Types of Mediumship

Everyone has some level of psychic ability, whether they want it or not. It’s totally up to each of us to either ignore that ability or develop it.

Some people don’t get to make that choice. They get ‘weird’ experiences foisted upon them, get totally freaked out  simply turn their backs on it.

Others work really hard to develop their awareness and function quite happily as Psychics.

Others go on to become Mediums.

It’s worth saying at this point that anyone can develop their psychic abilities – but not every Psychic is able to go on to become a good Medium.

However, all Mediums have to be good Psychics – so the term Psychic Medium is quite accurate, although Mediums work on a much higher energy vibration than Psychics.

Most Mediums spend time training to enhance their awareness. This is usually acheived with regular (at least daily) meditation, sitting in a circle and with help from their spirit guides and helpers.

Here is a roundup of the types of Mediumship.

Mental or Physical?

All types of Mediumship fall into the category of

Mental Mediumship or Physical Mediumship.

Mental Mediumship 

in alphabetical order

In these types of Mediumship, those present can not see what the Medium is receiving.

Many of the types of mental mediumship begin with the word ‘clair’. This is French for clear.

So Clair-audience is clear hearing, clair-voyance is clear seeing etc.

Clauraudience is clear hearing where a psychic is able to hear spirit


Clairaudience (clear hearing) is the ability to hear the voices of spirit as a means of communication. These may be heard as if someone is talking into their physical ear or the voices may be imprinted onto their mind.

Other sounds may be heard clairaudiently. These include music or other sounds from daily life, that would have a meaning for the sitter.

clairalience is a name for the psychic ability to smell an odour connected with a spirit


Clairalience, clairescence or clairolfactance (clear smelling) are all names for the ability to smell an odour connected with a spirit. For example, a medium may smell the pipe tobacco or cigarette smoke of a person who smoked during life. Flowers and perfumes are also common things to smell.

An odour from the spirit world is characterised by the way it arrives suddenly, is very intense and unmistakeable and disappears abruptly.


Claircognizance (clear knowing) is the ability to know something without having received it via normal or psychic senses. It’s a feeling of ‘just knowing’ – a ‘gut feeling’.

Claircognizance is the gut feeling or intuition to know something without having received it via normal or psychic senses

A Medium may simply feel that a situation described by spirit is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

Clairgustance or clear tasting is the ability to receive tastes from a spirit


Clairgustance or ‘clear tasting’ is the ability to receive tastes from a spirit.

This is relatively uncommon as other means such as clairvoyance and clairolfactance can give the same impressions to a Medium.


Clairsentience (clear feeling) is the ability to feel what a spirit communicates. These feelings are picked up by the Medium via their heart chakra.

The Medium may feel the gender of the spirit, feel their emotion, feel changes in temperature or feel touches. This is often combined with other methods of awareness to give a fuller picture to the sitter.

In this type of clear feeing, the Medium is made to feel the situation, physical condition or ailment which took that person into the spirit world.


Clairvoyance (clear seeing) is the psychic ability to see something that is not physically present. This could be a person, an animal or an inanimate object.

Clairvoyance or clear seeing is the psychic ability to see something that is not physically presentClairvoyants don’t all work in the same way. Some ‘see’ things just as they would see something in the ‘real’ world – right in front of them. Others ‘see’ things in their mind’s eye.

Even if a Medium can clearly see the spirit of a person that has passed over, – they have another skill to hone. The Medium must be able to give a clear and full description so that the sitter may recognise them. Even if the Medium does this well, the sitter still may not recognise the spirit who has used so much energy to be in the right place at the right time to make the all-important connection.

If the spirit is a grandparent or even great grandparent of the sitter, they may have passed over long before the sitter was even born. This is the type of situation where the spirit might give a message to the sitter, so that they can pass it on to another member of the family who isn’t present. This is ultimately satisfying for the spirit because they have got their message through. It’s also ultimately satisfying for the sitter as they will get confirmation of the spirit from the person who they pass the message to. It’s not so great for the Medium who looks as if they’re not able to make a ‘proper’ connection.

