I thought it might interest you to hear about some of the darker aspects of my experiences learning mediumship. We say that learning mediumship is learning to communicate with spirits, but it is more aptly described as allowing spirits to learn to put thoughts in your mind. Many people don't realize how much control over you this gives spirits. Spirits can do more than just communicate with you, they can put impulses into your mind and put in ideas that you are likely to act upon because you think they are your own. This can be a positive thing when the spirits are working for the highest good, but it can also be dangerous if the spirits are undeveloped. In ordinary life you have to be wary of people who may intend to mislead you or harm you. The same is true in spiritual life.
It was about a year after I began attending services and taking classes in mediumship at a Spiritualist church that I first realized how vulnerable I was to spirit control. I was invited to give a short talk during a service that was going to be given by the students taking classes at the church. The service was on the anniversary of the passing of an important member of the church who had died the previous year. I wrote my talk several days before the service, but after I finished, I had a strange feeling that there was something wrong with it. I read it over and thought to myself, "The talk's good, it's just what I wanted to say." but as soon as I put it down I had a nagging feeling that there was a problem. This went on for a day or two. I would think there might be some problem with the talk so I would re-read it and see that it was fine. Then, when I would put it down and do something else, I would get that nagging feeling again that something was wrong. By the day before I was to give the talk, it became intolerable. I was so overwhelmed with feelings of oppression and lassitude that I realized I would have to change the talk or stay in bed until after the service.
Once I decided to change my talk I felt better immediately. I renamed the original talk "The Forbidden Talk" and filed it away. I wrote a new talk about my experiences with the person whom the service was memorializing. Originally I didn't want to give a talk about this person, even though it would have been very appropriate for a memorial service, because I didn't know them while they were alive. However, I had met them after they became a spirit. During mediumship classes, I had brought the spirit through for her surviving spouse. I had seen visions of the spirit's childhood home, the area she grew up in, her wedding, and the home the newlyweds made. I felt the intense love the spirit still had for her spouse. In some ways I knew more intimate details about her life than I knew about some of my close friends. I knew this spirit was still involved in the church, still watching over the students, and still around her surviving spouse, because the spirit had helped me to learn mediumship in class by communicating through me to her spouse. I wrote my new talk about those things.
It went over quite well when I gave the talk. The surviving spouse was elated by it which pleased me immensely. I'm sure that more good was done by my giving that talk than giving "The Forbidden Talk" would have done, but I can't help but harbor a residual bit of resentment that I was used in that way. It wasn't like someone asked me. I was coerced. It was not like I was a puppet being controlled by strings. It was more like a subtle knowledge that my own will was too feeble and inconstant to resist a greater and unyielding power. No matter how hard I tried there was no other outcome possible than my submission to that greater power. As they say: resistance is futile.
No matter how experienced you are in psychic self-defense, there is always the risk that undeveloped spirits may try to harm you. A couple of times I was "attacked" by a disembodied voice. The attack involved giving me bad financial advice in the hopes I would act upon it and suffer a financial loss.
The first time, the voice advised me, "Sell all your stocks and buy them back in six months." Although I didn't know what the stock market would do or who the voice was, I knew it would be foolish to follow that type of advice so I didn't. It was the right decision. If I had followed that advice, I would have missed out on significant gains in the stock market that occurred in that time period.
The second "attack" occurred when I heard the voice tell me, "Refinance your house." This would also have been foolish since I had just paid off the mortgage. I ignored that advice too.
Having been unsuccessful attacking an area I am competent in, managing my finances, the disembodied force eventually found a different way to harm me. Changing its method of operation by communicating through a vision, it attacked me in an area of greater vulnerability. This attack was through a relationship with a friend. It is too personal to write about so I will just say I was fortunate to learn my lesson without suffering greater harm than I did. If you think you are receiving information and advice from spirits and it seems too good to be true, it very well might be.
Even if you know and trust the spirit, remember, just because they're dead, doesn't mean they're smart. That's what "The Forbidden Talk" was about. You can probably understand why some spirits might not think too highly of it.
It seems that this topic is still subject to suppression. In the last five days, as I was finishing up this article and getting ready to upload it to my web site using my dial-up internet service, I had to have the phone company out to my house to fix my phone line three times. Twice the repair men had to put my line on a new wire, and twice they also mistakenly put the line on a wire that was not going into my house. I spent an entire weekend without a dial tone. When I tried to call the phone company repair number on my cell phone, my otherwise properly working cell phone couldn't connect to that number. I've lived here for fifteen years and never had a similar problem.
