She’s in the business of talking to the dead - and business is good

She’s in the business of talking to the dead - and business is good
She’s in the business of talking to the dead - and business is good(WLBT)
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 5:03 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FLOWOOD, Miss. (WLBT) - “Death is a mystery, and burial is a secret,” Stephen King wrote in his novel Pet Sematary.

But what if death were neither a mystery nor barrier between you and someone you loved? What if, for a price, you could communicate with this loved one from beyond the grave, turning these secrets into answers?

If this opportunity were available to you, would you take it?

Soul Synergy Rocks and Yoga is owned and operated by Jill Jackson, aka The Mississippi Medium, and her husband, Mystic D Francis, her Twin Flame who is also a medium and Reiki Master. Soul Synergy Rocks and Yoga and its sister store, Synergy Salt Cave and Wellness, both located in Flowood, are “a place for healing, transformation, and connecting with likeminded friends.”

They offer a variety of services like yoga and massages, to the New Age-ish like hypnosis and past life regression. They also boast the state’s only salt cave - a literal room made mostly of Himalayan sea salt that is said to reduce stress as well as help with a variety of ailments including allergies and snoring.

And Synergy Salt Cave and Wellness is where you can find mediumship sessions.

What is a medium, you may ask. Well, for starters, a medium is not a fortune-teller. This was made abundantly clear by Jackson in the first few minutes of speaking with her.

A medium is a person who claims to wield the power to communicate with the dead. It’s a profession as old as time itself with one even being mentioned in the Bible.

Jackson also asserts to be a psychic, an extremely intuitive person who is able to tap into a person’s energy and offer subtle changes one can make to, hopefully, produce positive decisions going forward.

Fortune-tellers, on the other hand, are those who, as the name suggests, claim to be able to predict one’s future. According to Francis, fortune telling is what has given some psychics “a bad name.”

“Fortune-tellers are gonna tell you what you wanna hear,” he said, “and if they tell you something you don’t wanna hear, then that’s where the money exchange comes back into it. ‘Okay, well I can change your destiny if you give me another $300.’”

Indeed, fortune-telling is known to be the profession of many scam artists, some of their victims spending tens of thousands of dollars to rid themselves of supposed curses. States like New York and Pennsylvania have laws against fortune-telling and the city of Meridian, Mississippi, has squabbled with it as well.

Mediums are also not witches. You will not find any spell books or cauldrons at Soul Synergy Rocks and Yoga, but you will find crystals. A lot of crystals.

She’s in the business of talking to the dead - and business is good
She’s in the business of talking to the dead - and business is good(WLBT)

There has been somewhat of a renaissance for mediums as of late, their popularity becoming more mainstream with shows like Hollywood Medium and TLC’s Long Island Medium, the latter following Theresa Caputo and her giant blonde hair as she channeled the spirits of the departed in Long Island, New York, and beyond.

Jackson was also in the running to have her own TLC show, which was to be called The Mississippi Medium. She passed on the consideration, however, given that TLC wanted her to become more country-fide: A horse-riding, straw-chewing country girl who, by golly, just so happened to be able to talk to dead people.

As explained in her book with the killer title, Mississippi Medium: My Journey From Southern Baptist To Talking To The Dead, Jackson writes that she could see spirits starting from as young as 7 and awoke one night to find the spirit of her grandmother levitating above her bed.

But it was not until later in life that she quote, unquote “came out of the psychic closet” and began a career in mediumship.

“Mediumship is completely just communicating to prove that we do survive our physical bodies and provide healing for people,” she said. “It’s the most beautiful thing. It’s not evil. There’s nothing evil about it. In fact, people leave our sessions feeling empowered.”

And receiving a message from the spirit world does not come cheap. A 45-minute minute mediumship session with Jackson goes for $245, although she is not providing private readings for the time being.

But in the mediumship world, Jackson is one of the best. As her website will tell you, she was awarded the Psychic of the Year Award in 2015 and 2016 by the Best American Psychics, a “definitive online community of [the] finest, ethical & best psychics in America.”

Jackson has also studied the craft, attending many mediumship schools including Arthur Findlay College in England, probably the closest one can get to a real-life Hogwarts.

But with the topic of mediumship comes the barrage of questions about the afterlife, including those regarding angels and demons, heaven and hell, and also the ethics of supposedly speaking to the spirits of those who have passed on to the other side.

There is also the permanent taboo revolving around mediums, especially in the Bible Belt where they are regularly cast in the same category as witches and sorcerers.

She’s in the business of talking to the dead - and business is good
She’s in the business of talking to the dead - and business is good(WLBT)

Jackson, who grew up Southern Baptist, says that she does believe in one creator God and another world after death, “which is basically heaven.” But her opinion of religion is notably pessimistic, finding spiritualism more palatable.

Her “first exposure to hypocrisy in religion” came when her pastor had an affair with a member of the choir. She writes in her book that this was a “red flag moment.” She also speaks of her confusion regarding hell, a place where, in the Christian faith, it is believed that those who have not accepted Christ are sent to burn for eternity.

