A medium is a person believed to be able to communicate with the spirits of the deceased. They serve as a conduit between the physical and spiritual realms, often providing comfort, closure, or guidance to those seeking contact with their loved ones who have passed on.
Mediums may also offer insights into the future or the unknown, drawing upon their unique connection with the spiritual world. If you’re interested in learning more about the future-telling aspect of mediumship, you might want to read about psychics and the difference between a psychic and a medium.
Mediumship holds varying degrees of importance across different cultures and societies.
In some, mediums are revered as spiritual leaders or advisors, while in others, they are sought after for their ability to provide a sense of connection and understanding of life beyond death. If you’re interested in exploring these mysteries yourself, check out our guide on how to start ghost hunting.
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Famous Mediums in Ancient Times
Pythia (The Oracle of Delphi)
Pythia, also known as the Oracle of Delphi, was a figure of immense influence in the ancient world and had a significant impact on the history of mediumship. Her order – The Pythia – served as the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi from around 1400 BC to 400 AD.
Her position made her the most powerful woman of her time, and her prophecies were considered the direct word of Apollo, the god of prophecy, music, and knowledge.
Pythia’s mediumship techniques were unique and involved a trance-like state induced by vapors rising from a chasm within the temple.
In this state, she delivered prophecies, often speaking in riddles or a language only the temple priests could interpret. These prophecies played a pivotal role in Greek politics and warfare, guiding the decisions of leaders and kings.
One of Pythia’s most famous predictions was her warning to the Athenians about the impending invasion by Persia.
Her prophecy led to strategic decisions that ultimately resulted in a Greek victory in the Battle of Salamis, a turning point in the Greco-Persian Wars.
Veleda was a revered prophetess and priestess of the Bructeri, a Germanic tribe, during the 1st century A.D. Considered a deity in her own right, Veleda lived in a tower near the Lippe River in what is now Germany, where she offered prophecies and spiritual guidance.
Veleda’s mediumship techniques involved prophetic visions and the interpretation of natural signs.
Her spiritual guidance was instrumental in the Batavian rebellion against Roman rule, a significant uprising in the history of the Roman Empire.
Veleda’s predictions and spiritual guidance were key to the initial successes of the rebellion, demonstrating the influence and respect she commanded.
Sibyl of Cumae
Sibyl of Cumae was a priestess presiding over the Apollonian oracle at Cumae, a Greek colony near Naples, Italy. Her exact dates are unknown, but her prophecies and influence have been documented in various works of classical literature.
Sibyl used prophetic trances as her mediumship technique. During these states, she would make predictions in an intense voice.
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Her most well-known prophecy is in the Sibylline Books, a collection of oracular statements written in Greek hexameters. These books were consulted during significant crises in both the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, showing the importance of her predictions.
Epimenides of Crete
Epimenides of Crete was a semi-mythical 7th or 6th century B.C. Greek seer and philosopher-poet. He is remembered in the history of philosophy mainly for the paradoxes attributed to him.
Epimenides was considered to have special powers of prophecy and purification. His mediumship techniques involved using his prophetic abilities to purify cities and offer spiritual guidance.
One of his most famous acts was the purification of Athens, which was suffering from plague and civil unrest. His intervention was said to have restored peace and health to the city.
Tiresias was a blind prophet of Apollo in Thebes, famous for clairvoyance and for being transformed into a woman for seven years. He is a character in many Greek myths and plays a crucial role in several classical Greek tragedies.
Tiresias was a renowned medium who used his clairvoyance to predict the future and interpret the gods’ will.
One of his most well-known prophecies involved telling Oedipus that he would kill his father and marry his mother, which unfortunately came true.
Tiresias also played a crucial role in Greek mythology as he was able to navigate both the divine and mortal worlds, serving as a bridge between humanity and the gods.
Nevertheless, his life was full of transformations and challenges.
Legend has it that he was turned into a woman for seven years after striking two mating snakes. This experience gave him a unique and valuable understanding of both genders, thus enhancing his prophetic abilities and wisdom.
Tiresias’ prophecies were not always welcomed, but they were invariably accurate.
