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The Emergence of a Trance Medium

Posted on 16 May 2011, 20:18

Many of the people who have read my book, The Articulate Dead, and other books reporting on some of the great mediums of the past, such as Leonora Piper, Gladys Osborne Leonard, Eileen Garrett, and Estelle Roberts are inclined to be skeptical of the abilities of those mediums of yesteryear.  They wonder why, if they were genuine, we don’t hear of such mediums today.  Sure, there are clairvoyants and clairaudients demonstrating on TV, but their abilities seem very limited when compared with the trance-voice mediums like Piper, Leonard, Garrett, and Roberts.
With the clairvoyants, we get a word or two or an acknowledgement of some kind passed on to the sitter from the spirit world by the clairvoyant,  but with the trance voice mediums we get actual dialogue, sometimes in the voice of the deceased, or at least in a voice resembling that of the deceased.  Not to take anything away from the clairvoyants, but, generally, the trance-voice and the direct-voice forms of mediumship are much more convincing than the clairvoyant/clairaudient type.

There are two primary reasons, I believe, why we don’t hear much about trance mediums these days.  For one, trance mediumship takes time to recognize and develop.  A hundred years ago, before radio, television, and other distractions, people had more quiet time and therefore there was more opportunity for the person to be passive and for the ability to surface. A potential medium today might so wrapped up in watching American Idol or Dancing with the Stars that she never experiences the passive state required for the spirits to get through. 
A second reason has to do with the fact that around 1930, the nature of the research changed.  It was more or less felt that the survival of consciousness issue had reached the point of diminishing returns or was at an impasse, and so it became necessary to go back and start building all over again.  Psychical research changed to parapsychology and researchers became more interested in psi or ESP, the building blocks leading to the survival issue. Interest in mediumship waned and research in this area became almost non-existent.  Thus, while there were still trance voice mediums around, we didn’t hear about them because researchers didn’t observe them or report on them as they did with those famous names of the late 19th and early 20th Century.  The parapsychologists are still working with the building blocks and the few scientists who have returned to studying mediums have focused on the clairvoyants, since they seem to be more abundant.

There are, however, still some trance mediums around.  Once such medium is Suzanne Giesemann, who was featured in this blog last November.  In that blog entry, which can be accessed by clicking on the November back issues, I discussed Suzanne’s automatic writing or inspirational writing ability, which she had discovered just a year or so earlier.  Suzanne didn’t mention the fact that she was beginning to develop as a trance-voice medium then because she wasn’t quite sure it was real and was reluctant to expose herself to the ridicule that often accompanies such “weird” activity.  While most of the renowned mediums of the past were for the most part uneducated, Suzanne has a master’s degree in National Security Affairs and taught political science at the Naval Academy.  She retired from the U. S. Navy with the rank of commander and is married to a retired Navy captain.  When one has made friends in that company it is not easy to tell them that you are now channeling spirits of the dead. “I have gotten beyond that, finally,” Suzanne told me by e-mail recently.  “The spirit world is very patient with me.”


In an impromptu home circle with a neighbor and the neighbor’s visiting sister, Suzanne concentrated on breathing, allowing herself t relax into a light altered state as she had done each morning in meditation.  “I felt the familiar swirliness of a presence blending with my energy, but the sensations in my head were accompanied by an unfamiliar fullness in my vocal cords,” Suzanne recalls that first experience as a trance-voice medium.  She heard the command “Speak!” but didn’t know what she was supposed to speak about. The urge was so strong that she just opened her mouth and a deep voice with a Russian accent said, “Good evening.” The voice was far deeper than her own and very masculine. As she wondered what next to say, a thought materialized in her mind. and words began to flow.  “You must take a back seat tonight,” the voice transmitted.  “For this we have been coming to you.  For this time.  To answer questions. To give you knowledge of our world….”  Suzanne’s friends sat in awe of what was happening, not sure how to react.  They put questions to the entity using Suzanne’s vocal cords and the voice responded. 
“As this male energy spoke through me, the left corner of my upper lip twitched several times without my consciously doing so,” Suzanne continued. “My head was drawn to a position 45 degrees to the left, held there as if by a magnet. The spirit answered several more questions then the pressure backed off and my head rocked slowly back and forth and from left to right.”  Seconds later, she was drawn to the same position on her right side and a new voice came through.  It was a woman’s voice, soft and sweet with a very proper accent.  She gave her name as “Sally,” and also identified the male voice as “Boris,” but said that names mean nothing to those in the spirit world.  They recognize each other by their personal vibration.  “It is you humans who need to put a label on everything, and so we give you these names as a convenience,” Sally explained.

