Trance Mediumship vs Non-Trance Mediums

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Why is it the SPR was so dependent on mediums who needed a control that was either a spirit or a split personality?

Seems mediums today generally don't go into trance, especially not the celebrity millionaire mediums.

I will try to dig into the history and see if non-trance mediums were studied by the SPR, but if anyone knows off the top of their heads what was going on then let us know!
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Yeah I don't think it's just the celebrity mediums (of which there aren't that many). I would venture it's at least 90%+ of mental mediums who don't go into trance.
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(2023-06-23, 08:55 PM)Ninshub Wrote: Yeah I don't think it's just the celebrity mediums (of which there aren't that many). I would venture it's at least 90%+ of mental mediums who don't go into trance.

I wonder if the "trance" aspect was just part of the Spiritualist religion? There are religions around the world that use "trance" in some sense for possession and IIRC also mediumship channeling of the dead.

But as you say it seems the majority of mediums in the West, if not all at this point, are not trance mediums.

It makes me wonder how much more successful the SPR would've been if they'd avoided the issues that come up with trance states such as controls...though I'm one of the few who suspect that sub-personalities are themselves spirits.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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You're probably right about that being part of the tradition initially.
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I'd add: hell, even most channelers these days don't seem to go into trance! Wink (Or a sizeable chunk of them anyhow.)
(This post was last modified: 2023-06-23, 10:52 PM by Ninshub. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2023-06-23, 08:20 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Why is it the SPR was so dependent on mediums who needed a control that was either a spirit or a split personality?

Seems mediums today generally don't go into trance, especially not the celebrity millionaire mediums.

I will try to dig into the history and see if non-trance mediums were studied by the SPR, but if anyone knows off the top of their heads what was going on then let us know!

One possible though unwelcome hypothesis is that a very different type of consciousness from the normal waking one is in fact needed, along with the participation of some sort of interfacing and facilitating entity known as a "control", for genuine mediumship, to actually communicate with discarnates. Achievement of such trance states and finding or creating the "control" personality are very hard to do and require years of effort and practice, something very difficult in the modern world with all its distractions. Thus this hypothesis says that in fact most mediumship and channeling today is actually bogus, and that there was much more genuine mediumship in the heydays of spiritualism.
(This post was last modified: 2023-06-23, 11:21 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 1 time in total.)
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But what would be the evidence in favour of such a hypothesis?

For example, Julia Beischel's research seems to indicate the contemporary presence of successful, genuine mental mediums.

I can't see if there's any evidence to bolster such a hypothesis, but I'd be curious to hear.
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(2023-06-23, 10:36 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: I wonder if the "trance" aspect was just part of the Spiritualist religion? There are religions around the world that use "trance" in some sense for possession and IIRC also mediumship channeling of the dead.

But as you say it seems the majority of mediums in the West, if not all at this point, are not trance mediums.

It makes me wonder how much more successful the SPR would've been if they'd avoided the issues that come up with trance states such as controls...though I'm one of the few who suspect that sub-personalities are themselves spirits.

What are the issues you believe are related to the use of trance mediums?


As far as I know having been a member of Spiritualist churches, trance mediumship doesn't/didn't have any explicitly favored status over mental mediumship within the structure of the religion. Trance mediumship is considered more reliable since a spirit is communicating directly to the sitters but that is a general opinion about the phenomena unrelated to the religion. 

Trance mediumship takes longer to develop. In the past, before tv and the internet, people had more free time and inclination for such pursuits. To develop trance mediumship you need several people of good moral character to sit in the development circle consistently session after session even though typically only one person develops as a trance medium. Initially before any of them begin to develop, they spend a lot of time doing nothing just waiting for a the phenomena to begin to occur. 

With mental mediumship you have several people sitting together all developing into mental mediums and beginners may experience ability from the first session. 

And a medium in a full trance is vulnerable to unpleasant acts by those around them who might be trying to "test" them and may have no memory of what happened during the reading whereas a mental medium can explain what happened. So there might be some influence by spirits who came to believe mental mediumship is better/safer. 

Also there is actually a continuum of phenomena where a light trance is somewhat similar to mental mediumship.

When I used to take classes in mental mediumship, occassionally I would make gestures that were characteristic of the spirit or feel words being communicated in my mouth like the spirit was trying to say them.

When I was just starting to learn mental mediumship, I attended a trance workshop and the more advanced members of my class experienced a light trance. It seemed to me like the phenomena was genuine, each one spoke with a different personality. I knew them personally and none of them appeared to be forcing it or faking it. They'd have had  to be trained actors and actresses to fake what they did. (They were not professional mediums used to "performing".) They were all fully conscious, not hypnotized in any way. (This is different from the type of development circle I mentioned above because the workshop was led by a highly developed trance medium and attended on the spirit side by those spirits who are also skilled from working with her.)
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(This post was last modified: 2023-06-23, 11:36 PM by Jim_Smith. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2023-06-23, 11:33 PM)Jim_Smith Wrote: What are the issues you believe are related to the use of trance mediums?

Oh it was something that came up discussing controls that seem to be make up information or claim to be people that cannot be real - for example a Native American girl named "Chlorine".

There's at least one case where it seems at first the genuine person is coming through for some time, but after a point it seems like the control will just make up things or try to impersonate that soul.

I just wonder that if the SPR had gotten good "hits" from mediums that weren't in trance if the issues related to lying or just ignorant controls would have been less of an issue.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2023-06-23, 11:28 PM)Ninshub Wrote: But what would be the evidence in favour of such a hypothesis?

For example, Julia Beischel's research seems to indicate the contemporary presence of successful, genuine mental mediums.

I can't see if there's any evidence to bolster such a hypothesis, but I'd be curious to hear.

I just wanted to point out a logical possibility that can't be totally eliminated. I don't really think it is the case. Unfortunately there is not sufficient evidence either one way or the other. Yes, there now are tested genuine mental mediums, but we just don't know what their prevalence in the population is compared to the 1900-1920 period for instance.
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