Mediumship has different disciplines, you may have heard of a physical medium or mental mediumship.
A mental medium is what you would normally expect to see at a demonstration, it is what is screened on tv, what is offered by phone-in clairvoyant lines and practised by well known mediums for the general public. It can of course be faked and cold reading is surprisingly easy to do. Cold reading is when the reader watches their client for signs of acknowledgement, a nod of their head, a raised eyebrow, a tiny smile is all it takes for the cold reader to know that they are on the right track and for them to keep digging. This is why the spiritualists national union has registered their mediums, because they are tested, proven to be able to read correctly, to provide evidence of the survival of the soul with memories, names, dates, information that only the recipient can understand.
Cold reading does not give these specifics and the reading will be vague without the link to the description of a spirit person, their relationship, their message and relevant memories attached to them. You may have had a reading with a medium and been pleased with the results, but if you have not sat with a spiritualist medium you have not experienced true mediumship, only psychic connection.
Mental mediumship is as it is described. The mind is used, a kind of telepathy between the spirit person, the medium and the client/sitter. The spirit person "thinks" loudly, like a mental shout, that the medium receives usually as a picture. The job of the medium is then to interpret the image into something that the client can understand and relate to. The spirit person or their guide is connected by a cord of communication to both the medium and the client. They need to be connected to the medium in order to send signals and to the client in order to fetch the memories and links to the past and their current life. Mental mediumship is about the medium interpreting the message as it is received. It takes dedication on the part of the medium to learn how to interpret the signs and symbols that are given into a meaningful message and a lot of practise to work quickly, eloquently and accurately.
Psychic energy and connection is different to mental mediumship because it relies on the medium/psychic making a connection with the client only. There will be no spirit connection. The information given will be on a more superficial level than that of the spirit reading. It will contain a brief summary of your thoughts, a current situation around you, perhaps a wish you have for the future, your financial situation, relationship issues and some positive news for the future. I'm not saying that there is no valuable content in a psychic reading, just that you should be aware if you pay for one of what to expect and the usefulness of the information given. The psychic is reading you, your energy, the information is not magically coming to them from some all seeing power, we can all do this to some degree and all use it at some time in our lives if not regularly. It is a natural skill, but some are better at it than others.
Physical mediumship is the hardest of any spirit work and although is widely practised is not as widely demonstrated to the public. Because of the dangers associated with this kind of work it is often done in closed circles and groups where all the observers are known to one another. By a closed circle I mean a group of mediums that sit together regularly (most likely once a week) for spirit connection. It is necessary for the circle to meet each week in order to build the energy between them, build the trust that is required to work together and for the commitment of the intention of the group.
Physical mediumship and trance mediumship overlap as a discipline because in order for physical mediumship to take place and be successful it is most often required that at least one member of the group will be used by the spirit team and for them to be used without resistance it is best that they are in a trance state and therefore relaxed.
The relaxed state is required because the life-force of the medium will be used to create any phenomena ranging from direct voice communication, spirit manifestations, to hand or face manifestation to apports, sounds and touch that may be experienced by the sitters in the group. When I say life-force I mean that energy which is taken from the entranced medium and used to create ectoplasm. Ectoplasm is issued usually from an orifice of the medium although I have experienced it from the navel. It has a texture similar to stringy cheese and feels cool to the touch although not cold but it feels artificial, not smooth like human skin. It smells not unpleasant but that can depend upon the hygiene of the medium or even on their dietry intake, everyone is different and it most often smells of body odour but is distinctive and recognisable once it has been experienced.
The reason a trusted group of sitters is preferred for this kind of demonstration and research is that the general public unfortunately cannot be relied upon to be quiet and calm when activity begins. Sitting in the dark, something unknown touching you or unknown sounds close to you can be unsettling. Even just sitting in total darkness can be distressing and claustrophobic if you're not used to it. The medium being used needs to be protected from harm, if a sudden sound is made their life force returns to their body and if this happens too quickly can result in serious damage and even heart attack, so the risk is often not taken by opening such circles up. It does happen, but it's not for the faint hearted. The spiritualists national union headquarters at Stansted, London do hold demonstrations and anyone can attend.
Physical mediumship can also mean that a medium is used for a spirit to manifest. The medium can invite the spirit to use his/her energy but without them going in to trance. Physical mediumship can also relate to any physical phenomena that is produced by a single medium or group of sitters such as the manifestation of images on a barrel of camera film, writing on a slate or paper, hand prints or moulds, sounds, or apports which are objects that apparate into the circle. These can vary but are usually small objects such as coins, jewellery and flowers. Interestingly they are usually hot when first received.
A medium who is giving a demonstration of mental mediumship may also produce elements of physical mediumship through clairsentience. This is when the spirit who is in comunication with them impresses the medium with a health condition or emotion that they once suffered. The medium then feels that emotion or pain as their own but is strangely detached from it and knows that it does not belong to them. A medium soon learns to ask the spirit to take off these feelings or take them back as they can be overwhelming, but they do convey clearly what the spirit wants to say. Again the medium has to practise hard to recognise when they receive a sensation and exactly what it means.
Clairaudience is when the medium "hears" the voice of the spirit, literally speaking in their ear or close by. They will hear the accent if the spirit has one, the tone of voice and will speak the words as given, this is also a form of physical mediumship.
The french word "clair" translates as clear. Therefore the words relating to mediumship are as follows; clairvoyance means clear seeing, clairaudient means clear hearing and clairsentient means clear sensing.
The spirit teams are always working hard to find new ways of communicating with us without causing harm to our physical bodies but it is difficult. The human nervous system is delicate and a medium can easily burn out with the use of bad practise and over-use of their abilities. It is usual for a trance or physical medium to sit just once a month to be used in full by spirit as they need time to recover between sittings.
People all around the world will continue to work with spirit because they feel that they are uncovering a new world bit by bit. More is revealed and experienced each time contact is made, it is recorded and documented for the future. Science is regularly finding correlation between its findings and those of the spirit researchers and one day the truth will be known for sure to everyone - not just the determined explorers of the after-life.