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Features Archive:

2006 Archive:
The Winchester Mystery House - Ghost Chronicles
December 28, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Investigating Jane Doherty - Ghost Chronicles
December 20, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Shadow People - by Lee Prosser
December 16, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Westford Knight - Ghost Chronicles
December 15, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Haunted Real Estate by Richard Senate
December 13, 2006

Traditions Behind Christmas By Vince Wilson
December 8, 2006

The Haunted Dibbuk Box - Ghost Chronicles
December 6, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Have Ghosts? Will Travel: A Ghostgeek's Guide to the RMS Queen Mary By Jen Brown
December 4, 2006

Thanksgiving: A Day of Forgiveness - by Lee Prosser
December 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

America's Stonehenge - Ghost Chronicles
November 29, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC) - by Jeff Belanger
November 16, 2006

Ghost Hunt Seminar - Ghost Chronicles
November 15, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Ghost Photography: Orbs by Robbin Van Pelt
November 9, 2006

Pet Ghosts - Ghost Chronicles
November 6, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Ghosts Haunt the Inn by Richard Senate
November 3, 2006

Japanese Woman Artist - by Lee Prosser
November 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Ghosts of the Windham Restaurant - Ghost Chronicles
October 30, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

The Salem Witches - Ghost Chronicles
October 23, 2006

Ghostvillage Radio - podcast

Homan House, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: A Preliminary Report by John Sabol
October 20, 2006

What Does Halloween/Samhain Mean to You? - Compiled by Jeff Belanger
October 16, 2006

That is the Way of It - by Lee Prosser
October 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Fooling the Ghost Hunter by Richard Senate
October 11, 2006

Jack Kerouac - by Lee Prosser
October 2, 2006

Column - regular feature

Civil War Re-enactors and the Ghost Experience - by Jeff Belanger
September 15, 2006

Who Goes There in the Shadows? - by Lee Prosser
September 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Engagement and Data Analysis in Symmetrical Field Investigations by John Sabol
September 11, 2006

Occult Warfare by Richard Senate
September 6, 2006

Cats and Other Critters From Beyond the Grave - by Lee Prosser
September 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

Chicago's Strange Angles and Haunted Architecture by Ursula Bielski
August 25, 2006

I Have a Hunch: A Look at Psychics, Mediums, and Clairvoyants - by Jeff Belanger
August 16, 2006

Geof Gray-Cobb - by Lee Prosser
August 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Orbs: Have They Become that Boring? by Tuesday Miles
August 14, 2006

A Night on Char-Man Bridge by Richard Senate
August 7, 2006

Five Union Soldier Ghosts - by Lee Prosser
August 2, 2006

Column - regular feature

A Visit With Author and Witch Kala Trobe - Interview by Lee Prosser
July 26, 2006

Perceptual Stratigraphy: Making Sense of Ghostly Manifestations by John Sabol
July 24, 2006

The Trouble With Witches - by Lee Prosser
July 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

A Look at Our Haunted Lives - by Jeff Belanger
July 13, 2006

An Active Ghost Hunt at a Haunted Bed and Breakfast by Richard Senate
July 7, 2006

Lee Prosser, 1969 - by Lee Prosser
July 4, 2006

Column - regular feature

My Theory on Spirits by Edward L. Shanahan
June 28, 2006

Ethnoarchaeoghostology: A Humanistic-Scientific Approach to the Study of Haunt Phenomena by John Sabol
June 19, 2006

Christopher Isherwood & Lee Prosser in 1969 - by Lee Prosser
June 16, 2006

Column - regular feature

ESP, M&Ms, and Reality - by Jeff Belanger
June 15, 2006

A Duel on the Airwaves by Richard Senate
June 5, 2006

Marjorie Firestone and Her Dream Predictions - by Lee Prosser
June 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

Until Death Do Us Part? by Rick Hayes
May 31, 2006

Part Four: the Conclusion: Primrose Road - Adams St. Cemetery - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
May 22, 2006

Column - regular feature

Folklore, Folklore, Folklore with Dr. Michael Bell - interview by Jeff Belanger
May 16, 2006