The three women sat again three days later and the spirits came through again. “We have sat weekly ever since, and the transmissions have gone from stilted and slow to what is shown on the videos. 

It has been a process of learning to trust and surrender completely. The more I surrender, the deeper I go and the more clear their messages.”

While the messages coming from Boris and Sally fall into the category of what is called spiraling mediumship, i.e., teachings, they are not necessarily evidential in themselves.  However, Suzanne does give evidential readings and Boris occasionally pops in. “When he does, the sitter has told me it was exactly what they needed to hear,” Suzanne explains.  “He pinpoints the problem very well if they didn’t already say what it was:  questions over money, a will, a family member’s struggles, whatever.  Boris is the only guide who has ever come through in a reading.  As far as I know he is my only control.”

Suzanne recalled a reading in which a client was sitting across from her.  When her lip twitched, she knew that Boris was there and would tell her something critical the client needs to know.  “He told me the woman wasn’t eating right and was tired.  I told this to the client and she confirmed it. I then looked at her and saw black spots floating in front of her throat and chest.  I KNEW she had cancer, but I couldn’t tell her that.  Then Boris clearly said, ‘Tell her!’ He insisted again, so I said, ‘I have to tell you that I am seeing black spots in front of you here.’  And much to my shock, she said, ‘Yes, it has metastasized.’ And I said, ‘So you know you have cancer?’ And she said, ‘yes.”  Then Boris went on to give her some advice.”

In another reading, Suzanne told her client that she sensed a man present and gave a description of him and his passing.  However, the client did not recognize the man.  “My lip was twitching like crazy – like it had never done, and my head was drawn to where I always sense Boris,” Suzanne continued. “I asked him what was going on.  It turns out I had brought through a woman, not a man, and Boris had been trying to tell me that I was off track.  When I told the client it was a woman and repeated the other evidence, she was able to identify who the spirit present with us was.

In a more recent reading, Suzanne was sitting with a woman and brought through her sister, brother, father, and mother.  “Suddenly, I knew that the client was having thoughts of killing herself and I told her this.  She didn’t deny it, and then Boris came through in a pure channeling session in which he gave her the spiritual repercussions of taking her own life.”

Suzanne also recalled a reading in which a woman’s son gave her the word “lollapalooza.”  “Neither of us had any idea what he was talking about,” she said. “The woman went home and found out that the daughter-in-law (her son’s wife) had been watching a rock concert called Lollapalooza the night before the reading.  This was a wonderful way of letting the family know he was still around.”

During the channeling sessions, Boris almost always comes through first.  “Just last week I realized it may be because his vibration is lower than Sally’s and it is easier to attune to him and bring him through first, then raise myself higher to attune to Sally after I’m deeper, Suzanne continued. “Sally’s answers always seem softer, more loving, and wiser.  Boris is more ‘earthly.’  When a person asks a question I never know which one is going to answer.  My head is drawn right (Sally) or left (Boris) and off they go.  Quite often Sally will add to something Boris says, but never the other way around.  Sally always ends the sessions, and always with words that leave everyone hanging suspended in a cloud of loving energy, on a different plane, saying ‘Wow!’…an amazing feeling.”