This is where the Medium has to set ego aside and learn to be satisfied with the work they have done.

Another reason why the Medium has to be able to describe what they see is that spirits often show themselves as young and healthy. This is to reassure the sitter that they are well in the world of spirit – but it doesn’t always make it easy for that spirit to be accepted by the sitter. Again, the Medium must leave their ego at the door and just keep going.


To help interpret what they are being given by spirit, Mediums each have their own shorthand symbols for different things. Some are fairly straighforward, such as a bunch of red roses for love, a pram if there is going to be a new baby or an plane if someone is going to travel. Often, a spirit will show a symbol that the Medium doesn’t recognise. If this happens, it is the Medium’s job to ask the spirit for more clarification – until they are confident enough to give out that message. The worst thing a Medium can do is to try and bluster their way through. This almost always goes badly and ends up with the Medium, the spirit and the sitter all feeling disappointed and let down.

If you can not explain it simply then you do not understand it enough - albert einstein

It’s just another case where the Medium’s ego should not be involved. This is easier said than done because we are only human and we work with spirit in order to help people. So our first desire is to make sure that we don’t look idiotic and to give a message.

Medium’s can’t afford to be afraid of looking a fool. The Medium is just a conduit for the message from spirit and nothing more. It’s not acceptable to give any old message just to show everyone that you can connect to spirit. Any Mediums who fall into that all-too-common trap will not get very far.

Mediums have to train themselves to give clear, reliable, well described messages from spirit. That involves a lot of self discipline, building a strong relationship with their guides and being able to keep their energy at a high enough vibration to match spirits – for extended periods of time.

Physical Mediumship

In this type of Mediumship, those present can see what the Medium is receiving.

Known in Every Culture

Every culture throughout history has had physical mediums. In 1901, an American called Waldemar Bogoras traveled to Siberia. He participated in a Shamanic ritual with the Tchouktchi tribe. Bogoras was astounded to hear voices which appeared to come from all corner of the room they were in. The voices were talking in English and Russion and Bogoras managed to record them – the first time that spirit voices had ever been recorded.

Physical mediumship gained huge popularity in America and all of Europe from the mid 1800s.

How Do you Learn Physical Mediumship?

It takes years of dedication, discipline and support from others. As a result of the commitment required, true physical mediumship is now rare. 

What is Ectoplasm?

The word ectoplasm comes from the Greek word for outside – ektos – and the word for something formed – plasma. The word was created by a French Nobel Prize winner called Charles Richet. He was a Physiologist but spent years studying spiritualists and the phenomena they created.

Physical Mediums are allegedly able to produce ectoplasm from their bodies which then takes on the recognisable form of the spirit who is coming through. Many fraudulent Mediums used muslin and cheescloth to replicate ectoplasm. Many were caught in the act and lost any credibility. This did enormous damage to the reputations of physical mediums and it quickly fell out of favour.

Why are There so Few Physical Mediums Now?

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, there were no radios, no television and no computer. The advent of these technologies as entertainment meant that people lost interest in Physical Mediumship for two main reasons.

  • When there was no electric light in homes, people always sat by the fire in the dark. This environment was perfect for demonstrations of Physical Mediumship.
  • Ectoplasm and Physical Mediumship are both highly sensitive to electrical currents. As more people got electric lighting, Physical Mediumship declined. 

Even though it is much more rare now, there are still people committed to Physical Mediumship. They virtually dedicate their lives to developing the required skills.

How Do You Become a Physical Medium?

Even if somebody has the natural potential to be a physical medium (which is extremely rare) they need to develop and hone their abilities.

To do this, they must sit in a circle. This needs a huge commitment from all involved as the same people have to agree to sit in that circle at the same time every week – for years. The members of the circle are simply there to give their energy so that the trainee physical medium can go into a deep trance.

