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Thoughts on Mediums

Updated on May 12, 2015
Pandora about to open the box
Pandora about to open the box | Source

Stage Magic and Real Magic

I've been thinking a lot about mediums lately, I suppose because I've also been thinking about trying one out. I figure, worse comes to worst, I can always blog about the experience, but if it goes as well as it seems to go on TV, maybe I will learn something.

Another reason I've been thinking about mediums, is that I seem to have a small amount of ability in this area. Things come to me when they do, not on command, and I've never tried to make so much as fifty cents off it, so there's no pressure really. But of course I'm curious as to what it is all about.

Last but not least, I've been thinking about mediums lately because I am more than passing familiar with magic--both the staged kind (rabbits in hats, sawing people in half and so forth), and the more personal psychological kind (rituals, spells, divination, etc), and I've noticed that some mediums in particular look (to me) more like stage magicians than the other kind.

If some of the more high profile mediums are fakes, does that mean that everything about mediumistic ability is fake? Some people would say yes, of course.

I'm not so sure that's the correct conclusion.

Still, I admit to having squeamish feelings about much of it.

So I thought I'd lay them out here.

Pandora opens the box
Pandora opens the box | Source

Stage Magic and Mentalism

Most people are familiar with stage magicians and how they work. Basically, stage magicians are able to amaze and amuse us by controlling the audience's attention and making sure it does not go to the secret at the heart of the trick.

We know stage magic is an illusion, but we don't care, because we are having fun. This consensual setting aside of our knowledge that we are being tricked is called "suspension of disbelief."

We suspend our disbelief to enjoy other forms of entertainment as well, such as horror and fantasy fiction and special effects cinema.

Whether a magic technique is as simple as learning to 'palm' an object or something more intricate, stage magic relies on certain hardwired glitches in human perception that are universal. Some tricks are so tied into these hard-wired illusions that the magician himself will not be able to see the trick if watching it as an observer, even though he knows how it is done.

So don't beat yourself up if you can't see where that ball went. Neither can the guy who hid it. The only difference between you and him is that he KNOWS where it went and you don't.

Mentalism is a form of stage magic in which the performer claims the ability to perform psychic feats such as telepathy, mind control, precognition, psychokinesis, and mediumship. Some mentalists also incorporate hypnotism into their acts.

Most mentalists do not incorporate traditional magic tricks into their acts, but some stage magicians, like David Blaine and David Copperfield, do incorporate aspects of mentalism into their carefully staged illusions.

Stage magicians always pretend to be performing 'real' magic but understand that this is an act and the people they are amazing understand that too. They may profess great powers but they make these claims as part of the entertainment.

Some mentalists have the same attitude. They profess great powers but in private will tell you that everything they do has a perfectly rational explanation, even if it takes great skill to learn how to exploit the techniques used.

Other mentalists claim that what they do onstage is the result of real psychic gifts.

To my somewhat trained eye, mediums like James Van Praagh, John Edwards, and Sylvia Browne seem to fall into this second category. They seem to me to be mentalists who are pretending to be real psychics because it is damned lucrative.

This is the area that, for me, gets queasy and even kind of slimy. Do these folks really believe their own schtick? Or are they exploiting grieving people to make boatloads of money?

I'd be more inclined to cut them some slack IF they weren't indeed making boatloads of money.

But they are making boatloads of money.

Source

My Own Experience as a Reader

I used to read Tarot cards for other people, not for money, but just because I love Tarot cards and I think that reading them can be helpful psychologically.

However, because personal integrity is important to me, I would always explain how Tarot works before starting a reading.

I had a little 'spiel'. It went like this:

"Tarot cards are not magic. A reading can feel magical and amazing, but that is because the symbolic imagery used in the reading connects with unconscious psychological processes of which most people are unaware. When you see these images and I tell you about them, you are simultaneously connecting these images in your own mind to things that are very personal and unique to you, things you might not have put together in that way before. That's why it feels like magic, but it isn't magic . Do you understand?

I never read one single person who gave two hoots about this explanation. Clients tolerated it. Even skeptics, who felt like the whole thing was bunk going in, would sit there drumming their fingers with a big "Whatever" on their snarky faces until I finished.

Then we would do the reading and they'd freak out. Every single one of them.

Skeptics especially.

"How could you know these things? How did you do that?"

"I told you up front how it works. I'm not doing it, you are, remember?"