Why would a supposed loving God create such a place? Jackson wondered. She does not think that He would, and thus believes in “other dimensions” for the souls of those who have done terrible things. It is in these other dimensions that those souls are offered an opportunity to heal.

While this is an interesting-at-best, heresy-at-worst opinion to hold, it it largely overshowed by the other revelations in her book, like the time she was visited by the ghost of Michael Jackson who, days after his death, appeared before her to say that he had been murdered.

These and other claims in the book lead one to think, in the words of Jackson herself, “All right, what were you smokin’?” Which is a normal thought to have.

But juxtapose this with her appearance on Lifetime’s Bring It!, where her readings were apparently so accurate that the first woman read immediately burst into tears. And if her readings can have such a profound impact, why, then, are her powers seen as something bad?

“Because the preachers here are actually preaching that,” she told me before correcting herself, saying that not all preachers are teaching this.

“I have had people sit in front of me that wanted to talk to their child that had been murdered, or their child that had lost their battle with a disease, who said to me, ‘If I go forward with this, am I gonna burn in hell for the rest of eternity?’” she continued. “That breaks my heart that somebody could be so cruel to tell somebody that if they want to have a conversation with their son that was murdered, to be able to talk to them and make sure that they didn’t suffer and make sure that they have survived their body and that they are one of their guardian angels and that they’re around them. There is nothing evil about that. Nothing whatsoever.”

But it cannot be overlooked that, in Christianity at least, engaging in mediumship is deemed, if not evil, something that is strongly advised against. But why?

For Dr. Steve Blakemore, Professor of Christian Thought at the Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, it’s wrong for several reason. One reason being that, to him, it’s something that stands between a person and that person’s direct reliance upon God.

Secondly, due to the Church’s belief in malevolent forces, there is the omnipresent possibility that engaging in the act of mediumship might bring one closer to, as Blakemore put it, “an evil and malignant force.”

And then there is the Bible’s “decidedly negative evaluation” on mediums. The clearest example being found in in King Saul’s encounter with The Witch of Endor.

In the story found 1 Samuel, God has recently turned His back on Saul who was seeking answers on an upcoming military operations against Israel’s adversary, the Philistines.

The distraught king, driven to desperation, disguises himself and sneaks to the Village of Endor in the dead of night to visit this witch, in some translation described as a “medium.” There he asks her to conjure the spirit of the prophet Samuel.

As it’s told, the medium is successful at conjuring Samuel’s spirit. Things go down hill from there. The spirit immediately lambasts Saul for summoning him, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” and somewhat blithely breaks the news that the Philistines will destroy Israel in battle.

By the end of the session, Saul is on the ground and “dreadfully afraid.”

She’s in the business of talking to the dead - and business is good
She’s in the business of talking to the dead - and business is good(WLBT)

In our conversation, Blakemore did not completely discount the possibility that a medium could indeed make contact with someone’s spirt - but he did say this was probably the least likely scenario of what occurs in a reading.

The most likely, in his estimation, is the medium performing a sophisticated parlor trick, learning psychological techniques to trick their customer into thinking they have made contact with the dead.

This technique is referred to as “cold reading,” a set of vague, somewhat general statements that could fit almost anyone. Another trick is the “hot reading” in which the medium researches their client beforehand, like scrolling through their Facebook page minutes before a reading.

And then there is the more sinister angle, Blakemore states, where a medium may be gaining contact with “a malignant spirit or diabolical presence.” This “diabolical presence” may then be able to communicate something accurate about a person’s relative or friend.

According to Blakemore, the practice of mediumship could never be done in a Christian-fashion because, to him, it is both sinful and unwise to attempt to manipulate the spiritual.

But what if someone who is not affiliated with the Church chooses to see a medium, I asked. Would it still be deemed “bad”?

“The question for me is a little bit deeper than that,” Blakemore countered.

To the non-Christian who is seeking the counsel of a medium, Blakemore wondered: “What is it that you really want in your life and why are you going to the medium? Are you going to the medium in order to try to be more in control of your life? If that’s the case, you are contributing to the most fundamental and basic problem you have in your life which is the desire to be in control of your life instead of trusting in and surrendering your life to the goodness of God.”

Yet, this has not stopped clients from seeking out Jackson’s gift.

Jackson’s clients have ranged from politicians, to judges, to cops. When I asked if I would know the names of these politicians, Jackson nodded her head. Yes.

And then there are the everyday people who have sought the counsel of Jackson, these encounters usually being an emotional journey as speaking to, say, your recently departed mother, would be.

“You can’t imagine the moms that have hugged me, and thanked me, and told me they’re so happy they didn’t listen to their preachers,” Jackson said.

But to the people who are adamantly against this, who believe that it is something dark, something wicked, what would she tell them?

To begin, Jackson would tell them, “Thou shalt not judge others.”

“The other thing I would say is before you do make a judgement on something, maybe experience it yourself and see that there is nothing evil about it,” Jackson said. “It’s all about love.”

Copyright 2021 WLBT. All rights reserved.