Recently, I’ve run into cynics who say that mediumship is impossible. They look for any alternative explanation of a claimed communication. If they can find one, they declare this must be how the medium got the information. Why? Because they start with the presupposition that mediumship is impossible.
That’s fine if that’s what you want to do. But, what gets me is these cynics think they are “scientific.” They have bought into a materialist paradigm, thinking it’s the only way to view the world.
I use the word “cynic” with a purpose. They would claim to be skeptics. I disagree. A skeptic is a person who is slow to persuasion. But, a skeptic is a person who examines the evidence and goes to where the evidence leads. A skeptic doesn’t declare something as untrue simply because it’s impossible from the perspective of his current paradigm. A cynic will look at something like a medium reading and declare that if there is any way possible the medium got the information through normal physical senses that must be what happened.
Imagine if I could transport myself back 200 years. I’m there speaking with scientists of the day, with my current knowledge of technology. It would be a fascinating conversation if I started talking about something that we take entirely for granted today- radio waves. If I told them that there is an invisible form of energy that is entirely undetectable by sight, sound, or feel they would think I had gone insane. This energy can and does permeate solid matter effortlessly, I add. They look at me incredulously.
Furthermore, this energy can be used to communicate around the world; instantaneously allowing me to send my voice to someone across the world. Now, these scientists are ready to lock me up.
If I tried to tell someone pre-Copernicus that the Earth revolved around the sun, I would be declared mad because clearly, the sun revolves around the Earth. We can all see it with our own eyes as it rises in the East and sets in the West every day.
Since we as a species discovered the scientific method, the hubris of thinking we know all there is to know has been calling us. In 1889, Charles Holland Duell, the commissioner of the Patent Office, declared that the patent office would soon shrink and eventually close because “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
We have come to believe that if we can’t prove it scientifically, it’s not possible. Recently, I heard someone correctly say that science can only tell us about repeatable things, and the vast majority of life is not reproducible. People who call themselves skeptics or scientists will often dismiss personal experience because it didn’t happen in a laboratory.
Interestingly enough, science is starting to reveal that the Universe is not as mechanistic as we once thought. Science’s own discovery are putting the scientific method into jeopardy. This made Einstein very uncomfortable as he fought quantum physics for most of his career. He didn’t like the idea of the Universe not being deterministic. As we learn more, we find the Universe is an even stranger place than Einstein found it to be. The Double Slit experiment and more recent thought experiments are flipping the ideas of cause and effect on their heads. Recently, I read an article about Quantum Gravity that posits that, given the right conditions, what we usually perceive as the cause can be the effect, and vice versa, as time gets flipped. From our ordinary experience, this seems impossible. Yet, it is.
My point? If you experience a phenomenon that you deem impossible, you are going to have to either declare it’s not genuinely happening or find a way to explain it. When it comes to mediumship, the cynics will say it must be a hot reading (the medium looking up information o the sitter), a cold reading (the medium using cues from the sitter to make educated guesses), or some combination of the two. Mediumship is impossible in their minds.
A scientist would test mediumship, controlling for these alternative explanations. Some scientists have. Dr. Julie Beischel is one. She is with the Windbridge Research Center. Her protocol is fairly complex. I can’t do it justice. But, the medium is given only the first name of the “target” (the spirit person. The medium gives a reading. The experiment that interfaces with the medium never interfaces with the sitter and does not know who the “target” or the sitter is. This eliminates all possibility of hot or cold readings. The medium is asked to describe the target- physical characteristics, personality, etc. The reading is given to the sitter along with a reading that is not for the sitter. This eliminates the possibility of sitter bias, giving the medium a higher score to please the medium or the experimenters. The sitter scores both readings and tells which reading she believes is for her target.
Dr. Beischel’s studies eliminate every alternative explanation I’m aware of that any cynic has put out there. And, her results are significant. Interestingly enough, as the true skeptical scientist she is, she does not claim that her work proves that mediums communicate with the discarnate. There are other possibilities, such as the medium tapping into a field of knowledge that we’re not aware of. But, for most of these cynics, that would be replacing one impossible phenomenon with another. We have to rely on the mediums themselves to tell us what their experience is, that is that they are communicating with the “other side”. And, that is precisely what they tell us. What we do know is they can come up with information that is “impossible” to find by ordinary means. We can control for those means and eliminate them as possibilities.
For myself, I remain skeptical of mediums, as individuals. Some are no good. Some are downright frauds. I recommend that everyone be wary when seeking out a medium. But, my studies and my personal experience with mediums, both professional and amateur, have proven to me beyond any reasonable doubt that mediumship is far from impossible. Maybe one day, science will tell us how it’s done. However, keep in mind that things we now take as a given were once deemed impossible by science. The fact that science cannot tell us how something is done doesn’t mean it’s not happening.