How Mediums Work
Article by Craig Hamilton-Parker. This is an extract from my book Psychic School that can be purchased from our psychic shop. Here I explain about Psychic Tours and working with an audience and at the theater. Working within Spiritualism is for many mediums the first step to taking psychic tours of the theaters and learning to work with a paying audience.
When the members of a circle are ready to begin demonstrating, the medium leading the circle will usually plan a “fledgling demonstration.” If the medium comes from a Spiritualist background then this is normally arranged at a Spiritualist center, and the audience already will know how mediumship works and be sympathetic and less critical than a paying general audience.
The first time I set foot in a Spiritualist church was as a fledgling medium. Peter Close, our circle leader, prepared us in the weeks leading up to the event and worked with us to refine our gifts in readiness for the specific tasks each of us was to perform. One of us would do the opening prayer, another would give a short inspired address, some would demonstrate psychometry, and a few would demonstrate mediumship. Shaking like leaves, we stood in front of the sea of eyes and took turns demonstrating our gifts. To our astonishment it worked. We could do it! In fact, afterwards members of the audience approached us to say that our mediumship was better than they had seen from mediums who had been working most of their lives—and they were not just being nice, then meant it.
How it Works:
Working in Spiritualist churches is easy for both fledgling and more advanced mediums because the energy is usually high and the congregation is normally open-minded and used to watching mediums work. Spiritualists will still demand evidence but will be more tolerant than the general public and understanding when things go awry. When working with large public audiences the medium usually needs to be more dynamic and a bit of a showman.
The methods I am about to discuss will help you to deliver your messages with energy and make your work interesting to watch should you eventually demonstrate at larger venues. Much of what follows also will apply when working one-on-one, and I advise trainees about these same criteria when they demonstrate their skills in my online psychic chat rooms.
Psychic Tours Video
Craig & Jane demonstrate mediumship on their psychic tours of the UK
Establishing an Empathy with the Audience
People who have paid to watch you in a theatre are expecting to be entertained. Of course mediums are not entertainers, we are doing an important spiritual task, but if we are to reach the general public we need to go out into the world and present ourselves to them. A television producer once advised me to be myself when I go on air but be a slightly magnified version of myself. In other words, you have to consciously project your personality but at the same time do not ham it up or make yourself look false or silly.
In the case of a live audience, you have to get them on your side. This can be done by talking with sincerity and compassion and also instilling a little humor. This can happen right from the start, but it works best when injected into the mediumship part of the demonstration. I may say things such as “I want to come to the man with the blue aura with yellow spots,” or “I want to come to the lady with the ghastly pink cardigan,” or I may point in some vague direction and say, “I want to come to the lady on this side, the lady with the strong features.” I will not actually identify whom I am talking about, but playing with the audience like this can sometimes lift the energy. You have to be careful, of course not to overstep the mark, as some people may not see the joke or take you literally and your tongue in cheek remarks may be taken as insults!
Most mediums have a few silly comments up their sleeve that they throw in when the energy needs a lift. It’s one of the things that makes mediumship fun to do and fun to watch. Although we are dealing with some very sensitive issues and tragedies, a little humor will help to lift the grief and allow the energy to flow. Laughter can sometimes be an expression of love.
The first links that you make are also very important because from these you establish your ability and get the audience’s trust and, with it, their support and energy. If the first link goes wrong it may take some time to get the energy flowing again. You need to have the audience’s belief and confidence, which creates a sort of energy that will work in your favor. Actors and actresses know that an audience has its own energy, which can lift or floor the performer.
The First Link
Mediums are often asked, “How do you know who to go to when giving a link to an audience?” The truth is that most of the time we have absolutely no idea until we start speaking. In my own case, I find the first link of the evening is given to me as I stand up from my chair or step onto the stage. Spirit usually gives me a name, but only at the last minute and just before I am to speak. It can be nerve-wracking, as I do not know if I am tuned in or linked to spirit at all until I actually start working.
This is where advance clairvoyance comes in handy. Sometimes a communicator may link to the medium the day before the show, and this information can be explained to the audience just before you work. I remember watching the great medium Doris Stokes work, and she started her session by saying that a name had come to her while being driven to the show. It was impressive when she added a long list of details and someone in the audience affirmed all of it. Advance clairvoyance can be arresting to people who have never witnessed it, for it cannot be explained away by cold reading, fishing for information, watching facial expressions, telepathy, or listening to voice tones.
