the unauthorized online version of The Psychic Mafia, the self-styled Anonymous Typist adds various footnotes stating his own (highly skeptical) opinions. When the book's introduction states that there are some genuine mediums, Anonymous Typist contributes this combative comment: Name ONE!
Vitor Moura points out to me that, contrary to what I assumed, The Psychic Mafia is online. It really shouldn't be; the fact that the book is out of print does not mean the copyright has lapsed. But since it's out there, I'm linking to it.
The heart of the book is Chapter 5, "Secrets of the Seance." (This link takes to you to end of Ch. 4; scroll down a few paragraphs for Ch.5.) But read the whole book for an eye-opening look at the cynicism and chicanery of far too many self-styled mediums. The bibliography is very good also.
The footnotes were added by the online version's anonymous typist. The typist is a James Randi fan and gung-ho superskeptic whose opinions are mostly irrelevant and sometimes irritating, but since these are not part of the original book, they can be easily ignored.
This got me thinking. Who are some mediums I would name as genuine? The following is a partial, by no means complete, list. I am listing "mental" mediums only. I'm also listing some of the work that impresses me about each of these women (and they are all women, for some reason).
There are others, of course. I tend to focus on those who have been the most thoroughly studied (Piper was studied continuously for twenty years!), or those who produced extraordinarily evidential material (Cummins, Garrett, the Verralls et al). None of these cases are recent; there has not been much sustained, high-quality investigation of mediums in the last few decades.
Some famous names didn't make the cut. Arthur Ford was found to have done research on his sitters. Edgar Cayce got many of his medical diagnoses uncannily right, but seems to have been way off base in his readings on history and archaeology. Emanuel Swedenborg was probably a genuine medium, but a case from the 18th century is a little too musty, even though it was well investigated at the time.
I think Pearl Curran ("Patience Worth") had genuine psi abilities, but since the earthly existence of Patience Worth was never established, it's hard to insist that she was a medium per se. Some of Jane Roberts' writings have the ring of truth to me, but again, there is no evidence for the earthly life of her principal communicator, Seth, and even Roberts herself was unsure who or what Seth was.
Any other names come to mind?