Reframing voices and visions using a spiritual model: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of anomalous experiences in mediumship

Elizabeth C Roxburgh, Chris A Roe

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


Throughout different civilisations and historical epochs, anthropological and religious texts have been replete with accounts of persons who have reported anomalous experiences in the form of visions or voices. In these contexts, such experiences are considered to be a “gift” that can be spiritually enriching or life enhancing. One such group of individuals are mediums who claim to receive information from spirits of the deceased in the form of auditory or visual perceptions. This study explores how mediums come to interpret their experiences as mediumistic and how they describe their relationship with spirit voices. In-depth interviews were conducted with 10 Spiritualist mediums using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Three themes were identified: “Childhood anomalous experiences”, “A search for meaning: Normalisation of mediumship”, and “relationship with spirit”. These themes illuminated aspects of the mediumistic experience that have therapeutic implications for individuals who have similar experiences but become distressed by them.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Pages (from-to)641-653
Number of pages13
JournalMental Health, Religion and Culture
Issue number6
Early online date19 Mar 2014
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Mar 2014



  • Mediumship
  • anomalous experiences
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • mental health
  • spiritualism

Cite this