Fascination with mediums and communication with the other side has ebbed and flowed over the centuries. Today its star shines more brightly than ever in the form of wildly popular television series like "Medium" and "Ghost Whisperer." The American public seemingly cannot get enough.
Both these shows are based on the experiences of real-life mediums. Allison DuBois became renowned working with law enforcement in Arizona; NBC’s Medium is based on her work. Kelsey Grammer’s production company is behind the show. Bestselling author and medium James Van Praagh not only lends his own personal experiences to CBS’s "Ghost Whisperer," but also acts as co-executive producer for the series.
World acclaimed medium John Edward is hosting a new television show on WE entitled "John Edward Cross Country," and the new USA channel show "Psych" has done exceedingly well in the ratings. The Sci Fi Channel franchise in this genre is "Ghost Hunters," while The Travel Channel airs "Most Haunted." Everyone has gotten in on the act.
Of course, few movies have impacted the popular culture more than Sixth Sense. The "I see dead people" line has become part of the vernacular, even showing up in advertisements.
Certainly fascination with the possibility of life after death and communication with loved ones who have passed on drives this interest and always has since mediumship first surfaced in 1848.
The Fox sisters, Kate and Maggie, were the first mediums who earned widespread renown. Their career began when they were young girls who received messages from friendly spirits eager to prove life after death. The birth of modern spiritualism as a religion, science and philosophy is attributed to their work. In fact, P.T. Barnum sent them on a tour of the U.S., and the crowds they attracted were eager for demonstrations of their abilities.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes series, spent a great deal of time and money endorsing their work and promoting the very real existence of mediumship and life after death.
When the Fox sisters became prominent, people assumed that only a select few with innate abilities to communicate with the other side could be mediums. But today we know that is not necessarily true. It seems that anyone can bridge the gap between earth and the other side as long as they have an earnest desire and are willing to make the effort to develop the talent.
The other side
Medium Sandy Wiltshire is a case in point. Not only were Sandy’s abilities as a medium completely invisible, she didn’t even believe in life after death or God. She was an agnostic with no interest in anything related to the other side. But all that changed when Sandy’s 22-year-old daughter Kim was killed in an automobile accident. It threw Sandy’s life into a tailspin that she doubted she could come out of.
In order to survive, Sandy began exploring the possibility that life continues after death. With every fiber of her being she hoped to find a way to communicate directly with her daughter. A variety of mediums gave Sandy extremely evidential readings and convinced the bereaved mother that her daughter’s spirit was more alive than ever.
After several months of relying on the kindness of mediums to connect to Kim, Sandy decided to try to communicate with Kim herself. She worked hard at it and didn’t give up.
Eventually her persistence paid off and Sandy and Kim were once again having mother-daughter conversations. Sandy’s determination and burning desire to find her daughter in spirit were the pivotal factors in turning a former agnostic into a gifted medium.
Today, as a professional medium, Sandy has a year’s waiting list of people who want to connect with their loved ones on the other side. Sandy’s specialty, which has become her purpose in life, is to connect parents with their children on the other side.
Sandy’s frustration at having such a long waiting list and not being able to help everyone in a timely manner prompted her to write a book, My Gift of Light, to bring hope and assurance to others who are grieving. While the book can’t take the place of a one-on-one reading, it does provide a roadmap for others to follow.
Around for decades
Spiritualist camps where people can visit and get readings on the spot have been around for decades and attract thousands each year. Locations include Lily Dale in New York, Cassadaga in Florida, and Chesterfield in Indiana.
Time was when seances were held in darkened rooms and people feared discovery. The popularity of mediumship has ebbed and flowed since 1848. Interestingly, there has been a surge of public interest following a big war, whether it was the Civil War, World War I or World War II. Like Sandy, relatives yearn to make contact with their loved ones, especially when they die unexpectedly and tragically.
The truth is, mediumship goes back to the beginning of time and is even noted in the Bible. Perhaps one of the most famous notations appears in the Old Testament, Samuel I:28. Samuel was known as the Boy Medium, and it is recorded that he first heard spirit voices when he was a child. His prophecies came true, according to the text. Another famous mediumistic event is found in Matthew 17:3-4 and is referred to as The Transfiguration, when Jesus and three Apostles all saw Moses and Elijah appear, even though they were long since dead. According to the record, Jesus held a conversation with Moses and Elijah during that event. Jesus was widely known as a gifted healer and medium.
Observers of popular culture today might think that the current spate of highly rated television shows devoted to stories about mediums is just another temporary fad, but fascination with the possibility of life after death and the innate desire to know what lies beyond is enduring. As long as human beings walk the Earth, they will seek out reassurance that not only their loved ones will survive death, but so will they. Mediums are the most effective way to bridge that gap, and they’re here to say. History proves it.