Articles and Outlines - Miscellaneous Cult Issues - Psychic Communication and the Dead

Psychic Communication and the Dead

Author: Russ Wise
Date: 6/11/2003 10:27:13 PM

The dead speak and a growing number of Americans are tuning in. According to a USA Today article1 28% of Americans “believe that people can hear from or communicate mentally with the dead.” The article also mentions that the new Gallup Poll states that “another 26% aren’t sure, but won’t rule it out.”


The University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center reports that “roughly one in three Americans believe that they have personally communicated with the dead.” 2 Psychic communication has become the new passion for a growing number of people, but is it spiritually healthy? Is the Christian to engage in such activity? What does the Bible say about psychic communication? Are we to make attempts to talk with the dead? Are psychics and mediums simply using their God-given gifts to aid their fellow men and women?


These are questions, among others, that one needs to answer before one can honestly decide to walk this perilous route. The Bible has much to say about psychic phenomena and its use. But first, it is important to understand that spiritual activity or powers can not only be used for discerning needed information but they can be used to deceive us into spiritual darkness.


Genesis chapter three offers us a glimpse of how spiritual deception happens in one’s life. The root of all occult teaching is found in verses one through five. You will not die, you will know all things, and you will be as or like God. As a student of the occult for twenty-five years I have yet to read an occult author that does not offer these ideas as his basic philosophy. The occult interpretation of the previous text is as follows. You will not die: this is the subtle introduction of reincarnation as man’s sequence of life and death. You will know all things: this quest for knowledge is central to the occultist. He thrives on the power that knowledge brings him in his search for “truth”. You will be as or like God: in essence you are God. The goal of life is to rediscover your true self through self-realization.


Those who trade in the psychic realm hold these same ideals at the core of their belief system. Whether one reads James Van Praagh, Sylvia Brown, John Edward, Kevin Ryerson, Laurie Campbell, or a host of other psychic mediums, their philosophy is the same. They may use different terms or different entry points to establish their teaching, but they all ground their primary catechism in the same soil (Genesis 3).


The Psychic Blueprint

Those who traffic in mediumship have a common set of beliefs that expose their occult roots. The following represents their worldview:


1.                  A belief in self-realization. The true self is divine.

2.                  Death is an illusion. Reincarnation is true for all beings.

3.                  Exploration of past lives is common.

4.                  Everyone is psychic and able to communicate on varying levels.

5.                  God is not a personal being, but an impersonal energy force.

6.                  This energy permeates all life, including human life.

7.                  All people have spirit-guides or helpers.

8.                  God is love and non-judgmental. There is no judgment.

9.                  Guilt, sin, and eternal punishment are illusory.

10.              All of life, including humanity, is inter-connected ¾ one essence.

11.              Our life goal is to achieve oneness, to recognize our innate divinity. Meditation is key to understanding our true nature.


The psychic blueprint above is Eastern in origin. It does not come from a biblically orthodox belief system. The blueprint is a part of both Hindu and Buddhist teaching and the Christian is to not allow it to influence his spiritual life.


Psychic Abilities

The term “psychic” has become a catchall phrase for anyone who uses paranormal means in our society. According to James Van Praagh “everyone is psychic to some degree or another, but not everyone is a medium. In other words, mediums are psychic, but not all psychics are mediums. On the other hand, a medium, or sensitive, is a person who is able to feel and/or hear thoughts, voices, or mental impressions from the spirit world.” 3


A medium may have a variety of abilities. However, for our discussion we will limit our remarks to mental mediumship. Mediums, sometimes called psychics or sensitives, may exhibit any of the following “gifts”. Clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience are the most common powers used by the medium.


Clairvoyance ¾ This term literally means clear vision. A clairvoyant uses his “innate sense of inner sight to see objects, colors, symbols, people, spirits, or scenes.” The medium is able to see those things not visible to the naked eye. These visions usually appear as a “flash” in the mind of the medium.


Clairaudience ¾ This term means clear hearing. The medium is able to hear sounds and receive information from disincarnate beings in the same way you might hear a message from a loved one. The medium listens-in on a higher frequency than the average individual and is able to pass along the precise thought, word, and inflection of the spirit being to the sitter.


Clairsentience ¾ This term means clear feeling. A medium with this “gift” is able to feel, or sense, the presence of a disincarnate being without the aid of the physical realm. “A true clairsentient will usually feel the spirit personality coming through his entire being. He is able to give messages to the sitter by way of strong, empathetic feelings and emotions from the spirit.” 4


Questionable Phenomena

Psychics receive their information from one of two sources. First, they truly see, hear, or feel psychic phenomena from the “other side”. A spirit-guide, a counselor, a master teacher, or an enlightened being often delivers the information received by the sensitive or medium. Biblically, these beings are referred to as demons. They are fallen angels who masquerade as angels of light, positive helpers, in the lives of the unaware. In reality they are among the demonic host who serve Lucifer, the pretender.

