Psychics and Mediums: A Brief History

The idea of a psychic – one who can see the future – can be traced as far back in time as we can remember. Every culture has their own version of a psychic or a medium who can help with predictions ranging from all subject matters. Whether it is foretelling a natural disaster in order to prepare for a time of famine or struggle to seeing the life path of a newly born child, throughout history psychics have helped full villages, many families, prominent and not so prominent individuals.

So what happened that caused the reputation of genuine psychics to be destroyed?
This is not something that can be attributed to just one event. In order to offer a more complete understanding of the negative connotations attached to psychics and mediums, we can look back at some specific events that have tainted a very important aspect of human history.

What does the word psychic mean? According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word psychic comes from the Greek psykhikos meaning “of the soul, spirit, or mind,” and also from psykhe for – “soul, mind.” It is concerned not with the brain itself, but with the mind. Very loosely used throughout different parts of history, other names psychics have also been referred to as are necromancers, witches, seers, prophets, shamans and clairvoyants.

In ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations, psychics served as advisors to members of royalty and helped make decisions about the future of the people. This included the ups and downs of the coming seasons, natural disasters, future battles, laws and sometimes even deciding the fates of accused criminals. Psychics were also in the same category as mediums (someone who can communicate with the Spirit world). As formal monotheistic religions – such as Christianity and Judaism – began to form and gain power, psychics came to be seen as threats to the church and the power it had over its followers. The once highly regarded seers of the civilizations were now being threatened, imprisoned, banished and even sentenced to death for practicing what Christianity alleged was Satan’s work.

For the Bible says… On this note, the Bible itself is one of the most notable pieces of literature where psychics and mediums are referred to. In 1 Samuel:28:3-25, King Saul (who banned all witches/mediums from Israel) pays a visit to the Witch of Endor in order for him to be able to communicate with the spirit of the deceased Samuel and seek his advice in the upcoming battle. Jesus himself also acts as a medium in Matthew 17:1-9 where he is said to have shone with bright white rays and communicated with Elijah and Moses, both already deceased at the time. Strangely, when Jesus is the medium, it is interpreted as a miracle and is highly praised. Other examples can also be found within the Bible.

Other Famous Psychics Nostradamus, a French seer, became well known due to his predictions about future occurrences, many of them being natural disasters, plagues and wars. He compiled at least 6,000 predictions and wrote them down in a poetic form known as quatrains, which were translated and interpreted (allowing ample room for misinterpretations). However, it must also be said that his prophecies were all undated. The prophecies were matched up according to the actual occurrences. Nevertheless, to this day Nostradamus still has many supporters as well as criticizers.

So why the bad rep? When seen from a public point of view, the general consensus seems to be that all predictions must always be 100% accurate at all times in order to qualify as “psychic.” These highly popular misconceptions are largely accepted as a fact, where in reality it can be no further from the truth. Miscommunications, misinterpretations and any number of obstacles that a psychic medium may encounter can contribute to inaccurate predictions. Symbolism is very important and the translations of feelings and sensations into words can create mild static that can create inaccuracies. For example, in any language there are sayings that when interpreted into another language does not have the same meaning and may sometimes not make any sense at all. This is something every medium encounters and there is no 100% accurate 100% of the time for 100% of people.

The Birth of Modern Spiritualism The Fox sisters – Maggie and Kate – are credited for pioneering the birth of Modern Spiritualism in 1848. Their spirit communications with “Mr. Splitfoot” (a common name for the devil) was highly documented and observed by many who claimed to not see any other way the rappings could have been made by the girls except by genuine spirit communication. As years passed and the demonstrations continued, the Fox sisters became a target for those hoping to expose them as frauds. In the 1880s, Maggie Fox actually confessed to fraud, cracking her toe joints as a way to fake the rappings, but many say she was likely paid a large sum in exchange for an admission of fraud. Eventually, she retracted her confession.

In 1904, a body was found within the walls of the Hydesville, NY home. It was in that same house that the rappings first began with the Fox sisters and the spirit claimed to be a peddler who was murdered and buried under the home.

Working with psychic predictions is a process. It is not a completely understood branch of science (parapsychology) and the tools of measurement are just beginning to be understood as well. With practice and training however, hopefully in the far future, we can only strive to improve our psychic abilities with the ideal goal of 100% accuracy.

Anyone going to see a psychic, whether out of curiosity or guidance, should have a basic understanding of what a psychic is and how the predictions can help guide a person, not direct an entire life path.

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