Famous spirit medium Leslie Flint


 This requires selfless participation, a great bond of trust and total reliability from the member of the circle.

It can take years for anything at all to happen.

A famous Direct Voice Medium, Leslie Flint (pictured), sat in the same circle with the same people every week for seven years before anything happened.

In our fast paced world of instant gratification, people rarely have the time or patience to make such a commitment.

Types of Physical Mediumship


Two pre WWII pennies which apported in a tyre depot in Yorkshire in 2010.

Two pre WWII pennies which apported in a tyre depot in Yorkshire in 2010.

An apport is an object which has materialized during a circle – although apports have been given to people who are not in a circle and have no interest in anything psychic.

Apports can be any physical object. Flowers, statuettes, jewelery and coins are common ones.

In 2010, a story hit the headlines in the UK. Nick White owns a tyre depot in South Yorkshire. The building was originally a chapel and also a makeshift mortuary during the Second World War.

Nick and his employees witness stones and coins suddenly appearing and being thrown around. They have affectionately nicknamed the spirit ‘Pete the Poltergeist’.

There doesn”t seem to be any particular reason for apports although they are always amazing to see and make wonderful gifts.

Automatic WritingGeraldine Cummins Automatic Writer of six books

In Automatic Writing, the medium sits with a pen or pencil and paper and the spirit communicator uses their hand to convey their communication onto the paper. Whole books are sometimes written ‘automatically’. The medium often doesn’t know what has been written until the communication has ended and they read what they have written.

Geraldine Cummins (an Irish Medium, Novelist and Playwright 1890–1969) was an amazing automatic writer. From 1928 to 1950, she ‘automatically wrote’ six books. The books formed a collection called The Scripts of Cleophas. The books covered the rise of Christianity in the first century A.D.

Beatrice Gibbes was her friend and assistant. Geraldine would go into a dreamy state of relaxation and her hand would start writing. Her Spirit Guide (called AStor) would introduce each spirit in turn as they stepped forward to write. Beatrice moved each filled sheet of paper out of the way and laid Geraldine’s hand on a fresh sheet.

Geraldine’s handwriting changed with each spirit.

an example of automatic writing

Direct Voice / Independent Voice

This is a type of physical mediumship where sitters hear the voice of a spirit. The voices are helped by the offer of a trumpet. This isn’t a musical instrument but a conical shape with a hole at each end. The trumpet is placed in the middle of the circle. People have apparently seen trumpets floating in mid air and then moving from one side of the circle to another until they come to rest, hovering in front of the person who is going to hear the voice of their departed loved one. 

The trumpet is not actually required in order for a spirit voice to be heard. However, they were extremely popular in the Victorian era and commonly used as they made a seance even more of a theatrical experience for those attending. 

The voices are allegedly created from an artificial voice box which made using ectoplasm that emanates from the Physical Medium. Direct Voice needs complete darkness in order to happen.


This is the rising up movement of someone (or something) without means of support. It is achieved using telekineses which is psychokinetic energy. 

Daniel Dunglas Home Scottish Physical Medium

Daniel Dunglas Home (Scottish Physical Medium 1883 – 1836) is said to have given incredible demonstrations of levitation.

He is said to have levitated right up to the ceiling of a room. It is also reported that he often moved over the heads of those present as he levitated around a room. 

During one spectacular (and somewhat doubtful) demonstration, he is alleged to have floated out of a third storey window and then entered the house next door by floating in through their window. 


Materialisations are one of the most dramatic and most criticised examples of Physical Mediumship.

It is said that the Physical Medium exudes ectoplasm from their body. The spirits alledgedly gather up that ectoplasm and use it to create a physical body. It is said that these ectoplasm bodies were instantly recognised by sitters as their dearly departed.

Before we dismiss the whole idea of Victorians going wild with cheesecloth, it’s worth mentioning that the bodies were so detailed that they even had any physical scars that they may have had during life. They were also said to be wearing clothes that their relatives remember.

