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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Messages are the communications received from the spirit world through the agencies of mediums. Messages can be received in various ways: through a medium’s clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, etc.; through rappings, automatic writing, slate writing, independent writing/voice, table tipping, talking boards, and so on.

The test of a message is its veracity. Many times the information received is not previously known by the sitter and must be investigated. Finding that it is accurate is authentication that the message comes from spirit. There is occasionally criticism by those not familiar with Spiritualism that the messages received are invariably trivial. Yet it is the triviality that provides the greatest proof of life after death, for minor personal details are provided by spirit that could never be known except to the individuals concerned.

Much depends upon the ability of the medium, for many messages are symbolic. A medium may try to interpret the symbolism and do so incorrectly. It is therefore best if a medium simply relays what is seen, heard, or sensed, without trying to interpret it. Professor James Hervey Hyslop (1854–1920) believed that the nature of the medium’s mind might also present a difficulty in clear communication. He gave the example of a spirit being a good visualizer and the medium not being so. Any pictorial message then given might come through very imperfectly.

Psychical investigator Dr. Richard Hodgson (1855–1905) examined the medium Leonore Piper and described three kinds of possible confusion, “(i) the confusion in the spirit; whether he is communicating or not, due primarily to his mental or bodily conditions when living, (ii) the confusion in the spirit produced by the conditions into which he comes when in the act of communicating, (iii) the confusion in the result due to the failure of complete control over the (automatic) writing, or other mechanism of the medium.”

There have been cases of messages that apparently originated from living people, though they were unaware of the transmissions at the time. In most cases this occurred when the living person was asleep. John Worth Edmonds (1816–1874) was the first in America to suggest the living origins of some messages, in his Spiritual Tracts (October 24, 1857). Allan Kardec, the spiritist, was the first to propose the same idea in France.


Shepard, Leslie A: Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology. New York: Avon Books, 1978
References in classic literature ?
I will write a message that you may take to them, and they will follow you.
Three days later a message was left scrawled upon paper, and placed under a pebble upon the sundial.
The impertinence of Lady Lundie's message is no more than I should have expected from her," she said.
But for Lady Janet's message," she thought to herself, "I might have known my fate by this time
And while the message was being read, in her eyes persisted the vision of her mother.
Your native shrewdness, my dear Watson, that innate cunning which is the delight of your friends, would surely prevent you from inclosing cipher and message in the same envelope.
Have you a hut near by, O Chief Bulalio, foe of Dingaan the king, where I, the mouth of the king, may speak with you a while apart, for I would learn your message word by word that I may deliver it without fault.
What was the wonderful message he seemed to give you?
I must go home and give your mother a message, but I shall be back soon.
These are the documents in the extraordinary case of the Gloria Scott, and this is the message which struck Justice of the Peace Trevor dead with horror when he read it.
Then I made another discovery--there was a second message knotted in the rope at about the height of my head.
You can give the message to His Majesty," said Dolgorukov, hurriedly interrupting Bagration.