The term “medium” is defined as: “That which lies in the middle, or between other things: hence, that through which anything is conveyed from one thing to another.” In a particular sense, a “medium” is “a person serving as the channel of communication between discarnate entities and human beings still in the flesh,” in “spiritualistic phenomena.” The suffix “ship,” of course, denotes state or office. In the case of “mediumship,” it indicates that the designated person possesses the state or office of a “medium,” the latter term being used in the special meaning above defined.
It is unnecessary to state in detail the fact that communication with discarnate entities has been known and practiced by the human race from the earliest days of recorded history, and probably long before that time, and is far from being a modern discovery. Such communication has been known and practiced by races of human beings other than those inhabiting Europe and America—particularly in the oriental countries. In oriental lands, such communication has been well established for many thousand years, and the most ancient records give evidence of it. The Hebrew Scriptures contain many instances of such communication, showing that the same was an accepted fact of the life of the race at the time and in the places at which these records were written.
Mediums, as intermediaries, have enabled spirit people to comfort the sad and encourage the weak; to relieve the doubter and console the bereaved; to confirm the old-world traditions regarding bygone spirit intervention and revelation, and supplement our hopes and intuitions with proof palpable.
Physical Phenomena cover a wide range of mediumistic manifestations. Among which are movements of tables, the production of “raps,” the sign of spirit lights, freedom from the effects of fire, the passage of matter through matter, direct writing on paper or slates, candid voices, levitation of the medium, spirit photographs, and the production of the materialized form of the spirit. While in rare cases, the spirits may manifest these forms of physical phenomena without the medium and the circle’s assistance. Nevertheless, such events are produced by the spirits only through the help of a medium, and usually only when they are gathered together in a circle.
The most generally accepted theory of the western scientists is that the spirits employ what is called the “psychic force” of the medium, often assisted by that drawn from the circle and focused in the medium. The medium is regarded as a psychic storage battery which is freely drawn upon by the manifesting spirit. The degree and character of the manifestations are mainly determined by the peculiar quality of the supernatural force, the capabilities of the medium, the knowledge and powers of the spirits, and the influence of the sitters.
Mental Phenomena cover another wide range of mediumistic phenomena. Among which may be mentioned the following, viz., involuntary or automatic writing and drawing, writing using the planchette on “ouija” board or similar mechanical aid to writing, clairvoyant perception of spirits, clairaudient hearing of spirit voices, prophetic utterances of spirits, impersonating and inspirational control of the medium. Mediums are frequently so thoroughly “under the influence or control,” especially in private circle seances that they seem to have been transformed into another personality. Sometimes the medium through which the spirit is manifesting will have his facial appearance changed so wholly that persons present will recognize in the improved appearance the looks of the spirit as known when it was in earth life.
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