It doesn’t stop there. Witnesses have attested that these ectoplasm materialisations walked up to sitters, touched them, kissed them, danced with them and apparently were seen to walk through walls.

Fox Sisters

Raps or Knocks

This is what made the Fox Sisters of Hydesville USA so famous in the 1800s. The girls allegedly heard knocking and rapping in their home and claimed to be communicating with spirits. In later life, the girls confessed that they had created the noises themselves.

Nevertheless, raps and knocks are commonly associated with Physical Mediumship. These sounds may be gentle or as loud as someone knocking hard on a door.

Communication was established with the now famous “One knock for yes and two for no” which is often used during modern paranormal investigations.

Spirit Cabinets

Along with trumpets, no Victorian seance was complete without a cabinet. These were rather like a single wardrobe but with an open side instead of a door. Where the door would be – a curtain was hung. The Physical Medium sat inside the cabinet and when they were ready to start, the curtain was pulled shut.

This was apparently to –

  • Protect the Medium while they produced ectoplasm from their body.
  • Obscure the slow creation of the appearing body which was to protect the relatives and witnesses from distress.

Once the ectoplasm had been fashioned by spirits into a likeness of the returning loved one, it would step out of the cabinet and show itself to everyone present.

It is said that the materialised body stayed connected to the Physical Medium by a thin length of ectoplasm. This ‘umbilical’ cord was to make sure the materialisation had enough energy to function. This is also another reason why being a Physical Medium was said to be so draining as the Medium’s energy was being drained to supply the spirit form.

When the appearance was over, the spirit was said to re enter the Physical Medium’s body via that cord of ectoplasm.

Spirit Lights 

These are lights that are seen during Physical Mediumship. They are said to be red, blue or white and may gentle or very bright. They are thought to be spirits. The brighter the light is, the stronger and more highly developed the spirit is.

Transfiguration / Transmorphication  

This is an amazing sight where a spirit overlays its’ face onto the medium’s face. This is usually done in lowish light. The phenomena may be detailed enough to show spectacles, earrings, hats, different colours and styles of hair and of course, facial features.

I was lucky enough to witness this during a demonstration at the Spiritualist Church I used to attend. The demonstration was by twins – ladies who were actually Police Officers in their ‘day jobs’. One twin supplied extra energy and the other twin transfigured. Because they were twins, it was easy to see the dramatic change that took place. It took a long time for her to go into a deep trance and then right before my eyes, she gradually started to change into a very old Native American Indian. Her face, stance and voice all changed and we could sense another presence in the circle.

I don’t think I will ever forget it.

The Price They Paid…

Many physical mediums had great difficulties during their early lives

simply because they generated so much energy around them.

Daniel Dunglas Home Scottish MediumDaniel Dunglas Home 

(Home is pronounced ‘Hewm’. Scottish Physical Medium 1883 – 1836) 

(the aforementioned levitator) was thrown out of his home by his aunt at age 17 because furniture started moving on its own whenever he was around.


Florence CookFlorence Cook

(English Physical Medium 1856 – 1904, who materialized ‘Katie King’)

was sacked (at the age of 15) from her job as an assistant school teacher.

When she was in a room, books and pencils flew around, chairs followed her and tables moved on their own.

Carmine Carlos MirabelliCarmine Carlos Mirabelli

(Brazilian Physical Medium 1889 – 1951)

was sacked from his job as a shoe salesman (at the age of 23) because the shoes kept jumping off the racks.

He was then put into a lunatic asylum and was released when no one could find anything wrong with him.

matthew manning psychic and healer

Matthew Manning

(English Healer b.1955)

was the center of poltergeist activity from the age of 11. Various items were moved or disappeared altogether.

There were loud knocking and creaking sounds and objects flew violently around the house.

As if that wasn’t enough, the signatures of several hundred dead writers appeared on his bedroom wall.

Signatures of many dead writers appeared on Matthew Mannings wall