In fact, I think readings are helpful BECAUSE they enable people to see what is really on their minds and connect it together in ways they can't seem to do consciously. This is a very powerful process and not a fraudulent one. But magic it isn't.

Still, every person I read wanted to insist that it was.

So I quit reading other people, even though I never charged money for it.

It might surprise you to know that my experience is more typical than even I knew at the time. I recall a graduate psychology class I took years later, in which the professor gave us a generic newspaper horoscope and instructed us each to read six different people's palms and give this phrase as the result.

You probably already know the results.

About 8 out of 10 people were impressed by the reading and attributed psychic skills to the 'reader', and what's more, they held onto this view even after being told about the experiment.

It turns out that we human beings really, really, really like to be told stories about ourselves and how we each, personally, fit into the cosmos. We especially like it when others tell us these stories about ourselves, and we don't care how they do it. In fact, I would go so far as to say our liking for this is deep enough to qualify as a real human need.

Which begs the question:

How ethical is it to get rich by fraudulently exploiting this psychological fact?

Source

Shamanism and Real Magic

I'd like to focus in a little bit now on that one part of readings and mediums that I believe is undisputedly real:

Our real human desire to be told meaningful stories about how each of us, individually, fits into this life and this world.

Religion provides one solution.

Religion starts with a meta-story (as in, here's why we are all here and what that's about), a set of rules (here's what you should do and not do while you are here), and some promises (follow these rules and stick with our story and you will get fill-in-the-blank).

Religion rarely gives us the personal version of this meta-story, and if it does, it's a meme--a kind of 'one size fits all' like the newspaper horoscope my professor gave us.

Religion can tell us that good people go to heaven so be good, but it can't say whether Aunt Doris is there and whether she still has bad breath and still holds a grudge about that time you re-gifted her a lime green sweater three sizes too small that she once gave to you.

Before there was religion there was shamanism.

Shamans were usually people in any given tribe who had been to some kind of beyond place and returned with skills to share. Sometimes they went crazy and came back functional. Sometimes they nearly died and came back with an understanding of death and the spirit world.

Often it was some combination of both.

Instead of locking such persons up and medicating them, as we do in our modern world, earlier cultures took these survivors and trained them as shamans--the healers and spirit workers of the tribe, the people here on earth who could tell you not just what WE (the tribe) are doing here, but what YOU the individual are doing here, and what it all means---for you, personally.

Including what's up since Aunt Doris passed over.

We don't really have anything like that in modern culture.

We don't even officially believe anything like that is necessary and desirable, and our mainstream institutions (science, religion, government) spend a good deal of energy explaining why this specific dynamic is unnecessary, undesirable, and fraudulent, even when it is NOT. (As in, for example, my earlier explanation of the very real and non fraudulent use of Tarot readings to midwife a new meaning or direction for the individual being read.)

The champions of reason still insist that since most high-profile mediums are fraudulent, all mediumship is fraudulent and no spirit world exists. That's a logical fallacy, but it seems that it is fine to bend the logic one worships in this particular circumstance.

Just because (in my opinion) James Van Praagh isn't in touch with the spirit world, that doesn't make the spirit world imaginary, and it doesn't negate the very real human need for each individual to find his or her place in a complex life through story and Spirit.

As a result, in our modern world we have a tremendous unmediated gulf between the individual and the social structure. That gulf allows us to put the individual ego in charge (which is a terrible burden for the ego--think Mickey in the Sorcerer's Apprentice), and ends up saying that anything knowable worth being known, and anything doable is worth doing.

When we have no tether that ties our individual actions, through meaning and story, to this material world and the people we live with on it, we get the kind of runaway technology that we have now-- a technology that constantly promises to save us from the last mess it created even as it creates the next bigger one.

I don't believe in spirits so much as I know they are there. But mediating spirit should not be left to hucksters, con artists, ego maniacs, and mental patients. Mediating spirit is a complex, highly trained profession, more of a calling than a job, and few are called.

I have no idea how to fix any of this, but I can see and state the problem straight up.

A real medium or healer will never dun you for $400 or more for an hour reading or claim special powers. Are there any real mediums out there? Yes. I'm sure of it.

But there are way more dragons.

And you know how dragons are.

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    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thanks WiccanSage!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Really interesting thoughts to read. I enjoyed this very much.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thank you bac2basics! Yes I am looking forward to reading your hub, thank you!

