Okay, okay, where are we in all this supposedly “NOT woo-woo” stuff??
Oh, I see you’re back …. Right then, let’s continue our discussion. In our last post we were talking about this thing called “mediumship,” looking at it from a no-nonsense, “left-brained” perspective.
Do you remember what mediumship is?
Yeah, talking to dead people ….
Uh, sure, okay. Or, we might say communicating with those in the non-physical world, the place where our consciousness … the essence of who we are … resides after the body dies.
That’s what I said … talking to dead people. Or so YOU say.
Um, right. So, how do we go beyond what I say, and take a rational, analytical look at this phenomenon which many discard as, at best, a parlour trick, and at worst, fraud?
Hah, good question!
Well, we turn to science, of course.
Oh, okay. But wait a minute … what happened to that retired US Navy Commander you dangled in front of us last time? You said SHE was into this mediumship stuff. What’s THAT all about??
Don’t worry, I’ll get back to her. But first …
Science takes on mediumship
The practice of mediumship has been around since the middle of the 19th century, and despite its inherent challenges at being subjected to the scientific method (I mean, think about it … ), it has actually undergone scientific scrutiny since the 1880’s.
Wow, that IS a long time. Who knew … ?
Right?? You see, people have wondered for centuries whether or not consciousness survives the death of the body. Well, apparently, several scientists have taken up the challenge to determine if there is evidence it does.
Obviously, being able to communicate with people who’ve died … in other words, the practice of mediumship … would provide pretty compelling evidence of life after death, right?
But … and this is a big “but” … only if mediumship itself is demonstrated to be legit.
So, there’s been a long history of testing the practice of mediumship … and truth be told, there’s been lots of mixed results. However …
What’s with the white crows … ?
Ever heard of something called “The White Crow Formula”?
Uh, nooo ….
No idea, so I looked him up. Wow, he’s got quite the pedigree …
Trained in medicine, he was regarded as a leading thinker of the 19th century, one of the most influential philosophers of the United States, and the “Father of American Psychology.” There was other stuff too, but that already paints quite a picture.
Anyway, apparently one of the things this guy did was to study mediums as part of a search to find evidence of life after death. So, Varga says of James …
“After years of studying a medium named Leonora Piper, he remarked,
‘If you wish to upset the law that crows are black, you must not seek to show that no crows are: it is enough to prove one single crow to be white. My white crow is Leonora Piper.’ ” (pg. 310)
In other words, you don’t need to prove that all mediums are legit, all you need is one … one person who can authentically communicate with someone who’s “dead,” and voila ….
I get it … I guess that makes sense.
So, James was convinced of the legitimacy of mediumship because of what he experienced with Leonora Piper.
And he’s not the only researcher convinced.
The scientist who validated children’s past lives
I haven’t looked extensively into the history of scientific research of mediumship but in poking around, I came across reference to scientific study from 1965 that caught my attention. It was conducted by an infamous researcher, Ian Stevenson, M.D.
Dr. Stevenson is known worldwide for his meticulous research in the consciousness arena … more than 40 years spent finding and gathering evidence of survival of consciousness after death (often referred to simply as “survival”).
His focus was particularly on cases of … get this … possible reincarnation. But he also delved into other sources of evidence, which is where his investigation of mediumship came in.
A medical doctor, you say? Aren’t those kind of, uh, “unconventional” research topics … ?
For sure. But he was serious in how he tackled them.
He was on staff with the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine, and in 1967, he actually founded a new division … the Division of Perceptual Studies … to conduct research into this type of phenomena using scientific methodology.
I found his mediumship research described posthumously.
Posthumously? You mean, after he was dead? Did you find out about it talking with one of those “mediums” … ??
Good heavens, no! It was laid out in an article in the 2008 Journal of Scientific Exploration … Ian Stevenson’s Contributions to the Study of Mediumship.
A key research finding …
This article on his mediumship research begins (emphasis is mine) …
“In 1965 Ian Stevenson wrote: ‘‘Among all the cases which seem to provide impressive evidence of survival, a most important group consists of those in which a communicator appears whose existence neither medium nor sitters know anything about at the time of the manifestation.’’
Whoa, Nellie! Communicator? Sitters? Manifestation? What the heck does all this mean … ?
Yes, lots of jargon. So, a “communicator” is a spirit person, and a “sitter” is the person who’s still in this world, hoping to talk with their loved one on the Other Side.
“Manifestation” just means the point at which the spirit person shows up … er, so to speak.
Stevenson’s observation was that when a spirit person comes forward and nobody knows them … not the medium, nor the sitter … and then provides evidence (via the medium) of who they are … and then that evidence is objectively confirmed afterward …
Well, it makes it rather difficult to cry fraud, you see?
Hmm, I get it. The sitter can’t tip off the medium, on purpose or not, and the medium can’t have researched anything ahead of time, because they don’t even know this spirit person …. Yeah, that’s something.
For sure. And what I also found noteworthy was this … a rigorous and esteemed research scientist such as Stevenson saw mediumship as a legitimate endeavour … one which could be a credible source of evidence for survival after death.
Unfortunately, it appears his research into mediumship was moved aside to allow him to focus his efforts on cases of possible reincarnation … specifically cases centered on past-life memories of children.
Whoa, that’s a super cool research topic!
Indeed. See my post Kid Wisdom (Part 1) if you want to learn more about it.
A present-day scientific research organization
Stevenson generated a ton of credible research, but I gotta be honest, his write-ups were tough slogging. I don’t think he wrote for us laypeople.
However, there is an organization which carries on scientific research into mediumship that does … the Windbridge Research Center (WRC).
