What I learned studying with the world's best psychic mediums
In October 2019 I traveled to Stansted Hall in Essex, England to attend a week-long intensive in advanced mediumship at the world-famous Arthur Findlay College. I would be eating, drinking, cohabiting, studying (and sometimes commiserating) with a group of roughly 80 students that particular week, traveling from Norway, Guatemala, Australia, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, the U.S. andonandon. This place is the Harvard of mediumship instruction sporting a reputation is stellar among those familiar with the offbeat world of talking to the dead. The head instructor during my particular week was a famous medium with 30 years of experience of delivering messages from the Other Side. He also had the reputation of someone who did not suffer fools gladly, and there were whisperings of how hard he was going to be on us. Great.
The first night, I couldn't sleep. It wasn't out of nervousness, it was due to. . . well, dead people. Every time I would start to drift off, I kept getting visitations from unfamilar people wanting to say hello or chat. Some appeared dressed in clothing from a bygone era. When I asked other students at breakfast the following morning if this had happened to them, I got resounding affirmations. This majestic, imposing Gothic mansion obviously was a hotbed of Spirit activity. Big surprise, given the fact that on any given day there are a hundred people milling around with the united purpose of communicating with the dead.
The head instructor divided us into smaller groups, each led by a very experienced tutor. He placed me in a group that was in the middle-ground between the less experienced and the pros. The days started after breakfast with morning meditation followed by a lecture on various facets of mediumship. Then we would proceed to our individual classrooms, which for our group was a stately library straight out of a Victorian novel with views out the huge windows of horses grazing in the adjoining paddock. Supposedly, J.K. Rowling based Hogwarts on Arthur Findlay College. Seemed about right.
On the first day of class, we paired up and tried our hand at reading another individual. This seemed pretty easy, and my partner confirmed that the person in Spirit with whom I was communicating was his uncle. I felt confident that my mediumship ability was pretty good. That feeling wouldn't last long.
What I did not know was that this week-long class was focused on "Platform" Readings. "What the hell is that?" was my first thought. And my second question was, "How did I miss that fact in the course description?" I thought I had signed up for a course to simply hone my mediumship ability. It turns out that I wasn't the only one who arrived from the U.S. a bit confused on the concept of what the following six days would entail.
Platform mediumship, which is popular in the U.K., requires one to stand on a stage in front of a crowd of strangers and pull a dead person through, offer specifics, and ask if anyone in the crowd can "take that," meaning, confirm that the deceased is indeed someone they recognize. "Petrifying" was the first adjective that came to mind when I realized what I was in for. How would I ever be able to do accomplish this?
We practiced and practiced, day after day, all day long. By day four, I was fried. So was everyone else. My tutor explained that midweek is referred to as "Weeping Wednesday," because that's the day when everyone is feeling drained and pushed to their limits. I was beginning to hit the proverbial wall, and my mediumship came and went with its own agenda. Sometimes I'd be bang on, sometimes I'd be sucking wind trying to communicate with someone, anyone, in Spirit. My ego was non-existent at this point.
Each day, my tutor requested volunteers to demonstrate their mediumship skills on the platform that evening for an audience comprised of students from the other three classes. I kept avoiding this nightmare until no more volunteers offered to get up there, and my tutor, a wonderful lady whom I didn't want to disappoint, talked me into doing it.
That sixth evening of the course week, students from the most advanced class comprised the audience for our intermediate group of demonstrators. I had seen these people in action and they made some of the famous mediums we've all seen on TV look like amateur hour. I was ready to throw up when it was my turn to prove what I was made of.
When I stood on the stage, I panicked that nobody would come through and I'd be left standing up there alone on the stage like a dunce. Thankfully, I immediately saw a little boy playing soccer. He communicated his story by showing me visuals and by telepathically imparting thoughts and feelings to me. He had been a friend, not a relative, of someone in the crowd. He had an older sister. He imparted information to me, somehow, that he died of an illness. He had braved his illness stoically, taking it on the chin, but his family had a much harder time with the fact that he was spending his last days wasting away in the hospital. He showed me the funeral, and I described a specific architectural detail of the church that he had brought to my attention. A woman from Detroit validated this information, and I could see tears in her eyes so I knew my information had been accurate. I sat down, relieved that it was over.
Then the worst happened. The head instructor, probably surprised at how well I had done, asked me if I would try another one. The dread I felt as I walked back up to the stage was overwhelming. This time, I saw a man in running shoes, who was addicted to running. I got that he did marathons. He was a health nut. I saw a fancy Mercedes, not a typical Benz, but a souped-up, super fancy model that a guy having a mid-life crisis would buy. I saw him in a hospital, and assumed he had passed of an illness. "I described the running, the clean eating. "He had a very expensive, fancy Mercedes. He died of an illness."
Crickets. Nobody in the audience was claiming any of this obviously bad information. I wasn't able to continue, and sat back down, defeated and feeling like a jackass.
Later on at the nightly social gathering held at the Hall's bar, the head instructor approached me and told me that I should have kept going. "My father had just made the Olympic running team. And that Mercedes you described is mine, not his. And he did die in the hospital, but not of an illness. He was in a car accident."
I felt a bit better knowing that I hadn't been imagining this deceased man. But sorting out the details and presenting them in a clear manner to an audience requires finesse which comes with experience. Instead of assuming the deceased man owned the car, I should have just explained that he was showing me the car. Instead of assuming that he died of an illness, I should have just said that he died in a hospital.
I left the school on Saturday morning, rolling my suitcase to the nearby village to catch a train to London. I thought about the week, and although it left me more confident that I can contact and communicate with Spirit and deliver a message to their loved one, I have a long road ahead of me to do it every time I get on a stage, consistently without fail. Doing one-on-one mediumship readings is much more my speed, at least for now.