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi CR. The spirit world does exist and there are genuine mediums out there. Of course there are charlatans too, many of them. I am about to click your follow button, and hopefully you will check me out and read some of my hubs, one in particular will tell you all about the last medium that spoke with me about my late husband and that cost me nothing more than 1 English Pound entrance to get into the club where the mediums hold a psychic night once per week.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi WiccanSage. My sister has an appointment through a friend with a local medium who comes highly recommended. If it works out for her, I will give it a try to write about it here.

      But yes, mostly people are out for a buck. Sad, but probably won't change any time soon. :)

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Very interesting and very true; unfortunately too many people jump on band wagons. Self-proclaimed prophets for profits.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      I will!

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      klarawieck 5 years ago

      That is wonderful! Let me know how it goes. :D

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      It seems that way. There's a guy there who seems spot on who I think I will contact. He spends the off season in Florida.

    • profile image

      klarawieck 5 years ago

      I've never been to Lily Dale. I know that's the original Cassadaga Spiritualist camp, but I've been to the one here in Florida.

      I guess through hard work and dedication it is possible to reach a level of intuitiveness that can be good enough to trust.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thank you so much Klara, I was really moved by your comment. You know, I have that experience with the cards too, and also with reading palms. My best readings were the ones where I just started talking without thinking (which in almost every other situation is a negative, lol!)

      The mediums at Lily Dale always impressed me this way. I would love to meet up with someone like the woman you got your reading from. Maybe I'll schedule a reading for after summer when things die down to a dull roar. If I do, I'll write about it for sure. Thank you again and all the best to you.

    • profile image

      klarawieck 5 years ago

      CR, this is a hub I'll come back to from time to time. It is topic that hits close to home and one thing I've always pondered upon. The thing is that we don't need to be in complete control of our ability to communicate with Spirit in order to be a Medium. Those who plan to make a living out of it need to develop that ability to the max, but even then, they're capable of making mistakes from time to time. My mother taught me how to read the cards, then I taught myself how to read the tarot. The only time I tried to show my card-reading skill, I failed and made a total fool of myself. Why? Because I was trying too hard to remember the meaning of the cards to allow the messages to come through. So I apologized, put the cards away, grab the woman's hand in mine and concentrated on her energy. Immediately the messages began to come to me and I was able to deliver an honest and accurate reading. This wasn't done for money. I just wanted to proof myself that I could do it, and I did do it, except it wasn't through cards but through feeling.

      The most accurate reading I've ever received was done in Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp and it was a medium. She charged $80 and was completely accurate on everything. She never asked me a thing and the entire time she had her eyes closed and continued talking with her eyes closed. She was spot on! I never expected it to be that good.

      So, yes... there are unbelievably talented mediums out there and those are the only ones that should be doing it for a living. You and I should probably stick to our daytime jobs and continue developing our mediumship, always keeping an open-mind and being attentive to the messages that are handed down to us when the time and place is right.

      Thanks for this lovely hub. I will share it with everyone I know.

      Klara

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Yeah he's kind of no nonsense but he has a sense of humor. Some people think he writes through me. There may be some truth to it.

      It has to be a colossal pain in the ass to be a spirit guide. A lot of waiting around. A lot of smacking your forehead and shaking your head in wonder. ;)

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      I agree with both you and AlexK2009. I think money just corrupts the ego which shifts our perceptions.

      Yes, MANY people have spirit guides but don't know it. At the same time however, the population of spirit guides (for lack of a better way to put that) has dwindled. Especially those of the dragon persuasion. Many feel we're no longer worthy of their guidance, and I don't blame them.

      The spirits I talk to, always speak through my spirit guide. I have yet to figure out why that is, but I have a feeling it's some sort of protection. Like you, I very rarely ever speak of it because most people will think I'm hearing voices in my head and am consequently schizophrenic which is so far from the truth. Although there is a fine line between genius and insanity... lol

      PS: your spirit guide sounds like the chief of the Iroquois. That's the sense I get anyway. As I read your description, I was hit with his image.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      That is so true, Alex2009. In fact, it's the main reason I don't push harder writing online. If I don't care about it I don't write it because it gets to be a big grind when it's all about money. I need money, sure, but I try to keep it separate from doing what I love. And don't get me started on writers, psychics, and egos...Agree with you totally.