Sometimes a name and other details will come to me prior to giving a demonstration, but normally I do not get the link until the moment I am about to speak. Other times there is a name on my mind but it is completely overwritten when it comes to the actual demonstration. The truth is that every medium works in a different way, and no one way is better than another. Some may give wonderful factual evidence, such as names and dates, but may miss some of the intimate and heartfelt information. For others the reverse may apply. What matters is that the recipient and the audience understand that a spirit person has made a connection and added a little more to the evidence suggesting life after death.
Moving with the Flow
When you stand in front of an audience you will be aware of their energy and will be drawn to certain areas of the auditorium or to individual people. Most of the time you will not be able to resist the pull of this energy and may find yourself giving messages to people all over the place—sometimes including people waiting in the wings, in the bar, or in the entrance area. In these instances you’ll have to send someone out to get them!
This is a sign of the spirit’s determination to get a message through to specific people, but as a medium you have a lot more control than you may at first think. While doing a demonstration you can simultaneously have an inward conversation with your spirit helpers and ask for their help. If, for example, you notice the energy in the is dropping you can suggest that they bring a cheerful link through—a communicator who will lift the energy by making people laugh. Who comes though is usually outside of your control but the guides will pay attention and help you with links that will enable things to move smoothly. While the guides are lining up the communicators, it is you who are standing in front of an audience and it is your judgement that counts. So if you feel you need help, ask the spirit guides—they will help only if you ask them.
If audience is vibrant and receptive, the energy will be like a liquid light flowing from place to place. When the energy is really high you may see it like a lake of light that moves around the auditorium. If you cannot place a link you are describing, submit to the energy and let it guide you. You may be drawn to a specific area or to a particular seat and, in some instances, you may see a bright light around the person who is to have the message. Invariably when cross-examined he or she will turn out to be the recipient, or, if it is not that person, then it is someone sitting very near. It may be that the potential receiver is shy or hesitates to come forward. Perhaps the receiver could place some of the information, but needs additional details before acknowledging it all.
As the one in control of the demonstration, it is possible for you to work with the spirit communicators to line up the next link while you are finishing the first one. When doing this, make sure you move around the audience. If you give messages only to one section of the audience you will lose the attention of the rest—and with it goes their energy and the power that drives you. So if you have a link at the front of the hall, make the next link at the back or up in the balcony. In this way the audience will need to turn around to see to whom you are speaking, which makes the experience more active and interesting. It also keeps everyone alert, as no one knows to whom you are going to go next. It could be anyone, and so they remain expectant and excited if they do eventually get connected.
There will inevitably be times when giving psychic or medium readings you are stuck, a link is not spoken for. This can be very disconcerting, but do not let it unnerve you. Whatever happens, do not apologize, for this will only undermine the good work you are doing. The reason a link has not been made is usually because the person in the audience has heard everything but has not yet made the connection to him- or herself. A name you said may have thrown the receiver off the link, or he or she may not want to accept the message in such a public place.
Don’t abandon the link unless you are absolutely forced to do so. With a little perseverance you can usually find the person the message is for. You may be drawn to that person by the energy in the room, but in some cases it may require you to clarify your information. Don’t panic. Summarize what you have so far and remind the audience that you may have a name wrong or the actual name may sound similar to the one you have. Often the audience does not realize the subtle nature of mediumship—they assume you are like a crystal-clear telephone line to the other side. Any genuine medium will know that this is simply not the case. Wires get crossed and the signal is sometimes muffled, so do not be too proud to admit the link may be fuzzy. Nonetheless, the odds are that you are probably one hundred percent right but that the recipient for the message has not been found yet.
Persevere but do not force the message on someone. I would rather accept I have not placed a link than give the message to someone who is trying to be helpful or making the link fit. Until you are completely sure the link is right, keep the options for whom it is with open. When the link is truly found you will know it for certain. You will have an unmistakable gut feeling that it is right. Then when the connection is made you will not only be able to place the information correctly but will also find that even more details will flow.
Of course, there always will be the difficult audience members. You may get what we mediums call a “message grabber”—someone who will try to grab every message you give as their own in the hope that a real message will eventually come through for them. These people are a hazard because they will accept the initial message and then retract partway through in order to move you to a real link for themselves. The spirit communicators will have no choice but to go quiet on you. Be aware that this can sometimes happen and try to identify this sort of person at the onset. Politely say that you feel you are not with him or her and move on to find the real recipient of the message.
