According to the magician John Booth the stage mentalist David Devant managed to fool a number of people into believing he had genuine psychic ability who did not realize that his feats were magic tricks. At St. George's Hall, London he performed a fake "clairvoyant" act where he would read a message sealed inside an envelope. The spiritualist Oliver Lodge who was present in the audience was duped by the trick and claimed that Devant had used psychic powers. In 1936 Devant in his book Secrets of My Magic revealed the trick method he had used.
In contrast, the meanings in other decks are particularly difficult to decipher, like the infamous Thoth tarot developed by Aleister Crowley, notorious for his involvement with various cults and experimentation with recreational drugs and so-called “sex magick.” Completed in 1943, the Thoth deck was illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris and incorporated a range of occult and scientific symbols, inspiring many modern decks. As Wolf explains, “with the rise of the divination market in the 20th century, more liberties were taken, and the imagery evolved into increasingly personal artistic statements, both in content and style of execution.”
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!
On 4 February 1922, Harry Price with James Seymour, Eric Dingwall and William S. Marriott had proven the spirit photographer William Hope was a fraud during tests at the British College of Psychic Science. Price wrote in his SPR report "William Hope has been found guilty of deliberately substituting his own plates for those of a sitter... It implies that the medium brings to the sitting a duplicate slide and faked plates for fraudulent purposes." The medium Kathleen Goligher was investigated by the physicist Edmund Edward Fournier d'Albe. On July 22, 1921 in a séance he observed Goligher holding the table up with her foot. He also discovered that her ectoplasm was made of muslin. During a séance d'Albe observed white muslin between Goligher's feet.
The word tarot is derived from the Italian word tarocchi, which has no known etymology. There are many theories regarding its origin. It may be derived from the name of an Italian river, the Taro. Or perhaps it is of Arabic origin, as playing cards originated in the Middle East, becoming common in Europe by the year 1377 C.E. 18th century occultists claimed the name Tarot came from the conjunction of two Egyptian words meaning “royal road,” which indicated that the tarot was the path to wisdom.
The 18th century saw tarot's greatest revival, during which it became one of the most popular card games in Europe, played everywhere except Ireland and Britain, the Iberian peninsula, and the Ottoman Balkans. French tarot experienced a revival beginning in the 1970s and France has the strongest tarot gaming community. Regional tarot games—often known as tarock, tarok, or tarokk are widely played in central Europe within the borders of the former Austro-Hungarian empire.
In 1925, Samuel Soal claimed to have taken part in a series of séances with the medium Blanche Cooper who contacted the spirit of a soldier Gordon Davis and revealed the house that he had lived in. Researchers later discovered fraud as the séances had taken place in 1922, not 1925. The magician and paranormal investigator Bob Couttie revealed that Davis was alive, Soal lived close to him and had altered the records of the sittings after checking out the house. Soal's co-workers knew that he had fiddled the results but were kept quiet with threats of libel suits.
The British medium Francis Ward Monck was investigated by psychical researchers and discovered to be a fraud. On November 3, 1876 during the séance a sitter demanded that Monck be searched. Monck ran from the room, locked himself in another room and escaped out of a window. A pair of stuffed gloves was found in his room, as well as cheesecloth, reaching rods and other fraudulent devices in his luggage. After a trial Monck was convicted for his fraudulent mediumship and was sentenced to three months in prison.
But to balance such arcane decks, there are divinatory cards that offer little room for interpretation, like “Le Scarabée d’Or” or The Golden Beetle Oracle, one of Wolf’s most prized decks. “It’s just fantastically bizarre. There’s a little window in the lid of the card box, and when you shake it, the beetle appears, and points to a number,” he explains. “Then you find the corresponding number on a set of round cards, with beautiful script text on them, and read your fortune. Can you not imagine standing in a Victorian parlor in France, consulting the Golden Beetle? It was like performance art.”
