Link to this Article: http://www.llewellyn.com/encyclopedia/article/321
This article was written by Donald Michael Kraig on May 15, 2002
posted under Psychic Powers
Spiritism, or as it is more commonly known, Spiritualism, is a religion which holds that it is possible to communicate with the souls of those who have gone through the transition known as death. Although some occultists would disagree with this view, one of the underlying philosophies of the New Age seems to be "if it works for you, fine!" Thus, even those occultists who disagree with the Spiritist philosophy would fully support their right to worship as they please and believe as they please, as long as they do not take advantage of others, as long as they do not commit psychic fraud.
Unfortunately, the history of Spiritism is rife with fraud, deceit, and greed. And, unfortunately, some people look at the fraud and miss a great deal. For in spite of the fraud, there are many still unexplained phenomena involved with Spiritism. As an example, the famous magician Houdini claimed to have exposed the techniques of a medium known as Margery. However, Houdini's assistant claimed that he had planted false evidence on the medium. Although it is certain that some of the things Margery did were fraudulent, some of the things she did have never been explained anyway, and may have been real. Spiritism deserves better than it has received in the past.
A seance is where communication with the souls of the dead allegedly takes place. If you wish to investigate Spiritism, or if you are a Spiritualist, here are ways to avoid psychic fraud in the seance.
There are two basic types of seances, the dark seance and the lit seance. In the dark seance, many unusual things may happen, including things which cannot be explained by common scientific means. This can include sounds and voices from non-physical sources, flashing lights with no visible source, people or objects levitating, or even objects (usually small ones) known as apports appearing from nowhere.
Many of these seemingly inexplicable physical phenomena which occur during a dark seance were done, in the past, by using conjurers’ tricks in order to commit psychic fraud. Dark seances are far more rare today than they were fifty years ago, but it may very well be true that many of the phenomena which occur in the dark seance today may be produced fraudulently.
But even if this is so, as long as all it does is encourage belief in a particular religion or philosophy, we would have trouble totally condemning it. The real problem comes when "spirits of departed loved ones" give advice. Remember, just because Uncle Charlie died doesn’t mean he got any smarter! Therefore,
- Before acting upon any financial advice heard in a seance, check with your banker, stock broker, financial advisor, etc.
- Before acting upon any medical advice heard in a seance, check with your doctor.
- Before acting upon any legal advice heard in a seance, check with your lawyer.
And remember, too, merely because an entity heard in a seance claims to be a deceased relative does not make it so.
A lit seance is quite different from a seance held in the dark. Many times questions are written down by participants in the seance and are then answered by the medium with the alleged help of either the medium’s spirit guides or the questioner’s spirit guides or with advice from departed loved ones Frequently, the questions may be discerned by the medium using conjuror’s tricks. Even so, the medium may be using good logic, philosophy, psychology and/or psychic abilities to answer your questions. By all means listen to the information, but see if it makes sense to you and be sure to observe the three rules above. And we can almost guarantee that psychic fraud is being committed if your deceased loved one urges you to make a large contribution to the medium or to the medium’s church!
Remember, some fraudulent Spiritists have been responsible for taking advantage of people to the tune of millions of dollars. If you simply accept responsibility for your own actions, this will not happen to you.
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