Physical Mediumship

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Article written by Ian Doherty

I have received a lot of emails pertaining to physical Mediumship, clearly there is a building interest into the various associated phenomenon, such as Transfiguration, Materialisation, and Direct voice.

Physical mediumship is best defined by stating that the effects produced by physical phenomenon can be perceived via the physical senses; such as sight, hearing or touch; you do not need to be a medium or psychic, merely the ability to see, hear or touch.

Most forms of physical mediumship are conducted within a darkened room, and require the usage of a substance called ectoplasm, which is drawn from the body of the physical medium and utilised by the spirit operators to produce a mask over the face of the medium as in the case of transfiguration, an ectoplasmic voice box, in the case of direct voice, or to clothe the spirit form so that it is more readily seen, as in the case of materialisation, and can at times be seen as a semi-luminous white cloud or vapour.

The reason for the darkened room condition is due to the sensitivity of ectoplasm to light, not necessarily the duration of the light source, more so its intensity. In the case of transfiguration, a small red light is used to enable people in the séance room to more readily see the transfigured features of the physical medium sat before them. Red light has a minimal effect upon the formation of ectoplasm due to its slower frequency within the overall light spectrum, bright light being noticeably faster would impede this process, causing the ectoplasm to harden and possibly injure the physical medium.

In the majority of cases the physical medium providing the ectoplasm will be in a deep state of trance, which in itself is not a form of physical mediumship.

Now that I have outlined a few facts, it would be a good idea to provide more detail into some of the physical phenomenon.

Direct voice

This takes place within a darkened room, there is no red light utilised as there is nothing to see. It is fare to say that with any form of mediumship its development can often take many months if not years to become proficient. Therefore in the early stages of direct voice a small trumpet “basically a megaphone shaped device” which is used to store the ectoplasm as well as acting as an amplifier in order to focus the sound in one direction and to be heard within the darkened room; as the ability increases the trumpet can be dispensed with. In its well developed form, spirit utilise the ectoplasm to fashion a “voice box” into which they project their vibrations and manipulate the ectoplasm to produce a likeness of their voice as it would have been whilst they themselves were in the physical body.

Noted Direct voice mediums: Leslie Flint, Mrs Etta Wreidt


This form of physical phenomenon demonstrates the reality of the existence of a spirit world, as they appear in a three dimensional form which can be both seen and felt by those present, and again takes place within a darkened room with no red light, though the materialised form being cloaked in ectoplasm as such of a luminous quality which enables the form to be viewed. The physical medium who is usually in a deep state of trance sits behind a curtain within what is termed a cabinet, this is for the storage of energy much in the same was as the trumpet is for direct voice. The materialised form will be constantly linked to the physical medium via a cord, which helps sustain the materialised form. The ectoplasm flows from the physical medium and is utilised by the spirit controllers to clothe the spirit form, as it does so colder energies are employed which in a way help solidify the ectoplasm in order for it to be seen.

Notable materialisation mediums: Florence cook, Daniel Dunglass Home, William Eglington


Once more this physical phenomenon takes place within a darkened room, though avails the use of a dim red light. The medium sits within a cabinet, though the curtain is drawn back to allow the transfiguration of his/her features as spirit manipulate ectoplasm formed around the mediums head, and upper shoulders. This ectoplasm is formed into what is termed as an ectoplasmic mask, which is situated approximately 1 inch in front of the mediums own features, through which spirit project their thoughts to manipulate and form a likeness of how they themselves appeared whilst in the physical body. In a well developed medium capable of this type of phenomenon, the features of the medium are completely blanked out by the image of the spirit form. As the ectoplasmic mask is often extended below the face, down through the throat and upper shoulders, the voice may also reflect how the spirit person once sounded.

Notable transfiguration mediums: Queenie Nixon

For further reading, I would recommend The History of Spiritualism by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Some points to remember, if you decide to go see a demonstration of physical mediumship, transfiguration for example, and you do not see the facial features of the medium alter, then it is not physical mediumship, no matter if 5 or 6 other people do, for it to be physical in nature, all should be able to see the phenomenon.

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

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