Among Mediums: A Scientist's Quest for Answers Kindle Edition
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- File Size : 1459 KB
- Print Length : 80 pages
- ASIN : B00B1MZMHM
- Publication Date : January 15, 2013
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : Windbridge Institute, LLC (January 15, 2013)
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Language: : English
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #924,169 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Beischel observes that her principal interest in mediumship is not the mechanism behind the phenomenon, but its social utility. She feels it should be possible to gain benefits from mediumship even if we don't have a theory to explain it. One of her top priorities is the study of mediumship's value in the grieving process. As our society ages, this topic may become even more relevant than it is today.
The meatiest part of the book is Beischel's discussion of the protocols employed by the Windbridge Institute to rule out information leakage in testing mediums. If I understand it correctly, the experiments are quintuple-blinded, meaning that multiple layers of sequestration are imposed on the researchers, sitters, and mediums. The precautions are almost paranoid in their elaborateness, and it's hard to see how even the most determined skeptics could poke holes in the procedure (though I'm sure they will try).
Among Mediums also gives a clear sense of the fund-raising challenges faced by the very few people who devote their careers to this marginal area. In that regard, it's worth noting that revenues generated by book sales will help fund the Windbridge Institute's research.
Among Mediums is an excellent introduction to scientific research into purported communications from "the other side," and one that should appeal to intelligent, open-minded readers of all backgrounds.
- Michael Prescott, author of Grave of Angels.
Top reviews from other countries
The book is a little gem - short and succinct, highly readable, and packed with interesting insights.
As a result of her research Beischel 'definitively' concluded that certain mediums are able to report 'accurate and specific information about discarnates without using any normal means to acquire that information'. She is good on the issues involved: that is, the need for fully blinded conditions, optimal environments and maximum controls. She also stresses the need for skilled participants. Windbridge has around twenty mediums who have all been put through an extensive screening, training and certification procedure. They are part of the research team, and donate four hours per month or more, unpaid.
Windbridge focuses on three areas: the content and accuracy of the information; the process; and the practical social applications. Psychic research has been big on the first of these, but less on the second, so it was good to see that covered. It's always been unclear where the information truly comes from surviving spirits of the dead, so it's interesting to learn there are significant differences between what mediums and psychics say they experience. Mediums have a strong sense of the presence of independent communicators that psychics do not. They also say they experience the emotions of discarnates directly, whereas psychics don't feel the emotions of their living clients.
The emphasis on physiological changes is important; Beischel notes, as it 'may help show that mediumistic communication is a normal human process...' Such data has been gathered, and there are plans to include fMRI scanning data, if funding permits - details to be published later.
Beischel has quite a lot to say about the potential therapeutic value of mediumship in treating grief caused by bereavement. She points to a meta-analysis of studies of conventional grief counselling, which concludes that it provides little benefit. This contrasts with studies that show that after-death experiences, whether spontaneous or induced - eg. an apparitional encounter or mediumistic reading - can dramatically reduce grief - she would like to see credentialed mediums working together with licensed mental health professionals in this area. She also thinks that there's a role for mediums in the context of hospices and palliative care, helping to make the prospect of transition easier to deal with. She is 'regularly saddened by the fact that we in Western cultures spend so much time, energy, and resources to train pregnant women on what to expect and how to best deliver yet we don't give the dying even a hint of what to expect or how to prepare.'
It's good to see this sort of research being carried on. Sceptics passionately believe in the efficacy of JREF's Million Dollar Challenge as a statement about psychic ability, but this is truly and transparently scientific in a way that the Challenge cannot remotely claim to be. Beischel is to be congratulated for her dedication to understanding a type of human experience that, for largely ideological reasons, science as a whole has shunned.
(Robert McLuhan is author of Randi's Prize: What sceptics say about the paranormal, why they are wrong and why it matters.)