Mediums and psychics are people who pretend they can channel the spirits of the dead and communicate with them. Sometimes they also claim they can communicate with aliens, ancient people, angels, demons and even God. Psychics also claim to have other powers such as clairvoyance but we´ll focus on the whole speaking to spirits thing here. They often pretend to go into a trance and then claim they are allowing a spirit to talk through them or occasionally write something down. Mediums have been exposed as frauds many times but this pernicious group continue to con desperate people out of their money.
They have developed various techniques for fooling their customers and the common practice this century is to "channel" a spirit whom they talk to directly and ask questions of, or they allow a spirit to possess them and speak through them. Generally the way they get customers to believe in them is through cold reading where they will fish for correct answers and make educated guesses according the behaviour of their subject. They start out with vague statements and wait for people to bite. This technique is well documented and can get impressive results but make no mistake it is a trick. Another common technique is hot reading where they will research a subject beforehand or even eavesdrop on conversations and then pretend they have no knowledge of it and make out they are learning through speaking to a spirit.
There are a number of mediums operating today and many of them make fantastic sums of money. I find the practice extremely nauseating as they often prey on people´s grief, many visitors to mediums are desperate to talk to a lost loved one, someone who has died and the fact mediums pretend they can do this is just sick, it doesn´t matter if, as they claim, they only tell people nice things to comfort them, it is still fraud and they are making money out of it.
The famous magician and illusionist Harry Houdini went to several mediums to try and contact his dead mother but he became enraged when each was an obvious fraud and ended up travelling the country exposing them. He even offered a large cash prize for anyone who could prove they were a genuine medium but no-one was ever able to claim it. Houdini had a number of tests, details about his mother that he deliberately never divulged and each medium in turn made a mistake of some kind which exposed their fraud. The interesting thing about Houdini was that he wanted to believe in it because he desperately wanted to communicate with his mother but he never allowed his reason to be overcome by cheap tricks.
Some of the most famous mediums operating today have television shows, people like John Edward and Derek Acorah. If you watch them you will see they ignore the instances where they get things completely wrong which happens often. There was a great television programme a while ago which exposed a number of mediums and psychics, they were supposed to be visiting a haunted building and the maker of the programme posted a fake website with information he made up about the history of the place. Sure enough the mediums and psychics pretended to channel a spirit and repeated the information from his website which they had obviously researched the night before. Several people have exposed John Edward by providing false information and allowing him to run with it before revealing they made it all up. There have also been complaints that his show is edited to show answers and reactions out of sync with what actually happened and give the impression he was able to provide accurate information. All of these charlatans use cold and hot reading techniques.
There are other types of mediums who claim to have a special relationship with a specific spirit, people like Blossom Goodchild. She claims to have channelled the spirit of a native American called White Cloud and has made all sorts of spurious claims in order to peddle her insidious wares which include books and CD´s. Her latest claim is that an alien spaceship will appear on the 14th October which she learned from channelling cosmic beings from The Federation of Light, this conveniently coincides with her selling a new book. She was unsurprisingly an actress before she started all her psychic nonsense.
These people prey on the desperate and naive and they should be jailed for their fraud. The fact they can make money from telling these pathetic stories is really disturbing. Derek Acorah is the one that bugs me the most; he did a television show in the UK called Most Haunted where he ran around in supposedly haunted buildings being filmed in night vision and pretending to channel the spirits of ghosts. The programme´s parapsychologist Ciaran O´ Keefe exposed Acorah by feeding him a fictional character called Kreed Kafer (an anagram of Derek faker) and Acorah subsequently pretended to be possessed by the spirit of the fictional character. He also fed him the name Rik Eedles (an anagram of Derek lies) and again Acorah pretended to communicate with the fictional character. The television regulator Ofcom investigated the show but stated that since it was entertainment they could not be charged and told people they should not take it seriously as a paranormal investigation. The funny thing about Acorah is that even amongst the medium community he is seen as an embarrassing fraud.
It is satisfying to see these people exposed and yet when confronted they always deny any wrongdoing claiming they are completely genuine in their beliefs about being psychic. The truth is they are unwilling to give up the easy money they make by lying.