Mental Mediumship

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Article written by Ian Doherty

This brief article is written with the intent of deciphering some of the jargon used within the Spiritualist movement, as well as providing a better understanding of how the brain functions during mediumship.

When a person dies, either through illness, disease or accident, the physical body is no longer functional, as such, the life sustaining energy termed the soul departs from the physical body and continues its existence within a spirit body, hence the term “spirit communication”. The personal characteristics which define a person, such as physical appearance, and personality are retained. Therefore, when people discuss mental mediumship with its inherent faculties, such as clairvoyance, clairsentience and clairaudience, they are referring to the communications with a person or persons who have left their physical existence due to death of their physical self. Whether you believe this to be possible or not, is largely down to your own beliefs through your cultural upbringing and individual life experiences. Whatever your views however, there is ample evidence of our survival of physical death, the cross correspondences is but one of many such examples.

The ability of a medium to communicate in this way, is through the functionality of the brain, hence the term mental mediumship. This is achieved through the use of the sensory receptors within the brain itself. For example, clairvoyance, the ability to see spirit, is perceived through the visual receptors contained within the occipital lobe, situated to the rear of the brain. Clairaudience, refers to auditory information which is correlated within the primary auditory cortex, situated within the temporal lobe, and lastly clairsentience, which can be associated with the limbic system situated deep within the cerebrum.

When taking this a step further, in regards to how it all works in together, there is a need to have an understanding of how spirit communicate information such as their name, what they look like and their personality. Communication is achieved through the transference of thought, essentially telepathy, mind to mind communication. The thought form is conveyed from spirit, and into the brain of the medium, in particular to the thalamus, adjacent to the limbic system deep within the cerebrum. The amount of information that is able to be conveyed to the medium via the thought form is largely dependant upon his or her degree of sensitivity. This is in conjunction with the depth of synaptic pathways enforced through activities which stimulate the brain; such as reading and visual stimuli.

The information thus conveyed through the thought form can contain imagery, sounds and emotions, with the medium being able to decipher and interpret the information via one of more of sensory receptors. Due to the functionality of mediumship, in particular the way, in which the information arrives into the brain, it is termed as extrasensory, as it is not derived in the normal way. Visual signals are normally conveyed along the optic nerve to the visual receptors located in the occipital lobe, however in the case of clairvoyance, the information has arrived directly to the “relay station” the limbic system and the thalamus. The information is then relayed to the relevant sensory receptor, in the case of visual imagery; of how person looked whilst in the physical body for example, is relayed to the visual receptor and processed in the normal way in concert with having been perceived through the physical eye. Auditory information is likewise relayed to the primary auditory cortex, essentially bypassing the ear, with the information being processed internally as if hearing our own thought patternation within the mind. In the case of clairsentience, essentially a sense of feeling, the information is passed from the thalamus to the limbic system which allows for a greater perception of emotions. Most mediums who exhibit strong clairsentient abilities will usually display a more emotional self.

The above information provides an adequate thesis in respect to how the brain works in conjunction with the mechanics inherent within mediumship, namely, clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience. This article, as yet, has only covered what is termed primarily as, subjective in nature, being that every mediumistic experience is seen, heard or sensed purely within the mind. Mediumship is an ability of which most are born with, many personal accounts recalling visions of people seen from an early age. Therefore it is fair to say that each medium will have an increased ability with one or more faculties within their mediumship, largely due to their life experiences which have clothed them into the person they are.

There is of course another side to the coin, that of an objective nature, though being linked to the mind through the faculties of the brain, the faculties inherent with mediumistic are seen or heard outside of, though still connected to the brain. I can at the moment only speculate as to how this could occur, is the case of objective clairaudience, for instance, is the thought bubble carrying the sound burst before it enters into the brain?, as such, the sounds contained within are heard by the physical ear in the normal way; though being linked to the brain, are heard only by the medium themselves. In the case of objective clairvoyance however, I can speculate a little further, as this is an ability I myself possess. The images being perceived are not contained solely within the brain, therefore a communicating spirit will be seen walking around a room, or standing to the side of a person known to them. This faculty I feel, works in the same way as images being perceived solely within the brain, though with a subtle difference. As the images are relayed into the brain of the medium via the thought bubble, they are of a more intense nature, and impinge more onto the subconscious mind. When this occurs, the cognitive areas of the brain, the cerebral cortex and the reasoning centres within the frontal lobe are convinced that the images being shown are real. Therefore, the perceived images are projected and superimposed onto the energy of the communicating spirit.

In summary, the information contained within this article has been derived through my own understandings of the mechanics of mediumship, along with some understanding of the brain through the study of anatomy. However, this article has attempted to provide a better understanding as to the mechanisms inherent within mediumship, as well as helping to clarify some of the jargon used within the movement of Spiritualism.

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Article written by Ian Doherty Ian's own website can be found at

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