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Once you start doing ANYTHING professionally (i.e needing it to live on or just to pay for itself) it changes your attitude. Ego does not help "I am psychic/a great writer/ a top level programmer" just leads to problems on the days when you cannot perform.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      lol! Too funny! I am a lot like you. I feel like once you start charging it changes you in a bad way. It's amazing to me how many people have spirit guides. It seems to be kind of an underground thing in the US--much more common than most people think.

      I have a spirit guide who seems an Indian of some sort. He has scars on his face and an Iroquois haircut. But sometimes other people come through too. I don't talk about that EVER (I just did I guess) because I don't want people to think I'm nuts. I know I'm not, but they don't. :)

      Thanks for your thoughts!

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      Another great hub. I found it very interesting because I am a medium, but I don't tell people about it and certainly don't use it to make money. To me it's a gift, and should be respected as such. If it's not, it can be taken.

      It's interesting, too, that you ended with "there are way more dragons." My spirit guide is a dragon lol. Coincidence??

      Voted up and awesome.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thanks Marlene B! I'm flattered that you read my hub. All the best! :)

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Wow! This is the most I have ever read about this subject. You covered every aspect quite well. I never knew the specifics about Tarot cards, but now that you explain it, it makes a lot of sense.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      And you as well Mr. Happy!

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I think those are some brilliant observations! Balance is critical in my opinion as well. Migwetch (Thank You).

      May Wakan Tanka walk with You.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      That's why I was thinking of offering readings for barter or for free. Skirts the whole 'guaranteed answer' question.

      I've been thinking about writing a hub about the tendency to overreact one direction or the other to these kinds of things. Either people get obsessed and put WAY too much stock in it and forget to live their lives, or they say it is all bunk if one little thing doesn't make sense to them.

      I think finding balance is very challenging, and many people don't even try. Which why so many people suffer so.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I can agree with You Mr. Alex that in Life, there are no "instant answers". Even instant coffee is not really instant. Haha!

      I think that because we live in such a fast-paced world, patience has gone down the drain. I know I often have problems due to a lack of patience. I'm trying to work hard at it ... As You well said too, I think education is the key! Many of our problems could be solved if we all had access to a high-standard of education. Something to work on I suppose. All the best!

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Mr Happy: It is just like when a financial adviser recommends a certain course of action or a racing expert recommends a horse, or indeed any field where the outcome is uncertain. However people accept the investment adviser or the racing expert may get it wrong. But for some reason psychics are required to get it right all the time.

      I see no problem with charging but any soothsayer who says their reading is less than 100% correct suffers the same fate as a politician who tells the truth and admits they may be wrong: They go out of business.

      The public need educating basically. But they do not want to be educated. They want an instant answer, with no need to thinj, just like the followers of a religion.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      How do You come to charge anyway? (Not You per say, I am speaking in general.) I can maybe understand charging per spell, as some spells require components which are not often found easy. Medicine herbs as well, sometimes one can charge a small sum ... it takes time and energy to collect them, or grow them. What can I charge people when I give a hand with manifesting their wishes? Nothing, that's what ... (in my opinion). I do it with Love and I require nothing back. Same with healing: how can someone charge an ill person? How much is our health worth? I run into serious ethical and moral issues when I think about these things ...

      Great food for thought. Cheers!

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Alex, that's it--having to deliver no matter what. I can't claim any such ability. And recent studies on ESP have shown a statistically significant effect that can be replicated, but it's a very one. It's not something that can deliver like that. That's not to say that some people might be more proficient than others, but I do suspect people who charge the huge fees.

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Con artists are the problem, especially in politics, but that is another story. Remember also that a professional psychic has to deliver even if the spirits are reluctant or the gift is on holiday that day. This, together with the desire to please may explain a lot of fraudulent behaviour.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thanks Mr. Happy! (And thanks for the spell check!) I agree that all goes well as long as people can tell the difference between healers, sorcerers, and entertainers, but things go wrong when a con artist wiggles in. Glad you got some laughs and enjoyed the article. :)

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I thought I might mention there's a small editing correction to be made under the section on Shamanism and Real Magic: " But mediating spririt should not be left to hucksters, con artists, ego maniacs, and mental patients" - the word "spirit".

      And I would erase this comment since it has nothing to do with the discussion at hand. I just thought I would point-out something that spell-check skipped-out. All the best!

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      "but if it goes as well as it seems to go on TV, maybe I will learn something." - This made me laugh. Things are often not as easy as Holywood may make them to be. (lol)

      "Including what's up since Aunt Doris passed over." - Things have been on the quiet side since Aunt Doris passed over. Uncle John has retreated to himself and spends his days fishing for the most part. (Haha ...)