His prediction to Oedipus, the king of Thebes, was one of the most significant. Despite Oedipus’ efforts to avoid his fate, he ended up fulfilling the prophecy, killing his father and marrying his mother, leading to his tragic downfall.
This story serves as a potent reminder of the inescapability of fate and the tragic consequences of hubris in Greek mythology.
Famous Mediums in the Middle Ages
Hildegard of Bingen
In the heart of the 12th century, a woman named Hildegard of Bingen emerged as a beacon of spiritual guidance.
Born 1098 in the Holy Roman Empire, Hildegard was offered to the church at a tender age. This early immersion in religious life paved the way for her ascension as the abbess of a Benedictine monastery, a position of significant influence and responsibility.
Hildegard’s spiritual journey began in her childhood, but it was not until her forties that she started documenting her divine visions.
These visions, she asserted, were direct communications from God, covering a broad spectrum of topics from theology and cosmology to medicinal herbs and natural history.
Brimming with vivid and symbolic imagery, her writings were compiled in works such as “Scivias” and “De operatione Dei.” Hildegard’s profound spiritual experiences and ability to articulate them have cemented her legacy as a famous medium.
Joan of Arc
Fast forward to the 15th century, and we encounter Joan of Arc, a figure whose mediumship had far-reaching political implications. Born in 1412 in Domrémy, France, Joan was a peasant girl with no formal education.
Yet, she claimed to have visions of saints and angels from a young age. These visions instructed her to support Charles VII and help recover France from English domination during the Hundred Years’ War.
Joan’s spiritual experiences were not confined to the personal realm. The visions and messages she received played a pivotal role in rallying French morale and turning the tide of the war.
Ultimately, Joan’s spiritual guidance led her to a tragic end. Captured by English allies, she was tried for heresy and burned at the stake in 1431. Joan’s influence endured despite her tragic end, and she was canonized as a saint in 1920.
The 15th century also gave us Mother Shipton, an English soothsayer and prophetess. Born Ursula Southeil in 1488 in Norfolk, England, she later became known as Mother Shipton due to her marriage to Toby Shipton.
Mother Shipton’s prophecies, recorded posthumously, are known for their rhyming couplets. They span many events, from local happenings to world affairs.
One of her most famous predictions is said to have foretold the Great Fire of London in 1666. Mother Shipton’s ability to foresee events has made her a famous medium and a significant figure in the history of prophecy.
No list of famous mediums would be complete without Nostradamus. Born Michel de Nostredame in 1503 in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, Nostradamus is perhaps the most famous seer in history.
Initially trained as a physician, he shifted his focus to astrology and prophecy following a plague outbreak.
Nostradamus’ predictions were published in his book, “Les Prophéties,” a collection of 942 poetic quatrains. The prophecies are notorious for their cryptic language and symbolic imagery, making them open to various interpretations.
Despite this, many believe that Nostradamus successfully predicted numerous historical events, including the French Revolution, the rise of Adolf Hitler, and even the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
His ability to foresee such significant events has made Nostradamus a famous medium whose influence continues to resonate today.
Famous Mediums of the 19th Century
Andrew Jackson Davis
Andrew Jackson Davis, often referred to as the “John the Baptist of Modern Spiritualism,” was born in 1826 in Blooming Grove, New York.
Davis claimed to have clairvoyant experiences from a young age, which led him to become a central figure in the Spiritualist movement.
Davis’s mediumship was characterized by trance lectures, during which he would enter a sleep-like state and deliver discourses on various spiritual and philosophical topics.
His most significant work, “The Principles of Nature,” was allegedly dictated to him while in a trance state.
Daniel Dunglas Home
Born in 1833 in Scotland, Daniel Dunglas Home was a renowned spiritualist medium known for his remarkable physical phenomena.
The elite of European society attended home’s seances, and he was never publicly debunked despite numerous attempts.
Home’s mediumship was marked by dramatic physical manifestations, including levitation, handling fire without harm, and moving objects without physical contact.
His most famous feat was his alleged levitation out of a third-story window in London.
