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New research has shown that spiritualist mediums could be more susceptible to immersive mental undertakings and uncharacteristic auditory experiences early in life. As a result, this could be the explanation behind some people adopting spiritualistic beliefs and engaging in “hearing the dead” practice according to the Durham University-led study.

Mediums can hear spirits because of clairaudient experiences

It is important to note that mediums “hearing” spirits tend to experience clairaudient communications instead of clairsentient (‘sensing’ or ‘feeling’) or clairvoyant (‘seeing’) communications. The researchers studied 65 clairaudient spiritualists’ medium from the National Union of Spiritualists and 143 participants from the general population in the study into clairaudient mediums experiences.

Interestingly, researchers established that the spiritualists do have a tendency for absorption which is a characteristic associated with immersion in imaginative or mental activities or experiences in different consciousness states. Also, mediums are likely to experience unusual auditory phenomena such as hearing voices that often occur early in life. The researchers also found that mediums experiencing absorption or “hearing voices” do encounter spiritual beliefs in the search for supernatural significance or meaning behind their uncharacteristic experiences.

The study published in the Mental Health, Religion and Culture journal is part of the Hearing and Voice study at Durham University through Wellcome Trust funding. Notably, spiritualism is a religious ideology that relies on the assumption that human souls exist after death and they can communicate with the living through a psychic or medium.

The growing interest in spiritualism in Britain

In recent times there has been an increasing interest in spiritualism in Britain with different organizations supporting training and providing services of practicing mediums. Among the largest is the SNU which claims to serve almost 11,000 members through its training churches, centers, and colleges. Through the study, researchers gained insight into how mediums hear spirit voices and linked them to levels of absorption, identity aspects, paranormal belief, and hallucination-proneness. Around 44.6% of the spiritualists claimed that they hear spiritual voices daily with 33.8% reporting clairaudience experience within the previous day.