      "We don't really have anything like that in modern culture." - I would say we do but in the underground part of the modern culture. Paganism and thus sorcery and such, are still judged by many people as something negative, due to lack of knowledge and a persistence by some to be ignorant. Things are changing though, in my opinion.

      "But there are way more dragons. And you know how dragons are." - How are dragons? I like dragons ... : ( lol

      I certainly enjoyed this piece of writing.

      I for one like David Cooperfield for example. He's an entertainer. I think as long as people can tell the difference between an entertainer and a sorcerer or shaman/healer then, all is good. The problem can arise when gullible people end-up putting their trust in con artists.

      Good luck with your adventures in the Spirit World. I always find it fun! Cheers.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Jewels, those are great ideas. I've been thinking about getting some cards printed up for starters. But I like your idea about bartering through Skype because it would build a web of connections and cut out the banker. Cutting out the banker, woo hoo! (You know what I'm sayin'.) And I totally agree--the ability to listen and really care is in short supply now. It's so easy to think that fighting is the best way to change the world but really it's the opposite. Thank you for your ideas!

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

      Skype could work CR. Or have a network of friends who can do swaps, like a barter system. Always thought hairdressing would be an excellent trade to have - it's always in demand. So doing a reading for a haircut is an excellent swap. If you have a psychology or counselling background it could be a fantastic way of helping people solve their problems. Doing this in a more social fashion helps people be more open in life, share their experiences - good and bad. But instead of it being a group where you just dump your emotional baggage, use the medium to get people moving forward by finding solutions.

      What's clearly missing in our world is the ability to listen and actually genuinely care. We need to find ways to solve this problem - the caring problem that is. This leads to self empowered people in the long term.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Alex, so true. I still use it for myself, for meditation and when I get stuck. I am thinking about opening up to read for others again, but not for money. I just have to sort out how I would do that.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Sally's Trove, you would have and still would make an excellent reader. You are right, it's just a tool, a prop that allows people to open up about the things they hide, to confront what's inside safely with another person. Thank you so much for coming by. You should pick up a deck again!

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Sally's trove: Using the Tarot that was as a form of therapy is a great idea. It gives the person a chance to see what they would otherwise not admit, projected in the cards.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I read this hub a few days ago, and can't get it out of my head. I've never had a paranormal, mediumistic, or other-worldly experience that I can remember (although I did have an imaginary playmate that my mother thought was real...Mom does have prophetic dreams and a gift I guess she'd call clairvoyance), but as a young adult I used to enjoy reading Tarot. I initially bought the cards because I liked the images and was curious about the practice. As it happened, I was a pretty good reader, in the sense of helping others to see their thoughts and experiences in a different light, as you describe.

      I was amazed at the reactions folks had. If I had been more sophisticated about readings at the time, I would like to think I'd have developed an introduction as you did, but in retrospect, just as you say, nobody would have listened...people like to hear their personal stories told. What I learned from that experience is that I'm a good listener, and everyone needs one. Tarot just happened to be another medium, like a quiet talk with a friend over coffee or cocktails, like a phone call in the middle of the night from someone who is hurt and confused, and, as I learned much much later, like needing to be on a therapist's couch.

      Well, thanks for taking me down this trail of memories and also for opening the door to the inquiry about ethics. I think I could have made money from this. :)

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      That would be nice, wouldn't it. Especially today. Our water heater just bit the dust.

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Using it for making money can change you if you let it. But if I KNEW all I needed to do if short if cash was to walk into a bookmakers and place a bet or into a casino and place one chip on the table then I personally would not worry about money much.

      Getting money would be like picking fruit from a tree in your own garden.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Poverty sucks. Anything over 'enough plus some change' feels pretty much the same, in my experience, but 'not enough' feels dreadful.

      I can't influence or predict the stock market, but like that movie tagline sometimes "I see dead people." I haven't found any good use for it so far, but that's not to say I never will.

      Here's the thing: When you start using this kind of thing to make big bucks it changes you. Not in a good way. It's not the same as if you use your computer programming ability or writing ability or landscaping ability to make big bucks. Seriously, look at James Van Praagh's beady little creepy eyes. I've seen that guy be such a dick. Not a good quality when you are working with the bereaved IMO.

