Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Currently reading...

"I'm Not Dead, I'm Different," by Hollister Rand.  I enjoyed her on Coast To Coast. Though she is part of an association of mediums (a pay site with assorted New Age types) I really couldn't find any criticism of her.

My personal opinion is that most (possibly all) *public* mediums are not what they purport to be. Starting with the most notorious, Sylvia Browne (who labels herself as a "psychic" rather than a medium) and going up the scale of credibility, it's not hard to find substantial (and valid) criticism of most of them. The criticism is generally rooted in the a materialistic belief that mediumship is impossible; but I think that the skeptics have done a good service in outing the most egregious frauds.

My opinion is that mediumship is possible, but the true ones are not famous, and not very common. But I am open to being persuaded otherwise. Ms. Rand writes quite a bit about participating in mediumship circles and in learning the craft. She says that she was born with an innate ability to perceive spirits as a child, and unlike most, never lost this ability as she grew older. That's possible.  In fact, it's all possible--I've just never investigated it, nor have I been to a mediumship circle.

For a time, I listened to some shows by medium John Holland, who gave readings over the air. It quickly became obvious to me that he was engaging in a form of cold reading. His initial "impressions" that he verbalized about his callers were invariably wrong, but he quickly adjusted them following feedback. This sort of mentalist technique has been used by other public mediums, according to critics, particularly the famous ones like James Van Praagh and John Edward.  I don't doubt it. The technique of cold reading is fairly easy to spot, and if it appears that this is what the medium is engaging in, I have no problem accusing such mediums of fraud.

But it takes only one white crow. I am still open to being persuaded. I know that it is possible for the "dead" to communicate with the living. Ample, and convincing evidence of this can be found in the personal testimonies on Dr. Jeff Long's adcrf site, for example.  It is the convincing personal testimonies, by everyday people who are not seeking fame or money, that--in my opinion--can create a model or environment where the afterworld, should it exist, can be understood by the living.

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