History abounds with stories of civilizations trying to communicate with their spiritual ancestors. Tribal shamans and ancient priests and priestesses would present offerings to the spirits in an effort to open a line of communication to the other side. The advantages were supposed to bring wise guidance from the spirit realm to the seers as well as divulge the wisdom of the ages to those that dared to ask. Perhaps one of the longest held spiritual customs, religions of many different origins have references to communications with spirits, or communicating with the dead.
In fact, great minds believed that communicating with the other side was possible. These individuals dedicated their research in an effort to find ways to facilitate this form of communication from being a spiritual ritual to one of a mechanical process that might allow the permanent capture of voices. The way this form of communication was approached tended to vary from region to region, and even from belief system to belief system. It cannot be denied that the overall consensus was there were people that believed that communication with the other side was indeed possible.
Early Methods of Communication With the Other Side
Early forms of spiritual communication resembled practices in divination more so than actual spiritual channeling through mediumship. As early as 1046 BC ancient practitioners of divination in the Shang dynasty practiced the divinational art of throwing the bones. This method of spiritual communication eventually morphed into what is called the IChing and is still in use today. The idea was to consult with the divine to find answers to a person’s or a nations current position. The IChing then communicates suggestions on the way to success through non-aggressive mannerism and actions that help lead the person requesting the guidance down the path of enlightenment. This belief system played a large role in shaping the future of the nature of conduct in the Chinese dynasty, as evident through literature, art and philosophical beliefs.
Almost any school aged child knows how the belief in the Oracle of Delphi shaped the destiny of the ancient world in early Greek history. The strong hand of this oracle stretched beyond Greek legend into the realm of Egyptian and roman civilizations. Great thinkers like Socrates were not immune from the mystical power that the gods decreed through communications from the oracle. The oracles in this culture were not utilized the same way they were in the early Shang dynasty. Instead of being a guide book to help people navigate the cause and effect nature of actions, these oracles became a personification of the gods and their representation of the relationship of different aspects of nature. Oracles, or at least the speakers of the oracles tended to communicate much more directly the messages and the actions that were needed.
Although times change and different cultures had belief systems that varied a constant seemed to be the belief that there was the ability to communicate with the other side. Native american tradition believed that the shamans could communicate with the spirits, which were the overseers of not only nature, but the tribe and the lands. Similar beliefs were held with the Aztec culture and other native cultures in other parts of the world like Africa.One marked difference was many natives believed in sacrificial offerings to help garner favor from the godhead. This could range from offerings of scented oils, a fattened calf or human sacrifice. Spiritual communication in many early beliefs was ritualistic and involved direct channeling of different types of deities. The practice of divination however was not lost. It was not uncommon for a shaman or a priest to read the signs that indicated an individuals destiny, health or answers to the questions the asker needed to have communicated from the other realms. European explorers did discover these differences in religious belief and to some degree incorporated some of the ideology into the changing philosophies of the time leading to what became the beginnings of the modern spiritual movement.
Modern Paranormal Communicators
Early European and American spiritualists did believe that there was more to the spiritual realm than the religious contention of the holy trinity or pagan beliefs of earth energies. Victorian era seances are well known for their attempts to communicate with the spirits on the other side. Sadly, practitioners of seances became the subject of satire and amusement. Early spiritual practitioners used techniques that were alleged to open communications with the other side, causing communication to be manifest as raps on tables or other forms of primitive affirmation of a presence. Spiritual mediums would vomit ectoplasm, cause paranormal happenings such as flying trumpets and tambourines and then channel messages communicated from the other side of the veil. Popularity waned when many mediums were ousted as fakes interested in the notoriety and income that performing these seances brought. However, not everyone was convinced that there wasn’t a grain of truth to the idea that the dead did indeed speak and can communicate to the living.
Early work in spiritual communication was continued by such people as Konstantins Raudive who noticed that when he listened to certain types of recordings, he heard additional voices. Raudive was one of the founding fathers of electronic voice phenomenon or EVP, as it is commonly known. The thought was that discarnate beings could communicate over certain types of mediums such as radio bands and magnetic tape in recorders, leaving messages for those willing to hear. Raudive conducted groundbreaking and painstaking work in this field of communication that not only changed the paranormal community but effected some of the thoughts of modern parapsychologists like Carl Jung. Other great minds interested in making devices to communicate with the dead included Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. Both inventors had ideas about paranormal communication and ideas for devices that could facilitate this sort of exchange, but sadly died before their ideas were realized in any working form. Although unsuccessful in building a spiritual communication device, the idea of communicative electronics continued into modern day by people such as Frank Sumption the inventor of the Franks Box in 2002. Sumption built upon Raudives ideas of spirts speaking through radio channels. The Ovilus invented by Bill Chappell in 2008, added a new twist by incorporating a dictionary of words that spirit entities could use to communicate with the living.
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