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      must confess if I had the ability to consciously predict or influence say the stock market or a horse race telekinetically I would simply keep it to myself. And once I had enough I would start using the power to help people.

      Cryptid: are you really saying it is purer to live in poverty than to be rich? Poverty is not good.

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi Cryptid! Thank you for reading this. You said it so much more straightforwardly--people who can really do it would never abuse their gift by turning it into a cash cow.

      Jewels, training can help a LOT if it's good training. And discernment, wow, there's a challenge! But necessary for sure. Thanks for coming by. :)

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

      CR, I've no doubt there is a lot out there. Thankfully I've the means to navigate a fair bit, which is what I did when seeing the aftermath of the bushfires. I was taught this via the practices I have done with vision and meditation. Discernment and integrity help a lot!

    • cryptid profile image

      cryptid 5 years ago from Earth

      This is brilliant, and I share a lot of your sentiments here. I too believe it's perhaps possible for people to have the power to divine the future, or commune with the spirit realm. However, it may be naïve, but I also believe those people have enough respect or even fear of that power that they would not abuse it or call on it for money. Something about John Edwards and a few others never set right with me. Nice Hub!

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thank you bmcoll3278!

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      bmcoll3278 5 years ago from Longmont, Colorado

      Very very good hub I enjoyed it. Voted up

    • CR Rookwood profile image
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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi Sparrowlet. I got to thinking about all this after being let down when I saw James Van Praagh working. Loved his books, then saw him work and it just irritated me, so I know what you mean. Thank you for taking the time to comment and say hello!

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      Katharine L Sparrow 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Great hub! (love your ending!) Those fake mediums make me so angry. John Edward is one I can't stand, and he is so obviously feeding off people's reactions, I don't know how they fall for his crap. Your section on shamanism was interesting for me, I knew very little about it. Voting up!

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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi Kitty, I agree. I feel the same way about healers. I think some people are natural healers but they don't hang signs out saying so or tell everyone they meet. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. :)

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      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

      I think the real mediums probably don't have a roadside home as a business with a big sign "PALM READINGS HERE" in front...though I could be judging prematurely without ever trying one out. At the same time, I have the ability to sense energies and spirits...and I have lately been hearing them calling out to me in a state between dreaming and waking. So, I don't feel it necessary to try one out...I have enough excitement in my life! :) LOL. But I have always wanted to try past-life regression...then again, I sort of already know 3 of my past lives so why waste the money and time? Awesome hub, though! Loved it, as always.

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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi IantoPF. Thank you for visiting and taking the time to read this! I also have a clear idea of what magic is for me, and I use it sparingly but it works. I don't use it sparingly because I think it's dangerous or anything, just because I'm happy most of the time so no need for it. I think that charlatans get a foothold here so easily because in the US we have no traditions we feel free to speak of--it's all very politicized. So people tend to say everything has a rational explanation and then when something weird happens they totally freak out and run to some crook who pumps up their fear.

      Really enjoyed your comment. Thank you!

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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi Alex2009, I agree. In fact, that's another hub--just haven't gotten to it yet. I think the term 'psychic' and also the term 'paranormal' are kind of off, although I use both terms because they are the easiest terms for people to understand, but really, I think most of it is natural and ordinary perception--just a heightened version of it. To my mind it is significant that so many psychics have troubled childhoods. It explains how keeping a heightened sense of the world around you might have a survival use. Animals retain this but humans seem to ditch it between the ages of 5 and 8 eight years. Thanks for your thoughts, as always. :)

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      Peter Freeman 5 years ago from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales

      Hello CR; I've just come across your work and I'm impressed. This is a great Hub.

      My explanation of Tarot is similar to yours, I tell people that they choose the cards by coincidence and their own intuition will fill in the blanks. Since coming to America I have been appalled at these Store Front Psychics with their Daily specials etc. Bringing the sacred to the level of the mundane.

      I have a very clear idea of Magic and my life is filled with it. My rewards then appear in terms of Career success, family happiness and other ways. To charge those in need is to make a profit from another's pain. Not my style.

      Look at that, you pulled a rant from me LOL.

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      AlexK2009 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      @ C.R.

      A lot of mediumship is conscious or unconscious cold reading. Similarly for Tarot reading.

      However I consider this a great hub and very useful

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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi Jewels! Yes it can be very disturbing for sure, and most of them (the dead) aren't in a good place, that's why they are clustering around. They see you, they know you can see them, and yet what can you do? Learning to shut it off and maintain some healthy boundaries is a big challenge for people with mediumistic ability--sensitives too.