You may also get what we call a “blocker.” Every audience has at least one of these prove-it-to-me receivers, people who want to make the medium work as hard as possible in the hope that the message they get will be more detailed. They may also try to hold the medium by being awkward, such as initially accepting everything and then refuting some information that has already been accepted as correct. In this way they hold the medium’s attention and wrongly assume that by not letting you leave them they will get a more detailed message. You will also find blockers very tiring to work with and their selfishness may drain your energy. I drop them as quickly as I can, but I make sure that I leave them on a high note. Once they have accepted a good piece of evidence, I conclude quickly and say I have a link for someone else. Some people have their own petty agenda and it is not worth wasting your precious energy with them. There are likely to be far more deserving people in the audience who will benefit from your expertise. Move on and don’t feel guilty about being forced to break a link. Public work is there for everyone to enjoy.
Trusting the Spirit
There may be occasions when the message is correct but you are trying to give it to the wrong person. When this happens ask the audience if anyone there can understand most of the link. Again, one small detail may be throwing things out of whack, so you may need to put that aside and sort the rest out toward the end of the message, once the flow is going well. By that time the true receiver may have remembered the detail they initially could not accept. You may be mistaken, of course, but in the majority of instances everything you have been given is right but you have gotten into a tangle with the context.
You have to believe in yourself and trust the information you are being given when you work in public. In the early days of your mediumship it is particularly difficult to give information that appears to be ridiculous, but you will be surprised when it is accepted. One of the first demonstrations I did alone, without the support of the circle or my medium mentor, required me to give what appeared to be a nonsensical message. The spirit showed me an image of Long John Silver with a wooden leg, hook, and a parrot on his shoulder and impressed me to tell a rather grumpy-looking man at the back of the audience what I was seeing. This was my first time at the venue and I wanted to be accurate, but was very concerned that I may make myself look like a complete fool. Nonetheless I gave the message.
“I have someone here who wants to link to you. He is dressed like Long John Silver from Treasure Island.” Then some more information came to me once I had the courage to give what I got. “And he says his name is Peter. I believe he is your uncle.
“Oh yes, that’s my uncle Peter,” replied the man, his face now breaking into a smile. “It’s not Long John Silver, it’s Captain Hook you are seeing. Uncle Peter used to work in pantomime and would play the character regularly at the Christmas show!”
Can you imagine the relief that came when I got that right? Remember, this was one of my first demonstrations out on my own, and the spirit helpers really threw me in at the deep end with that message. It was sink or swim. And I swam.
The more you trust the spirit communicators the more accurate your mediumship will become. Nowadays I have all sorts of strange messages come through, and some can be very odd indeed. For example, I once gave a message from a spirit who’s head had been cryogenically frozen. “A complete waste of money!” was the spirit’s comment. I have relayed secret symbolism from the Grand Lodge by a “dead” Freemason—though I wonder how it is possible to keep any form of secret in the spirit world. I have had spirits show themselves dressed in the uniform of the Queen of England’s Coldstream guards, with flamboyant red tunic and bearskin busby. And I have had spirit communicators who have shown me everything from bagpipes to Kango hammers to identify who they are.
If we can give unusual facts that can be verified only by the recipient and no one else in the theatre, it helps to negate the sceptics’ accusation that all mediums give cold readings: that we give information that could apply to anyone or that can easily be made to fit with what the recipient wants to hear. We mediums need to give this level of irrefutable proof, which comes by trusting the spirit. If you have the courage to say what the spirit impresses on your mind, your mediumship will become more accurate. Sometimes we will make mistakes and our own unconscious thoughts will get muddled with what the spirits are trying to tell us. We may look foolish, but does that really matter? The fact that we may get some things wrong reveals our honesty. In time you will find that your accuracy will come close to one hundred percent right, but this will happen only if you trust what you are being given by the spirit.
If you do come up against a brick wall of one sort or another when demonstrating, there are a few things you can do to help yourself:
Perhaps the recipient does not understand mediumship.
Just because the person receiving the message has come to see a medium, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he or she is open to receiving a message. It may be the receiver’s first time to a demonstration or perhaps he or she gave someone a lift, are theater staff, or has been reluctantly dragged along by a partner. If there is neither the desire nor the need to know, then you will probably only be able to work on a psychic level for these people.
Others may be shy, very upset, or be concerned that you will reveal all of their secrets to the world. You may need to give reassurance or simplify what you are doing. For example, I described someone in great detail to a sitter who, to my dismay, rejected all of it, saying, “It’s all nonsense, what you say. The person you are describing is dead!” Clearly she had no idea what a medium does.
Perhaps a detail has thrown the receiver off.
People think that a medium is like a telephone line to the next world and will assume that everything you say is true and that you make no mistakes. They may be able to accept most of what you have given but then a detail, such as the name, is not understood and they then assume the whole link is wrong.
