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."
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).
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.
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.
One of the hours of the Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours has spiritual reading and prayer rolled into one: the Office of Readings. It begins with the praying of three psalms/canticles from Scripture, and it concludes with one Scripture reading and one reading from the Church’s tradition. It could be from a saint’s writings, an ecclesial document, a selection from one of the Church Fathers, or a sermon from one of the great preachers in our tradition. You might not have otherwise picked up St. John Chrystostum’s homilies on Our Lady, a portion of Lumen Gentium, or a selection from St. Therese’s Story of a Soul! Praying the Office of Readings provides a healthy dose of Scripture and offers short introductions to 2,000 years of spiritual heritage.
Many souls have written or called me to ask, is an email reading effective? Is it as effective as say a phone or in person reading? What about healings, can they work via email or phone as well? As I have explained to many souls, an email reading is what we would call here on this earth dimension as just as effective and in some cases more so than the phone or a soul to soul physical presence reading. This is simply because in a phone reading or in-person reading, most of what is said we hear but we may be free from remembering every word spoken so that it resonates within us. While it is the energy of the reading rather than the words themselves that provide us with the shift within the soul, there are moments when we forget what is said and there are moments we come infinitely back to a Spiritual Medium or search for another reader to gift us what it is we have forgotten.
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.
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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 biblical basis of this practice is St. Paul's advice to his disciple Timothy whom he appointed bishop. St. Paul told him to "Attend to reading." The word "attend" an allusion to the many other concerns that a bishop has to attend to. By this, according to St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church on Moral theology, the Apostle Paul "wished him to apply to the reading of holy books, not in a passing way and for a short time, but regularly and for a considerable time."
After her death in the 1980s the medium Doris Stokes was accused of fraud, by author and investigator Ian Wilson. Wilson stated that Mrs Stokes planted specific people in her audience and did prior research into her sitters. Rita Goold a physical medium during the 1980s was accused of fraud, by the psychical researcher Tony Cornell. He claimed she would dress up as the spirits in her séances and would play music during them which provided cover for her to change clothes.
In contrast to most oracle decks, which don’t include suited pip cards, Lenormand cards feature a unique combination of numbered playing-card imagery on top of illustrated scenes used for fortune-telling. “One of the earliest versions, called the Game of Hope, was made by a German named J.K. Hechtel and was prepared like a board game,” says Matthews. “You laid out cards 1 to 36, and the object of the game was to throw the dice and move your tokens along it. If you got to card 35, which was the anchor card, then you’re home, safe and dry. But if you went beyond that, it was the cross, which was not so good. It was like the game Snakes and Ladders.” In this way, the Game of Hope fell into the Victorian-era tradition of board games that determined a player’s life story based on luck.
The psychologist and psychical researcher Stanley LeFevre Krebs had exposed the Bangs Sisters as frauds. During a séance he employed a hidden mirror and caught them tampering with a letter in an envelope and writing a reply in it under the table which they would pretend a spirit had written. The British materialization medium Rosina Mary Showers was caught in many fraudulent séances throughout her career. In 1874 during a séance with Edward William Cox a sitter looked into the cabinet and seized the spirit, the headdress fell off and was revealed to be Showers.
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.
While there are a few different forms of mediumship, I work as a mental medium, which means I communicate with spirits through the use of telepathy. Spirits impress my mind and body with thoughts and feelings that come in the form of "clairs." I mentally "hear" (clairaudience), "see" (clairvoyance), "know" (claircognizance) and/or "feel" (clairsentience) messages from spirits. I like to say that I act as the bridge between the spiritual and the physical world, with the intention of healing both worlds.
Often, I will do a Skype call with my best friend in the evening, when she is off work. She lays the cards out for me on her Turkish scarves then - ta-da! - the fortune-telling happens. Because she knows me so well, since we were pip-squeaks, it is helpful to have her insight on what each card forebodes. After the reading, I get to process it all with my pal then take it with me into my dreams.