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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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.

Sufficiently Dazzled

I guess there’s no other way to say it, other than to just blurt it out – I have trouble believing in mediums. Sensitives, clairvoyants, fortune-tellers, psychics, soothsayers, oracles, seers… Whatever you want to call them, I wrestle with the whole authenticity issue. I believe there are such people, but not many. In the paranormal, we must be lucky, because there appear to be a lot of them. Right off the bat, I can think of 17 people I know by name who contend to be sensitive in one way or another. And each one of them comes equipped with a testimonial-wielding sidekick ready to assure me that in a sea of charlatans, this one is “the real thing.”

“Okay. Cool. So tell me what you see?” I usually ask that right away. Why dance around the issue, right – whaddya got? Well, apparently, I don’t travel alone, because everyone sees one or more spirits attached to me. An Indian, a wolf, an old lady, a man dressed in a dark suit – only a few of the many stereotypical invisibles in my entourage. From the ridiculous to the sublime, I was once informed that a clown was following me throughout the room. Another time, that I carried somewhere between 13 and 23 spirits in tow. Well, I was feeling sluggish that day, so that might have been accurate, but she told me they were always with me and that some of them weren’t very nice. I later mentioned this to another medium, who paused for a few seconds before suggesting that I must have misplaced a few – she only saw four. I was sufficiently dazzled.

Surely you can see why I have difficulty believing. It’s not that I think they’re fakes; I don’t think they’re all delusional. I’m convinced that they believe whatever it is they’re saying. It’s just that I do not. On an investigation, a “sensitive” and I were alone in the master bedroom, when all of a sudden, he shushed me. Little did I know, there was an exotic animal under the bed. I forget what it was, but it was definitely a dark spirit that had control of the room and our presence was arousing his anger. We needed to leave. Well, I got up without dissent and walked out behind him. I was speechless. I went back in later, of course – with someone else, but I think the creature was probably gone.

The point is, I don’t like to have these people along on investigations. I’m sure that a real medium would be different. I’m sure there are situations where those particular skills come in handy, but I don’t like a lot of nonsense when I’m investigating – it gets in the way. It’s not as if this stuff ruins the feng shui of the environment, or messes with my chi, but it’s really difficult for me to focus on why I’m there when the person next to me appears to be in the middle of some kind of episode. “Someone is with us.” Oh well, case closed, I guess.

But what really bugs me the most is when they try to infect me with the same “disease.” Everyone assumes that since I record a lot of EVP, I must be sensitive too – just like they are, but with my own unique set of gifts. “We all have gifts, you know.”

Not me. I’m not being resistant. I’m not afraid of having gifts. I think it would be pretty cool. I’d be thrilled just to exchange a polite greeting each morning to however many spirits are hanging around at the time. But “you just haven’t developed your skills. You should work on it,” they say. “I think you might be very powerful.”

Well, I am polite. I smile and feign interest; give that look I use when I’m pretending to be fascinated. I assure them that I’ll think about it, and that usually makes them happy, but they’ve lost me, because I know I am not sensitive. A person knows such things.

I realize there are all kinds of studies being done on the subject, and I am always amazed when I read about them. I feel guilty for so many years of doubt. Maybe all these people are the real thing. Maybe if I wouldn’t be such a skeptic, I could see the true value of their skills – I’ve probably been harsh and unjust. Maybe so, but as sure as there are rats on the moon, and Rice Crispies in the bowl, I am not one of them.

Well not in this universe, at least. I mean, nine-hundred universes to the left I’m like the biggest psychic there is. And I’m not overweight there either, and I’ve aged much better. But here? I’m just me. No bells or whistles, no visions, mental images, or intuitive feelings. But if you’re one of those sensitives, and my guess is, there’s a good chance you are – don’t tell me. Let me see if I can figure it out on my own.