In September 1878 the British medium Charles Williams and his fellow-medium at the time, A. Rita, were detected in trickery at Amsterdam. During the séance a materialized spirit was seized and found to be Rita and a bottle of phosphorus oil, muslin and a false beard were found amongst the two mediums. In 1882 C. E. Wood was exposed in a séance in Peterborough. Her Indian spirit control "Pocka" was found to be the medium on her knees, covered in muslin.
In 1991, Wendy Grossman in the New Scientist criticized the parapsychologist Stephen E. Braude for ignoring evidence of fraud in mediumship. According to Grossman "[Braude] accuses sceptics of ignoring the evidence he believes is solid, but himself ignores evidence that does not suit him. If a medium was caught cheating on some occasions, he says, the rest of that medium's phenomena were still genuine." Grossman came to the conclusion that Braude did not do proper research on the subject and should study "the art of conjuring."
In 1988, the magician Bob Couttie criticized the paranormal author Brian Inglis for deliberately ignoring evidence of fraud in mediumship. Couttie wrote Inglis had not familiarized himself with magician techniques. In 1990 the researcher Gordon Stein discovered that the levitation photograph of the medium Carmine Mirabelli was fraudulent. The photograph was a trick as there were signs of chemical retouching under Mirabelli's feet. The retouching showed that Mirabelli was not levitating but was standing on a ladder which was erased from the photograph.
Even the greatest amount of spiritual reading would amount to a waste of time if it did not affect our souls. How do we make it stick in our spiritual life? First, we should keep Padre Pio’s advice: ask for the assistance of the Holy Spirit, and what God wants to communicate to us in that particular book. Another way to do this is by journaling. Writing down thoughts or insights helps us process new information, as well as helping us remember it. If it’s easier to type than write, one might try starting a blog. Anyone can do it, and there are many free sites available.
As occult interest in the Tarot expanded, it became more associated with the Kabbalah and the secrets of hermetic mysticism. By the end of the Victorian era, occultism and spiritualism had become popular pastimes for bored upper class families. It wasn’t uncommon to attend a house party and find a séance taking place, or someone reading palms or tea leaves in the corner.
The power of the mind, when it is NOT controlled by the conscious awareness of the owner, receives suggestions every second of the day about how it should think, act or respond — impulse. The individual is nothing more than a puppet controlled and programmed by an out of control, chaotic mind. When a being develops awareness and becomes conscious about the events that are taking place around them, they can decide what information to allow in and what information to eliminate. Thus, they become responsible for their life and everything that takes place within it. They no longer require someone to tell them the answers to their questions about probable outcomes, they know that they have the power to create the outcome based on the thoughts and actions they project. They are now able to consciously manifest the life that is in alignment with their dreams, based on their sincere intent and the impeccability of their actions.
The Bible says, "For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun." In other words, for sure we know it couldn't be Samuel, because when we die, we "know nothing." (For more information on what happens when we die, see our topic on Death).
Just because spirits can come to me doesn’t mean they are in control — I am. I wasn’t so disciplined at the beginning, but then I was more inexperienced and possibly a little naïve. As an example, I do remember one time when I was at a party where no one knew me. I was mingling with the guests when a young man walked in and pushed past me to get a drink.
"Trance mediumship" is often seen as a form of mental mediumship. Most trance mediums remain conscious during a communication period, wherein a spirit uses the medium's mind to communicate. The spirit or spirits using the medium's mind influences the mind with the thoughts being conveyed. The medium allows the ego to step aside for the message to be delivered. At the same time, one has awareness of the thoughts coming through and may even influence the message with one's own bias. Such a trance is not to be confused with sleepwalking, as the patterns are entirely different. Castillo (1995) states,
“The imagery was designed to reflect important aspects of the real world that the players lived in, and the prominent Christian symbolism in the cards is an obvious reflection of the Christian world in which they lived,” he adds. As divinatory usage became more popular, illustrations evolved to reflect a specific designer’s intention. “The subjects took on more and more esoteric meaning,” says Wolf, “but they generally maintained the traditional tarot structure of four suits of pip cards [similar to the numbered cards in a normal playing-card deck], corresponding court cards, and the additional trump cards, with a Fool.”
From its earliest beginnings to contemporary times, mediumship practices have had many instances of fraud and trickery. Séances take place in darkness so the poor lighting conditions can become an easy opportunity for fraud. Physical mediumship that has been investigated by scientists has been discovered to be the result of deception and trickery. Ectoplasm, a supposed paranormal substance, was revealed to have been made from cheesecloth, butter, muslin, and cloth. Mediums would also stick cut-out faces from magazines and newspapers onto cloth or on other props and use plastic dolls in their séances to pretend to their audiences spirits were contacting them. Lewis Spence in his book An Encyclopaedia of Occultism (1960) wrote:
With your permission, I connect on a soulful resonance to bring forth messages and healing energy from within you and out to you for further remembering, exploration, and transformation. combining both universal wisdom and the wisdom of your soul, within soul to soul one on one communication and message, these two essences BEing as One within One Spiritual Soul Channel Reading for you. Each reading explores your Soul Life Purpose, what your soul is inviting you to remember, embrace, and treasure within this Life Experience. Using the ancient wisdom tools of Soul Mediumship, as well as intuitive guidance, I will explore with you, your spiritual destiny and the specific gifts you have chosen to experience within this Life Experience. I will also identify the cycle of energies you are embracing in this moment in direct application to your current life situation.
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.