WRC is a non-profit that seeks to ease suffering around “dying, death, and what comes next” by performing rigorous scientific research and sharing the results. (Check out my post for more about WRC.)
They’ve taken up the mantle to study mediumship as part of their exploration of “what comes next” … you know, after the body dies, does consciousness survive?
Remember, in order for mediumship to be used to give us legit insights into “what comes next,” mediumship itself must be legit. So, WRC’s undertaken a bunch of research to study it.
Including … putting mediums through their paces
According to WRC …
Mediums are “… people who report experiencing contact with the deceased regularly, reliably, and on-demand and who share the specific resulting messages with living people called sitters during an event called a reading.
One of their most noteworthy initiatives was one in which they scientifically tested and validated a group of TWENTY U.S. mediums (which I just learned has now been replicated by a lab in Italy). You can read more about it here.
So, yes, there are mediums who have actually passed scientific rigour and are now used in research. And there are actually many, many more who could … WRC only stopped at 20 because they’d used up their funding. (The life of a non-profit … )
So, has this WRC organization learned anything, you know, someone like me might be interested in?
For sure! And they’re happy to share.
They make their results available to anyone … free
They answer questions about mediumship that many people have, like … How is this possible? … Should I get a reading? … What kinds of things do mediums say? … Recommendations for sitters … just to name a few.
One final point … there are others researching too
It appears there have been several recent research initiatives into mediumship. I just came across another source of information from a researcher working out of the University of Arizona.
This article summarizes the scientific evidence of life after death, and in it, states …
“Multiple double-blinded laboratory mediumship experiments have been published over the past 20 years from research at the University of Arizona, University of Virginia, University of Glasgow in Scotland, Institute of Noetic Sciences, and Windbridge Institute.
“To summarize, double-blinded and triple-blinded experiments from 1997 to 2017 with genuine research mediums have indicated that accurate information can be obtained from ‘spirits.’ “
Wow. That’s pretty cool.
Mediumship is drawing wider attention
So, there’s been serious research taking place on and off over several decades to investigate and determine the legitimacy of mediumship, but really … who knows about it?
As a result, for many, mediumship still rests firmly in the Land of Woo-Woo.
Something that a certain retired-US-Naval-Commander-turned-medium is set on changing ….
Back to the Commander …
Yes, let me cycle back around to where I started all of this at the outset of Part 1.
So, who the heck is she??
This accomplished, decorated, retired senior member of the US military is Suzanne Giesemann … and she is a stellar example of what this profession is becoming.
With a personal mission to bring more credibility to the practice of mediumship, Giesemann is one who takes great pains to stress that she is an evidential medium (like we talked about in Part 1).
She stakes her impeccable, no-nonsense, highly regarded military reputation on it. In my opinion, it’s easy to see that her integrity is second to none.
But how the heck did she end up doing this stuff??
Yeah, what an unexpected journey, to say the least. She tells the story of how she came to all this, but the short version is it started in 2006, after the tragic death of her step-daughter … who happened to be six-months pregnant at the time.
OMG … what a terrible loss.
Words fail, right? But this tragedy spurred Giesemann on a quest, in a totally new and unfamiliar direction … exploring the unseen world and the art of mediumship.
She absolutely threw herself into it and her dedication has since landed her on the Big Stage ….
Giesemann’s credentials … as a medium
Giesemann is all over this …
She teaches mediumship classes and workshops … hosts radio programs and podcasts reaching millions of viewers… has authored 13 books … is a keynote speaker and presenter for many associations … serves as faculty with The Shift Network and Humanity’s Team … and is founder and teacher of The Awakened Way: A Path to Knowing Who You Are and Why You’re Here.
(Check out her website where she provides lots of free resources.)
Whew! That’s gotta keep her busy!
No kidding, but there’s more …
Oh, didn’t see that one coming!
Seriously? Sigh …
Well, fortunately others have. In fact, her work has been acknowledged at the highest levels …
She has now been officially recognized as a global influence … just last year, she was included in the Watkins’ list of 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People.
She was also invited to join the Evolutionary Leaders Circle … a group of renowned thought leaders from diverse backgrounds who have come together to support a shift in consciousness throughout the world.
Before you ask, that means trying to make this world a better place.
Oh, cool. But wait, didn’t you say she’s only been at this since 2006? And she’s done ALL this since then?? Amazing!
Indeed … she’s a rockstar role model for left-brained people like me. She’s personally demonstrating what’s possible in this new reality that’s emerging.
I guess you could say … Suzanne Giesemann is my white crow.
Mediumship is moving mainstream
In late 2021, I decided to check out Giesemann’s training on the basics of mediumship (yeah, it’s been kind of a hidden desire of mine for years …).
Feeling completely out of my depth, I nervously signed up for one of her courses, just to see what it’s all about, you know?
As with most events then (and now), the classes were held online. Hah! I quickly learned I wasn’t the only one harbouring an interest in how to communicate with spirit people on the Other Side …
This one single course? It had over 800 students … from around the world.
But that’s not all …
Giesemann conducts several of these courses … AND she’s just one of many professional, highly skilled mediums doing the same, helping to spread these skills.
You see, the reach of the internet is making the profession of mediumship accessible to anyone … whether for training OR readings … because it turns out this kind of work can be done as easily online as in person.
So, we’ll explore more about this in future posts … why bother to get a reading, how to find a credible medium, what to expect when you do … that sort of stuff.
In the meantime, keep your eyes and ears open for talk of this new “communication channel.” Because it’s emerging alongside the science that is discovering …
Death is simply a transition … and life continues on.
How about you? Have you had a reading from a medium … or perhaps you are a medium? What experiences have stood out for you? Do tell us about it by posting in the Comments below.
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