Are Mediums real or what? Start Here

Psychic Medium

A medium, as the word suggests, is a bridge between two worlds – in this case, the living and the dead. Mediums and believers in mediums believe that there’s life after death – that the soul lives after our physical bodies die. If a spiritual realm exists with connections to our earthly lives, it makes sense that both sides can communicate.

It’s not clear how mediums realize that they can access the dead and interpret their messages. Mediums are generally split into three: those who communicate with spirits through sight (clairvoyant), by feeling (clairsentient) or hearing (clairaudient). 

Key Takeaways

  • Science has yet to embrace the notion that mediums can communicate with the dead.
  • No medium has proven beyond doubt that they can see, hear, or feel the dead.
  • Mediums might be fake but they help society by comforting grieving people.

No verified scientific evidence supports the notion that mediums can communicate with the dead

Science generally doesn’t believe in the existence of a spiritual world, so, understandably, the scientific community treats mediums and psychic abilities with intense skepticism. 

In the 1970s, physicists Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ published a paper supporting the idea that Uri Geller possessed psychic abilities. Uri Geller is an Israeli-British illusionist who alleges he got psychic powers from extraterrestrials. 

Psychologists attacked the paper, citing numerous inaccuracies and methodological flaws. Articles endorsing psychic claims generally get such treatment from scientists. 

Windbridge Research Center believes mediums talk to the dead and in the existence of an afterlife

However, it hasn’t deterred some professionals from researching mediums and their abilities. The Windbridge Research Center, for instance, studies and certifies mediums. 

Windbridge’s Director of Research, Julie Beischel, Ph.D., told Goop that the institution performs rigorous tests on mediums to weed out frauds. She described stage 5 as the most important one: it tests ‘if the mediums could report accurate information about specific deceased people under controlled conditions.’ 

After the medium performs a reading, the bereaved person verifies its truth. “We also ask the medium specific questions about the deceased person’s personality, appearance, hobbies, and cause of death,” Julie added. 

The controlled conditions seek to eliminate the chances of cold reading, fraud, and bias. Windbridge Research Center believes that people receive messages from the dead, whether they are mediums or not. Julie continued:

“The body of research on spontaneous experiences of a deceased loved one has found that they occur in roughly 30 percent of people at some point in their lives and that about 80 percent of people will have at least one experience in the first year following the death of someone close to them. Those are numbers people should have.”

Beischel says that the institution is working on proving that ‘consciousness survives after the physical death of the body’ – that only the body dies and not the whole self. 

Julie bases her work on the theory that consciousness is an infinite concept that exists beyond the human mind. Therefore, mediums can access this consciousness after it leaves the body, making it to ‘the other side.’ 

It’s worth noting that Windbridge Research Center hasn’t verified that there’s life after death. Yet, the institution believes that mediums can communicate with people’s consciousness after they die. See the contradiction here?

Sensory disorders may deceive people into believing that they are mediums

Much has been said about the ‘sixth sense’ that allows us to make psychic readings. Some experts believe that we all have psychic power, but few possess the paranormal abilities that enable mediums to communicate with the dead. 

Some theories suggest that the ‘paranormal abilities’ are sensory disorders – the ability to see, feel, or hear the dead might be an anomaly of the brain. 

For instance, when people hallucinate, they perceive, hear, smell, taste, or feel things that aren’t there. They can be caused by drugs or sensory disorders. It might be that the ability to hear, see, or feel the dead is a falsehood stemming from a brain glitch. 

A study by Medical News Today found that people are likely to be drawn to the paranormal ‘as a consequence of some unusual sensory experience.’ 

Medical News Today found that mediums likely make out that they can ‘contact’ the dead due to a sensory disorder rather than via actual communication with a deceased person. Dr. Adam Powell reached the following conclusion following a similar study:

“For our participants, the tenets of Spiritualism seem to make sense of both extraordinary childhood experiences as well as the frequent auditory phenomena they experience as practicing mediums. But all of those experiences may result more from having certain tendencies or early abilities than from simply believing in the possibility of contacting the dead if one tries hard enough.”

It may explain why most mediums genuinely believe in their abilities. It may also explain why mediums can’t prove communication with the dead – mediums might think that they are communicating with the dead, but it’s not real, much like a hallucination. 

James Randi offered $1 million to psychics who could prove paranormal communication, but no medium claimed the prize

Magician James Randi (1928–2020) | Photo by Alan Diaz/AP

From the 60s to 2015, James Randi offered money to any psychic medium that could prove paranormal contact. Considering the many mediums that claim to see, hear, or feel the dead, it’s baffling that very few mediums attempted to win the eye-watering $1 million. 

The few mediums that tried and failed to win the prize accused Randi of rigging the test. However, Randi and the mediums formulated the tests together – and, before the trial began, the medium signed a written statement confirming that they agreed with the test’s fairness. 

Money is a strong motivator, and if someone really possessed psychic powers, they would likely have played for the prize. From the $1 million safely tucked in James Randi’s account, one can conclude that mediums are not real. 

Though unproven in their abilities, mediums can provide much-needed healing to bereaved people

Until scientists find a remedy to death, the reality is that we’ll all die. Nevertheless, it doesn’t make death any easier to handle. 

The belief in life after death softens the blow of death; the idea of eventually reuniting with loved ones draws faint smiles between cascading tears. Some believers refuse to wait for death to reconnect them with their departed loved ones, seeking out mediums to pass messages from the other side. 

The Windbridge Research Center claims that it wants to help society by helping people deal with grief. Julie said:

“We are also very interested in treatments for grief. The healthcare community has very little to offer the grieving but experiences like mediumship readings in which the bereaved experience their continuing bonds with the deceased seem to have substantial positive effects. However, further research is needed before we can say for sure.”

Nobody knows for sure that there’s life beyond death. However, the notion helps some people deal with grief, making the work of mediums beneficial to society. 

The message from a grandma, lover, brother, father – whomever you lost – might not be real, but it may be the spark that ignites healing. 

PureWow asked four women to describe their experiences with psychics. Kate P. said that she doesn’t believe in psychics but appreciates the effect they can have on the human spirit:

“That being said, I totally respect anyone who does believe in psychics—even more so since I’ve been to one. I get how, for some people, the whole experience could feel really real and magical. As long as it’s not harming me, who am I to judge?”

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