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.
- anomalous experiences
- interpretative phenomenological analysis
- mental health