The Human Factor
The telephone linemen were not the only people I had 'spiritual' problems with. One time someone told me they were pressing criminal charges against me. At the time, I was in a church which had recently formed. An official of our new church referred to himself using a certain title and I had used that title when I mentioned him in a written document. The accuser, an important official in the Spiritualist community, felt that the use of the title by an official of our church was incorrect and we were therefore guilty of criminal fraud. The shock of the accusation put one of our group in the hospital. I had no money in my budget for legal advice. Luckily, I was able to find out from a reference librarian at a law library that in the United States, there are no legal definitions of, nor constraints on, the use of religious titles. The freedom of religion our constitution provides not only protects religions from oppressive governments but it protects religions from other oppressive religions. So, the accuser was the one perpetrating the fraud. The charges were entirely without merit and nothing ever came of the threat.
There was a funny side to this too. The accuser had a web site that mentioned the official in our church and used the same title they had threatened me for using. Their web site also contained other information about that official which, although flattering, was obsolete. We thought it rather amusing that all of this favorable but incorrect information continued to be displayed on their web site for more than a year after they tried to suppress us with charges of fraud.
The action of spirits can be so subtle that you don't even realize they are influencing you. Before we started that new church I had been volunteering at another church and had a key to the building. For some reason, I didn't realize why at the time, I had cut back on my volunteering. One Sunday before the service, I decided to return my key since I no longer used it. Four or five times that day, before I went to church, I seemed to remind myself with unusual intensity and distinctness, "I have to return my key today". When I came to church, I returned my key to the proper official and went into the service. Later that same day, an event occurred that caused a schism that led to the formation of the new church. It seemed that a force unknown to me had led me to cut back on my volunteering weeks beforehand and then reminded me repeatedly on that day to return my keys. While it was happening, I didn't have any idea that there was a meaningful purpose behind it all.
The reminders to return my key were so strong and since I thought they were a result of my own thinking, I attributed a greater importance to them than if they were just faint impressions. This shows that spirits don't even have to have a strong will, they just have to communicate an idea distinctly, clearly, and frequently and the person will automatically and without questioning accept it as his own will.
At other times, while giving readings as a medium, I have made types of gestures that I don't usually make. At the time, I thought the gestures were my own, but I was told by the people getting the readings that those gestures were meaningful and helped identify the spirits communicating through me.
In one case the gesture involved clapping my hands with one palm slapping the back of the other hand and making a loud noise. It turned out I was bringing through a martial arts instructor and as part of the training in that form of combat they would make sounds by slapping their hands.
Another time the gesture was less mundane and actually somewhat morbid. I was giving a reading in class and I asked the spirit what caused his death. I felt a sensation between my neck and my heart. In order to explain this to the person getting the reading, I looked down and put my hand below my chin, made a fist, and said, "When I asked the spirit how he died, I felt a sensation in this area." I opened and closed my hand once or twice. The usual interpretation would be that the death involved a problem with breathing because the location indicated the lungs were affected. Chills went down my spine when the person told me that the spirit committed suicide by hanging himself. By closing my fist under my chin instead of just pointing with a finger, I was making the gesture of holding a noose around my neck. Fortunately, the spirit had enough tact not to influence me to move my head to one side while moving my fist upward in the other direction and sticking out my tongue to pantomime being hanged.
This ability of spirits to control a medium without the medium knowing can create serious difficulties for some people. Once you experience how subtly spirits can influence you, you can never be sure if a thought or impulse is your own or not. Some people will take this to an extreme and justify all sorts of foolish and selfish actions by convincing themselves they are being led by benevolent spirit guides. Other people may take it to the other extreme and develop irrational fears that they are influenced by undeveloped spirits. People who are unstable or prone to overindulge in their own fantasies should be very cautious about learning mediumship.
I made a Ouija board once. It was a piece of cardboard with the letters of the alphabet written on it. I took a clear plastic drinking cup and sawed through it about an inch from the bottom and used the bottom part upside down as the pointer. After first praying for protection and asking for good and wise spirit guides to help me, I asked if this would be a good way to communicate with my spirit guides. I put my hands on the cup and it moved around and around and settled over two letters: "NO". I tried it again and the same thing happened. I thought that if the thing worked, it was telling me it wasn't a good means of communication and I shouldn't use it for that reason. However, if it wasn't working and that advice wasn't valid, then I still shouldn't use it because it didn't work.
