Mediumship Skepticism

The first medium I stumbled upon was George Anderson. He briefly describes his life story which seems similar to other mediums and also the guests in class. He started noticing his abilities when he was six years old. This happened after he contracted chicken pox which developed into encephalomyelitis. The disease left great damage to his brain which prevented him from walking for a period of time and the doctors did not think he was going to live. It was during this time of recovery where he first saw his first spirit in the form of Joan of Arc. The doctors thought he was developing a severe mental disease, most likely schizophrenia, but one of his doctors gave him the benefit of the doubt which prevented him being locked away in a mental institution. Since then Anderson has written many books and appeared on television shows along with his full-time work as a medium.

I read a skeptical view of his work from the website tampabayskeptics.org which analyzed the transcript of a private reading he performed for a client. Obviously the article was slanted against him, but the first two minutes of dialogue did not make him look any bit genuine. I understand that sometimes mediums are not in tune with the spirits, but it appeared as Anderson was doing a lot of guess work for the answers. One of the most obvious instances of perceived trickery was when he incorrectly guessed that the male figure was a “sweetheart” so he went back and said that the spirit was joking about it. He kept trying to guess the name of the spirit throughout the transcript which was successful eventually, but not without many fishing attempts such as guessing the first letter or how many letters.

I then turned to John Edward who is one of the most well known mediums in the business. He also started experiencing his abilities at a very young age when his family realized that he knew facts about their family history which would have been unknowable to a child of that age. He was significantly influenced by the psychic Lydia Clar who told him that his life work would be to teach others his ability. He has been written several books and even created his own television show which are some of the reasons he has achieved so much fame. I watched several of his interviews since he seems to be the flagship for mediumship which yielded some interesting results. First, he was asked if he was ever contacted by spirits at an inconvenient time to which he replied yes. Actually, he was interrupted during sex one time when he was younger, but he would not go into further detail. I thought it was interesting how he talked about the spirits not caring about interrupting human activities which we might think are “embarrassing”.

I noticed that he did readings for multiple audiences which I thought was brave considering the possibility of error. First I watched one from George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight in which he was making a return visit. Apparently, Edward had broken the microphone during his first visit in one of his readings. He started by sensing energy from a particular area in the audience where he thought a younger male presence existed, perhaps a son or younger brother. A middle aged woman stood up and he continued by saying that he passed in an unexpected event. He said that “they” kept showing him June because a big number six was appearing to him. The woman could not readily identify the significance even though he kept pressing. He asked who died from a brain related disease and the woman could identify a relative.

When he did a reading of The View’s audience he started by sensing energy from a particular area in the audience where he thought a younger male presence existed, perhaps a son or younger brother. A middle aged woman stood up and he continued by saying that he passed in an unexpected event. He said that “they” kept showing him July because a big number seven was appearing to him. The woman could not readily identify the significance even though he kept pressing. He asked who died from a brain related disease and the woman could identify a relative. Obviously, this is the exact same thing save for a different number. Now I have not done enough research to see if this is the only way in which Edward sees spirits, but the dialogue was so similar to one another that I could not help but let that damage his credibility severely.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHz9ZuYzaEM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKSFi9dtg5M

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