Leonora Piper, born in 1857 in New Hampshire, United States, was one of the most investigated mediums of the 19th century. Piper’s mediumship began after experiencing a trance state during a séance, after which she began demonstrating psychic abilities.
Piper’s mediumship involved automatic writing and speaking in the voices of the spirits she was channeling. Her abilities were extensively tested by researchers from the Society for Psychical Research, and many considered her a genuine medium.
Eusapia Palladino, born in 1854 in Minervino Murge, Italy, was a famous medium known for her physical mediumship.
Despite being caught in fraudulent activities several times, Palladino’s séances continued to produce phenomena that baffled many investigators, including notable scientists and scholars of the time.
Palladino’s mediumship was characterized by physical phenomena such as levitations, materializations, and playing musical instruments without apparent physical contact.
Her most famous séance was held on the island of Agun with several notable scientists, including the esteemed physicist Sir Oliver Lodge and the renowned psychologist Julian Ochorowicz.
During this séance, she reportedly levitated a table and produced a “spirit hand,” phenomena that were attested to by the attendees despite the controversy surrounding her practices.
Paschal Beverly Randolph
Paschal Beverly Randolph, born in 1825 in New York City, was an African American doctor, occultist, spiritualist, trance medium, and writer.
Randolph is notable for being one of the first people to introduce the principles of erotic alchemy to North America, a practice that combined sexuality and spirituality.
Randolph’s mediumship involved trance states during which he would deliver messages from the spirit world.
He wrote extensively on his spiritual experiences and practices, significantly impacting the esoteric traditions.
His works, such as “Eulis! The History of Love” and “Seership! The Magnetic Mirror,” continue to be influential texts in the field of spiritualism and occultism.
Emma Hardinge Britten
Emma Hardinge Britten, born in 1823 in London, England, advocated for the early Modern Spiritualist Movement. Britten claimed to have mediumistic abilities from a young age, which she used throughout her career as a writer, speaker, and spiritualist.
Britten’s mediumship often involved delivering inspirational speeches while in a trance state. She is best known for her work “Modern American Spiritualism,” a comprehensive account of the early Spiritualist movement.
This book and her other writings and speeches played a significant role in promoting and shaping the Spiritualist Movement both in the United States and abroad.
Helena Blavatsky, born in 1831 in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, was a famous medium, occultist, and co-founder of the Theosophical Society. Blavatsky traveled extensively and claimed to have been trained by Tibetan spiritual masters, who she referred to as the “Mahatmas.”
Blavatsky’s mediumship was characterized by her claimed ability to perform physical and mental phenomena, including clairvoyance, out-of-body projection, and telepathy.
Her most significant works, “Isis Unveiled” and “The Secret Doctrine,” remain influential texts in theosophy and the New Age movement.
These works, said to be inspired by her spiritual experiences and teachings from the Mahatmas, explore complex themes such as the synthesis of science, religion, and philosophy, and the universal brotherhood of humanity.
Catherine Crowe, a celebrated author, was born in Borough Green, England, in the year 1803. She gained wide recognition for her contributions to the field of spiritualism.
Her experiences with apparitions triggered her fascination with the supernatural. Despite not much being known about her work as a medium, her book titled “The Night Side of Nature” is a testament to her conviction in the existence of the spirit realm.
In this book, she delves into different paranormal events and provides detailed accounts of her encounters with the otherworldly, serving as a valuable resource for those interested in the topic.
Maria Hayden was born in Boston in 1826 and is known for introducing Spiritualism to the United Kingdom as an English medium.
Despite facing opposition, she remained committed to her mediumship and conducted numerous séances during her lifetime. Hayden communicated messages from the spirit world, often relaying messages from loved ones of those in attendance.
Her work was critical in the widespread acceptance of Spiritualism in England, and her legacy continues to inspire those interested in the paranormal and the afterlife.
Florence Cook, born in 1856 in London, England, was a famous medium known for her materialization séances. Cook’s mediumship began in her teens, and she quickly gained fame for her ability to produce a full-form spirit, “Katie King.”
