Respect for the Medium

I’m just a weekend away from my reading with a medium. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while, and if you are a listener of The Voices Podcast, then this is not news. Regardless of how excited I am about it, there is still a great learning experience to be had, even though I hold a life-long mistrust of mediums that has only recently softened. 
Lately, I’ve had some positive first-hand experiences, so now seems like the perfect time for both the reading itself and for whatever leap of faith I’ll have to take. I attended one of these things with my daughter some time ago, and I was remarkably impressed by the medium’s accuracy, even though she didn’t hit every nail on the head. Nobody’s perfect, but none of the usual stereotypes proved true either, so I decided that day that I wanted to record a personal reading for the podcast. This has been in the works for many moons.
I’ve been extended a number of free mini-sessions over the past few years – impromptu, short ventures of five minutes or less – probably offered because of what I do with EVP. But these have always seemed somewhat preposterous – full of Native American spirit guides, wolves that travel by my side, and old crone-like women protecting me. I don’t know what to make of this stuff, but an full-length reading should be more conclusive. The medium I have chosen is someone I know, but she is clueless about my personal history or that of my family, so if the other side chooses to communicate, almost anything they say will be unknown to her ahead of time – I’ve told her nothing. We haven’t discussed my goals or intentions, my attitude, or what I would like to hear. This is going to be a pretty cold reading, and a fair test of her gift – she’ll be completely on her own. Whatever happens, will happen – accurate or not.
Believe it or not, I have an odd history of skepticism, and nothing has tested it more than mediumship, but that’s primarily because you so rarely are able to prove the findings as right or wrong. Either way, my intentions are not to judge her accuracy. Her contribution to the paranormal is an important and significant aspect of the field, insofar as mediums speak to the heart and soul of the deceased. EVP seem primitive and incomplete when compared to her work, and yet they receive more universal credibility. That seems unfair to me since the medium is the ultimate conduit in spirit communication. If Dad can’t speak the language, he’ll need an interpreter; if Aunt Sue is lost, she’ll need more than my audio recorder or IR cameras. 
So, it seems that mediums operate completely in the realm of unbelievability. It is difficult enough for me to deal with a mouthy skeptic – I can image the flack a medium has to dodge. Therefore, my hopes are for a good reading, and even though I can promise you everything will be taken with a grain of salt, I intend to view the situation as an experience well worth both the money and the effort – no matter what. Voices Podcast listeners will get to go along for the ride, so I recommend the rest of you tag along just this once – maybe we’ll all learn something, and generate a new and much deserved respect for the medium.
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Leap of Faith

So here’s the story. A close friend (we’ll call her Emma) called to tell me that her friend Joan received a message for her from “beyond.” Joan was in the middle of a reading, when the medium spoke to an older man wearing a baseball cap and jacket, requesting that someone deliver a message to Emma.

What message, you’re probably enquiring out loud, because that’s the most interesting part of the story, right – the message? Well, predictably, the old man was Emma’s deceased father and he wanted her to know that he was okay, but also that he’s been unsuccessfully attempting to contact her. He chose to deliver the message through Joan because lately, “Emma has been too upset to notice.” Then he insisted Joan promise to deliver the message. She did, and the story ends with a late night phone call to me.

You’ve probably already formed an opinion. Some of you think it’s bologna, and some of you believe. If you’re part of the latter, count Emma among your ranks – she wholeheartedly accepted every word. I won’t rain on your parade by listing all the reasons why skepticism is the better choice, because there are so many, and I’m sure you’ve heard them all before. Besides, If you believe there is enough evidence here for unconditional acceptance, you won’t be convinced by anything I might say anyway.

And I’m okay with that. Think what you like –  no reason to pay me a bit of attention, but for me, there is still a major problem. My friend Emma has decided this surrogate contact from her father has happened because it “must be near my time to go.”

“Huh? Wait a sec… What?” That was my response. What could possibly have made Emma arrive at such a conclusion? She has some medical issues, but most people do at our age. Sure times are tough, because the economy is tough. Many people are dealing with severe life-altering changes, perhaps alone, or looking desperately for ways to rewrite their personal scripts, but the ole “death is nye” equivocation is extreme in anyone’s book. I became instantly concerned.

This is exactly why I question the wisdom of putting too much emphasis on what a medium has to say. Sometimes we emphasize incorrectly – nothing in the message mentioned death. Of course, dear Emma could have psychological problems, but she doesn’t. You’ll have to trust me on that. Of course she could be at a vulnerable stage of life, but again, she’s no more assailable than the average person. Perhaps she’s just too susceptible to the medium’s art; a little too willing to accept without question.

