Mediumship is communication with spirits. Spiritualist would prefer the term Spirit to spirits perhaps to distinguish between speaking to those on the other side and speaking under the influence of alcohol. I’m joking of course. A sense of humor can be a dangerous thing in print where you, my audience, can’t see that I’m smiling. It is also dangerous in areas of religious concern or where people are deeply and emotionally invested. But it seems to me that it is in these areas that we most need a sense of humor.

My life has been profoundly impacted both by mediums and by my own practice of mediumship so much so that I have decided to devote an entire section of this blog to the practice of mediumship.

I too am emotionally invested but I am not married to a dogma or ideology. I don’t have the answers neither do I wish or expect to arrive at the place where I do. As far as I am concerned where there is no mystery there is no joy in living. So what I am describing here is my subjective observation of a profound mystery.

I, like everyone else, have “filters,” belief systems, through which I process my perceptions. These belief systems may or may not be accurate and so my observations may or may not be accurate. I’m okay with that and I hope you are too. What I am sharing here is not “truth,” it is only my experience. I hope that you in turn will share your experiences with me and with others who may frequent this blog. In this way, we can learn together.

I have had a “sensitivity” to Spirit for as long as I can remember. It is my belief that almost all children and animals do because they are not indoctrinated or socialized to believe otherwise.
I have memories as far back as my crib. I remember lying in my crib staring up at the mobile my parents placed over the crib to entertain me and into the faces of people I already knew but who were not incarnate.

I had a “friend” who looked a lot like the leprechaun on the box of Lucky Charms cereal. He was not an imaginary friend and our relationship was not long lasting but he used to dance outside of my bedroom window. I grew up in a row home on Andover Road in Baltimore City. My window faced the back yard and alley. The window was three stories from the ground. This little guy would dance on air then pass through my window as if it was an open door. He never spoke to me, at least I don’t recall if he did.

Later, at the ripe old age of eight, I became the neighborhood medium. A medium is one who practices spirit communication. I don’t believe mediumship is a gift. You don’t have to be a born medium but you must believe and you must set your intention on contact. If you do that it will happen but teaching mediumship is not the purpose of this entry.

My mother would not allow me to “play with matches.” I knew intuitively that a white candle was both attractive to spirit and protective but, as I was not permitted to use fire I had to find a substitute. At some point someone had given me a hand carved wooden bust of either a Native American or an ancient Egyptian. I remember distinctly the energy I felt as I held it and I thought it might make a good substitute for a candle so I used it as the center piece for my sittings.

Neighborhood kids would gather in my room, we’d sit in a circle on the floor and with all the ignorance and naivety of a child I would call on whosoever will. I would never do that today not with Ouija, not with meditation, not with anything but in those days all I really wanted was a manifestation.

Speaking of manifestations, and yes I will digress left and right as I feel so inspired, Modern Spiritualism discourages what is sometimes referred to as “physical mediumship,” – mediumship that produces physical manifestations like raps on the walls or even the movement of the planchette or other objects. One of the reasons I love Ouija so much is that I see it as one of the last holdouts of physical mediumship. It is also a symbol of the fact that “any one can do it,” more on that later.

Spiritualism was born to physical mediumship. The Fox sisters and their family, and neighbors, and investigating scientists, and reporters all heard the raps on the wall. Some felt the touch of Mr. Splitfoot, a child-like pseudonym for the devil, later to be called by his real name Charles B. Rosna. So why do Spiritualist discourage the very type of mediumship that gave birth to their faith and science?

By the end of the nineteenth century charlatans flourished. Fortunes were made both by the charlatans and by those that exposed them; and the newspapers of the day loved the sensationalism born of the antagonism between medium and “investigator.” Those who wanted their newfound religion to have credibility decided to distance themselves from the more flamboyant.

The more outrageous the manifestation, the more people came, the more people came, the more money was made. Even authentic mediums felt they had to deliver when their livelihood depended on it and they were not above trickery when the spirits didn’t manifest when called upon to do so.

Spiritualists decided that proof of the continuity of life was not to be found in the theatrics of physical mediumship but in the disclosure of information known only to the sitter and to the spirit of the one the sitter (querent if it makes you feel better. Sitter may have negative connotations for some) wished to speak with.

To this day Modern Spiritualist prefer this type of spirit communication. I agree wholeheartedly with their rationale but not all physical mediumship is bogus. Why throw the baby out with the bathwater just because a few self-seeking charlatans have created the illusion of physical mediumship with bad or greedy intentions?

In any case it was physical mediumship I was after at the age of eight. I really did not care what a spirit had to say. The message was of no consequence. What I wanted was a scary show and since that was my intention (I hope you notice that I use the word “intention” quite a bit; it plays a crucial role not only in the outcome of spirit communication but in every facet of life), that was what I received.

