When spirit people use a medium to produce
phenomena that can be seen, heard or felt by everyone present
the medium is called a physical medium.
Different kinds of physical mediumship
The kinds of phenomena produced can include
bangs and raps, moving objects with no apparent cause, levitating
tables and other objects, causing objects to dematerialize
and reappear elsewhere (apports) influencing scientific
instruments without touching them, producing whispered voices
and materialized hands and dozens of other "paranormal"
The most developed and rare kind of physical mediumship
is people in the spirit world use the energy of the medium
to partially or fully materialize people and animals. Some
of the best known kinds of physical mediums are transfiguration
mediums, direct voice mediums, materialization
mediums and healing mediums which
are outlined in the next chapters.
Known in every indigenous culture
Physical mediumship has been known throughout
history; every indigenous culture seems to have had physical
mediums- sometimes called shamans or Wu in China. The Bible
is full of reports of reports of physical mediumship. In
1901, US ethnologist Waldemar Bogoras traveled to Siberia
to visit a shaman of the Tchouktchi tribe. Bogoras heard
strange voices filling the room.The voices seemed to come
from all corners and spoke English and Russian. It was the
first known case in which direct spirit voices were caught
in a recording.
Investigated by scientists
From the middle of the nineteenth century
physical mediumship became very popular in the United States
and all over Europe and some of the best physical mediums
of the day were investigated at length by the top scientists
who concluded that the effects were real and there was no
fraud going on.
Sir William Crookes, the leading scientist
in England, did a great deal of psychic investigation with
American medium Kate Fox, one of the Fox sisters whose mediumship
had started the Spiritualist movement in the USA.
Crookes stated that he witnessed that Kate Fox was able
to produce raps loud enough to be heard several rooms away
simply by placing her hands on any substance. He also said
that while he was holding both her hands in his left hand
he had seen a luminous hand materialize, take a pencil from
his right hand, write a message on a sheet of paper, throw
the pencil down and then fade into darkness. (Inglis 1977
He also conducted a number of experiments
with physical medium Daniel Dunglas Home, who was able to
produce effects in daylight. Dozens of highly credible witnesses
independently gave testimony of Home's ability to levitate
heavy pieces of furniture and levitate himself. Crookes
showed in a laboratory situation that Home could affect
the weight of a board resting on a balance scale merely
by placing his fingers in a glass of water resting on the
end of the board.
In another carefully constructed experiment
an accordion (purchased by Crookes) played by itself when
placed near to Home. In these experiments Home's hands and
feet were restrained and the accordion placed inside a wire
cage through which an electrical current was passed. Crookes
and two of the other witnesses present stated that they
distinctly saw the accordion 'floating about on the inside
of the cage with no visible support' (Crookes 1874:14).
Similar results were reported by Professor Alexander von
Boutlerow, professor of Chemistry of the University of St
Petersberg who tested both Home and Kate Fox.
Home always claimed that his powers came
from spirits- people who had died and continued to live
in the afterlife. But Sir William Crookes was careful not
to talk about "spirits" for fear of upsetting
the scientific establishment. Instead he talked about a
new force which he called "psychic".
Sir William's wife, Lady Crookes, was more
willing to speak plainly about her observations. According
to her she saw the accordion in the above experiment taken
from Homes' hand by "a semitransparent distinctly human
form" which sank into the floor after playing the accordion.
The Dr Osti-Rudi Schneider physical
Crookes' experiments with physical mediums were duplicated
in England and Europe, the United States, Canada, Brazil.
Dr Eugene Osty, head of the Metaphysic Institute
in Paris, proved under laboratory conditions that a young
medium, Rudi Schneider, was able to produce genuine physical
phenomena without fraud. He set up a table with an infrared
beam across it which would trigger a battery of cameras
if anything crossed it. Even under these conditions the
spirit control of Rudi Schneider was able to move objects
on the table. As it did so a galvanometer began to register
the 'pulsation' of the invisible intelligence. As Carrington
states: "It was somewhat like taking the pulse of an
invisible being standing before them in space!"
( Carrington 1973:54).
In France and Germany between 1909 and 1913 a series of
carefully conducted experiments were carried out successfully
by Baron von Schrenck-Notzing who independently confirmed
Crookes' psychic findings.
Nobel Laureate Professor Charles Richet,
a Professor of Physiology at the Sorbonne, confirmed the
existence of ectoplasm and inevitably validated Crookes
Professor W.J. Crawford from the University
of Belfast conducted long and meticulous studies of ectoplasm
and materialization with the Goligher Circle and published
three books about it all substantiating Crookes' claims.