      My feeling is that both things can be true at once--there can be high profile charlatans AND there can be something to it. Lots more out there than we can even imagine, I think. Thanks for your thoughts!

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      Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

      You've covered a broad area in this hub. Mediums/mediumship is certainly one for a high level of discernment. The craft is full of charlatans, yet those with high integrity - can't totally dismiss it.

      I remember (can't forget actually) seeing dead people around the time of the bush fires a few years ago. It was a horrible space to be in and I chose to quickly get out of it.

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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thank you bborello!

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      bborrello 5 years ago from Oregon, USA

      I sent you an email - in case I am marked as spam, look for it. I would be happy to help you with your journey, give you a reading, share what I know, whatever...get in touch if you like.

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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi bborello. I agree! And my questions in this area also come from my own experiences with seeing dead people. The thing is, I would never put myself out there like some of these folks do, but of course I don't really know--perhaps they are genuine. I hope if I ever decide to be more open and share what comes to me, I won't make it into just another way to make a buck. Like you I'm pretty private about it most of the time, and the writing is maybe my boldest step forward. I really appreciate your thoughts and comments here.

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      bborrello 5 years ago from Oregon, USA

      I am a medium but rarely share my true self with anyone. I have barely begun to do so with some of my articles here on HubPages. Society has a hard time accepting differences, of any kind, so to fit in, I hide. I wonder how many others there are like me?

      CR - It's good to be cautious, but when one finally takes a step into the spirit world, it's nearly impossible to step back because the richness of life is infinitely more profound when you integrate more dimensions to it.

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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi Electro-Denizen! I had that same experience with my kids, and I agree, this stuff does get passed down in families. I think kids just naturally see a lot of things we can't because no one has explained to them yet that it isn't possible. I agree with you that there is a real dimension to all this but it gets ruined by the money folks. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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      Charles 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      A hub that touches quite a few possible areas regarding mediumship, very interesting. Since I was a kid I was aware of non-physical people hanging around - and now it's very odd to see my two and a half year old daughter point to a blank space in the room and ask 'Who's that?' 'Who?' 'That man standing there'. I hear that kind of thing can be passed on somehow, but not sure. Mediumship is definitely real and worthwhile for some people, but two things put me off: 1)the whole image of it perhaps due to charlatans and psychics of only average to medium ability (ha no pun intended!) and 2) that phrase they use 'if I could just leave this lady's love with you'. I've always found that phrase incredibly patronising somehow, but that's just me.

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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi Marsei! Thank you for your excellent comment. I agree, it's good to be careful, or as the saying goes, "have an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out."

      I'm kind of like you, I don't want to be wrong and I don't want to draw attention to myself, so I tend to keep clairvoyant perceptions and such to myself. I can't imagine the pressure of having to summon up such weirdness on command for large sums or money--ack. Feels wrong.

      I also agree with you about mediums sometimes bringing comfort to grieving people. I think this happens all the time, and not everyone asks for hundreds of dollars for the comfort.

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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      CR, I enoyed this hub a lot. It has its funny spots, but a lot of truth too. I just think we have to be so scupulous about what we represent as coming from the spirit world. I have dreams that have been prophetic occasionally but just not worth ever being wrong to even mention them. I suppose we reconcile our concern by the fact that the more visible mediums bring comfort to those who are greiving, even if it's in a not so scrupulous way.

      Very interesting hub.

      I like the way you explained the Tarot and I agree, no

      want wants to hear it.

      marsei

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      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Thanks CWB! Yeah, I thought dragons was the right word alright. There's something about some of these guys that is downright scary, and yet, with my world view I don't totally dismiss the possibilities. I was especially disappointed with Van Praagh. I read a bunch of his books a few years back and thought, wow, this is amazing! Then I saw him work, saw his eyes, and I was crestfallen, like, ugh. That again. :(

      Those steak references are makin' me hungry! lol! Thanks for reading the hub and saying hey!

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      Civil War Bob 5 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

      Good hub, CR...voted up, useful, funny (in spots), and interesting. Questions: if a medium is a dragon, is he supersized instead of just medium? Is a good medium rare? Is there more at steak if a medium is well done?

      On a different note, I found the conclusion about dragons most interesting, given my world life view. Enjoy your weekend!!