One day, we were all gathered in my room. The sun was shining brightly outside and the shades were not drawn. No one ever told me that séances had to be held in darkness. Some today say it requires less energy of the spirit to manifest, some say it is easier to achieve the appropriate vibration in darkness or partial darkness. Hey I wanted spirit manifestations and I wanted to see them so broad daylight was my best option.

So here we are sitting in a circle with some wooden carved guru in the center and I’m calling out as loud as I can, “Come spirit come to us, show yourself.” Well, my closed and locked window shot up so hard I thought the glass would break, the curtains stood out straight like a storm was coming, and a scream, screech, or howl unlike anything I’ve ever heard before or since sounded like it was all around us. I’ve heard descriptions of the banshee yell. I’m not saying we had a banshee but if you have ever read descriptions of the banshee scream; that is what it sounded like. I never saw my friends run so fast. In seconds I was sitting alone in my room feeling the fool.

Have you ever studied the tarot fool card? In the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition the fool is smiling blissfully as he steps off of a cliff. That was me: the fool, ignorantly messing where I should not have been messing.

As far as I could tell the spirit was gone.

I packed away that little wooden bust and I never held another séance in those early childhood days. The closest I ever came was when my cousin was given an Ouija board for Christmas. While the family sat all around the living room area chatting by the lovely light of the tree my cousin and I took her board to the carpeted and comfortable staircase. We could see our family from where we were and they could see us. We placed our finger tips on the planchette and did what many “fools” do, we said, “would any one like to speak to us?”

Now, let’s suppose for a moment that the Spiritualists are right at least in their claim that there is continuity to life. What that means is that we are essentially the same people after death as we were before. Death does not change our personality, it does not miraculously endow us with wisdom or virtue; we are essentially unchanged. Given that and I realize I am asking a lot of many of you but please hear me out, given that do you think the average disembodied human spirit is necessarily going to impart words of wisdom?

Let me ask you another question: what kind of spirit do you suppose is lurking around waiting for the chance to come through via a random invitation? Do you think the brightest and best disembodied spirits have nothing better to do than sit around and wait for a random phone call? Do you see where I’m going with this? I haven’t mentioned non-human spirits with either helpful or harmful intent and yet how many people do you suppose sit down with an Ouija board and call out, “would any one like to speak with us?”

Well that’s what we did.
The planchette started moving.
By the way if you don’t know what a planchette is it is that piece you rest your fingers on, the piece that moves from letter to letter hopefully but all too often not spelling out an intelligible message. So the planchette begins to move and like all Ouija beginners we look at each other and say, “Quit pushing it.” To which we each responds, “I’m not pushing it.”

As I recall we did get movement but we did not get an intelligible message. Nevertheless the Ouija bug bit me. I was filled with awe and wonder and a lifelong love of that little board was born that Christmas night. Remember this was a few years before the Exorcist. To the best of my knowledge it wasn’t until the release of that film that the board developed its reputation as a harbinger of demonic possession.

By the way (another digression) the seventies were the most popular time for exorcisms. I remember Derek Prince, an evangelical demonologist, casting demons out of whole auditoriums of people. They stood around screaming with an unearthly screech that sounded not at all unlike that banshee I referred to earlier. If you were an evangelical, charismatic, Christian shortly after the release of the Exorcist in 1973 then you probably remember what I’m talking about. It was all the rage. A few short years later I had developed a reputation as an exorcist myself and I went around casting demons out of people as they screamed and carried on.

We all change (hopefully), so did I. I cast out my last “demon” in or around 1980 just prior to my entrance into the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary where I learned to translate Greek, where I learned to interpret the Bible, and where I learned that “Pastoral Ministry” is a business like any other. I am a seminary graduate by the way, Master of Divinity; however my belief system has changed quite a bit from my seminary days as you have no doubt surmised by the contents of this blog.

I think that’s enough for now. I will tell you about the spirit that called me by name, the “growler,” the black scrying mirror, and my Lily Dale experience later.

Much love,
David

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 1st, 2013 at 7:52 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 comments so far

davidd
 1 

Sadly I don’t know the answer to the RSS problem. I will continue to look however and advise you if I do find a solution

August 11th, 2013 at 1:14 am
davidd
 2 

Could you tell me a little more about what your “basic concerns” might be?

August 11th, 2013 at 1:15 am
 3 

This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!!
Finally I have found something which helped me. Thanks a lot!

August 16th, 2013 at 11:07 pm
David
 4 

I’m so glad that you found it meaningful and that you took the time to comment. Thank you

August 17th, 2013 at 1:35 am