Empiricist Gambier Bolton (author of Ghosts
in Solid Form) conducted more than a hundred test materializations
with Florence Cook and other five other sensitives during
a period of seven years which were all documented in detail
consistently confirming Crookes' experiments.
Dr Geley and Prof Richet conducted experiments
in physical mediumship in France. During one meeting some
150 people including scientists, witnessed materialization
Energy-based physical mediumship
Since about 1950 and increasingly since
1990 a number of circles have been developing mediumship
which is based on the group energy either on its own or
with ectoplasm. The Scole group
worked with this energy and the Felix
Experimental Group in Germany claims to be working with
a combination of energy and ectoplasm.
Minds of the living or minds of
We do know that the minds of living people
can influence movement of objects. In the video below Russian
psychic Ninel Kulagina demonstrates.
A number of experiments have been conducted into this ability
called psychokinesis (pk) or telekinesis. It is ability
of the mind to influence matter, time, space, or energy
without the use of any currently known type of physical
means. It refers to a wide variety of abilities including
the movement of objects, softening of metal (spoon bending),
levitation, influencing a random number generator and much
However these effects are usually limited to small motor
movements. There has never been an experiment anywhere in
the world where psychokinesis has been used to create voices,
materialized hands, ectoplasm or objective apparitions seen
by more than one person.
Group psychokinetic effects
Experiments have shown that when a group
of people establish a close and harmonious link they may
be able to generate group psychokinesis. In 1974 a group
of Canadian researchers made up a story about a ghost named
Phillip and for several years sat around a table in a darkened
room. Eventually they began to get intelligent raps and
table movements which corresponded with the groups's expectations
of Phillip. Watch
video. This experiment has been replicated by other
However it must be pointed out that at no
time did the Phillip group or any other group working with
psychic energy get voices or apparitions or materializations
of hands. Nor did they get information unknown to the group
that later proved to be true. And, there is no way of proving
that the effects in the Phillip group were not aided by
low level spirits who decided to have some fun and play
along with the game.
These effects are completely different from working with
an established physical circle where there are circle guides
who maintain distinctive voice and personality even when
the medium is unconscious and none of the regular sitters
However it is certainly a warning to groups attempting to
develop physical mediumship to be discriminating and always
look for evidence.
How do you become a physical medium?
True physical mediumship is very rare. Probably
only one in a million people have the potential to develop
it. Their bodies have an extremely rare ability to produce
a large amount of ectoplasm, a substance made of bodily
fluids produced by the pancreas or other energies which
can by used by colleagues in spirit.
It is strongly genetic- usually a physical
medium will had a parent or grandparent who had the gift,
and often there will be two or more siblings in the family
who have it. Many physical mediums report having great difficulties
in childhood because they generated so much energy around
* Daniel Dunglas Home was thrown out of his home by his
aunt at age 17 when furniture started moving on its own
* Florence Cook at age 15 was sacked from her position as
an assistant school teacher because in her presence books
and pencils flew around, chairs kept following her and tables
were moving on their own.
* Brazilian medium Mirabelli was sacked from his job as
a shoe salesman at age 23 because the shoes kept jumping
off the racks
* Matthew Manning from the age of 11 was at the center of
poltergeist activity- various items were moved or disappeared,
there were loud knocking and creaking sounds and objects
flew violently around the house and signatures of dead writers
appeared on his bedroom wall.
But even if someone has the natural potential to be a physical
medium it needs to be developed by a group or “circle”
of people who are prepared to meet regularly together and
sit in the dark for, say, an hour and a half every week
for a number of years. The medium needs to be able to develop
the ability to go into deep trance and allow the spirit
team to work with their energy, something that takes a great
deal of trust. Boddington (1992:10) claims it takes at least
twenty years to develop a physical medium. Often nothing
happens for two or three years. The Scole Group (see Chap.
8) sat for three years as did the Harrison home circle.
Leslie Flint, the famous direct voice medium (See Chap.
15) sat with a group weekly for seven years before anything
Is the fact that there are so few
physical mediums today evidence of fraud?
It can be argued that the development of
electrical appliances decreased physical mediumship. We
know that light, heat and electricity and closely related
on the electromagnetic spectrum and that ectoplasm and physical
mediumship is highly sensitive to electrical activity. In
the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when people
had fewer distractions from radio and television and computers
and less interference from electrical fields, physical mediumship
was well known. With the spread of electrical appliances
and the development of radio, television and computers life
has changed from the times when people would spend their
evenings sitting around a fire in the dark in a group. People
today do not have the time or the patience to do this and
those interested often live long distances from each other.
On the Internet
Modern Spiritualism founded on physical mediumship.
What is Spiritualism? Medium Carole Lynne