Psychic Mediums

by Paige Whitley

A medium is someone who claims to be able to communicate with sprits in the afterworld and relay their messages to their loved ones they left back on the physical world. This practice has been recently gaining more popularity through shows like “Long Island Medium” and “Hollywood Medium” but has been around since the 1840’s. 1. Many people claim to be skeptical until a reading provides evidence towards someone actually being able to speak to a spirit – through personal stories. There are two types of mediumship: mental and physical. Mental mediumship uses the five senses and one’s consciousness to communicate and within that there are three forms: clairvoyance (sight), clairaudience (auditory) and clairsentience (tactile). Physical mediumship is when the medium is communication with spirits, the audience can see what is happening to the medium: raps (taps), ectoplasm, levitation, materialization and automatic writing. 1.

There are many reasons why people believe in mediums and many reasons why people don’t believe in mediums. People against mediums believe that the medium gets information before a reading, or secretly gets information through generic questions. Suzanne Giesemann, an alleged medium, wrote on her website that she needs to feed off of her clients, so she can change direction if she wasn’t correct or she can keep going with a certain detail. Giesemann also states that if her client sits there silent, there will be an energy blockade and she won’t be able to read the spirits. 2. In reality, mediums start with a very generic question or statement that could apply to almost anyone and reach out for help to understand a message they are receiving from a spirit and since it is so generic when a medium is inaccurate they can backtrack and correct themselves. 3. Some mediums can also prepare ahead of time and do their research on the person they are reading, which is very easy to do now a day.

Many people are readily eager to believe in mediumship due to the fact that if they are being read, they have lost someone, and this could be a part of their grieving system. People also believe in mediumship because they are looking for a reason to keep going or a meaning to life. Generally, all kinds of people have their own reason for believing in mediumship. Age, education level, and political views don’t have any difference between who believes and who doesn’t, but women tend to believe more than men and people that do believe tend to support private enterprise compared to people who don’t believe that tend to support corporate enterprise. 4.

Believers come from everywhere and anywhere. Of course, someone claiming to be able to communicate with spirits will spark some interest with people. Some people believe because they want to be able to know there is an afterlife. Some people believe because they are grieving the death of a loved one. Some people believe just because they can. Although, in the Bible it does say to not seek out a medium, so people may claim for mediumship to be against their religion. New shows keep coming out about mediums and this is a social platform that is new and very useful to getting mediums to convince more people to believe in them.

To conclude, people want to believe in mediumship because there is confirmation on the afterlife, they get to find out if their loved ones that have died are doing well and watching over them, and since it’s gaining popularity on social media it seems more acceptable. People go to mediums in a vulnerable state and chose to believe it because they are tricked into giving information to a medium and fall into the hole of it all seeming 100% real. Mediumship is very hard to measure, and mediumship is very hard to disprove; therefore, people will support it. There isn’t a placebo effect or anything like that but even if it’s all fabricated, it gives people a little bit of happiness and mediums will thrive off of that.



25 thoughts on “Psychic Mediums

  1. I can’t deny that I really do enjoy watching “Long Island Medium” from time to time. I am always enamored by the specificity of Theresa’s words. In the show, she seems to connect with “spirit” as she goes about her daily life; talking to complete strangers. Its hard for me to be skeptical because I can’t image how she would’ve been able to do her research. In addition, after losing numerous loved ones, I can’t help but be drawn to the concept. I am not religious or spiritual generally speaking, but based on examples such as that show it’s hard not to question.

  2. I like how you explained the differences between mental and physical mediumship because I do think that its easier to believe in mental mediumship rather than physical because the person being read doesn’t have to look for physical cues to believe that the medium is telling the truth. Making it easier for the medium to retreat to the supernatural and be more believable.

  3. I find mediums very interesting and this was one of my favorite topics to learn about. I liked how you pointed out that there is no “typical” population that believes in mediums – and there is no tendency of age, race, sex, or education. This goes to show how meaningful this belief can be for all types of people. Death and losing a loved one is touchy subject near to the heart, which is a big reason so many people entrust in mediums.

