Mediumistic Trance Phenomena - An Explanation

Within mediumship there is two categories of phenomena: Mental and Physical.

Mental mediumship relies on the mental faculties of the medium to (1) initiate, (2) sustain and (3) interpret the information being impressed upon the mediums mind.

Within Mental mediumship there are a further two subclasses referred to as (a) Perception and (b) Control.

Perception is the most common and one most frequently witnessed, for example when someone goes for a private sitting with a medium or watches a public demonstration.

The Control subclass refers to trance mediumship and examples of automatic writing and drawing, where the ‘cooperation’ between the medium and the spirit influence is greater to the extent that the spirit influence is able to directly impress their thoughts upon the mediums thoughts with improved repeatability and clarity.

We must remember that all forms of trance phenomena, though regarded as a Control subclass is still a form of mental mediumship and still requires the mental faculties of the medium. As such there will always be an aspect of the medium with whatever is uttered, and therefore to determine the authenticity, time and patience must be observed to establish the identity of the spirit influence.

Mediumship in all its forms is not the same as fortune telling or tarot but instead manifests for the purpose of providing philosophical inspiration and evidence that consciousness survives after bodily death.

Mistakenly trance exponents can look like they are asleep and therefore in the development of trance phenomena beginners often seek total unconsciousness or deep trance. However as Silver Birch pointed out the:

“I must use his subconscious mind to direct his body, and it become quiescent in sleep. Trance is not the same as sleep.”[1]

Spiritualist and researcher Horace Leaf wrote regarding trance mediumship:

“Most developing mediums aspire to become unconscious, largely because they feel that they would be quite sure that their utterances and manifestations were of supernormal origin. This tends to retard psychic unfoldment, as all forms of mediumship are constitutional. Unconsciousness cannot be induced, and one may take it for granted that it will occur if it were necessary. We may be sure the unseen operators will encourage anything that will contribute to the value of the phenomena. [2]

It is a popular myth that trance involves the spirit influence possessing the body of the medium; this is simply wrong and contrary to natural Law. Rather the spirit influence in impressing upon the mind of the medium moves within the energetic field of the medium such that the energies are combined. It is the harmonious blending of these energies that determines the clarity of information.


[1] Austin, AW (1944), More Teachings of Silver Birch, Psychic Press, p43

[2] Leaf, H (1938), What Mediumship Is, Psychic Press Ltd, p133.

Chris Connelly 2017