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!
If the words "spiritual medium" call to mind cheap velvet cushions and crystal balls, you're in good company. But a session with Gabriel feels like an amazing conversation with a therapist you've seen for years; she's down-to-earth, astute and totally professional. She gives in-person readings for larger groups and individual readings over the phone. View Profile »
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:
For the less experienced mediums, exactly the opposite was observed--increased levels of activity in the same frontal areas during psychography compared to normal writing, and the difference was significant compared to the experienced mediums. What this probably means is that the less experienced mediums were trying really hard. The force is not yet strong with them.
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When deciding whether to consult with a local medium in person, check for a couple of things before scheduling. Does the person live in a decent or nice neighborhood? If not, that ought to raise questions about her ability to accurately advise clients. While it is common knowledge that mediums, like doctors, do not “treat” themselves due to the subjective nature of self-study, they should be able to boast a reasonable success rate with clients, which means the clients would want to return periodically as well as refer friends and associates. This would lead to significant income for an accurate psychic medium, so that she would be able to afford a comfortable home or office in a pretty good neighborhood. If the home or office appears run-down or quite modest, this may mean the reader is not as accurate as she claims. Not all psychics live in mansions, of course, but successful ones probably reflect an element of status.
Colin Fry was exposed in 1992 when during a séance the lights were unexpectedly turned on and he was seen holding a spirit trumpet in the air, which the audience had been led to believe was being levitated by spiritual energy. In 1997, Massimo Polidoro and Luigi Garlaschelli produced wax-moulds directly from one's hand which were exactly the same copies as Gustav Geley obtained from Franek Kluski, which are kept at the Institute Metapsychique International.
Many spiritual works exhort us to form the “human”; that is, to become the best version of ourselves. To form the spiritual side of us is to draw us deeper into communion with Our Lord. The intellectual aspect is important; we have to know what we believe. It is not opposed to the spiritual side; why would God have given humans such a remarkable intellect if He didn’t intend for us to use it? Lastly, I’d change “pastoral” to “vocational” for those of us among the laity. Vocational books on being a parent, spouse, father, mother, etc. have been coming up more and more.
Spiritual reading is an instruction in prayer and virtue, according to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and thus he said that "spiritual reading and prayer are the arms by which hell is conquered and paradise won." St. Josemaría Escrivá explained that spiritual reading "builds up a store of fuel. — It looks like a lifeless heap, but I often find that my memory, of its own accord, will draw from it material which fills my prayer with life and inflames my thanksgiving after Communion." (The Way 117)
Mediumship became quite popular in the 19th-century United States and the United Kingdom after the rise of Spiritualism as a religious movement. Modern Spiritualism is said to date from practices and lectures of the Fox sisters in New York State in 1848. The trance mediums Paschal Beverly Randolph and Emma Hardinge Britten were among the most celebrated lecturers and authors on the subject in the mid-19th century. Allan Kardec coined the term Spiritism around 1860. Kardec claimed that conversations with spirits by selected mediums were the basis of his The Spirits' Book and later, his five-book collection, Spiritist Codification.