Article by Craig Hamilton-Parker. The medium stood solemnly on the rostrum of the Spiritualist church and with closed eyes said in a silly Chinese accent, “Gleeeeeetings from the spirit world.” This was one of Jane and my favorite mediums because to watch her antics were an absolute howl. We fought back the smirks as partway through her trance address she provided us with an advertisement break. One eye opened as the guide said, “This sister is currently unable to get to church because of transport problems. If any drivers are available then please speak to her afterward. You can also speak to her about private sitting and personal auragraphs.” She then slipped back into the trance address.
Now don’t get me wrong. Although words such as fruitcake spring to mind, the medium in question was a lovely, sincere lady but definitely not the Spiritualist medium norm. However, mediums like this do give trance a bad name. Similarly, trance mediumship, sometimes called channeling, also has many surreal practitioners who bring shallow philosophy from grandiose spirits. Some grunt like animals, whistle like dolphins, or give messages from aliens. Perhaps they really are in touch with these beings, for there is no way to prove they are not. But there is no way to prove they are real either.
Trance mediumship, or channeling, can sometimes be a form of self-hypnosis, self-deception, and foolishness. From what I and other sensible witnesses have observed, the real spirit beings that come to control are humble and disclaim all fame and honor. They have no need for colorful names and lineages. They use their form as a way to identify themselves rather than for glory. They usually speak in the medium’s own voice and have no need for mannerisms, gestures, or speaking in an unrecognizable language. The latter exhibitions are almost always the medium’s own projections of his or her expectations and desires.
My own trance work developed only after ten years as working as an accurate platform medium, and I insist that the guides who take control give verifiable evidence to prove that the spirit is truly in touch. If this were not the case, there would be no way of knowing that it really is the spirit. It could be my own subconscious speaking or even memories carried forward from past lives. Whether intelligent philosophy or crazy psychobabble is given, it is not proven to be from the spirit unless some form of verification is provided. How else can we test the spirit and know it is true?
Shot of me during trance mediumship
So before explaining the function of trance work in a circle I need to prove my point. I have only vague memories about what is said while I am in trance, and for some of my sessions I have no idea who has attended. At an open trance session we had a guest visitor whom none of us knew. “I can remember the evening we had an extraordinary proof from your guide Tara,” said Sue from my circle. “The lady you linked to had never been to a trance session before, and the guide told her that she had lost someone very close to her recently and it was a very sad and painful time for her. This was confirmed. The guide then asked if she minded continuing, as it was obvious that she was still very upset.”
I found out later that the woman’s name was Vanessa Gates, aged thirty-five, fromFareham, in Hampshire. She was shocked when she spoke to her brother’s spirit at the session:
“I heard about Craig and visited his psychic development group inEastleigh. I was keen to get in touch with my brother, Brian Price, who had died thirteen years ago.
“Sitting in a nearby pitch-dark room waiting to hear the voice of spirit people was a bit like the séances you see in the movies. Soon Craig started speaking to people. His knowledge, he explained, was passed to him by his spirit guide. Eventually I had the courage to ask: ‘If someone is murdered, can they tell you who killed them?’
“Craig paused, allowed his guide to overshadow him, then said, ‘You are asking because of your brother, Brian, who is with me now. He was murdered inLondon. They cut his head off.’
“The whole room was stunned. Craig did not know my name and, apart from greeting me when I arrived, had not spoken to me before. What he was saying was shocking—and true. My brother, Brian, had been murdered. Brian, who was thirty-eight, and his girlfriend had been stabbed repeatedly and then had their heads chopped off. He’d been mixing with the wrong types, and the police considered it to be a gangland murder, with drugs involved. The murder has remained unsolved for thirteen years.
“Through the spirit guide, Brian made contact. He told how the murderer had continued to stab his body after he was dead. He mentioned names that I knew had been connected with the inquiry. Brian described how he had died in a dirty flat in a near-derelict block. There was rubbish and broken glass around the room. He said that there was not one murderer but three people present. They came fromBristol, which makes sense, as Brian had lived there. I thought about passing the names he had given to the police, but Brian didn’t think his murderers would be punished for what they did to him.
“They will be convicted for other crimes, though, he said. But he made a point of saying he’d died with the first stab to his chest and hadn’t suffered. He had watched the events unfold from out of his body. For a long time, I’d been haunted by the thought of him suffering. This put my mind at rest—as did realizing that everyone gets a second chance in the afterlife.”
Phill, also from the circle, had a little more to add about the incident: “Tara mentioned that the man who was murdered was dealing drugs out ofBristoland that the people who murdered him were doing business with him when something went wrong. All three of them played a part in his death but the police did not know who had actually killed him. But thenTaragave the three names of the people who were involved in the murder. They were three people who were known to the sitter and also knew her brother. To me this made it an exceptional night and that is why I remember it so long afterward.”
If there is a real communication from a spirit guide then they should be able to provide verifiable evidence of the continuation of life. It is my belief that trance mediumship should not be developed until the medium is fully developed as a mental medium. There are a few exceptions in the history of Spiritualism in which evidential trance mediumship has developed in advance of mental mediumship, but I seriously question any form of trance that cannot provide verifiable proof of spirit communication. Students are often eager to try trance work far too soon and before their mental mediumship has flowered. The assumption is that it is easy to channel inspired talk. But the development of trance is dependent on spirit requirements, not personal desires.
Much later in your development the overshadowing by the spirit communicator may increase until it becomes trance. This will happen only if you want it to and if it is the route you choose. Not all mediums are trance mediums. During light trance the medium will be partially conscious and afterward will be able to recall the discourse made by the guide. In deep trance the medium is completely oblivious to what is happening. In most instances the medium’s consciousness will shift between light and deep trance, depending upon the need and the available prana energy in the room.
During deep trance, a powerful atmosphere pervades the room as the guide speaks directly through the medium. The guide may tell the sitters things about themselves that can only be know by clairvoyance and may give astonishing spirit proof. When you sit with a true trance medium it is unmistakable that spirit have communicated.
As my circle is primarily a teaching circle, the trance work I do is normally for the purpose of developing the fledgling mediums. The trance teachings are given once the students have advanced enough to understand what is happening and can ask questions of the spirit about their own development and the progress of the group in general. If you are running a circle without a medium then this is something that may not be possible for your group. I must emphasize that trance mediumship should not be developed until the medium has a number of years of provable mental mediumship behind him or her.
As my circle evolves and the sitters develop their mediumistic skills, the spirit guides work through me in trance to prepare the novice mediums to give their first public demonstration. Once the sitters become mediums in their own right then the circle may either disband or continue toward a more advanced stage, perhaps with the development of physical mediumship and accompanying phenomenas. I believe that every developed medium should maintain a circle as a permanent part of his spiritual work.