  4. Paige, I really liked your choice of topic for your post. I have watched the show “Long Island Medium” a couple of times so I thought it was fun to make some parallels between what you talked about. I liked how you pointed out how people are readily eager to believe in mediumship because of having lost someone close to them and it playing a part in their grieving. I can see how that would be easy to find comfort in. Have you ever watched any of those shows that you mentioned, if so what were your reactions?

  5. I think when you said that there is no typical population that believes in mediums, that was the perfect way to describe it. I had never thought of it that way, but to me it seems like the people who want to believe in it the most are those who are most desperate to find answers to questions that in reality there may be no answers too. Something that I think about is the fact of social media and technology influencing the widespread popularity of mediums. They have been around for hundreds of years, but do you think technology has helped or hurt mediums?

    • hey charlie! I definitely agree that it is interesting that mediums have been around for hundreds of years but social media is causing a rise and attention to it. I think shows like long island medium or Tyler Henry’s show make mediumship look normal and fun and entertaining and it is causing people to be drawn to it.

  6. Psychic mediums are definitely very easy to debunk. I like how you mentioned in your post about the different ways mediums can seem credible, like making generic statements or asking generic questions that are easy to backtrack on as well as the ease of just simply researching the client before the reading. Mediums seem harmless and it’s main purpose is to provide some sort of explanation or relief to those struggling with the loss of someone in their life, but psychic mediums have lead their clients astray and made extraordinary claims that aren’t rooted in facts or reality, which can be harmful.

    • hey I agree with your post! I honestly give psychic mediums props they do an impressive job of seeing very credible. The statements are very generic and they know how to trick people. while I think its pretty messed up that they get their money by conning people, if their “readings” can bring some sort of comfort to someone who is unable to let go of a loved one then I guess that is one good thing that comes out of it.

      • I definitely agree in that the good that comes out of mediums is their ability to provide comfort to people who have lost a loved one and are having a hard time coping. It seems silly to go to a medium to be able to have a conversation with a dead loved one, but everyone copes with death differently and if talking to a medium makes them feel relief and get closure, then by all means they should do it. The practice of psychic mediumship is very interesting, especially how you said that mediums are impressive in their appearance of credibility.

  7. I really enjoyed this topic and I almost picked this for my project. My mother loves long island medium and my brother is currently dating a medium. I for a long time believed that this was a gross deception of vulnerable people but I have since changed my mind. This is sort of like therapy to some people and they love believing in it. I’d draw parallels between religion and ghosts / spirits. People believe in things they are comfortable with I don’t think that talking to a medium can actually do much harm (maybe some harm monetarily).

  8. I think you make a great point about people readily buying into the authenticity of a medium because it makes grieving easier on them. I truly think that people believe what they want to believe. While being able to communicate with a loved one who was lost is an attractive idea, I think that “mediums”are just very well trained in reading another human being, through body language, answers they provide to generic questions, and their own personal tricks, such as Suzanne Giesemann claiming that a silent client will cause for an “energy blockade.” There are many different things that can explain a medium. Although I can see how it can benefit clients searching for closure.

  9. Well the website has now error’d out twice on the same post which I will now be typing out for the third time so excuse the briefness, but I find it really interesting how shows like Long Island Medium exposes even people who aren’t grieving to the concept of mediums. In this way it’s interesting how media can promote and perpetuate a belief even to those who have no reason to believe.

  10. I like how you mentioned that there isn’t a placebo affect but there is a sense of hope or security you can get from seeing a medium. It’s interesting to think that psychic mediums are sometimes an essential part to someones way of grieving or even providing that person some closure.

  11. Growing up, I was always very fascinated with mediums. I can say that I bought into what these people were selling and was amazed that there were people such as them out in the world. As I got older, I realized that there aren’t actually any special powers or special people like this. On one hand, I am impressed at how smart these people have to be to deceive their clients. On the other hand, I think people like this are scam artists and take advantage of others especially those in grieving situations.

  12. I honestly have never watched a show about a medium but I really am sickened by the things I have seen. These people are so clearly misleading folks in almost every situation, they do way more harm than good, and they steal so much money by taking advantage of broken people. This kind of deception is so low. It is a shame so many people believe in these people and praise them for their acting.

