News / Africa

South African Medium Eases Pain of the Bereaved

Darren Taylor
As a child Abigail McCarthy remembers waking up one night and wandering outside her bedroom in her home in Johannesburg.
 
“I saw a woman at the top of the passage. I thought it was my mother, so I called for her. But when the woman turned around, I saw it wasn’t my mother,” she recalled.
 
It later emerged that the woman had died in the house many years before.
 
“Seeing (the spirits of) dead people started when I was around six years old,” said McCarthy, in her early 40s with long, dark hair and intense blue-green eyes.
 
In her 20s, she began reading tarot cards.
 
“While doing this for clients I would often see people in their lives who had passed away. I would just get a picture of someone and say (to the client): ‘Who is this person; why do I see them? This is what they look like; this is what they’re saying.’ And I would find that people would suddenly be in tears or they’d be sitting there and saying: ‘Oh, wow, that’s (my relative).”
Abigail McCarthy says she’s in regular contact with the spirits of dead people (VOA / D. Taylor)Abigail McCarthy says she’s in regular contact with the spirits of dead people (VOA / D. Taylor)
x
Abigail McCarthy says she’s in regular contact with the spirits of dead people (VOA / D. Taylor)
Abigail McCarthy says she’s in regular contact with the spirits of dead people (VOA / D. Taylor)
McCarthy, scribbling on a notepad to help her relax, said she was initially “very afraid” of communicating with the spirits of the deceased. 
 
“I didn’t like the idea. I was embarrassed by being a medium. I couldn’t tell people what I did. But when they found out, either they’d run up to me and start asking me all sorts of questions, or they’d roll their eyes and not come near me!
 
“Because of this, it took me a very long time to be comfortable with what I do. But the more it (communicating with the dead) happened, the more I realized I was helping people to cope with the deaths of loved ones, and I enjoy doing that. It’s fulfilling.”
 
Violent deaths
 
McCarthy stated that people often struggle to accept the deaths of relatives and friends who pass away in “terrible circumstances.”
 
“They’re in great pain. I help them to let go of some of this,” maintained the spiritualist who now works as a medium at the House of Isis spiritual healing center in Johannesburg.  “It helps them to know that their loved ones are still out there and are safe and at peace.”
 
She has assisted parents who’ve lost all their children in auto accidents.
 
“When that happens, the pain is unbearable… Or somebody losing their partner - you do find a desperation with them; they are lost,” McCarthy explained.
 
A few years ago she was doing a tarot card reading for a man when she said the spirit of his girlfriend, who had also died in a vehicle collision, unexpectedly started communicating with her.
 
“I picked up from this woman that she was totally at peace, and I told this to my client. When something like this happens it’s wonderful to see the relief on people’s faces. There’s a wonderful feeling… Just a big sigh of: ‘Thank goodness’ – or tears; you do get tears…”
 
McCarthy said she sometimes communicates with the spirits of people who have committed suicide.
 
“That’s interesting for me because some religions believe that if you take your own life you go to some awful place in the afterlife. But I still see and talk with people who’ve committed suicide, so I can’t believe that.”
 
McCarthy continued: “A lot of people come to me and want to know if their deceased loved one is still angry with them, or they want to know about jealousies and hatred. But my communication with the spirits is overwhelmingly positive. I think once we die, why would we want to be negative?”
 
‘Nothing bizarre…’
 
She likened her contact with dead people to “painting on a blank canvas.”
 
“I ask clients to tell me as little as possible about the person they want me to reach. And then I just see who I’m picking up (in the spirit realm) and I just start talking. It’s a very gentle and natural process. The more relaxed I am, the easier it is,” McCarthy explained.
 
“It’s not that I see dead people actually physically in the room, but I feel them. In my mind I see exactly what they look like, and then they speak to me and I describe to the client how they look and what they’re saying - and it’s always right.”
 
She added, laughing, “Nothing bizarre happens; the room doesn’t shake; things aren’t knocked over (by unseen forces).”
 
McCarthy pointed out that she doesn’t know “where exactly” the spirits of the deceased are.
 
“I think if human beings were supposed to know this, we’d already know it. I think it’s supposed to be a mystery, and something we’re supposed to find out only when we pass on,” she emphasized.
 
McCarthy hesitated to describe her ability to contact and to communicate with spirits as a gift… But conceded that “maybe” it is, before adding: “I do believe we’ve all got our gifts. I don’t agree that it’s something that’s special or that (I’m) above others. I think it’s got to be used in the right way; I think you’ve got to be very careful that you don’t become arrogant with it.” 
 
Science and logic  
 
Some faiths, most notably Christianity, condemn attempts to contact departed souls and the consultation of mediums as sins.
 
In reaction McCarthy commented: “I have had a couple of readings with people that are religious and have been a bit nervous and have said, ‘Is this okay; should I maybe not be here?’ And I always say: ‘Well, that’s up to you. I certainly don’t believe what I’m doing is evil. But if you really are that uncomfortable then maybe you mustn’t do it.’
 
“I believe that what I do comes from the right place. I don’t hurt people; I help people and give them peace of mind. Therefore I think of myself as a good person.”
 
However, she stressed that she has the “utmost understanding” for people who are convinced mediums are charlatans.
 
“I do understand why many people don’t believe that there are people who are able to contact and communicate with deceased people. As strange as it’s going to sound, I’m actually a very practical, logical person. I believe in science and I believe in religious faith.  But I can honestly say that what I do is not a hoax…”
 
But McCarthy acknowledged that in the past she often wished that she wasn’t a medium, and had pursued a “more normal” occupation.  
 
“There have been times when I’ve wanted to stop, but as time has passed I’ve grown to accept my ability. I am honest with myself who I am, and also with others.
 
“I don’t run around preaching love and light. I just do what I do in the time that I do it. And I’ve learned to see that it’s helpful for others, and I’m seeing that as the good side. And actually, if I had to stop now it would be a little disappointing. I enjoy helping people.”
 
Listen to report on South African medium
Listen to report on South African mediumi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs