Articles about Spirituality

Musings of a Bewildered Psychic - Brief History of Psychic Phenomenon
By:Michele Francoise Gerard

Ever have one of those days where you knew there was something you were forgetting but just couldn't put your finger on it? Sure, everybody has. Now, take that feeling and go a step further. Someone whom you can't see or hear is speaking to you on a telephone with extremely poor reception and all you can get are the words, "He knows."

Add to this the fact that lights are flickering off as you pass them walking along a dark street. Finally, in desperation and with an exasperating tone you say aloud, "Okay, okay, I get it. I know! Now, tell me, just what is that I'm supposed to know?" Suddenly, the line falls silent and you're left with a slight sense of frustration; a bewildering angst of unresolved questions.

This is how some of my first encounters with the spirit world would occur. And, as confusing as it all seemed, I really wanted to understand. I guess, in a way that I really did know; at least in retrospect. They were just acknowledging the fact that I could hear them and perceive their presence. Guess you might say that the spirit world does have a sense of humor. Like any dry wit, it takes a while for the punch line to sink in.

Fear of the Unknown

For some reason I've never experienced the fear some of the present generation of psychics seem to be relating. Of course, I never was exposed to some of the ghastly horror flicks on the market today. In my day the most we feared was a can of split pea soup being vomited from a young lady who just couldn't keep her head on straight. That's a scene from "The Exorcist" for those too young to know.

In reality, based on my humble but widely accrued experience with spirits, there is nothing to fear. Respect perhaps, fear absolutely not. Respect is a must in the sense that not all spirits are well-intended. As I will explain later, some spirits can be confused to downright malevolent; a good reason to seek the advice of more experienced psychics.

Can a spirit do someone harm? Although physical harm is a possibility in very rare instances, most ghosts have only the slightest ability to move or manipulate objects in this plane. Most of the time an entity is more concerned with communicating than they are in frightening someone. In fact, frightening someone is the very last thing they want because it only adds murkiness to the already dense medium through which they have to communicate.

Beyond Ghosts and Goblins

Of course, not all psychic communications are with spirits. In fact, one of the first signs of spiritual development is empathic ability. The term empathic literally means understanding and entering into another's feelings. In short, we can feel what another person is feeling. For a young empathic this can seem very odd, extremely confusing, and a bit embarrassing at times. Anger, for instance, is a very powerful emotion that can be easily picked up.

The problem for the new empathic isn't reading the emotion as much as it is separating it out from personal emotions. In fact the boundaries can become so blurred that the unwitting empathic will absorb these negative energies as his/her own. As a result the empathic will frequently be seen as moody or become frequently depressed.

For this reason, it is important that the empathic to learn how to meditate properly. In addition to meditation, learning how to properly cleanse and protect one's aura is also a must. Most of these techniques will be discussed in more detail further along. As an introduction to certain psychic skill sets I will attempt to keep things brief at this point.

The Clair Talents

The Clair Talents are made up of three separate types of psychic perception. Clair is derived from the French word meaning clear. The first of these perceptions is Clairvoyance meaning clear seeing.

To get an understanding of what clairvoyance is like, imagine sitting in a classroom listening to a very dull speaker. As an escape, your mind starts to drift off imaging other places you'd rather be. Although you're not really there your mind imagines it is, conjuring up fanciful images (trance state). This is very similar to how and what a clairvoyant sees. The only difference is that the clairvoyant is receiving these images from external energies.

The second form of Clair Talents is Clair-audience. Clair-audience is the ability to hear clearly. Unlike the images seen with clairvoyance, clairaudience is more akin to an inner dialogue. Just as I mentioned previously with the "He knows" communication, there are no actual voices except those arising from an inner spiritual awareness.

Third and last of the Clair Talents is Clair-essence and although you may not find this term in any dictionary, it is probably the best word I can find to describe what I like to think of as "Angel Speak." Think of this in terms of the phrase, "One picture can hold a thousand words." With Clair-essence, the psychic is given what appears to be a single image, word, or emotion from which unravels all sorts of information.

One way a psychic may describe Clair-essence is like being stuck on a record track. The information just starts to flow out in a continuous line until the message is finished. For me it was like being presented a vision with the image of a heart that was scarred with dark tarlike patches. On the surface the symbolism presented one thing, however, deep inside the image additional information was made available; the essence of the symbolism.

Many Levels of Awareness

Now that we have a brief concept of how a psychic may connect with the spirit world, it is important to remember that they are concepts and not absolutes written in stone. For instance, one psychic may describe seeing images in their mind while another may literally be seeing an apparition appearing in their environment. This doesn't mean that one or the other is wrong or right, rather that they have developed different reference points of awareness.

Each and every person in this world has some form of psychic awareness, however rudimentary it may be. It is our spiritual self or what may be termed higher self that decides what, how, and if to incorporate these gifts. Some may have one gift they're specifically focused on while others may have several all at once. Still, others may choose very minimal spiritual awareness in order to pursue more worldly ambitions.

It all comes down to the direction of our higher self and how it sees best to contribute to and understand the lessons this life has to offer. Even before we enter this life, our higher self chose who we would be, the circumstances we would develop in, and what kind of lessons would be learned. One may be born to live their life as a thief and in the end be hung, while another may be considered a saint. Neither life is more valid than the other when you consider the overall scope and purpose of the lessons involved.

Brief History of Psychic Phenomenon

Throughout the span of human history, psychic gifts have been both venerated and feared. Depending on the politics and perceptions of the time and region, a person could either be considered possessed by the devil in fear of death or canonized as a saint.

Fourth and Fifth Century BCE

The belief in psychic abilities has been documented as far back as the 4th and 5th centuries BCE with the introduction of the Delphic Oracles at the Temple of Apollo in Greece. Interesting to note is that according to tradition the Sybil or priestess of Delphi would sit on a tripod over an opening in the earth. Through this opening, gas would flow overtaking the oracle and throwing her into a violent trance.[1. John Roach (2001-08-14). "Delphic Oracle's Lips May Have Been Loosened by Gas Vapors". National Geographic. Retrieved March 8, 2007.]

First Century AD

Saint Malachy, the 12th century bishop of Armagh in Northern Ireland. According to the traditional account, in 1139, Malachy was summoned to Rome by Pope Innocent II. While in Rome, Malachy purportedly experienced a vision of future popes, which he recorded as a sequence of cryptic phrases. This manuscript was then deposited in the Roman Archive, and thereafter forgotten about until its rediscovery in 1590.

Fifth to Sixteenth Century AD

Along about the 5th to 16th centuries came the fall of the western Roman empire and the rise of Christianity, otherwise known as the Middle Ages or Dark Ages as some would refer to it. During this period even the mention, let alone practice of divination was considered heresy and punishable by death. Not a great era for free thinking least of all talking or acting like you might know something more than the average Joe. [2. Robinson, F.C. (October 1984). "Medieval, the Middle Ages". Speculum 59 (4): 745-56. doi:10.2307/2846695.]

Towards the end of this period, during the early to mid 1500's, Nostradamus came into the picture as a highly regarded seer of his day. His prophetic abilities were so accurate that his reputation almost became his undoing. Remember, we're still in the Dark Ages albeit a little farther along in understanding. As a result, Nostradamus began using an almost cryptic prose to disguise the more controversial nature of his prophecies. [3. Wilson, Ian, Nostradamus: The Evidence, 2002]

Around the same period, Ursula Southeil (c. 1488 - 1561), better known as Mother Shipton, was an English soothsayer and prophetess. The first publication of her prophecies, which did not appear until 1641, eighty years after her death, contained a number of mainly regional predictions, but only two prophetic verses -- neither of which foretold the End of the World, despite widespread assumptions to that effect.[4. Mother Shipton's Prophecies (Mann, 1989)]

One of the most notable editions of her prophecies was published in 1684.[5. Mother Shipton's Prophecies (Mann, 1989)] It states that she was born in Knaresborough, Yorkshire, in a cave now known as Mother Shipton's Cave, and was reputed to be hideously ugly. The book also claims that she married Toby Shipton, a local carpenter, near York in 1512 and told fortunes and made predictions throughout her life.

Author's Note: Although psychic abilities consist of more than prognostication, most of what has survived in documented evidence is that of the seer or prophet. Regrettably, this being the case, most psychics have inherited the misnomer of being called fortune tellers. Knowing the future may be important to some; however, it does not address the importance of spiritual development in the present.

Modern Psychics

Madam Blavatsky - Medium/Spiritualist Born Helen Von Hahn August 12, 1831 - Died May 8, 1891

It was in 1873 that she immigrated to New York City. Impressing people with her professed psychic abilities, she was spurred on to continue as a psychic medium. Being a Medium (among other psychical and spiritual sciences of the time), was based upon the belief known as Spiritualism which began at Rochester, NY, was a widely popular and fast-spreading field upon which Blavatsky based her career.

Throughout her career she claimed to have demonstrated physical and mental psychic feats which included levitation, clairvoyance, out-of-body projection, telepathy, and clairaudience. Another claim of hers was materialization, that is, producing physical objects out of nothing, though in general, her interests were more in the area of 'theory' and 'laws' rather than demonstration. [1. Blavatsky, Helena, Isis Unveiled, pg. xlv, Theosophical University Press: Pasadena, 1877.]

Edgar Cayce - Trance Psychic Born Edgar Cayce March 18, 1877 - Died January 3, 1945

He is said to have demonstrated an ability to channel answers to questions on subjects such as health or Atlantis, while in a self-induced trance. Though Cayce considered himself a devout Christian and lived before the emergence of the New Age Movement, some believe he was the founder of the movement and had influence on its teachings. [2. York, Michael (1995). The Emerging Network: A Sociology of the New Age and Neo-Pagan Movements. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 60. ISBN 0847680010.]

John Edward - Psychic Medium Born John Edward McGee, Jr. October 19, 1969

Mr. Edward is an American television personality, and psychic medium. He is best known for his TV shows Crossing Over with John Edward and John Edward Cross Country, both of which are premised on Edward communicating with the spirits of the audience members' deceased relatives.

For more information about John Edward visit: http://www.johnedward.net/

Spotting a Fraud

Using the word fraud might seem a little harsh; however, there are those for whom the shoe does fit. A note of caution should be used when deciding whether someone is a fraud or not. As many of those who are dishonest, are those who have unwittingly taken on a role above their head. Aside from the unwitting and ill-meaning, is the simple fact that being a psychic isn't exactly a hard science. In fact, it takes many years to hone one's skill to a fine art of divination.

In the following outline, I've listed several traits to look for in spotting a possible fake.

1. Giving advice contrary to normative values

Reason: Normative values are those which are considered conducive to positive self-esteem and growth. They enable a person to retain their integrity and autonomy within the bounds of their native set of circumstances.

Tip: If a psychic tells you outright that you need to get a divorce; beware. It may be true, he or she may need to ultimately consider a divorce; however, the normative way of approaching this would be to seek the advice of a certified therapist or counselor, and to address safety concerns in a similar manner.

Unless the psychic is a trained and licensed therapist, counselor, and/or physician; always seek the advice of an expert in the field of concern. Psychic advice should only be treated with the expressed need to follow up with a trained professional.

Example: Several years ago a young lady asked me to do an impromptu reading for her to prove my psychic abilities. As I focused on her situation, I started to relate information about an ex-husband whom she divorced because he was very violent. In addition, I told her that she needed to tell him to get to a doctor as-soon-as possible due to his high blood pressure.

She was immediately stunned by the accuracy of the information and confirmed that he had recently been turned down for insurance because of his high blood pressure. In this situation I did not just state he had high blood pressure but also included the statement, "... he needed to see a doctor asap."

The information was accurate but because it contained sensitive medical information, getting the assistance of sound medical advice was prudent advice. If you do get advice that you feel might require a more trained specialist, always do so without hesitation.

2. Guessing games or fishing for clues (Cold Readings)

Reason: A genuine psychic may not be fully informed of the situation at hand but they will receive some information to work with. A simple response of yes or no should suffice till the end of the reading. The aim of the reading is to validate its authenticity by providing information the reader should not otherwise be aware of.

Tip: If a psychic asks for the nature of the requested reading, it's alright although not altogether a good validation. When a psychic starts phrasing a series of questions rather than providing statements of information; he or she may be on a fishing expedition, otherwise known as a "cold" reading. Also, be aware that over generalized statements may be "cold" methods as well.

Example: As a practice, when I'm conducting a reading, I will not ask for or encourage the querent to give the nature of the question at hand. My philosophy is that the reading is not about me, nor will I limit the spirits to what needs to be addressed. Although the querent may have a valid question, spirits may be aware of more pressing matters that need to be addressed.

On one occasion while conducting readings in a group of people, the querent stated her question which was, "I have two jobs I'm considering and was wondering which one would be better?" Each person in the group provided their metaphysical input. When it came my turn to read her it had nothing to do with the jobs at all. Instead, the spirits had me focus on a disruptive influence that was surrounding her situation.

Despite the fact I felt compelled to give her the answers she was looking for; I was able to give her information indirectly related to her job quest. Not only did she receive helpful information but it also validated something she had been otherwise trying to ignore.

3. Scamming or "It's too good to be true."

Reason: Real psychics will rarely ask for anything above and beyond what has been agreed upon prior to the reading. They should never ask for privileged personal identification information such as social security numbers, bank account information, etc. If you're providing a credit card for payment, the most you will be required to show is a photo ID; otherwise, you are under no obligation to provide anything else.

Also, beware of scams that require you to provide large sums of money in exchange for a promise of making even more. Scams like this also tend to have strict deadline requiring you to react impulsively before you lose out.

Tips: If at all possible, provide payment in the form of cash only. Carry only the amount of money needed to pay for the reading. This will not only keep your identity secure but will also allow you to react less impulsively when a scam is being employed.

Never provide any personal information that might open you up to an identity theft. Although not all psychics are scam artist, it is always better to be safe than sorry in the end.

Example: Any time I've gone for a personal reading I've always used strictly cash for all transactions. I have never been required to provide any personally identifiable information. Only once have I received a reading only to find out that the reader wanted additional funds for a healing session. I had called her in advance and already established the set fee. As a result, I only had those funds available and had no problem politely refusing. Needless to say, I never went to that reader again.

As a matter of practice, as a reader myself, I charge only a very modest fee under $50, if any. All in personal transactions are done by cash only. The only exception to this is for online readings which of course require a credit card. A good psychic knows that a good reputation is more valuable than gold and will do nothing to compromise that.


1. As spiritual beings, we've come far enough in our understanding to be a little less ignorant than dangerous; however, the fact still looms that we have a lot farther to go.

2. Psychics, Mediums, Prophets and Seers have existed since antiquity into the present. Their existence stands as a testament that true psychic abilities are not only real but represent the best wonders humanity has yet to fully embrace.

3. Always arm yourself by doing your research, being prepared, and most of all go with the greater caution of common sense.

Michele Gerard is a seasoned Psychic Medium with over 30 years experience. In addition to being psychic he is also very adept at astrology, numerology, and tarot. With a 98% accuracy rate Michele's insights into the spirit realm are, in a word, phenomenal.