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     The term medium can be defined as a person who is capable of communicating with the deceased and other non-human spirits. All mediums are gifted with some psychic abilities. They can receive information without using any of their normal senses. A medium can predict the future of another as well as learn facts about their past and present by reading their "energy" just as a psychic does. However, a psychic is not always a medium. The medium works as a messenger between the physical world and the spirit world. The abilities of a medium are far greater that that of the psychic.
     The medium has existed for thousands of years and has been given many different names through all that time. A few examples are witch doctor, shaman, oracle, sorcerer, and other various names. Every culture has its own name for the medium. Time is also a factor for the many different names that were once used.
     There are two different kinds of mediums. The first kind is mental mediumship. Most mediums today are this kind of medium. They will receive information from spiritual entities telepathically. Then the medium will either use automatic writing or directly speak the new information to those that it concerns. The other kind of medium is physical mediumship. These mediums were most popular in the 19th century. Physical mediumship involves things like spirit manifestations, table-tipping, strange noises and lights, and other haunting like activities. These manifestations of spirit body's and body parts were often created by a substance known as ectoplasm. To learn more about ectoplasm read our Ectoplasm Page.

     When a medium wants to communicate with a spirit or spirits he or she will sometimes have something called a seance, especially during the rise of spiritualism in the 19th century. They were performed in the dwelling of the medium or of the person who wishes to contact someone of the spirit world(the Sitter). They were always done in dim lighting or in complete darkness. This does make some sense since transparent spirits are easier to see at night. The number of people does not matter, as long as there are enough to make a circle, usually around a table. Sometimes during a seance a medium will go into something called a trance. In a Trance the medium will become temporarily possessed by a spirit. A seance has no time period. It can last for hours, or only minutes. 

     Many will agree that the modern medium of today evolved from the 19th century medium. The rise of Spiritualism began in the mid 19th century. The first mediums of this era, as well as the sparks that created it were the Fox Sisters. Katie, Margaret, and Leah of New York State were famous for their ability to contact the spirits of the dead. They toured in many city's, performing public seances.The Fox Sisters Even Though they suffered a lot of criticism, they also received a lot of praise as well. In fact there were some so inspired by these performances that they began to hold their very own seances. Soon enough spiritualism began to become very popular.
     Most mediums are women. The women of the 19th century had very limited lifestyles due to their gender. Many women of that time choose to become mediums in order to break away from their traditional lifestyles and rules, and for the attention that mediumship would bring. Many of those women were not genuine mediums, but that is not to say that all mediums were fraud. It is true that many mediums of that time were caught using fraudulent tricks but the tricks were used simply to keep up with their competition that were using similar methods, and also used to enhance the seances, Although there were some that were complete frauds as well. The point is that even though many mediums were caught using some trickery, there were also some that may very well have truly been able to speak to the spirits of the dead. We should not judge every medium by the mistakes of those in the past.

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