Why can't we contact the dead

Hereafter contacts - I've been to a medium and found it to be quite beyond

In the rural idyll of my 4,000-souls home village, death was at home in the village center. The deceased were laid out in a small chapel next to the church.

Directly opposite was a kiosk with a bulging display of delicacies. I can still see the saleswoman clawing the sugar snakes out of the containers with her long, artificial fingernails.

Sweets for an inquest

The kiosk and the chapel had a peculiar connection, as they became part of a test of courage among us children: those who dared to stay with the corpses the longest were allowed to choose sweets.

Often I was shocked at the sight of the dead. Were these bodies really warm and flexible once? So I was a little restless when I got up to hear what the dead had to say to me.

Lessons for mediumship

In Switzerland there is a wide range of so-called "media". So people who claim they can talk to the deceased. There are even schools for mediumship.

The deinmedium.ch website, Link opens in a new window, names their 20 and notes almost 200 members who convey messages from the afterlife. Probably only a fraction of the Swiss offer.

The medium next door

It was a gray day when I went to face my ghosts. In the Voralpen-Express, I drove through snowy landscapes past cross-country trails to arrive at the pilgrimage site of Einsiedeln. I walked past the monastery as thick snowflakes stumbled from the sky.

My medium has stayed in a single-family house. A sympathetic middle-aged lady welcomes me.

She has tied her long gray hair with a clip. Her watchful blue eyes are on me as she shows me into a room with a lounger and two chairs.

Not that scary at all

Then suddenly things go fast. After a brief introduction, the first dead person appears: A gentleman between 60 and 70 is present. He is charming and determined, says the medium. He campaigned in his village. "Can you do anything with that?"

I reluctantly say yes and see the candle that is on the table in front of me. Strange, I think, how sober everything seems here. Nothing of the horror of the house of the dead in my home village.

I don't know any Antonio

As the process progresses, I receive information that I cannot do anything with. The Lord looked young, lived far away and had a kidney disease. My medium hears the name Anton or Antonio. Nothing.

The origins: English Spiritism

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This form of contact with the deceased goes back to the English spiritism of the 19th century. At that time, so-called séances were held, group meetings in small groups and darkened rooms. These meetings were accompanied by supposedly paranormal phenomena such as knocking noises or levitations.

What at that time primarily occupied the evening parties of the finer class has now arrived in the middle of society. Apparently, people close to the church as well as people distant from the church make use of the services of a medium or offer them themselves.

Greetings from the grandmother?

The medium tries a new dead one. A woman who has always dressed nicely. At the end she was in the hospital. This is followed by statements about the interior of your apartment. It was nicely furnished - well. You see a picture in the living area. It looks dark. Probably something religious.

Although the hit rate for such a general statement and persons of the penultimate generation should be high: Here it does not hit the mark. Finally, common places such as inherited jewelry and visits that are becoming rarer are searched.

Slowly I feel a sense of discomfort. Not only because I cannot guess anyone behind the descriptions. But because I couldn't confirm the woman in her work to me.

The thing with the brother

I should just leave things on the side that I cannot classify. In time, that becomes quite a lot. The session will soon become more of Question Time.

Do I have a brother? It is important to keep in touch and keep in touch. The only question is which of my three brothers is meant here.

I have to think of the many critics of this method. And what they call “cold reading” and the “Barnum effect”.

Briefly explained: "Cold Reading and the" Barnum Effect "

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With "cold reading" the client is analyzed and classified on site without any prior information. Statements as general as possible are made so that one succumbs to the impression that one is actually meant here.

You add the missing pieces of the puzzle yourself (“Barnum effect”) because you want to believe that your grandmother is actually flickering in the room.

Is the school friend really here?

But then I am lifted from my resignation. My medium describes a new dead person. You see a young woman, not older than 25. She died unexpectedly. I'm getting nervous.

Of course, in advance I had also thought about who I would have to say goodbye to in my life and who might appear in such a meeting.

I also thought of my close school friend. She died when she was 20. In fact, the medium means that I know the deceased from my education.


I am disappointed when the further descriptions miss the point again. So far I haven't really been able to classify what is happening here. Now I am extremely irritated when the medium lets me know: "Your friend was not punished in heaven."

I entered this session with skepticism. Because I doubt that the dead care about earthly matters like jewelry or the houses they left behind, if they care about anything at all.

I would have wished for a small, doubtful tear in my convictions. A trace of childish horror, an idea of ​​the incomprehensibility of death. A bit of doubt in the bastion of my mind.

Instead, I leave the house in Einsiedeln and think: I would rather talk to the living than to the dead.