    • I agree with you, Mike! It’s so sad that people do this and if and (hopefully) when they find out it was a complete deception, they will be able to move on with the grieving process and find peace within themselves and not because of a medium. But, if they don’t find out about the deception then maybe it is a good thing for them because they do get that small hope of believing that their loved one has came to talk to them, especially if they died on bad terms. It’s just so sad people make money off this even if it can have a little bit of good.

  13. I love the idea of Mediums, becasue if you don’t have any idea what strategies they’re using, it’s easy to get caught up. I went to see a medium when I was in 7th grade and held on to her predictions for years! I recently watched an episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey, and in the episode they brought in a medium to allow them to communicate with their father who passed away, and they believed she was actually communicating with him becasue of how much she knew, but in my head there was no way I could believe it becasue obviously, they were a famous family and she had done her research. However, it gave them closure and I can see why they desperately bought into it.

  14. Grieving the loss of someone is one of the toughest things to cope with for people. When they hear that there is a possibility to reconnect with that person just one last time through a medium) they are very enticed by the idea. Who wouldn’t be? Mediums ask their vague questions, hear the confirmation from the receivers, and continue questioning down that path. For the people who do feel that is successful are able to gain a sense of comfort or closure, feeling the sense of connection with the person.

  15. I find your comparison between those who believe and those who do not believe interesting. I wonder if it is also associated with cultural difference.(e.g: between Chinese collectivism culture and U.S individualism culture). In China, I never heard of psychic medium except on Buddhist’s funeral pray. Instead, every year on QingMing festival, every family will go sweep their ancestors’ grave sites, pray to them and burn joss paper to ensure that the spirit of the deceased has lots of good things in the afterlife. It is a convention lasted over 2500 years. In U.S, I do not know much about how people connect with their past relatives. Does it somewhat explain why people reconnect with the help of medium?

    • I never thought of different cultures and if they have mediums or not! This is a very good point to bring up and I wish I would have looked into that more further. The QingMing festival, to me, sounds more like a religious or celebratory thing – just remembering the loved one that have passed. In the US, there isn’t really anything like that, where everyone is celebrating so maybe this does explain why people want to reconnect with their loved ones. Maybe they will get peace the same way the QingMing festival brings people. Very interesting point!

  16. I really like the distinction that you made between mental and physical mediumship. It’s a lot easier to pass off mental mediumship as genuine, which is very likely why we see this as most prevalent in media rather than physical. One can more easily make it seem real when you don’t have to try and control for external factors.

  17. I always found those that believe in the powers of mediums to be very gullible and unintelligent, but after watching a couple episodes of Long Island Medium I realized that they are actually really good at making others believe, it almost had me questioning everything too. And after reading this, I can see why many people do believe in them especially those who are grieving and are looking for closure. Those who go to mediums for these reasons most likely aren’t analyzing their questions or their predictions, but instead are looking for some sort of relief and it seems that mediums are very good at supplying them with that.

  18. I think mediums are very interesting, and I have to admit that many times the psychic even fools me for a few seconds. I personally believe there is some truth to mediums, but many of the cases we read about in class were very clearly false and the psychic was exploiting people. I also think there is something to be said about how throughout history humans have always has magicians and psychics, and many religions warn their believers about those types of people. Overall i think your blog was very interesting and informative about the topic.

  19. My mom is a religious watcher of the Long Island Medium show and it drives me crazy because she seems like nothing more than a TV personality to me. As entertaining as the show can be, I don’t understand how she can believe this woman has this ability to communicate with the dead. I didn’t realize that there was both physical and mental mediums so that was interesting to learn.

  20. I think a lot of what you said in your post is definitely accurate. While I think mediums do give some people a little bit of happiness by telling them they are communicating with their dead loved ones I think overall the practice is unethical. It just seems really wrong to me to trick vulnerable people into believing that they are getting messages from their dead family members. I totally understand why people believe in mediums because they are vulnerable and mediums make their acts convincing but I think it’s wrong of mediums to make money off of lies and other people’s suffering.

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