This is part of our Distance Learning Project (DLP) specially written for us by Violet Kipling with Craig Hamilton-Parker
There are two types of mediumship: mental mediumship and physical mediumship. In mental mediumship, the medium is the first recipient of the information being given from spirit. Once this information has been registered by the conscious mind of the medium it is relayed to the recipient of the communication.
It can be seen, therefore, that the inadvertent coloration of a message can take place due to a medium not interpreting it correctly or simply because the medium is still developing and is unable to clearly register the information received.
In physical mediumship, although a medium is still required, the communications are of a physical nature, more direct and, therefore, more reliable. While in mental mediumship the recipient relies on the strength and quality of the medium’s abilities, in physical mediumship the recipient is witness to the manifestation of spirit, as is every other person present within the room.
If spirit appears – everybody sees; if spirit speaks – everybody hears. It is also interesting to note that the very atmosphere in a room where physical phenomena are taking place, appears to be emotionally charged and can affect many of the people therein.
Regarding the evidence of both types of mediumship: a mental medium will perhaps relate details of a recipient’s mother with all the necessary evidential information required. In physical mediumship, the mother stands before her offspring with open arms and a loving smile on her face.
The origin of the religion Modern Spiritualism can be traced back to a haunted cottage in Hydesville, Wayne County in New York State. It was discovered that the knockings which were disturbing the household and a previous household were being caused by a pedlar called Charles Rosna.
A method of communicating with Mr. Rosna was set up and he was able to advise the present occupiers of the cottage that he had been murdered. (Further and fuller details of the Hydesville Rappings can be found in the course on The History of Spirit Communication).
It was found that Mr. Rosna was using the energies of two young girls of the family to producing the rappings and, upon instruction from spirit, the girls developed their mediumship and demonstrated it throughout the county. The girls, Catherine, and Margaretta Fox were physical mediums, as were many of the people who began sitting for the spirit in those early days.
It must be pointed out that the conditions in the mid-1800s were far more favorable for the development of mediumship.
Life was lived at a different pace to that ‘enjoyed’ today. There wasn’t any television or other distractions to divert people from the opening up of their awareness leading to the development of mediumship. It is also unlikely that the pioneering mediums used awareness exercises to help stimulate psychic activity as is done today.
They would invariably just sit quietly and await the spirit influences that would be brought into their midst. Many of the early mediums were deep trance mediums and the spirit guides were able to give clear directions as to the setting up of circles.
In view of the fact that the majority of the phenomena in those early days were of a physical nature, many eminent scientists and scholars involved themselves in the investigation of the same. Initially, quite often the purpose of such investigations was to prove that they were fraudulently produced.
Needless to say, every serious investigator became convinced that what he was witnessing was not a figment of anybody’s imagination or conjuring tricks. Many of the scientists were converted to Spiritualism, notwithstanding the fact, that their work in this field was often ridiculed by their peers.
Physical mediums were subjected to the most appalling testing, being strip-searched, tied up, or other such indignities. To their very great credit, such was their love of spirit, they allowed themselves to be subjected to scientific testing.
The Direct Voice Medium
Margery Crandon, a direct voice medium, whose brother used to speak to the sitters whenever she was entranced was put to such testing. It had been suggested that she was an expert ventriloquist and this was how she was able to reproduce voices in various parts of the room.
Because the phenomenon she was producing was sound, she was made to sit with a pipe in her mouth which was placed in water. She was then asked to blow bubbles while the voices were speaking. Not only did she go into trance and keep ‘‘bubbling’ but Walter spoke, as usual, confounding the investigators present.
If the student is interested in learning about these mediums and the hundreds of similar stories it is recommended that they search the internet for books or information on these people.
The phenomena produced by some of these mediums were extremely outstanding and unfortunately, some of them do not appear to be recurring today.
Indications of Physical Mediumship
It is important that if physical mediumship begins, and there will be indications of it, then mediums must be disciplined and be prepared to spend a long time sitting to develop it. It can be a long process but the fruits of such are so amazing, every minute spent sitting will be considered as time extremely well spent.
Physical mediumship is not an extension of mental mediumship although the majority of physical mediums do, in fact, develop their mental mediumistic abilities before the physical side of their mediumship manifests.
The phenomena of physical mediumship are not magic! Their production is the operation of natural and spiritual laws. The spirit operators use the energies of the medium and the sitters, to which is added substances from their world, to produce the required results. While everyone sitting in a circle contributes psychic energy, a physical medium contains an abundance of ectoplasm in the gross matter of his/her body.
It is this element that is required for the spirit guides to provide the world with evidence that cannot be gainsaid.
The ectoplasm must be returned to the medium’s body at the end of the seance and this is one of the reasons only responsible sitters are allowed to sit in physical circles.
There are dangers attached to physical mediumship and anyone wishing to sit for the development of this faculty should be aware of them. Ectoplasm disintegrates in white light so putting a light on during a circle can cause the medium internal problems. The flash of a camera, the sudden banging on a door can cause the ectoplasm to rush back to the medium’s body with a tremendous impact causing trauma.
Mediums have been known to be seriously burned because metal, such as a trouser belt buckle, has been worn. As the ectoplasm returned the metal caused the body to be burned.
It has been found that red light is safe to use to illuminate a physical seance as this does not affect the ectoplasm. Often physical mediumship is developed in complete ‘blackness’ as opposed to darkness.
Sitting in the Dark
In the dark, it is possible to see when the eyes become accustomed to it. When a room is ‘blacked out’ it does not matter whether the sitters’ eyes are closed or open – everywhere is black! It is not possible to see anyone or anything. To exclude accusations of fraud the spirit operators were asked if the circle room could be illuminated and so the red light was introduced into the room. It is vital that nothing is introduced into a physical circle without the express permission of the spirit guides.
For physical manifestations to be produced the medium usually sits in a cabinet in order to contain the energies and enters a state of deep trance.
Once the medium is at a level where it is possible to externalize the ectoplasm the guides will control the circle and the subsequent manifestations. The ectoplasm can be extruded from every opening of the body; sometimes it can be watched pouring from the mouth like a white ribbon. At other times it appears to come from the navel starting the size of a handkerchief and then growing to the size of a single bed sheet.
The sheet of ectoplasm becomes vertical and it is possible to watch the features starting to form upon it. The formation of a figure (materialization) is not the only phenomenon produced with the ectoplasm.
Mental and Physical Mediums
Mental mediumship is very rewarding for the medium. It is very moving to watch a sitter’s eyes fill as s/he receives evidence and knows that a loved one is very close.
Physical mediumship can be very rewarding for the observers of the phenomena produced. For the medium? Some are given experiences by the spirit while their bodies are entranced and with today’s technology, it may well be possible to use an infrared video to film the whole procedure for the medium. There are photographs in existence of materialized forms and it is certain that the spirit people will utilize the technology available in order to spread the message of everlasting life.
The energy from physical mediums can cause light bulbs to explode; pictures and objects to move and even machines to stop working. Some of these occurrences can be accounted for by extra static electricity within the medium’s body but it is also possible that they are early indications of physical mediumship and should be noted. When tin cans fall off the shelves in supermarkets, one by one, when the medium walks past a lot of thinking must be done.
Sitting to develop physical mediumship can be dangerous but knowledge casts out fear. Having an awareness of the dangers and taking precautions against them should ensure a happy medium!