“Say from whence you owe this strange intelligence”: investigating explanatory systems of spiritualist mental mediumship using interpretative phenomenological analysis

Elizabeth C Roxburgh, Chris A Roe

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


Walsh and Vaughan (1993) defined transpersonal experiences as those “in which the sense of identity or self extends beyond (trans) the individual or personal to encompass wider aspects of humankind, life, psyche or cosmos” (p. 203). One population who regularly report such experiences are mediums. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten spiritualist mediums to explore their lived experience, such as how they communicate with the deceased, the meaning of spirit guide phenomena, and the role of mediumship, regardless of the actual ontology of mediumship. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) identified three themes: explanatory systems of mediumship, spirit guides as transcendental beings versus aspects of self, and the purpose of mediumship. These themes illuminated aspects of the mediumistic experience that have implications for an understanding of states of consciousness, transcendence, and the Higher Self.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)27-42
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Transpersonal Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013



  • Interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • mediumship
  • personality
  • spirit guides
  • states of consciousness
  • transcendence

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