Bereavement and Mediumship Study

Every day, people receive readings from psychic mediums. 

Is this helpful for the grieving?

Science doesn't know. Let's figure it out.


What is this?

Researchers at the Windbridge Institute are raising funds in order to perform a randomized clinical trial examining the potential clinical benefits of personal mediumship readings.  The project is called the BAM (Bereavement And Mediumship) Study.  More information is available below and at


Why is this important?

Regardless of what people think about mediumship, the reality is that (1) there are people, called mediums, who report experiencing regular communication with the deceased, and (2) there are people (known as sitters) who go to mediums to receive messages (during readings) from their deceased loved ones.

Research to date has shown that spontaneous and induced experiences of after-death communication (ADC) positively affect grief.

Personal mediumship readings, as anecdotal reports suggest, may have similar effects, but no studies have been published examining this phenomenon specifically.

The answers to questions about the clinical relevance of mediumship readings may have far-reaching effects for the bereaved, healthcare, and society in general.


How much are you trying to raise?

We need $35,000 to complete the study and publish the results.


What will the funds be used for?

Funds for this randomized clinical trial will support the completion of the following tasks: developing consenting and training materials; consenting, screening, and training research participants; developing an on-line database; administering the grief instrument; collecting and analyzing data; writing a journal article describing the results of the study; shepherding the article through to the peer-review and publication process; and producing additional educational materials for clinicians, mediums, and the general public.


What will this project produce?

The results of this study will be made available to:

Other Scientists. The study will be published in peer-reviewed scientific literature, potentially allowing other researchers to build off this foundation of work and create and test new hypotheses. The study will also be presented at scientific meetings.

The General Public. Information about the study and its results will be placed on the Windbridge Institute website and will accessible to anyone with internet access.

Clinicians. A version of the project description and results will be created in a format useful for mental health professionals.

Mediums. A version of the project description and results will be created in a format useful for professional mediums who offer readings to the bereaved.

The Bereaved. A version of the project description and results will be created in a format useful for those grieving the loss of a loved one and who are considering receiving a mediumship reading.


Who are you?

The lead researcher for this project is Dr. Julie Beischel, the Director of Research at the Windbridge Institute.  Dr. Beischel's training includes a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology and clinical trial methodological design.  Her research team includes Counseling Psychologist Dr. Chad Mosher and mediumship researcher Mark Boccuzzi.


What can I do?

We need your support to make this project happen.   Any amount you can give will be useful and appreciated.


More information from Dr. Beischel

My name is Dr. Julie Beischel and I am the Director of Research at the Windbridge Institute.  For about 10 years, I have been performing studies with psychic mediums (people who experience communication with the dead).  The aspects of mediumship that I find most important are its practical and social applications and one of the most compelling applications is for people grieving the loss of a loved one.

Grief is a common and natural experience among people of every culture as well as throughout the animal kingdom.  However, serious mental and physical distress can result in some cases of grief.  And though the mental health community generally recognizes that each person grieves differently and there aren't stages or tasks that apply to everyone, the tools available to the bereaved for recovery from acute experiences of grief are sadly limited.

Many bereaved individuals, however, seek the assistance of psychic mediums in coping with their experiences of grief and many report dramatic changes.  One participant in our research stated that, "after the devastating loss of two sons," mediumship readings made his life "not only bearable but worthwhile again."  And though several studies have demonstrated the positive impact of spontaneous experiences of after-death communication on grief, no systematic trials have been published investigating the potential therapeutic effects of a personal mediumship reading.  The profound effects a reading with a mental medium may have on the bereaved warrants a serious look at this phenomenon.  Determining whether this common practice is beneficial, detrimental, or neither is socially and scientifically essential.

I hold a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology so my background involves designing clinical drug trials.  I have designed a clinical trial in which the "˜treatment' is not a drug but a mediumship reading.  The trial utilizes a standard randomization scheme, waiting list control group, group assignment method, quantitative grief instrument, and statistical analysis to examine the impact of a reading on the sitter's recovery from grief over the loss of a loved one.  We call this study the BAM (Bereavement And Mediumship) Study.

Due to the controversial nature of this topic, I felt that allowing individuals who recognize the clinical relevance of this study to support it was an ideal choice.  Support for the BAM Study will fund developing consenting and training materials, screening and training participants, administering the grief instrument, collecting and analyzing data, and writing and publishing a peer-reviewed journal article describing the results of the study. 

Please support the BAM Study.  It is the necessary first step in understanding the potential clinical benefits of mediumship readings on the experience of grief and for a future that could potentially include an effective remedy for the bereaved.


Relevant References

Barbato, M., Blunden, C ., Reid, K ., Irwin, H., & Rodriquez, P. (1999). Parapsychological phenomena near the time of death. Journal of Palliative Care, 15, 30"“38.

Beischel, J. (2013). Among Mediums: A Scientist's Quest for Answers. Retrieved from


Beischel, J. (2007). Contemporary methods used in laboratory-based mediumship research. Journal of Parapsychology, 71, 37-68.

Beischel, J., Biuso, M., Boccuzzi, M., & Rock, A. (2011, June). Anomalous information reception by research mediums under quintuple-blind conditions: Can the mind exist without the body? 30th Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, Boulder, Colorado.

Berger, A. S. (1995). Quoth the raven: Bereavement and the paranormal. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 31, 1"“10.

