This week someone close to me went to see a clairvoyant. When she told me I automatically laughed. It seemed like such a silly thing to do, but she really believes in it. This particular clairvoyant did get some stuff right (some names, characters, even a recent illness), but most of it was stuff you would expect to hear (you are going to have a really good few months and come into some money), and some of it was just downright bizarre (someone in your family is going to travel the world weight lifting!!!).
Of course it is only natural for us to just hang onto the things we want to hear and just skip over the rest. We want to be told that we are going to win lots of money and meet a tall, dark stranger, and so if someone tells us this we want to believe it is true.
The same thing applies for mediums. Most people who go to see a medium has lost someone and is looking for comfort. Because of this people will twist things they hear to make them fit in with what they need to hear.
Is it better that we believe the medium has contacted our lost one? We go home feeling happy they are still watching over us, and the medium makes a living. Or are these people just exploiting the grief of others?
For me the way clairvoyants and mediums use their ‘talents’ are very different because of the vulnerability side of it. Clairvoyants may say they can tell your future, but at least they aren’t exploiting poor dead Aunt Maude to do it.
Then of course, what is to say that some medium’s aren’t genuine? I believe in ghosts and spirits, so why not believe there are people who can communicate with them? Personally I am sceptical, to the point of disbelieving, but I would love to know if there were people out there who had proven, without a shadow of a doubt, that they can talk to the dead.
I want to believe. I want to believe out loved ones are still out there watching over us, but for the moment I remain undecided.
I hate to be all cynical but, with a little training, anyone can cold read and start telling someone what they want to hear by actually getting them to spill the beans... someone who has gone to a clairvoyant or medium is going to be that much more suseptive and most people can't even tell when they are giving the goods up for the clairvoyant...ReplyDelete
proof of this is easy to get. Derren Brown can give people a full 'psychic' reading and he isn't psychic - just very skilled at cold reading and manipulating.
The way the law in the UK has changed underlines this. We used to have the fradulent mediums act (which replaced the witchcraft act). It was repealed and such events are now covered by the Unfair Trading Regulations.
Essentially all a clairvoyant or medium has to do is categorically prove to the authorities that they are genuine and they can trade as such, otherwise they have to put a rider on all shows and readings that it is entertainment only... No one has proved themselves and it all comes under entertainment.
Does this mean that I don't believe in life after death? No, I certainly believe that death is not the end (as Dylan sang). I just wouldn't trust the truth of any psychic/clairvoyant/medium who makes any form of money from their act
You know, I worked with a woman who was very in tune with the spirit world; she said that ghosts would often follow her home and talk to her, simply because she was the only one who could see them and listened to them. She even read my palm and I have to say that she's dead on so far!ReplyDelete
Catherine Karp's novel, Voices Airy, features great research into the medium trend back in the early 1900's, when people were desperate to hold on to loved ones who had died in either WWI or the Spanish Flu epidemic. The contrast between the character who was really in tune with the spirit world and the one who billed herself as the medium was fantastic.
Great post, Marissa!
I love the post, Marissa, and thanks for the shout out, Nicole. I have an article called "The Bizarre History of Seances" at Francesca Miller's In a Gothic Mood site: http://francescamiller.com/seances.html.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the comments guys.ReplyDelete
Taliesin - I saw the Darren Brown show. He is amazing, but the other guy was a complete charlatan. I had no idea about the 'entertainment' law here.
Nicole - my grandmother used to see spirits (or said she did).
Catherine - I will have to check out the site, though seances freak me out!