I got to thinking about tests of mediumship. “Tests” could mean scientifically controlled environments where mediums are restricted in some way, or maybe the “What card do I have in my hand?” trick that science used to use (and maybe still does, for all I know) as a test. Perhaps it’s pictures or videos of orbs or spirit people and the like. Maybe it includes stories that people tell, or messages, or readings. On the other hand, it might be an analysis of material received via physical mediumship such as Ouija board or table tipping.

The criteria of “proof” is usually a little different for each one, but I would say that most of them miss the mark. My view is that the criteria of “proof” of mediumship should be along two dimensions. First, that there is evidence of an intelligence or intelligent presence that is not likely to have been derived from the medium’s or bystanders’ typical, everyday capabilities as a normal human being. Second, that there is information that is not likely to have been derived from the medium’s or bystanders’ typical, everyday capabilities as a normal human being. In essence, we’re talking about things that the average person doesn’t know, wouldn’t know, isn’t likely to know, or a display of intelligence that is clearly not theirs on a normal waking basis.

Either criterion can be used as valid proof, let alone together. If you apply them, it makes things look a bit different than it otherwise would. First, pictures and video pretty-much fall by the wayside. They rarely show a clear presence of an intelligence other than the medium. Orbs become meaningless. My view (pun intended!) is that pictures and video have been faked and faked and faked, over and over and over again, over many years by many people, that it’s to the point where I want little to do with them as a means of proof. I think it’s better to say that a picture or video of one or more people is not a display of intelligence that would constitute proof. As convincing as visuals like pictures and video could be to people, when valid, it rarely passes the intelligence test. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, and I believe it’s possible, but don’t hold your breath.

What I’m about to say next is a little too crude and is technically inaccurate, but it has a certain amount of meaning. “A picture of a conversation is not a conversation in an of itself”. I’d rather have an actual conversation with someone rather than be shown a picture of what might look like two people talking and being told “see, it works”. I think intelligence can be conveyed better through means other than pictures and video. You might say that shows like Ghost Hunters would be useful for this, but I’d disagree. I imagine that they do encounter spiritual phenomena, but when we’re talking about trying to use a show like that as a means of “proof”, it does little to convince me. If a person on such a show were in a location and did a good reading from a spirit who was in that location, it might help, but to my limited knowledge, those shows don’t do anything like that.

“What card do I have in my hand?” is a pretty mediocre thing in my opinion, but when the hit rate is enough above the random guess percentage, it becomes an indicator of something beyond the normal individual’s capabilities, and thereby would meet the criteria. Readings and message work stay largely the same, because they offer plenty of opportunity to meet the criteria.

Ouija, table tipping and the like fall into the same category as readings and message work. When the test is intelligence or information not likely to be from the medium(s), the argument that the phenomena is caused by subconscious movements holds a lot less weight. If one person were to direct the whole session, even on a conscious level, it doesn’t matter, because the criteria for “proof” is based on intelligence or information that’s not from the medium anyway.

Something interesting to think about, isn’t it?