However, a few months later I decided to buy a commercial Ouija board at the toy store. They had a very nice one with a pointer that glowed in the dark. Around that time, I had been going out for a walk every day and I usually kept aware of the weather and rarely got caught in the rain. The day I went to get the Ouija board, I walked to the toy store. When I left the toy store with my new Ouija board, it started pouring rain and in just a few minutes I was completely, totally, thoroughly, soaked through all my clothes even though I was wearing a supposedly waterproof jacket. The only thing that stayed dry was the Ouija board which was protected by the plastic bag from the toy store.
Attracting Undeveloped Spirits
There are many reports of people having problems with undeveloped and impersonating spirits when they use a Ouija board. Part of the problem with Ouija boards is that they are marketed as a game. When people approach spirit communication as a game, they will attract spirits that like to play games. They may find the "playful" spirits communicating with them are lying to them, trying to frighten them, and impersonating deceased loved ones.
Ease of Impersonation
Even trained mediums can run into problems using the Ouija board that they wouldn't have with mental mediumship. This is because with the Ouija board and other forms of physical mediumship, it is easier for the spirit to to be deceptive. With mental mediumship you have direct mind to mind contact and the medium can pick up the personality of the spirit just from that contact. If you are with an old friend, you have an idea of their presence and their personality when you are with them. When communicating by mental mediumship, it's just like that but it's with a spirit you just met.
For example, with mental mediumship, if I am giving a reading and an impersonating spirit comes through and I say, "I have a spirit who says he is your father. I sense that he liked to play practical jokes and used four letter words in every sentence." The sitter may say, "No, that's not my father". However with the Ouija board and physical mediumship, the medium is not necessarily in mental contact with the spirit, the spirit simply uses the medium as a tool to interact with the physical world and so he can disguise himself very easily.
Development of Mental Mediumship
Another reason the Ouija board is dangerous, is because it may start as physical mediumship but develop into mental mediumship. When this happens, it may give an undeveloped spirit a chance to learn to control the mind of the medium.
It is not uncommon for persistent Ouija board mediums to, after a time, develop a sense of what the letter will be before the pointer arrives at it. This is the beginning of mental mediumship. At this stage the user can do away with the Ouija board and just say the letter. If they continue to practice this way, they may eventually develop a sense of what the word will be before it is completely spelled out. At this stage, they can stop spelling the words and just say them. This can lead to a very accurate form of mental mediumship. "Our Unseen Guest" by Darby and Joan is a book about a woman who learned mediumship this way.
However, if the Ouija board user is working with an undeveloped spirit, and they have allowed that spirit to learn to control their mind in this way, they may find that it is very difficult at that stage to ignore the influence of that spirit. This can be a problem even if the spirit is not malevolent. A well meaning spirit who simply has a controlling personality can be a problem if they try to exert undue influence on the medium.
There are a lot of reasons to be wary about using the Ouija board. If it is used as a game, the users will attract spirits that want to play games and they may find they are communicating with deceitful spirits. It is also very easy for undeveloped spirits to impersonate deceased loved ones of the users through the Ouija board. And, if the users persist in using the Ouija board, they may find themselves, much to their distress, under the influence of those undeveloped spirits.
I'm not totally against the Ouija board. In the right hands it can be a useful tool as it was in the book "Our Unseen Guest". Also, a lot of people find it is a way to personally experience the truth of the afterlife. But it would probably be better if it wasn't marketed as a game and if it came with instructions on how it should be used, who should use it, warnings about undeveloped and impersonating spirits, and how to ask for protection and guidance.
These experiences I have related show why it is so important that when learning to become a medium, you must take the appropriate steps to be sure you only associate with benevolent spirits. The medium's spirit guides know him inside and out. They know what makes him tick, and they play him like a musical instrument. Spirit guides know how to control the medium - sometimes without even the medium understanding that he is being manipulated. It is subtle. It can seem to the medium like he has an idea and he is acting on it or expressing himself when in fact the medium is reacting to the influence of the spirit.
This is why it is so important for a developing medium to live in a way that will attract only the highest and best spirit guides. The medium starts off thinking he is going to learn to communicate with spirits, when in reality he is allowing the spirits to learn to control him. When the spirits are acting for the highest good it can be a privilege to be part of their team. But if the medium has become involved with less developed spirits, it may be too late when he discovers that what he has really done is to allow the spirit to learn to control him.