In the hopes of connecting with dearly departed loved ones, many people turn to mediums, who claim to be able to communicate with those who have passed away. Although debates around mediumship still exist, some modern-day research has provided evidence that at least some information delivered by mediums is accurate, regardless of the true source of that information.
But what about the other end of the life spectrum? Since mediums claim to be able to connect with out-of-body consciousness, can they also connect with a consciousness that has not yet been born?
Many non-Western cultures and traditional worldviews believe fetuses are conscious. The beliefs are so strong in these cultures that they even have rituals designed to enhance bonding between parent and fetus. Even Western culture has descriptions of pre-incarnation experiences and subtle forms of interaction (e.g. mediumship) with prenatal consciousness, despite the fact that the current scientific paradigm in Western culture assumes human conscious awareness fully develops only after birth. Although the idea of prenatal consciousness is ubiquitous in many traditions and is based on widely held beliefs and experiences, it has not yet been thoroughly investigated.
So, when does human consciousness become conscious?
An exploratory study was conducted to investigate whether mediums could connect with a hypothetical prenatal consciousness and obtain accurate information that was verifiable.
Dr. Marie Julia Guittier and team, in collaboration with Dr. Helane Wahbeh at IONS and Dr. Renaud Evrard at the University of Lorraine conducted the study, and represented international collaboration with researchers from multiple countries.
The Research Question
The research team wanted to know: is there agreement between information obtained from a medium’s communication with a hypothetical prenatal consciousness and information provided by the parents of the fetus?
The research team recruited 11 women in their second or third trimester of pregnancy and 10 mediums. They used a triple-blind design in the study, which means: 1) mediums never met the parents and no identifiable information was provided to the mediums, 2) mediums did not know each other and had no possibility to exert any influence on each other’s reports, and 3) parents were blinded to the mediums and the researchers communicated all mediumistic information to the parents.
During mediumistic sessions, the mediums invited the hypothetical prenatal consciousness to “speak” of its parents (e.g. physical description, character traits, job, hobbies, etc), possible existing siblings, their biological sex, their potential first name, and more. From the mediums, the team also collected exploratory unverifiable data, such as the description of the incarnation process, methods of communication with parents, possible life mission, and any other message the prenatal consciousness wanted to convey.
In separate sessions, parents were interviewed to document the course of the pregnancy, choices for the first name of the baby, knowledge of the baby’s sex, parents’ physical descriptions, professions, hobbies, character traits, and more.
How Was the Data Analyzed?
All the collected responses, which included structured questions, as well as spontaneous responses from the mediums, were scored as either correct, false, or unverifiable. Then, we compared the statements from the mediumistic sessions to those from the parents in order to rate how closely they corresponded.
What Did We Find?
Overall, for the structured interview questions, the mediums performed significantly below chance with just one in six responses being judged as correct, or 17%. However, when including the spontaneous responses from the mediums, the accuracy of their responses jumped to 31% correct, with 13% being inaccurate and 55% unverifiable. When only the verifiable statements were looked at, 69% of the mediums’ responses were accurate, and 30% were inaccurate. Overall, the accuracy of the mediums’ responses was higher when they provided spontaneous information rather than answering structured questions.
One very interesting finding from the study was that two sets of parents had a child who had previously died and both sets of parents were convinced that the current pregnancy was the deceased child returning. The mediums were unaware of this background information, and yet reported something similar during the sessions.
What Does It Mean?
Although this study was exploratory and much more research is needed, our results provide the first scientific evidence suggesting the possibility of communicating with a consciousness that hasn’t been born yet. Although it is not clear why, the data showed that there was higher accuracy in the mediums’ responses when they spontaneously reported information, rather than responding to structured interview questions.
When trying to explain the low accuracy of the mediums’ responses to structured items, it is important to remember that with any new field of research, a standardized or optimal way to collect data and analyze results remains to be figured out. For example, in our current study, it is possible that correct responses were undercounted based on the way the data was scored (e.g. counting the hobby category as one correct answer, even if the medium correctly guessed two hobbies).
As this is a new field of research, there are many unknown factors that could be influencing the proposed communication between the medium and the prenatal consciousness. As just one example, it is known that experimental scientific conditions – which are not naturalistic settings – are known to affect human behavior. Mediumship readings may be sensitive to the nature of the experimental set-up.
While much more research is needed to elucidate these factors, the results of our study suggest that it might be possible to interact with a prenatal consciousness during pregnancy. The implications of this research for our collective understanding of human consciousness is enormous since the current scientific paradigm does not allow for the possibility of conscious awareness until the baby is born.
Also, since mediums report using altered states of consciousness to perform their mediumship readings, this raises the question of how putting ourselves into different states of consciousness could allow us to interact with other human consciousness at various points of the life cycle. Exploring these states can open up new worlds of understanding of what it means to be a consciously aware being.