Swami Chetanananda and Lee Prosser - by Lee Prosser
May 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Theatre, Sance, and the Ghost Script: Performances at Haunted Locations by John Sabol
May 5, 2006

Willard David Firestone and the River Ghost - by Lee Prosser
May 1, 2006

Column - regular feature

When the Spirits Held Sway at the White House by Richard Senate
April 25, 2006

Part Three: Investigation: Primrose Road - Adams St. Cemetery - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
April 20, 2006

Column - regular feature

Talking Reincarnation with Dr. John Gilbert - interview by Lee Prosser
April 17, 2006

Billy Bob Firestone and the Ghosts of Pythian Castle - by Lee Prosser
April 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Cryptobotany: the Search for Lost Plants by Richard Senate
April 7, 2006

The Mysteries of Druidry Book Excerpt Part 4 of 4 by Dr. Brendan Cathbad Myers
April 6, 2006

Vedanta and Durga - by Lee Prosser
April 2, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Mysteries of Druidry Book Excerpt Part 3 of 4 by Dr. Brendan Cathbad Myers
March 30, 2006

Ritual, Resonance, and Ghost Research: The Play in the Fields by John Sabol
March 27, 2006

The Mysteries of Druidry Book Excerpt Part 2 of 4 by Dr. Brendan Cathbad Myers
March 23, 2006

Celtic This, Druid That, Saint Patrick Hit Me With a Wiffle-Ball Bat - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
March 21, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Mysteries of Druidry Book Excerpt Part 1 of 4 by Dr. Brendan Cathbad Myers
March 16, 2006

Christopher Isherwood, Time Loops, and Ghosts - by Lee Prosser
March 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Druids - by Lee Prosser
March 3, 2006

Column - regular feature

Natural Selection and the Involution of the Gettysburg Ghosts by John Sabol
February 28, 2006

Part Two: Investigation: Primrose Road - Adams St. Cemetery - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
February 20, 2006

Column - regular feature

Lights, Camera... Action! by Brian Leffler
February 16, 2006

Divination and Geomancy - by Lee Prosser
February 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Spirit Messages from a Murderer by Richard Senate
February 8, 2006

The Ghosts of Springfield, Missouri - by Lee Prosser
February 3, 2006

Column - regular feature

The Ghost Storyteller: A Dinosaur Among Lemmings? by Charles J. Adams III
January 23, 2006

The Fools Journey: A Magickal Roadmap to Life - by Marcus Foxglove Griffin
January 20, 2006

Column - regular feature

Tarot and Spiritual Alchemy - by Lee Prosser
January 15, 2006

Column - regular feature

Demons from the Dark by Chip Coffey
January 9, 2006

Spooky - by Lee Prosser
January 3, 2006

Column - regular feature

August 16, 2006

I Have a Hunch: A Look at Psychics, Mediums, and Clairvoyants

By Jeff Belanger

Im not psychic, but when I get a good idea, I sometimes feel it in the pit of my stomach. I feel my body want to lurch forward to see this idea through to completion. Im not psychic, but sometimes I meet people and know I can trust them, and I meet others and know I should never trust them. Im not psychic, but sometimes I walk into places and get an uncomfortable feeling, though theres no obvious explanation for it. Ive stood on battlefields where great carnage took place right where I stood, and I felt a sense of awe and sadness. No, Im not psychic... but I have a hunch.

Is there second sight? A third eye? Fourth dimension? Sixth sense? Though almost all of us have had experiences like I describe above, most of us wouldnt label ourselves as psychics. Why dont we? Maybe the answer is that all of us are sensitive to varying degrees. But what about the people who do slap the psychic, medium, or clairvoyant label on themselves? Today, thousands of psychics are offering their services in magazine ads, on Web sites, on television, and in stores along our Main Streets. Its worth examining how we got here and maybe get a glimpse into where this movement is going. 

Psychics, mediums, and clairvoyants. Because these terms are often used interchangeably, and their meanings often confused, I thought wed start with some general definitions. Psychic refers to the realm of mental powers such as ESP, telepathy (mind reading, for example), psychokinesis, and the ability to glean the past, present, and future; Medium is a person who communicates with the spirits of the deceased; and Clairvoyant is a person who can see beyond the normal sense of sight. Some people claim to have all three of these gifts while others may only lay claim to one or two of these abilities. Many people also use the term Sensitive to mean a person who has these abilities to a lesser extentfeelings more than images and voices.