If this happens, ask them to put the name aside for a while and continue with the evidence. If the link is still proving to be correct, you can tie up the loose ends at the end or at some point during the communication. Postponing takes off the pressure and, so long as it is the correct link, allows your flow to continue. People have bad memories and sometimes it takes a little while for the penny to drop. Usually this happens during the demonstration, and the information is finally accepted, but do not blame yourself if after trying to tie up the loose ends it isn’t accepted. Invariably the person will approach you afterwards to say he or she has remembered or made a cell-phone call to someone who confirmed it.
Perhaps your energy is low.
When you are working you will sometimes become so enthusiastic that you do not realize how spiritually tired you are becoming. After a number of good links you may suddenly hit a brick wall. This may occur if your energy has dropped or the energy of the audience has dropped.
If this happens, pace yourself. Drink some water and say something to the audience—a few sentences about what you are doing or something to make them laugh. Getting the audience’s interest will lift the energy. After this very short pause you can return to the sitter and work psychically for a while. For example, you may tell the sitter something about his or her aura colours or about any current issues surrounding him or her. Mention that you are working on a psychic level while your energy is replenishing. Once the flow is back you can return to mediumship and give the same recipient information about their spirit loved ones.
Perhaps you have more than one spirit communicator.
If the spirit people are keen to communicate, they can sometimes clamber over one another to get through. As the medium, you are stuck in the middle with more than one communicator giving you information. If you sense this, point out that there may be more than one communicator and sort out the information. For example, the person may know two people named Frank and both come through together. Explain the differences between them so that the recipient understands who you are describing.
Occasionally you may find yourself with two similar links for two different people. Again distinguish who’s who and then settle on a reading for just one of the recipients. When you have finished, you may decide to return to the link that was uncertain and give another message. Doing this satisfies both recipients and clearly shows that you leave no loose ends.
Perhaps you are on a dead link.
If the information is definitely not being taken from the person you originally connected to, you may need to look elsewhere for the link. The recipient is most likely to be sitting somewhere near the original link. You will probably feel drawn to the right person, but if not ask if anyone else in that vicinity can take what you have given. It is likely that with perseverance you will find the right person and everything will be taken.
If the link is not taken by anyone and you just cannot place it, then thank the spirit for trying and move on. It may take a while to get back into your stride but you’ll have no choice but to continue. Try not to let the lost link upset you. On the occasions it has happened to me, the link was invariably placed afterwards by someone who was either too embarrassed or too mean-spirited to put up his or her hand.
If you stumble while working, do not blame yourself or apologize; instead move on. It is a waste of time to embroil yourself on the one wrong link. If you follow the advice given above, you will rarely get into this situation, but if you do, do not punish yourself. Every honest medium has had difficult demonstrations some time in their work. It is the fake “mediums” who get it right all of the time. Remember, it is not your fault, nor the fault of the spirit, if something is not taken. Real mediums make a few mistakes—it shows that you are true.
Becoming a medium usually requires a certain amount of sacrifice. Certainly we have to sacrifice our preconceptions, but many of us have to make radical and often difficult adjustments to our lives as mediums. I sometimes wonder whether mediums have to experience the full blow of adversity so they learn to sympathize with loss and grief. A hard experience will often inspire a sensitive person to help others in need.
Despite the sincerity and dedication of so many mediums, a large number of “sensible people” still sneer at us, and mainstream society and the media still consider Spiritualism and the like to be a dubious fringe belief system. There remains a great deal of prejudice toward our kind and I am sure that for a long time to come skeptics will continue to scoff and religious individuals will continue to condemn us. Know that being a medium is not an easy path and inevitably there will be times when you will be standing alone against the forces of ignorance. Be prepared to stick by your beliefs, and no matter how hard it gets never give up.
There will be many times when you do not see the good you have accomplished through your work, but eventually you will receive testimonials from people whom you have helped. It is likely that the most important facts you give are those you do not think are startling evidence. It is the small details that clinch it and turn the course for the sitter. An example happened just recently during one of Jane’s consultations. Jane couldn’t understand why the sitter sobbed for so long when she said that she saw the woman’s “dead” mother holding a tin of a polish called Brasso. It transpired that the word Brasso was the deathbed code the sitter and her mother had agreed would be the proof that the spirit was she. So you see, a medium never knows just how much is contained in just a single word.
What a joy it is to be able to prove for certain that life is eternal. What courage and hope it brings to the desperate to know that we need have no fear of death. What an inspiration it is to know for certain that one day we will once again meet those we loved and who we thought that death had taken from us. The philosophy we learn from this is that we are immortal beings on a pilgrimage through eternity. We are part of a cosmic process of becoming that may extend over many lifetimes. This knowledge changes everything, for not only do we see death differently but life also takes on new meaning.
CRAIG & JANE PSYCHIC TOURS
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