Demons are commissioned with the distinct goal of presenting a counterfeit spirituality to mankind, thereby attempting to meet the growing needs of humanity. Satan’s program is always very much like the real thing. However, the glory ultimately goes to himself rather than the Father, his creator.


The Scripture tells us that Satan is a liar, and the father of lies (John 8:44). He is a deceiver. II Corinthians 11:13-14 says that he disguises himself as an angel of light. The demonic hosts continually offer humanity an alternative spirituality that will ultimately deceive them and rob them of their joy and extinguish the peace only found in Christ.


Second, psychics manipulate people and the information they receive from unsuspecting sitters. The source of the information they receive is simply through what has become known as the art of cold reading.4   This technique is commonly used in the psychic business. The cold reading of an individual includes the following:


1.                  Observation of sensory clues.

2.                  Prior knowledge of subject obtained secretly before reading.

3.                  Ability to think on one’s feet and change direction of the reading without hesitation or detection.

4.                  Understanding of human nature.

5.                  Utilization of the cards or any other apparatus to pick up sensory clues or change the direction of the reading when off the track.

6.                  An element of luck and a keen sense of playing the odds so that a well placed guess may produce spectacular results.


Greg Barrett in his USA Today article writes that cold reading is “a hunt- and-peck Q&A that encourages people to author their own dialogue with the dead. The theory is that people who want to believe, or ‘need to believe’ will grasp onto the accuracy and forget the inaccuracy.” 5 


James Randi, a magician and skeptic, critiques psychics and their level of accuracy. He conducted such a critique of television psychic, John Edward and found that Edward had an accuracy rate of a mere 13%. “In one 45-second interrogation of a TV guest, Randi counted 23 questions by Edward with three correct answers.” 6 


Mediums routinely “fish” for the right answer. The sitter remains unaware of the technique because they are hoping against hope that they will indeed receive the information they desperately seek. The medium uses this vulnerability to their advantage and the sitter enters the world of deception.


A Biblical Evaluation


There shall not be found among you anyone who . . . uses divination,

one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens,

or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or calls up the dead. For

whomever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of

these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you.


            Deuteronomy 18:10-12


These are harsh words from the Scripture. However, they are instructional for the reader. We, as Christians, are to live in purity and holiness. We can not simply give lip service to God and then live life on our terms by exposing our spirit to darkness and deception. There is a spiritual price to pay. 2 Peter 2:1-3 tells us that false teachers will arise among us and will secretly introduce destructive heresies. And many will follow them and as a result the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words.


Even though the words of Deuteronomy are harsh they are pale in light of Leviticus: 7


Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God. I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them. A man or a woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own hands.


The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that we are not to seek after the medium or the psychic. They are an abomination to a holy and righteous God. Can we afford to do otherwise? There are other Scriptures that shed light on the issue at hand, but God has spoken plainly enough thus far in the Scriptures above.


In regards to the dead, we are not only warned about calling up the dead but we are warned that the entity called is not the “departed” but a “deceiving” or “demonic” spirit (1 Timothy 4:1), for the spirits of the departed cannot come back (Luke 16:26).


Scripture remain unshakable. Those who practice these things ¾ whether medium or psychic, man or woman, regardless of who they may be (Sylvia Browne, James Van Praag, Kevin Ryerson, Char Margolis, Gary Zukav or anyone by any other name) ¾ are detestable before God. As Christians we are to seek God and Him alone.




1.      Greg Barrett, “Can the living talk to the dead?” USA Today, (6/20/2001), Section D

2.      Ibid.

3.      James Van Praagh, Talking to Heaven: A Medium’s Message of Life After Death (New York: Dutton, Penguin Putnum, Inc., 1997), p. 30-31.

4.      Danny Korem and Paul Meier, The Fakers: Exploding the Myths of the Supernatural (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1980), p. 107.

5.      Op. cit., Barrett.

6.      Ibid.

7.      Leviticus 19:31, 20:6, 27.



For Further Reading:

Gary R. Habermas and J. P. Moreland, Beyond Death, Crossway Books.

J. Kerby Anderson, Life, Death & Beyond, Zondervan Publishing House.

Author's Comments:
This material is essential for the Christian to become more aware of the deception that lies in wait for the believer. A growing number of Christians have been seduced into the psychic world, thereby revealing their need to remain vigilant and thereby remain faithful.

Site Designed and Developed by Agency Creative