Throughout history there have been those who believe they had some mental powers beyond the realm of our normal understanding of the human senses. Even in the Bible, I Corinthians 12:7-11, the passage discusses gifts God bestows on man for the greater good:

[7] Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. [8] To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, [9] to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, [10] to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. [11] All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

History and religious texts are full of those who claim to be able to see the future, to communicate with the dead, and who can read your mind. Ancient Greece had its Oracle at Delphi priestesses who were consulted over subjects ranging from when to plant the crops to where and how to wage war against enemies of the state.

In the backwoods and off-the-beaten-paths there were also those who werent endorsed by any governments nor mainstream society, but who were consulted nonetheless. These people had many labels over the centuries, but witch was the most common. There have always been those who have been perceived as gifted by some supernatural force and who were sought after because of insight they may have been able to offer. But what about our modern notion of psychics and mediums? That idea got started on Friday, March 31, 1848.

Mrs. Fish and the Misses Fox. The original mediums of the mysterious noises at Rochester, Western New York. circa 1852 On the evening of this fateful day in Hydesville, New Yorkabout 20 miles outside the city of Rochester in a small farmhouse that had a reputation for being hauntedthe Fox family made a connection with the spirit world. John and Margaret Fox and their two daughters Kate and Margaretta had only been living in the house for four months when they first heard a strange knocking sound on the walls and disembodied footsteps throughout the home. Some of the raps were subtle; others were strong enough to shake the frames of the beds they slept in. The Fox sisters detected some kind of personality to the knocking and so they gave it a name: Mr. Splitfoot. The Fox family worked out a system where two knocks meant yes, and silence meant no. Spirit communication, according to the Foxes, was then established.

By the end of the weekend, the Fox sisters claimed they could communicate with the spirit of a dead man who conveyed that he was murdered on the property. Hundreds of people had witnessed the phenomenon in the farmhouse in the first few days. The Fox sisters went on to great notoriety and took their medium show onto stages around the northeastern United States. From those strange, early Spring raps on the wall, the sisters from Hydesville brought psychics into the mainstream, into the realm of entertainment, and in the process, started a new religion called Spiritualism that is still alive today.

Over the next few decades, the Spiritualist faction with its psychics and mediums heated up. In 1861, this movement received a significant push from the United States Civil War. Thousands were dying in the battle and grieving families werent getting all of the answers they needed or wanted from their traditional religions. But this growing movement of mediums offered promises of actual communication with fallen loved ones. Suddenly thousands were seeking medium services. Products like the Talking Board (better known by its modern brand name Ouija) were born, and practices such as spirit photography also got their start in this time period. Mediums held sances, others claimed to possess supernatural powers such as the ability to levitate or tip tables. Belief systems in the Western world were diversifying, and people were finding tangible proof of higher powers at work in the realm of psychics and mediums.

By the middle of the 1880s, the Fox sisters were struggling with the religion they may have unwittingly started. The women turned to alcohol to cope with the issues in their lives. Defenders of the faith claim the pressure of the gift was too much for them to bear. Detractors said the sisters consciences were starting to get the better of them and they drank to escape the guilt they felt for being a fraud. In 1888, Margaretta Fox made a speech denouncing their abilities saying everything was a sham. The mysterious knocks were said to come from the girls who could snap their big toe against the toe next to it inside of a boot to make an echoing response to any question asked. But even with the recant (and eventual re-recant of Margaretta), the belief system survives because enough followers were impressed with the psychic abilities of those in the faith.

The field has always had its charlatansthose who have attempted to cash in on the gullible, the foolhardy, and the grievingbut there have also been a few along the way who seemed to defy even some of the skeptics. Edgar Cayce, for example, spent over four decades placing himself into a deep, trance-like sleep where he could answer questions about topics that conscious Cayce could have no way of knowing. His assistants filled notebooks with his nuggets of wisdom and prophecies. 

