Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses of Mediumistic and Psychic Experiences

  • Julie Beischel, PhD Windbridge Institute, LLC
  • Chad Mosher, PhD Windbridge Institute, LLC
  • Mark Boccuzzi Windbridge Institute, LLC

Abstract

Mediums are individuals who report experiencing regular communication with the deceased; the phenomenon of mediumship has been reported in cultures all over the world since time immemorial. The current study examined similarities and differences in the reported experiences of secular American mediums (those not associated with any formal religious organization) during mediumship readings involving communication with the deceased and during psychic readings for/about the living. Participant responses to two counter-balanced, open-ended online survey items were quantitatively analyzed using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) text analysis software and qualitatively analyzed using a content analysis methodology. Participants included 113 self-identified mediums and 14 Windbridge Certified Research Mediums; over 90% were white females; their average age was 54.2 ± 9.6 years; 97% reported being able to distinguish between mediumistic and psychic experiences; and 122 provided complete survey responses. Statistically significant differences between descriptions of mediumistic and psychic experiences were seen regarding the proportion of words included in the LIWC categories of: social processes (11.76% ± 5.8% vs. 9.93% ± 5.64%, p=0.004); perceptual processes (6.63% ± 4.31% vs. 4.81% ± 3.81%, p<0.001); ingestion (0.23% ± 0.57% vs. 0.05% ± 0.20%, p<0.001); past-focused time orientation (3.09% ± 3.23% vs. 2.06% ± 3.19%, p=0.001); religion (0.90% ± 0.11% vs. 0.34% ± 0.09%, p<0.001); and insight (5.06% ± 2.97% vs. 6.48% ± 4.30%, p=0.002). The proportion of words describing positive and negative emotions, present-focused and future-focused time orientation, health, and money were not different. Qualitative content analysis found three overarching, summative themes regarding mediumistic communication: preparation, communication triangulated, and experience of the communication. Four overarching, summative themes emerged from the text regarding psychic readings for the living: establishing the connection, experiencing the connection, content of the reading, and psychic information flowing from various sources. Perhaps most interesting is the finding that experiences of psychic connections during readings for the living included “non-specific discarnates” as a source of information; this strongly calls into question theoretical frameworks that posit separating mediums’ experiences into categories that do and do not involve communication with the deceased as well as the continued use of terminology reflecting such a separation.


This study was supported by a research bursary (#372/14) from the Bial Foundation.

Author Biographies

Julie Beischel, PhD, Windbridge Institute, LLC

Julie Beischel received her doctorate in Pharmacology and Toxicology with a minor in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Arizona in 2003. She previously served as Director of Research at the Windbridge Institute, LLC (2008-2017) and is currently Director of Research at the Windbridge Research Center, an Arizona non-profit corporation. She uses her interdisciplinary training to apply the scientific method to controversial topics. Dr. Beischel's research mainly focuses on people who report experiencing regular communication with the deceased (mediums) and those who receive mediumship readings (sitters); specifically, the accuracy and specificity of the information mediums report; their experiences, psychology, and physiology; and the potential social applications of mediumship readings. She is the author of the e-books Among Mediums, Meaningful Messages, and From the Mouths of Mediums and the author of the paperback book Investigating Mediums. 

Chad Mosher, PhD, Windbridge Institute, LLC

Chad Mosher, PhD, Research Associate at the Windbridge Institute, LLC, holds a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from The University of Memphis, and a Masters in Mental Health Counseling from Idaho State University. Dr. Mosher is primarily interested in the potential therapeutic applications of the current research at the Windbridge Institute (e.g., mediumship as a counseling intervention), as well as cultural aspects of mediumship, survival of consciousness, and healing. He is trained as a child and family therapist, in therapeutic modalities such as play therapy, art therapy, and sand tray, and utilizes humanistic and post-modern (i.e., multiculturalism, social constructionism) interventions within the counseling relationship. His prior research focused on culture, identity, and phenomenological experience and used qualitative methodologies.

Mark Boccuzzi, Windbridge Institute, LLC

Mark Boccuzzi previously served as a researcher at the Windbridge Institute, LLC (2008-2017) and is currently the  Executive Director of the Windbridge Research Center, an Arizona non-profit corporation, and the managing editor of Threshold: Journal of Interdisciplinary Consciousness Studies. Mark has spent more than a decade investigating spontaneous cases of apparitions and related haunting phenomena. Mark’s research interests include mediumship, intuition, animal psi, applied psychokinesis, photographic anomalies, distant mental interactions on living systems, and instrumental transcommunication (ITC). He is the author of Visualizing Intention: Art Informed by Science.

Published
2017-12-29
How to Cite
BEISCHEL, Julie; MOSHER, Chad; BOCCUZZI, Mark. Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses of Mediumistic and Psychic Experiences. Threshold: Journal of Interdisciplinary Consciousness Studies, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 2, p. 51-91, dec. 2017. ISSN 2575-2510. Available at: <http://tjics.org/index.php/TJICS/article/view/17>. Date accessed: 17 dec. 2018.