It’s a cool night shortly before Halloween and, in a normal suburban house, a group of people has gathered together in a dimly lit room. They sit in a circle of chairs in a living room, not unlike any other, but they are here for a rather unusual reason. Tonight, these people have come to receive messages from the dead.
There is no eccentric, gypsy looking woman leading this circle. Rather, a tall, well-dressed man, with smiling blue eyes, stands at the center of the circle and introduces himself. He is David Scott, an intuitive medium. As he begins to explain who he is and what he does, a reverent hush falls over the crowd. As David explains, he will “blend” with the spirits of those that have passed and deliver messages for people in the room.
“I am what they call a ‘mental medium’. I receive messages from spirit through my sensory experience,” David explains to us. “In other words, through my psychic senses.”
David describes himself as a clairvoyant and clairaudient medium, primarily meaning he receives messages from spirits through sight and hearing. However, messages may also come in the form of taste, smell, or feeling, depending on the message that the spirit would like to convey.
After his introduction, there is little preamble. With a welcoming smile from David, we are ready to begin. David says that he prepares for events like this by “sitting for spirit” on a daily basis. This is similar to a daily meditation process in which he sits in stillness and quiet to raise his energy and power.
“The purpose of sitting is twofold,” David says. “To understand that energy and power and how to plug into it, and to blend with spirit and understand the blending process.”
Since he practices his skill every day, David feels that he has the relationship with spirit that allows him to do these public demonstrations. On this night, messages begin flowing to David after only a few deep breaths. He quickly begins to toss out information he is receiving, in order to see if anyone in the room connects with that evidence. It doesn’t take long before one of the group members recognizes who David is describing.
The accuracy of the messages immediately astounds me. No information was gathered from the attendees before the event and David is strict on not allowing the person he is delivering the message for to provide him with much more than yes or no answers. David makes it clear that he is different than the mediums people are used to seeing on television.
“Mediums that ask leading questions are doing what’s called ‘cold reading’,” says David. “True mediums do not do ‘cold reading’ or ask probing questions.”
Those of us seated in the circle watch with the same expression of rapt interest as David delivers his messages. He connects with the grandmother of a woman across from me and I watch her face transform from mere interest to a smile as David tells her a cheeky message from the deceased woman. However, it is after this that David’s face becomes more serious. I watch his smile melt away as he nods solemnly, communicating with someone unheard by the rest of us.
David begins to describe a woman with brown hair and warm eyes. He tells us that she died young and, although she was a loving person, there is a rough edge to her. The man next to me looks up. The spark of recognition crosses his countenance, but he doesn’t speak. David continues on. He tells us about the woman’s personality; how she loved to laugh and live life on the wild-side. Finally the man speaks up.
“It’s my mother.” The statement is simple but charged with feeling. It seems to reverberate around the room. David gives a sympathetic smile and asks whether the man would like him to continue. The man gives a quick nod. It is in this moment that I am reminded the difficult position David is in as a medium. As a go-between for the spirits and the living, David must temper how to accurately convey the message he is given with the comfort and closure sought by the recipient. In this case, it is a delicate balance.
His voice soft, David tells the man that, as he had suspected, the mother died of an intentional drug overdose. He tells the man how his mother is proud of how he has lived his life and pleased that he found such a strong, supportive woman to marry that keeps him grounded. He explains how his mother wants him to pursue his creative talents, and to believe in himself. The man, who has listened without response, suddenly crumples. The sobs begin, loud and anguished. Someone appears almost immediately with a box of tissues and the room is silent except for the man’s grief.
Although there is sadness to this interaction, it is a cleansing sadness. David has provided the man with an opportunity he might never have had otherwise to speak with his mother again. Although the idea of mediumship can be met with scorn or skepticism, watching this interaction, it is impossible not to believe that there must be merit to it. David was able to connect with the man on a deep, personal level, with no prior knowledge about the man’s mother.
When asked about the purpose of mediumship, David states that it is “to provide evidence that the spirit survives after it leaves the body.” For the living left behind after a loss, the evidence of this survival brings comfort. Much of the fear associated with death comes from the finality of that moment. We fear that the person we loved has been blinked out of existence and is no longer in our lives. Through his mediumship work, David seeks to bridge that gap and remind us of the eternality of the human spirit.
As the circle disbands, I see David and the man share a hug. From their embrace, it is obvious that David acts as more than just a conduit for messages, he empathizes with the recipient’s experience – whether joyous or painful. The night has been emotional and inspiring for everyone in the group, and it takes time for the weight of what we just witnessed to lift. Slowly but surely, the tension breaks and everyone begins to chat and laugh as they had before the reading began. I ask David if, after a mediumship session, he carries any of what he conveyed with him, but he tells me that, with experience, a medium must learn to give the message and let it go.
“Mediums that are beginning their journey have a tendency to hang on to information,” he tells me. “And this can emotionally affect them.”
There is a potluck of food spread out in the dining room, and the guests begin to fill their plates as they discuss the night.
“After an event, is there any way you wind down?” I ask David.
“I do things that will ground me back in this reality,” David says with a grin. “A great way to do this is of course, is eating.” I follow his lead and dig in to the meal. He is the expert, after all.
This piece was written as an exercise in writing literary journalism. The medium described is my friend David, and information about his work can be found on his website at www.DavidScottPsychic.com