Cook’s mediumship was characterized by physical phenomena, particularly the materialization of spirits.
Despite controversy and accusations of fraud, Cook had many supporters, including notable figures like Sir William Crookes, a respected scientist and spiritualist.
Famous Mediums in the Early 20th Century
Edgar Cayce, born in 1877 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, United States, was a famous medium known as the “Sleeping Prophet.”
Cayce’s abilities manifested in his youth, but his readings during self-induced trance states brought him fame. They established his legacy as one of the most documented psychics of the 20th century.
Cayce discovered his psychic abilities in a rather unusual way.
After losing his voice for a year due to a severe case of laryngitis, Cayce entered a self-induced hypnotic state and diagnosed his own condition, suggesting a cure that worked. This event began Cayce’s journey as a famous medium and healer.
Cayce’s readings covered a broad range of topics. He provided information on past lives, medical diagnoses, prophecies, and spiritual advice.
His medical readings, in particular, were quite detailed, often suggesting unconventional treatments that proved effective. In fact, Cayce’s ability to diagnose illnesses and recommend treatments while in a trance state earned him a reputation as a medical intuitive.
His prophecies were another significant aspect of his readings.
Cayce predicted several major world events, including the stock market crash of 1929 and World War II. He also made predictions about earth changes, such as pole shifts and coastal disruptions.
But Cayce’s work extended far beyond readings.
In 1931, he founded the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), an organization dedicated to exploring spirituality, holistic health, intuition, dream interpretation, and ancient mysteries.
His readings form the core of the A.R.E.’s material and continue influencing its programs and conferences.
Edgar Cayce passed away in 1945, but his legacy lives on. His readings, numbering in the thousands, have been preserved and continue to be studied by individuals worldwide.
His life and work have had a lasting impact on the fields of spirituality, holistic health, and psychic phenomena, making him a truly famous medium.
Arthur Ford was a renowned spiritualist medium born in 1896 in Titusville, Florida. Ford claimed to have been contacted by a spirit named “Fletcher,” who would become his spirit guide and assist in his mediumship.
Ford’s mediumship involved direct voice communication and automatic writing. He gained fame for his alleged contact with the deceased Harry Houdini, a claim that remains controversial to this day.
Helen Duncan, born in 1897 in Callander, Scotland, was a famous medium known for her materialization séances. Duncan’s mediumship began in her early twenties, and she quickly gained a following.
Duncan’s séances involved the production of ectoplasm and the materialization of spirit entities.
Her mediumship was so influential that she was arrested and tried under the Witchcraft Act during World War II, making her the last person to be imprisoned under the act.
Alice Bailey, born in 1880 in Manchester, England, was a writer and theosophist who contributed significantly to the New Age movement. Bailey claimed to receive telepathic communications from a Tibetan master, Djwhal Khul.
Bailey’s mediumship involved telepathic dictation, which resulted in a series of books known as the “Blue Books.” These works cover a wide range of esoteric topics, including astrology, meditation, and the evolution of consciousness.
Eileen J. Garrett
Eileen J. Garrett, born in 1893 in Beauparc, Ireland, was a famous medium and parapsychologist whose psychic abilities manifested in childhood.
Despite facing numerous personal challenges, including losing her parents at a young age and a tumultuous upbringing, Garrett’s spiritual experiences gave her a sense of purpose and direction.
Garrett’s mediumship involved trance communications with several spirit controls, the most famous of which was “Uvani,” a spirit who claimed to have lived in 16th-century India.
Other spirit controls included “Abdul Latif,” who purportedly lived in 16th century Persia, and “Leona,” a more contemporary spirit. These entities would speak through Garrett, providing messages and information from the spirit world.
The Parapsychology Foundation, which she founded in 1951, extensively researched Garrett’s abilities.
Based in New York, the foundation was established to support scientific research into psychic phenomena and has since become a respected institution in parapsychology.
Garrett’s work with the foundation contributed significantly to the scientific study of psychic phenomena, helping to bridge the gap between spirituality and science.
In addition to her work as a medium, Garrett was also a prolific writer.
