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What Is a Medium?

In an article by Craig Hamilton-Parker we find that a medium is a person able to communicate with the dead. This ability is known as mediumship. A mediums primary objective is to give proof of the survival of the human personality after physical death. (Synonyms: spiritualist, spiritist, necromancer, channeller.)

Most mediums hail from Spiritualism – a religion started in 1848 after the spirit world made contacted through the mediumship of the Fox sisters at small house in Hydesville USA. This is considered by Spiritualists to be the first demonstration of modern mediumship. Margaret Fox went on to give the first public demonstration of mediumship in the Corinthian Hall, Rochester, New York.

For many years it was illegal to practice mediumship and many of the early Spiritualists had to practice in secret. Mediums were championed by many great men and women during this period despite the fact this could easily discredit their careers and was considered scandalous by many.

Some of the most famous people to stick their necks out were Robert Owen, Socialist reformer and co-founder of the Co-operative Society, the scientist Sir William Crookes, Sir William F. Barrett who founded the Society for Psychical Research, the great physicist Sir Oliver Lodge, the famous journalist Hannen Swaffer and perhaps the most known by people today – the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (In fact the name “Sherlock Holmes” may be a play on the name of the greatest psychic medium of all time, the levitating psychic medium Daniel Dunglas Home.

Many great minds believed in the power of mediums and proclaimed their allegiance to Spiritualism but it wasn't until 1951 that it became legal with the passing of the Fraudulent Mediums Act which made mediumship legal by removing practitioners from the laws of the Witchcraft Act 1735 and the Vagrancy Act of 1824.

Mediumship Today - For Jane and me presenting mediumship to a modern television audience was initially a challenge. When we were commissioned to work as the resident psychics on the Big Breakfast we were told in no uncertain terms that we were not to give any mediumistic information. We were allowed to make predictions but nothing more. This was because the media were governed by a body called the ITC and the Broadcasting Acts. When the fledgling BBC first looked for moral standards for their broadcasting they turned to the church for advice which was quick to brand mediums and mediumship as ‘occult'. It was a form of necromancy so was therefore excluded from transmission.

Fortunately things have recently changed and it is possible to show some mediumship on cable channels so long as it is treated as entertainment. When shown on mainstream television such as the BBC, ITV, Channel 5 and Channel 5 it has to be challenged by the presenters to give ‘balance' to the programs. This gives the comedians and closed minded materialists such as Richard Dawkins a field day. It is a shame that the same rules are not also applied to science – imaging a David Attenborough programs having to have equal comment from a vicar!

Misconceptions about Mediumship - To become a practicing medium within Spiritualism is not easy. The psychic mediums have to know a lot about their topic, complete courses and most importantly be able to demonstrate in front of a discerning congregation who know their subject. You cannot get away with the flannel and baloney that you often see passing as mediumship – particularly on the ghost hunting programs. Also you will see mediums that were discredited within Spiritualism working on television with impunity.

Jane and I love working on television but we have also worked for many years as platform mediums within Spiritualism. We have also been tested by sceptics on many shows and fought hard to prove that mediumship is real. Most of the fake mediums avoid the challenges.

It is also today confusing for the newcomer to know if psychic mediums are what they say. Since the recent interest from the media many people who in the past would have been called a fortune teller now claim to be psychic mediums. It makes financial sense as the public are realizing that mediums can also give powerful psychic messages as well as communicate with the dead. On this site I have written many additional articles about the differences between a psychic and a medium and how to spot who is real and who is a fake.

The video below gives a very simple explanation of the difference between a psychic and a medium.

The Difference Between a Psychic and a Medium

Terms and Definitions of Mediumship - People love to enhance their brand so you will find other terms for a medium. Some of these can be a little confusing but here are some of the typical deviations to the definition of a medium:
Definition - Mediumship is also known as channelling. in the USA. It is the practice of Spiritualist Mediums to purportedly mediate communication between the dead and the living.