The possibility of communicating with the deceased has enchanted the human imagination for millennia. But is it just imagination? Or is mediumship real?
Over the course of three rigorous experiments with a dozen professional mediums, Dr. Arnaud Delorme has come to the conclusion that mediumship is a topic worthy of scientific investigation.
Is Mediumship Real? An Experiment
Most recently, Dr. Delorme collaborated on an experiment in which he and other IONS scientists studied whether or not those claiming mediumship abilities are able to determine a person’s cause of death — based solely off a photograph of the deceased. The photographs were taken when individuals were alive.
The photographs were edited to be as uniform as possible. Then, a machine learning algorithm was applied to see if a computer could determine whether an individual died of heart attack, homicide, or car accident. The computer was unable to correctly guess the cause of death. In fact, it performed poorly relative to study participants. This confirmed that nothing in the images appeared to correlate with whether someone died of a heart attack, homicide, or car accident.
A group of mediums and a control group of non-mediums were presented with 180 of these photographs, and asked to place them in one of the three categories. Each photograph was shown for up to 30 seconds.
Meanwhile, IONS scientists also collected electroencephalogram (EEG) data regarding what was happening in the brains of the mediums vs. non-mediums, as well as what was happening in the brain when cause of death was guessed correctly vs. incorrectly.
Overall, study participants were able to guess cause of death at a statistically above-chance level.
Interestingly, the non-mediums outperformed the mediums. Meaning that non-mediums were better able to guess the cause of death than mediums — and at above-chance levels. Non-mediums answered questions more quickly than the mediums, and mediums were slower to respond when their responses were incorrect. This may have been due to performance anxiety, as the mediums generally had higher heart rates than the control group.
Some mediums also reported that they had difficulty discerning the cause of death because of how sensations appeared in their body. For example, if they experienced the sensation of pressure in their chest cavity, they were unsure if it was a heart attack, a shot to the chest, or trauma from a crash. Mediums also reported that the 30-second limitation did not allow them to connect with the deceased as they normally would.
While there was no difference in brain activity regarding cause of death, or correct vs incorrect answers, there was significant difference between the brains of mediums and controls. All of this warrants further investigation.
Why Is Evidential Mediumship Important?
Evidential mediumship is the practice of obtaining verifiable information about deceased people, just like participants were tasked to do in this study. If mediumship does exist, it will radically alter our views of reality. First, it would seem to confirm that there is life after death — or perhaps more accurately put, there is life after life. If some part of our consciousness goes on, then death is a misnomer.
There is, however, the possibility that mediums are not getting information about deceased people from the deceased people, but from a kind of “psychic reservoir.” This is called the super-psi or living-agent psi hypothesis.
In any case, if mediumship is real, it opens up a vast realm of possibilities…and turns our current model of reality on its head.
Do You Believe Mediumship Is Real?
Have you ever felt as though a deceased loved one visited you? Perhaps you received a “sign” after their death? Many people report after death communications (ADCs) in which they feel certain a loved one is communicating with them from the other side.
One famous story is of the Wrights, a family of avid bird-watchers. They requested that their mother “send them a cardinal” when she “got to heaven.” The day after their mother’s funeral service, a cherry red cardinal hit the window of their house. When they tried to release it outside, it would fly back to them.
Such stories aren’t scientifically significant, but they mean a lot to the people who experience them. Have you ever experienced something that caused you to consider the possibility of an afterlife? Are you interested in exploring mediumship?
While some say that mediumship is a hereditary gift, the IONS study on mediumship would — at the least — suggest that everyone has the ability to access knowledge intuitively. After all, on average all study participants guessed the correct cause of death with above-chance accuracy. You can create an account and see Dr. Delorme’s Noetic Global Gathering presentation for an opportunity to test your own intuitive abilities, similar to the study conducted in the lab.
For an even deeper dive into the science, you can also read Delorme’s peer-reviewed paper published in the Brain and Cognition journal.