Blum, D. (2006). Ghost hunters: William James and the search for scientific proof of life after death. New York: Penguin Press.

Botkin, A. L. (2000). The induction of after-death communications utilizing eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing: A new discovery. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 18, 181"“209.

Breen, L. J., & O'Connor, M. (2007). The fundamental paradox in the grief literature: A critical reflection. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 55, 199"“218.

Currier, J. M., Neimeyer, R. A., & Berman, J. S. (2008). The effectiveness of psychotherapeutic interventions for bereaved persons: A comprehensive quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 648"“661.

Daggett, L. M. (2005). Continued encounters: The experience of after-death communication. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 23, 191"“207.

Dannenbaum, S. M., & Kinnier, R. T. (2009). Imaginal relationships with the dead: Applications for psychotherapy. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 49, 100"“113.

Drewry, M. D. J. (2003). Purported after-death communication and its role in the recovery of bereaved individuals: A phenomenological study. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Academy of Religion and Psychical Research, 74"“87.

Fontana, D. (2005). Is there an afterlife? A comprehensive overview of the evidence. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: NBN.

Haraldsson, E. (1988-89). Survey of claimed encounters with the dead. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 19, 103"“113.

Hastings, A., Ferguson, E., Hutton, M., Goldman, A., Braud, W., Greene, E., et al. (2002). Psychomanteum research: Experiences and effects on bereavement. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 45, 211"“228.

Hensley, P. L. (2006). Treatment of bereavement-related depression and traumatic grief. Journal of Affective Disorders, 92, 117"“124.

Houck, J. A. (2005). The universal, multiple, and exclusive experiences of after-death communication. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 24, 117"“127.

Jordan, J. R. & Neimeyer, R. A. (2003). Does grief counseling work? Death Studies, 27, 765"“786.

Klass, D., Silverman, P., & Nickman, S. L. (Eds.) (1996). Continuing bonds: New understandings of grief. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis.

Klugman, C. M. (2006). Dead men talking: Evidence of post death contact and continuing bonds. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 53, 249"“262.

Krippner, S. (2006). Getting through the grief: After-death communication experiences and their effects on experients. In Storm, L. & Thalbourne, M. A. (Eds.), The survival of human consciousness: Essays on the possibility of life after death (pp. 174"“193). Jefferson, NC: MacFarland & Company, Inc.

Kubler-Ross, E. (1969). On death and dying. New York: Scribner Classics.

LaGrand, L. E. (2005). The nature and therapeutic implications of the extraordinary experiences of the bereaved. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 24, 3"“20.

Larson, D. G. & Hoyt, W. T. (2007). What has become of grief counseling? An evaluation of the empirical foundations of the new pessimism. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 38, 347"“355.

Lindstrõm, T. C. (1995). Experiencing the presence of the dead: Discrepancies in "the sensing experience" and their psychological concomitants. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 31, 11"“21.

Moody, R. (1992). Family reunions: Visionary encounters with the departed in a modem-day psychomanteum. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 11, 83"“121.

Neimeyer, R. A. (2000). Searching for the meaning of meaning: Grief therapy and the process of reconstruction. Death Studies, 24, 541"“558.

Nowatzki, N. R. & Grant Kalischuk, R. (2009). Post-death encounters: Grieving, mourning, and healing. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 59, 91-111.

Parker, J. S. (2005). Extraordinary experiences of the bereaved and adaptive outcomes of grief. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 51, 257"“283.

Prigerson, H. G., Horowitz, M. J., Jacobs, S. C., Parkes, C. M., Aslan, M., Goodkin, K., et al. (2009). Prolonged grief disorder: Psychometric validation of criteria proposed for DSM-V and ICD-11. PLoS Medicine, 6, e1000121. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000121

Sanger, M. (2009). When clients sense the presence of loved ones who have died. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 59, 69"“89.

Schaefer, C., Quesenberry, C. P., & Wi, S. (1995). Mortality following conjugal bereavement and the effects of a shared environment. American Journal of Epidemiology, 141, 1142"“1152.

Schut, H., Stroebe, M. S., van den Bout, J., & Terheggen, M. (2001). The efficacy of bereavement interventions: Determining who benefits. In Stroebe, M. S., Hansson, R. O., Stroebe, W., & Schut, H. (Eds). Handbook of bereavement research: Consequences, coping, and care (pp. 705"“737). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Shahar, D., Schultz, R., Shahar, A., Wing, R. (2001). The effect of widowhood on weight change, dietary intake, and eating behavior in the elderly population. Journal of Aging Health, 13, 186"“199.

Sormanti, M. & August, J. (1997). Parental bereavement: Spiritual connections with deceased children. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 67, 460"“469.

Stroebe, M., Schut, H., & Stroebe, W. (2007). Health outcomes of bereavement. Lancet, 370, 1960"“1973. 

Taylor, S. F. (2005). Between the idea and the reality: A study of the counselling experiences of bereaved people who sense the presence of the deceased. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 5, 53"“61.

Wass, H. (2004). A perspective of the current state of death education. Death Studies, 28, 289"“308.

Walliss, J. (2001). Continuing bonds: Relationships between the living and the dead within contemporary Spiritualism. Mortality, 6, 127"“145.

Walter, T. (2008). Mourners and mediums. Bereavement Care, 27, 47"“50.

Worden, J. W. (1991).  Grief counseling and grief therapy: A handbook

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Julie Beischel 
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