Current Update as of October 18, 2006
Inspired by The Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies
Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.
When I first heard about the book Psychic Mafia, by M. Lamar Keene (Prometheus Books), I thought it was a joke. Aha, I thought, Im finally part of a group! Then I stumbled across the biography, which is a self-confessional and damning indictment of some old-time famous mediums. It discredits even the likes of Leslie Flint, known for his access to spirit voices.
Mediums in this book are villainous con artists who use multiple techniques of fakery, fraud and even sexuality in order to fool and fleece the public. Some techniques should be obviousfor instance, if youre having sex in the séance room with your dead husbands ghost, you might want to turn up the lights and see whats real.
Magicians tricks are used for apports, and the appearance of ectoplasm, ventriloquism to create the illusion of spirit voices, and the list goes on. Mediums mentioned generally ended up alcoholic, sick, and unhappy. Even the renowned, yet controversial Arthur Ford is noted, and his alcoholism also underscored.
What is different for todays mediums, if anything? Modern mediumship, as practiced by John Edward, or Robert Brown, has a more conservative feel. No chiffon-flowing ghosts in darkened rooms, just a medium repeating what is heard or seen, offering proof by providing some information known uniquely to the sitter.
Proof for the mediums uncovered in Psychic Mafia is easy to come by since detailed records of sitters were passed around the mob. Most of this mob was connected with the Chesterfield Institute. Sadly, even when the author confesses his sins to the Chesterfield Board, laying out the scandals and lies, so strong is their desire to believe that the majority side with the old guard and close their eyes to any wrong doing.
Surely there must have been true psychics and mediums during those years when mediumship was coming to the fore. We know Edgar Cayce was real, and Eileen Garrett. Rudolph Steiner. None of these people is mentioned in the book.
However, Reverend William Rauschers forward explicitly states that the true medium or psychic need have nothing to fear by Mr. Keenes expose. He does not dispute that there are many who practice this art with integrity. Further, he asserts that a large part of what sitters are thirsting for is a connection to the mystical essence that was removed from many religions.
We might ask what differentiates someone like Edgar Cayce from the frauds? How can we know whom to trust? For one thing, Cayce gave all credit to a higher power about whom he recommended we learn and become consciously connected. He was as thrown by his gifts as we were and he embarked on self-examination and recommended that process for everyone.
His sessions were also open to scrutiny. In fact, he submitted himself to such an extent that he was pierced with needles by at least one examiner. While the more dramatic presenters in the Psychic Mafia were observed by experts, they generally managed to evade detection. Why?
First, their work was always staged in the dark, which they claimed was a requirement for the spirits. Mr. Keene reveals that these spirits were often the mediums children dressed for the part, or even other mediums, swathed in chiffon and perched on their knees.
Deception was their intention and personal enrichment their goal. Con men and woman should be good at what they do and perceptive enough to know when and to whom to do it. It may be far easier to practice and perpetrate fraud than to rely on Spirit to show up how and when it wants.
Oddly, however, the author finds that he actually offers accurate information despite his fraudulent intentions. He tells the woman (who later became his adopted mother, and partly for whom he underwent this radical conversion toward honesty) important information about where to locate a document that only her late husband would have known.
And he did this by simply repeating what came into his head and not by any of his nefarious methods. Nefarious methods, which for example included feigning a headache at a clients house and searching her room for clues to a nickname he would use during her session. Sure enough, he spotted a name in her family Bible which he intuitively trusted was his key.
The drama of physical mediumship seems to be some of the issue: Table tapping and tipping, spirit voices, ectoplasm. I cant think of any modern reader who depends on this, or even uses it at all.
As Uri Geller has shown, its difficult to depend on Spirit acting in a particular way and at a particular time. (Geller was accused of faking his spoon bending for a segment of the Tonight Show.)
Yet we know people can bend spoons. Courses in it abound. But we dont know that people can bend spoons all the time upon command. We dont know that we can connect with Spirit to get clients what they want when they want it.
A psychic once told me, We can prepare, but Spirit comes when it wants. We dont control it. And, for me, thats the scary part about working as a psychic, and also what I find intriguing. Scary, because what if I dont get the information the client wants, or they dont value what I offer?
You have to be open to get what you get. And sometimes what we get is subtle. When medium, John Edwards son was born, he expected a congregation of his dead relatives to meet in the delivery room and was initially disappointed when it didnt happen.
Ive learned to stop looking for the grandiose, psychic billboard, or the big Surrender Dorothy writing in the sky, because thats not always the way it happens. Sometimes the signs our loved ones send us are subtle, like hearing their favorite song on the radio, or getting a whiff of the scent of their perfume, or the smell of their cigarettes in the air. (John Edward, After Life: Answers From the Other Side.)
As I write this I received a call from a woman who asked if I could just give her initials to prove my abilities to her before she booked with me.
The truth was that I could telepathically read the person she was asking about but I dont know that I could provide his initials. For me, thats a different sort of concentration from the emotional territory that interests me. It may be that I need to learn more techniques so that I can be multi-lingual in multi-dimensions.
Physical evidence, names, initials wow us because they seem to offer tangible proof that were tapping into the unseen and yet, oddly enough, so much of that has been faked and by buying too deeply into it sitters have been duped.
There is no substitute for our own depth. This is what I love about Edgar Cayce. He consistently reminds us to be patient, long suffering (this has to be a controversial idea today), to pray, to model ourselves after the Master, which for him was Jesus.
He took us back to the message we know from the Oracle at Delphi: Know Thyself. He counseled us to build our lives around qualities of love, forgiveness, selflessness and compassion. He endeavored to practice those principles in his life, as well. Though he fell short, i.e., ate the wrong foods, smoked too much, had an issue with anger, he still continued to read the Bible to completion each year, teach Sunday school, and work with the Search For God Study Group.
Thats different from entertainment and magic. We may be astounded by his feats, or at Eileen Garretts, but we take away something deeper than if wed merely watched a show.
Modern mediums generally state that the purpose of their work is to remind us that there is no death. They help heal broken hearts and lives by showing us that we never lose our loved ones. Our connection with them and our Source is eternal. The point is to bring us closer to our Source which is our true power.
is a professional psychic, certified by the Edgar Cayce Institute
for Intuitive Studies, and has frequently contributed to our webazine.
Lorrie has her own website at
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