New research explains why spiritualist mediums claim unusual auditory experiences

People who consider themselves to be spiritualist mediums adopt unusual religious beliefs at an early age, leading to purported auditory experiences, known as clairaudient communications, new research finds.

Appearing in the journal Mental Health, Religion and Culture, a survey was administered to 65 people who claimed to be spiritualist mediums, with an alleged ability to communicate with individuals that had been deceased.

“For mental health researchers and others committed to a bio-cultural understanding of religious experience, there is a need for empirical studies capable of shedding light on the interplay between beliefs, personalities, and the occurrence of anomalous sensory experiences,” according to the findings.

“Spiritualist mediums completed an online questionnaire assessing the timing, nature, and frequency of their auditory (clairaudient) spiritual communications – including scales measuring paranormal beliefs, absorption, hallucination-proneness, and aspects of identity,” the findings also state.

When the results of the survey were compared to a general population group of close to 150 people, it was concluded that people who considered themselves to be spiritualists were more likely to have a tendency for absorption. In other words, they were more prone to mental or ‘imaginative’ activities, or altered states of consciousness, researchers indicated.

The study uncovered that nearly 45 percent of the participants who claimed to be spiritualists had purported auditory experiences with the individual(s) they considered as deceased, merely on a frequent basis.

“Our findings confirmed that, in the general population group, spiritual beliefs were associated with absorption, although the association with hallucination-proneness was weak and not statistically significant,” researchers concluded in their findings.

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