Most psychologists would likely say it is all coming from Suzanne’s subconscious.  The wisdom has all been stored away there over the years and is now surfacing when she is in an altered state.  Of course, that doesn’t explain the evidential information that comes through.  Some parapsychologists might say that Suzanne is telepathically reading the minds of the sitters.  That was what many of the researchers of old said about mediums like Piper and Leonard.  When information came through that was unknown to the sitter, they speculated that it is possible to read the minds of anyone in the world or to dip into some cosmic reservoir for information.  Most of the pioneers of psychical research came to accept the spiritistic hypothesis, but there were a few holdouts and some parapsychologists today still subscribe to the subconscious explanation, even though they are unable to explain how an evidential word like lollapalooza can come through.  As researcher Minot Savage once asked, why is the “secondary personality” pretending to be the spirit of some deceased person?  What is its motive?  What makes this secondary personality of so many people such a trickster?
What does Suzanne think?  “The ‘science lesson’ that Boris gave us the other night puts a new twist on things,” she responded.  “I’m not quite sure what to think now, but let’s try.  They tell us there is only one Mind.  All of us are aspects/focuses of that one Mind.  In that regard, there is nothing but parts of our higher selves.  But all of us, both in human form and spirit form have individuality, formed by taking on thoughts and emotions over the span of that particular ‘focus.’  There is no doubt that Boris and Sally are ‘individual’ souls, but perhaps part of the ‘oversoul’ to which I belong.  As Boris mentioned, we are all on the same string, connected to the Center, all resonating perfectly.  Is my Higher Consciousness ‘part’ of me, or is it them?  I don’t know, and it can make one crazy trying to figure it out, so I just go with it and reap the wisdom they share.  Are they part of me?  Are they my higher consciousness?  Are they my imagination?  I don’t know, but I do know that I can’t hold a thought and express it so fluently, non-stop as they do, talking about esoteric subjects.  That comes from Higher Consciousness that we normally don’t have access to in this waking state.  If they are my Higher Consciousness, it has identified itself as a fellow with a Russian accent and an angelic female being who radiates pure love.” 

Pondering a little more on the question, Suzanne added: “A woman once asked Thomas Edison to define electricity.  He smiled at her and said, ‘Madame, electricity IS.  Use it.’  Boris and Sally are there.  I use them and allow them to use me to bring messages of hope to all who care to listen.”

Suzanne Giesemann’s web site can be found at

You can see another video below.


Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.




Can anyone please tell me what a trance medium will experience?
I’ve been told I am one.
My last connection with spirit had my third eye pushing a charge out of my eye brow continuously. I found it hard to breathe and my throat was sore.
I had a band of pain around my head, and then my blood went cold from my legs up through my body and I shivered everyone in the room saw me shaking.
I was at a mediumship workshop and was interrupted with questions, so the connection stopped.
Has anyone experienced this? And is this a sign of trance?
I’d just like to know where I’m at.
My claudiance is clear sentences about my future or comments on my thoughts that are accurate.
I watch people like John Edwards on you tube and cringe.
At the moment I can’t control my hearing. But controlled the physical connection as I asked for it.
I’ve only recently woken up that this is what I am.

Mark, Thu 11 Feb, 02:22

Love what you are doing with the blog man!

Ruth, Mon 23 Jan, 15:25

Received by e-mail from Yvonne Limoges, a Spiritist medium:

  “There are a lot of trance mediums around…they just don’t advertise it.
They are just doing what they do..
Regular people and among Spiritualists and metaphysical groups, too.”

Michael Tymn, Tue 17 May, 09:27

A most interesting and well done piece on a very
interesting medium. Between her discussion of her
own experiences, and your treatment of some of the other historical and current matters, you’ve given us all considerable insight.

Paul D. Biscop, Tue 17 May, 02:46

Interesting comment by Jack (below) in view of the fact that I have never belonged to a church in my life, nor do I subscribe to any one religion, so I would be the last person to “evangelize” ... yet another reason why I and those who know me say that “that’s not me.”

Suzanne Giesemann, Tue 17 May, 02:08

as an alternative perhaps this story by mark twain will enlighten.
He mentions “miserable spiritualism” on page 25.

Online Reader
Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven by Mark Twain

jack, Tue 17 May, 01:05

“...i.e., teachings, they are not necessarily evidential in themselves.  However, Suzanne does give evidential readings ..”
Hopefully the ASPR (or SPR) will have a chance to investigate this medium.
The 2 videos seem to be like tv evangelistic sermons

jack, Mon 16 May, 21:07

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Fallen Soldier Convinces His Famous Father of Life After Death – On September 14, 1915, Second Lieutenant Raymond Lodge, the youngest of six sons of Sir Oliver Lodge, a distinguished British physicist and pioneer in electricity and radio, as well as the former president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, was killed in WWI action in Flanders. Read here
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