She authored several books on psychic phenomena and spiritualism, including “Adventures in the Supernormal” and “Many Voices: The Autobiography of a Medium.”
These works provide a detailed account of her experiences as a medium and her views on the nature of psychic phenomena.
Garrett’s contributions to spiritualism and parapsychology have left a lasting legacy. Her dedication to exploring the mysteries of the psychic realm from a scientific perspective has helped to bring credibility and understanding to the field of mediumship.
Despite her passing in 1970, her work inspires and informs those interested in studying psychic phenomena.
Famous Mediums in the Mid to Late 20th Century
Jane Roberts, born in 1929 in Albany, New York, was a famous medium known for channeling an entity named “Seth.” Roberts began communicating with Seth in late 1963, and her sessions with him resulted in several books.
Roberts’ mediumship involved trance states during which Seth would deliver philosophical, metaphysical, and practical advice. The “Seth Material” has significantly impacted New Age philosophies.
JZ Knight, born Judith Darlene Hampton in 1946 in Roswell, New Mexico, is a famous medium known for channeling an entity named “Ramtha.”
Knight claims that Ramtha was a Lemurian warrior who lived 35,000 years ago. According to esoteric philosophies, Lemuria was an ancient lost land similar to the mythical Atlantis.
Knight’s journey into mediumship began unexpectedly in 1977 when she was experimenting with pyramids.
During one of these experiments, she claims Ramtha appeared to her for the first time. Since then, Knight has dedicated her life to sharing Ramtha’s teachings.
Knight’s mediumship involves deep trance states during which Ramtha speaks through her.
The teachings of Ramtha, as conveyed by Knight, cover a wide range of topics, including spirituality, philosophy, and science. These teachings, collectively known as the “Great Work,” propose that we are all divine beings capable of creating our reality.
Knight established a school, Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment, in Yelm, Washington. The school offers courses and workshops based on Ramtha’s teachings, attracting students from around the world.
Ruth Montgomery, born in 1912 in Princeton, Indiana, was a journalist turned famous medium.
Montgomery had a successful career as a syndicated columnist for Hearst Headline Service and was also the author of several best-selling books on spiritual and paranormal topics.
Montgomery’s journey into mediumship began with automatic writing, a process in which the medium allows a spirit to control its hand to write messages. She initially used this technique to communicate with deceased friends and acquaintances.
Over time, Montgomery’s mediumship evolved to include the channeling of spirit guides who provided her with information about the future of humanity.
These guides, whom she called the “Guides,” shared messages of a transformative “Shift of the Ages,” a time of significant change and spiritual awakening.
Montgomery’s books, such as “A World Beyond” and “Herald of the New Age,” have influenced New Age circles.
Based on the messages she received from the Guides, these works offer insights into topics like life after death, reincarnation, and humanity’s spiritual evolution.
Montgomery has made a significant contribution to understanding and accepting mediumship and spiritual communication through her writings.
Maurice Barbanel, born in 1902 in France, was a famous medium known for his healing abilities. Barbanel claimed to be a channel for a spirit named “Brother Raphael.”
Barbanel’s mediumship involved trance states during which Brother Raphael would diagnose and prescribe treatments for various ailments. His work as a healing medium brought him international recognition.
Leslie Flint, born in 1911 in London, England, was a famous medium known for his “direct voice” mediumship. Flint’s séances involved the independent voices of spirits speaking in the room, often in complete darkness.
Flint’s mediumship was tested under controlled conditions several times and was never found to be fraudulent.
His séances included detailed messages and recognizable voices from deceased individuals, making him one of the most notable direct voice mediums.
James Van Praagh
James Van Praagh, born in 1958 in Bayside, New York, is a famous medium known for his ability to communicate with spirits.
Van Praagh’s mediumship began in his twenties, and he has since written several books and produced television shows based on his experiences.
Van Praagh’s mediumship involves communicating messages from spirits to their living loved ones, providing comfort and closure.
His work has brought mediumship to mainstream attention and has helped to demystify the process of communicating with the spirit world.
