Family Life

Mediums vs. Psychics: Is there a Difference?

posted: 09/23/11
by: Natalie Kilgore
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Tarot card readings are one of the staples of the psychic community.
Floris Leeuwenberg/The Cover Story/Corbis
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Tarot cards, Ouija boards and astrological charts -- sometimes it's hard to remember if these are instruments of psychics, mediums or both. The overwhelming presence of both types of seers in today's culture can leave a person wondering how each group functions in the paranormal world, and many make the mistake of thinking that both have the same supernatural skill set. The truth is, while both groups claim to have a sixth sense, they are two very different entities.

So how is a psychic different from a medium? Psychics are people who say they have multiple supernatural talents, such as the ability to peer into a crystal ball to see the future or discern your fate with a deck of tarot cards. Through precognitive powers, psychics claim to be clairvoyants -- people who see the past, present and future. They typically answer questions and offer advice to clients about stuff like health, money and love. Some psychics even assert they're telekinetic -- able to move objects with their minds -- and others maintain they can set people or objects on fire using only their thoughts.

Mediums are different from psychics in that their claim to fame is communicating with the deceased, or spanning the physical and spiritual worlds. Famous mediums, like John Edward and Allison DuBois, appear on television shows and write bestselling books about their abilities to communicate with the dead, and these types of seers are generally seen in a positive light by the public. Some critics argue that mediums are more popular than psychics due to mediums' tendency to possess a higher level of perceived credibility. This may be because mediums generally receive more favorable attention in the press.

The tools of the trade are different, too. For example, psychics often work with a variety of stereotypical items like tarot cards, palms or astrological charts and have no standard set of practices. Mediums, on the other hand, usually convey descriptions of information or images provided by spirits that have significant personal and often private meanings to their client

Most religions have faith that an afterlife exists, so the idea that a medium can communicate with a deceased person's spirit might be more believable than a psychic predicting the future based on a palm reading. Even if mediums are more respected than psychics, both professions are equally lucrative. But how does their prevalence in our culture influence people in society today?

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Psychic Readings are popular with many different groups.

If you want your fortune told or wish to speak with a long lost relative, it isn't difficult to find a psychic or a medium in today's supernatural-obsessed world. Before the digital age, psychics and mediums were usually found at traveling circuses, annual carnivals and town fairs. Today, it seems impossible to go a day without seeing an ad for a psychic hotline or a medium's best-selling memoir. Even if you don't believe psychics and mediums are real, the combination of newspaper advertisements, television commercials and pop-up Internet ads selling seers' powers can be an overwhelming presence that's hard to resist.

A large slice of the U.S. public is consulting a psychic or medium for guidance or advice. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reports that about 1 in 7 Americans met with a psychic or fortune teller in 2009. However, to participate in a one-on-one reading, prepare to dig deep into your pockets for some hard-earned cash. To chat with a psychic on the phone, you can expect to pay an average of $3.99 per minute, and the rate could increase during the call. The cost of personally meeting with a psychic usually depends on the years of experience, ranging in price from $50 to $100 for a one-hour reading. By comparison, mediums have been known to charge upward of $200 for a single, one-hour reading, but in some places, it's possible to meet with a medium for a much lower cost or even for free! Spiritualist Churches -- often owned and operated by mediums -- sometimes offer Mediums' Days, where they'll provide their services to the public for a small donation, or in some cases, for no charge at all.

Regardless what (or if) you pay for the services of a medium or psychic, as long as you know what to expect, you'll most likely have a good time. Even the most renowned mediums won't be able to grant you a long, in-depth chat with a deceased loved one, as speaking with the dead is not an exact science and usually involves more images than words. But if you're open-minded and looking for a glimpse of paranormal proof, a message from a deceased loved one or even some otherworldly guidance, seeking out a seer may be right for you.

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