids that we need to utilize. Yes, need!
The magician Julien Proskauer revealed that the levitating trumpet of Jack Webber was a trick. Close examination of photographs reveal Webber to be holding a telescopic reaching rod attached to the trumpet, and sitters in his séances only believed it to have levitated because the room was so dark they could not see the rod. Webber would cover the rod with crepe paper to disguise its real construction.
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."
In 1936, the psychical researcher Nandor Fodor tested the Hungarian apport medium Lajos Pap in London and during the séance a dead snake appeared. Pap was searched and was found to be wearing a device under his robe, where he had hidden the snake. A photograph taken at a séance in 1937 in London shows the medium Colin Evans "levitating" in mid air. He claimed that spirits had lifted him. Evans was later discovered to be a fraud as a cord leading from a device in his hand has indicated that it was himself who triggered the flash-photograph and that all he had done was jump from his chair into the air and pretend he had levitated.
The first thing you should know before going to a medium demonstration or private reading is that psychic mediums are basically a human telephone to the spirit world—they communicate with spirits. Unfortunately, they are a telephone without a dial. A psychic medium can’t just call up anyone from the spirit world with whom you want to talk. Instead, you get whoever is on the other end when the psychic medium “links” with the spirit world.
Visiting a psychic reader can be lightly entertaining or profoundly revealing, depending on what you are looking for. Take a professional approach to consulting a medium, and keep a level head when accepting advice or guidance Don’t get so wrapped up in the spiritual world that you are unable to fully enjoy this one. Above all, don’t be misled into thinking the psychic medium has extraordinary powers until you see proof.
In 1910 at a séance in Grenoble, France the apport medium Charles Bailey produced two live birds in the séance room. Bailey was unaware that the dealer he had bought the birds from was present in the séance and he was exposed as a fraud. The psychical researcher Eric Dingwall observed the medium Bert Reese in New York and claimed to have discovered his billet reading tricks. The most detailed account at exposing his tricks (with diagrams) was by the magician Theodore Annemann.
We can assist them in contacting us by learning to increase and raise our energy — by doing so, we’ll help in the communication by meeting them halfway. So, to answer the question, no, I don’t believe that anyone can become a medium. Rest assured, if you have the gift of mediumship, it’s likely to present itself in its own way and in its own time. My last piece of advice with respect to this question is on a somber note. I do not recommend this as something that you should dabble with. It’s such a serious subject and one that requires both delicacy and tact.