John Edward, born on October 19, 1969, in Glen Cove, New York, is a famous medium known for his television shows “Crossing Over with John Edward” and “John Edward Cross Country.”
Edward’s journey into mediumship began at a young age. He was only 15 when a psychic told him that he would become a world-renowned psychic himself.
Edward’s mediumship involves delivering detailed messages from deceased loved ones, often providing specific names, dates, and events. This ability to provide such clear and personal information has comforted many grieving people and made him a well-known figure in mediumship.
His television show “Crossing Over with John Edward,” which aired from 1999 to 2004, brought Edward international recognition.
The show featured him giving audience members and celebrities readings, connecting them with loved ones who had passed away. His follow-up show, “John Edward Cross Country,” continued this format from 2006 to 2008.
Edward has also written several books, including “One Last Time,” “Crossing Over: The Stories Behind the Stories,” and “Infinite Quest,” which further delve into his experiences as a medium and provide insights into the process of mediumship.
His work has brought a new level of visibility to mediumship, reaching a broad audience through his television shows and books.
Despite the skepticism and controversy surrounding mediumship, Edward has maintained his commitment to his work.
He continues to conduct readings, tours, and workshops, providing messages of hope and comfort to those dealing with the loss of a loved one.
His contributions to the field have helped to demystify mediumship and have brought the concept of afterlife communication into the mainstream.
Sylvia Browne, born in 1936 in Kansas City, Missouri, was a famous medium and author known for frequently appearing on television shows like “The Montel Williams Show.”
Browne’s psychic abilities manifested in childhood; she spent much of her life working as a professional psychic and spiritual teacher.
Browne’s mediumship involved communicating messages from spirits and providing psychic readings. She also claimed to be able to speak with guardian angels and provide information about past lives.
George Anderson, born in 1952 in New York, United States, is one of the most scientifically tested mediums and has been featured in several documentaries and television programs.
Anderson’s abilities manifested after a severe illness in childhood, and he has since dedicated his life to assisting those grieving the loss of loved ones.
Anderson’s mediumship involves detailed and personal messages from the deceased, often providing names, descriptions, and personal memories.
His readings have brought comfort to many and have contributed to the understanding and acceptance of mediumship in the modern world.
Famous Mediums on T.V.
As we moved into the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the rise of television and digital media provided a new platform for famous mediums to reach a broader audience.
This shift brought mediumship into the mainstream, allowing people from all walks of life to witness and engage with the spiritual realm from the comfort of their living rooms.
Television offered a unique opportunity for mediums to demonstrate their abilities on a larger scale.
Shows like “Crossing Over with John Edward,” “The Psychic Detectives,” and “Long Island Medium” became popular, featuring mediums who would communicate with the deceased, often providing comfort, closure, and sometimes even helping to solve crimes.
John Edward, James Van Praagh, and Theresa Caputo are among the famous mediums who have made a significant impact on television.
Their shows have entertained viewers and opened up conversations about spirituality, the afterlife, and the possibility of communication with the deceased.
John Edward’s show “Crossing Over” was one of the first to bring mediumship to mainstream television.
His compassionate approach and the detailed messages he delivered from the deceased to their living loved ones captivated audiences and brought a new level of visibility to mediumship.
James Van Praagh, another famous medium, has also made numerous television appearances.
His ability to deliver messages from the spirit world with empathy and respect has touched many viewers.
Van Praagh’s work has also extended to producing successful television shows like “Ghost Whisperer,” further integrating the concept of mediumship into popular culture.
Theresa Caputo, known as the “Long Island Medium,” has also gained fame through her reality television show.
Caputo’s larger-than-life personality and heartfelt readings have endeared her to many, making mediumship more accessible and relatable to the general public.
The impact of these famous mediums on television extends beyond entertainment. They have significantly shifted societal perceptions of mediumship, making it more accepted and understood.
Furthermore, the presence of famous mediums on television has sparked interest in spiritual practices, leading to an increase in people seeking personal readings and exploring their spiritual beliefs.
It has also inspired a new generation of mediums, contributing to mediumship’s continued growth and evolution.