Mina Crandon claimed to materialize a "spirit hand", but when examined by biologists the hand was discovered to be made from a piece of carved animal liver. The German apport medium Heinrich Melzer was discovered to be a fraud in 1926. In a séance psychical researchers found that Melzer had small stones attached to the back of his ears by flesh coloured tape. Psychical researchers who investigated the mediumship of Maria Silbert revealed that she used her feet and toes to move objects in the séance room.
For example, if a spirit wants to give the psychic medium the name Sandy, they might flash (in the psychic medium’s mind) the face of a person whom the psychic medium knows named Sandy. If they want to get the psychic medium to say the word “coffee,” they might show the psychic medium someone’s cat that had the name Coffee. This can be confusing and requires that the psychic medium interpret what they are seeing in their mind. For instance, the psychic medium might say cat rather than coffee; and to the person being read, the psychic medium might appear wrong when the psychic medium is actually just “misinterpreting” the message.
While the tarot is the most widely known, it’s just one type of deck used for divination; others include common playing cards and so-called oracle decks, a term encompassing all the other fortune-telling decks distinct from the traditional tarot. Etteilla eventually switched to using a traditional tarot deck, which he claimed held secret wisdom passed down from ancient Egypt. Etteilla’s premise echoed the writings of Court de Gébelin, who allegedly recognized Egyptian symbols in tarot-card illustrations. Though hieroglyphics had not yet been deciphered (the Rosetta Stone was rediscovered in 1799), many European intellectuals in the late 18th century believed the religion and writings of ancient Egypt held major insights into human existence. By linking tarot imagery to Egyptian mysticism, they gave the cards greater credibility.
The fifth, and final, thing you should know before going to a psychic medium demonstration or private reading is a piece of advice my friend John says best before every one of his demonstrations, “Don’t Feed The Medium!” If the psychic medium tells you that your Uncle Charlie is present. Don’t blurt out, “Oh, my goodness, my Uncle Charlie was a police officer who lost his leg in the war and died two years ago in a car accident!” Let the psychic medium tell you these things. If you offer that information yourself, then you miss out on the excitement and validation you could gain if the psychic medium was about to tell you those details.
"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,
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."
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 1920s the British medium Charles Albert Beare duped the Spiritualist organization the Temple of Light into believing he had genuine mediumship powers. In 1931 Beare published a confession in the newspaper Daily Express. In the confession he stated "I have deceived hundreds of people…. I have been guilty of fraud and deception in spiritualistic practices by pretending that I was controlled by a spirit guide…. I am frankly and whole-heartedly sorry that I have allowed myself to deceive people." Due to the exposure of William Hope and other fraudulent spiritualists, Arthur Conan Doyle in the 1920s led a mass resignation of eighty-four members of the Society for Psychical Research, as they believed the Society was opposed to spiritualism.
It is claimed that the telepathic communications come from highly evolved spirit beings existing in the normally invisible realms of the spirit dimension. Sometimes the medium will have a vision in which he or she sees the spirit in a visible form, manifested in the imagination faculties of the medium’s consciousness. The spirit guides are said to sometimes wear white robes and often radiate brilliant, golden-white light. Channelers claim that the messages received represent divine wisdom and truth, and have beneficial value for mankind.
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.
As he did so, I was aware that he’d lost a brother. I could feel his brother right beside him, right there at the party. I didn’t really know quite what to do or how to behave. I had two choices, the first being to just blurt out something, and potentially shock this man by saying, “Hey, I know you lost a brother, and he’s standing right beside you!” No, somehow I don’t think that would have been the right approach. So what I did was this. I put my thoughts out to the brother and said, If you want me to give your brother a message, then you figure out how that conversation is going to come about. I put the responsibility on the spirit to work it out.
Present - The next card, the middle card, represents your present state of being. This card helps you gain perspective on where you are right at this moment, what you are up against and what you have to work with. It may reveal things you are reluctant to acknowledge. For example, you may learn that your current efforts are in vain or that someone you trusted is shifty. On the other hand, you will also learn where your powers lay which you can nourish and grow into the future.