There’s no real explanation for either her leap of faith, or the conclusions she drew, and she can’t be criticized for her part in the story. Nor can we blame her friend Joan for making good on a promise. Are we to accuse the medium? Wasn’t she just doing her job? And yet, Emma’s feelings still stand – that her final time is near, and she cites the message as reason.

Sometimes, I think all of us need to take a step back and spend a lot more time considering consequences. People are easily hurt and often too quick to interpret other’s intentions. The paranormal, with all it’s variations and ramifications, can become something completely antithetical to its reality. It can damage people without a single shred of credible proof, and cause them to make decisions that result in life-changing consequences. Emma’s strong confidence in the medium’s vision is unshakeable – the damage has been done. But I should be able to convince her that life is never a thing of chance, but a thing of choice, and those choices are more powerful than any prediction can ever be.

Well Worth $40

As soon as I heard that my daughter booked a session with a medium, I wanted to go with her, but I wanted permission from the medium first, and I wanted permission to record for EVP. Both requests were granted and after a quick and simple booking, we did not speak to the medium again until the day of the reading. You’ll have to trust me when I say that there’s very little information she could have found about our family, that no attempt was made to pre-interview my daughter, and I am positive that information was not telegraphed before or during the reading.

The session uneventfully began with the tarot cards and to be completely honest, it was boring and typical in every way. During this phase of the reading, I was able to record several EVP – nothing remarkable or especially revealing, but good solid spirit voices. After about 15 minutes, the medium began to speak to the other side, and things became more interesting.

She appeared to have made contact with a rather forward woman – someone who was most definitely taking charge, and who had surrounded herself with quite a few other spirits. Those in the crowd claimed to be relatives and were quite willing to allow this dominant spirit to grab center stage and hold it formidably. Fortunately for us, she was quite the chatter-box, and it didn’t take long for us to recognize her as my ex-mother-in-law – my daughter’s deceased grandmother, Hillary (name changed).

Instantly, once contact was made, a parade of stories and comments began to emerge – each one, more accurate than the one before. Based on the sheer number of facts this spirit unexplainably knew, coupled with obscure family references, it was clear that Hillary and the medium were authentic. Hillary even made personal references my daughter wasn’t aware of. But I was, and even though I sat in silence, I was amazed. She spoke of no fewer than 5 names – people there with her; each name correctly representing a deceased family member. She knew nicknames too. She vehemently expressed great pleasure in having watched her family continue to grow by revealing little known details about individuals – living and deceased. Hillary spoke of things no medium could ever have surmised. All in all, no suspicion was aroused – nothing akin to trickery was even remotely evident.

It appears that Hillary had just come back from a trip to Scotland with her husband, and she delighted in telling us the details and how much they both enjoyed it. Apparently she has taken up dancing again, done some painting, and spent a lot of time with other relations. She was aware of the goings on in my daughter’s life, and mentioned most of her sisters by name; grandchildren as well, including those who were not born while she was alive.

There isn’t anything about this conversation with the dead that I could find fault with. Believe me, I was looking, and it would have pleased me to have been able to find some kind of blunder. I was certain that if she was a fraud, I could spot it. I’ve seen this done before, and haven’t been fooled yet, but regardless of my unkind need to “catch her” at something, she knew too many details. Since the cost was only $40 for an hour, it doesn’t seem especially cost-effective to research my daughter, unless she was going to attempt to entice her back for several additional visits. She didn’t.

What I’m getting at here is that I actually believe this medium was somehow speaking to the other side, and specifically, to my family. But interestingly enough, not a single EVP was recorded during this trip through the veil. Not even something questionable. Not even a hint. And when it was over; when the medium had broken her connection, EVP began to flow again. I realize this isn‘t conclusive evidence of a single thing, and certainly, a one time experience like this doesn’t allow for any kind of hypothesis about the relationship between readings and interactive EVP. But it does tell me one thing – that this was an honest medium.

I’ve couched no comment about my feelings surrounding mediums – I’m not a fan. That is primarily because there are so many whose skills are obviously the invention of either the need to make easy money, or a desire for some kind of strange power. It’s difficult to put into words because I don’t want to insult the misguided, yet obviously bogus mediums that populate the paranormal field. But it’s good to be wrong sometimes. It’s exciting to know that there are seers out there who choose to put their gifts to good use, and who embrace a pledge of honesty we would all hope to be the norm.

I think it’s interesting that I received no EVP during the substantive portion of the reading. I’m pretty sure there’s a lesson there, but I’m resistant toward drawing a conclusion based on a single event. Perhaps the spirits surrounding us were impressed as well. Perhaps they joined our medium to speak to us more directly. Perhaps, my lack of EVP at that critical moment was nothing more than a coincidence. I can believe that, but I am completely convinced the accuracy we experienced during the reading was not a coincidence. And frankly, it was well worth the $40.