Others have come along and risen to a great deal of acclaim with book deals, television and radio shows, and public appearances. Many have questioned the legitimacy of these folks (and with good reason in most cases), but despite the accuracies, inaccuracies, and the words of the disbelievers, the mediums not only survive, but seem to gain ground. 

Ive interviewed many psychics over the years, some who seem very genuine, and many have echoed similar sentimentslike they have good days and bad days with their abilities; that sometimes the people their customers want to come through just dont; and often the messages might not make sense at the time but may later. Its imperfect, we know. But theres something to this ability that draws in our curiosity and keeps us coming back. 

Psychics arent just found on paranormal radio shows and in gypsy shops either. This morning I was watching faith healer, preacher, and television personality, Benny Hinns live television show and he interviewed author Dr. Charles D. Pierce, President of Glory of Zion International Ministries in Denton, Texas. Dr. Pierce claimed God spoke to him on a flight into Washington, DC recently and gave him very specific details about what the coming month holds. Pierce claimed that God said August 15, 2006 would be the beginning of a change in the Middle East. We know from watching the news that Israel and Lebanon are so far honoring their cease-fire. Dr. Pierce went on to claim that by September 15th there would be a coming together of Gods people for a new stand in unity. No matter how many follow-up questions Benny Hinn asked Dr. Pierce, Pierce had a reply with further details, always prefaced with God told me 

Dr. Pierce, of course, isnt the only religious figure today who claims to receive messages about the future from God. Are the messages divine? Or just a hunch? Because of Dr. Pierces belief system, does he interpret his hunches and ideas as being from God? I dont know. But I do know that even in our modern times with science providing so many innovations and answers, we still need our prophets, we still need magic, and we still need tangible proof of something beyond the veil of death. Certain factions of Christianity have people like Dr. Pierce. Those who are less religiously inclined have many psychics and mediums to choose from who can offer the same comfort that at least someone knows what the future holds. 

Is spirit communication for real? Ask any of the billions of religious people who attend their churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques if they believe their god(s) hear them. Likely they have a hunch that something or someone divine is on the receiving end of their prayers. When we lose a loved one, someone really close, and we sense their presence nearby, or smell their perfume or cologne for some unknown reason, did we just brush the spirit of our loved one? Was it a sign just for us? I think so. Call it a hunch.

We all act on hunches. We do it in sports (I think the quarterback is going to throw wide, so Im going to leave my man uncovered and try to sneak in for an interception), we act on business hunches (investing in some new technology you think will change the world in some way and reap its investors great financial gain), and we do it in our lives (Im going to talk to that girl at the gym who looked over at me a few times and see if she wants to go get some coffee). All are hunches on what the future may holdideas pulled from our life experience, and maybe pulled a little bit from the ether. Some people listen to their good hunches and reap the rewardswe can all think of star athletes, coaches, business people, and those who simply live a very full life doing what they love. Other times we seek the advice of others because we trust their hunches. Theres something to it.

Psychics and mediums are here to stay. Religions will assimilate and incorporate them, parts of society will continue to shun them (because it never has been, nor will it ever be universally accepted), and they will always be closeby, because we just never know when well need to seek their counsel.

On the most mundane of levels, psychics and mediums offer us entertainment and thrills. But theres that part of us that wonders if maybe they really are in touch with something beyond our physical world, that hopefully someone knows whats coming and can give us some kind of insight into our own future, and that there is indeed some connection between our world and whatever comes next.

Jeff Belanger founded on October 31, 1999. Since then, Jeff has gone on to become an author and lecturer on all things supernatural.

2014 Haunted New England Wall Calendar by Jeff Belanger photography by Frank Grace
Check out the 2014 Haunted New England wall calendar by Jeff Belanger and photography by Frank Grace!

Paranormal Conferences and Lectures
Don't miss the following events and lectures:

Jeff Belanger and “The Bridgewater Triangle” at Dedham Community Theatre - April 6, 2014 9:00PM

The Spirits of the Mark Twain House - Hartford, Connecticut - April 12, 2014

Paracon Australia - East Maitland, New South Wales, Australia - May 10-12, 2014