Writing this article is not easy for me, but nor was being the son of a medium. I suppose it was the root cause of my skepticism. You establish norms according to the environment you live in, so children’s norms come from their family and their friends. As a child, you can easily consider something normal if you have nothing else to compare it with. For example, when I was very young, my parents sent me to my room saying, “Ok, time to go to your room. We’re going to have a séance.” At the time, I knew everyone had a body and a spirit, and the spirit did not disappear after death. My mother had a special gift that enabled her to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Knowing this, the idea of them having séances was very normal to me.
During my childhood, children were not treated as individuals like they are now, so adults discussed everything near children, assuming they could not understand. This was in the early 80s, when it was still common to see big lighters and various brands of cigarettes on the table at home.
Every Tuesday night, my parents used to attend a séance, either somewhere else or at home with guests. The size of their group gradually increased to nearly 20, but I can only remember at most ten of them now. I remember being delighted to see the dentist guy because he brought me ice cream. My elder brother and I used to wander round the guests before the séance started. I realize now that I was already building up my knowledge.
The most significant piece of knowledge I gained concerned Nostradamus. I was only six when I learned Nostradamus knew about things that would happen in the future, namely his prophecies that were due to end in the year 2000. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to achieve much before age 18, so I calculated that I would have six years between reaching 18 and the end of the world, and I felt happy about this. When you are only six years old, living six more years after 18 seems like a big deal.
My First Séance
One day, I told my parents that I wanted to attend a séance, and I was so insistent that they had to arrange a mini-session for me. After saying some words, which I‘ve since forgotten, my mother asked me if I had any questions. I asked when I could attend a séance, and she replied, “You’ve just attended one, sweety.” Her reply was like an answer to my situation at that moment. It was as if I was talking to my mum, but it wasn’t her! Believe me, it was tough comprehending that the words coming from my mother’s mouth actually belonged to someone else. At that moment, mom was in communication with the spirit of a person who had died years ago. She was transmitting the spirit’s words to me through her own mouth. I’m sure it would have been easier to understand the concept of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
No Engineer would Believe in this Stuff!
In time, I learned how my parents had become involved with spirits, séances, and so on. The guy who brought me ice cream had taken my father to a séance once at a house in Guzelbahce. During the séance, the table jumped while everyone’s hands were on it. It jumped once for the letter A and 26 times for the letter Z. In this way, words and sentences were formed that had been transmitted through spirits.
My father was an engineer, and he didn’t believe in these things. However, after saying, “You can’t fool me with these tricks,” he checked under the table but couldn’t find anything untoward, so he became convinced it was genuine. In the séances, they had fun contacting the spirits of Nasreddin Hodja or Karagoz and Hacivat. One day, my mother attended a séance with my father. Just as my father reached to grab a pencil and paper to write down the spirit’s messages, my mother started to write. She wrote “Allah” in Arabic letters, even though she didn’t know any Arabic. Afterwards, they started to hold séances more often as a group, with my father acting as the organizer. The other members believed that convincing my father about spirits was so that he could lead the way for my mother.
During her early undergraduate years at university, my mother tried to learn what the exam questions were by contacting spirits through coffee cups, but this was just for fun. She focused later on real séances. Although they often failed, they once succeeded in raising a table off the floor. This incident became the basis of their faith in spirits. I knew my father would never lie or dramatize things.
Later, they held séances where mom would draw pictures and write messages without even moving her hand. What you would normally see is someone scrawling half-legible words and reading them aloud. At first, like any reasonable person, my mother thought she was merely writing herself, but she later discovered the writings belonged to someone else. During one session, a devastating earthquake in Greece was predicted, though the timing given was not accurate. They asked when the difficult times at my father’s office would end, and the answer was, “It will be over when Mithatpasa Street reopens.”
My parents passed this street every day. It was never closed, so it could not reopen. One day, the problems at my father’s office ended. Just a few days later, they saw that Mithatpasa Street had been completely opened to lay new pipes. Specific incidents like these convinced my parents to believe in spirits.
They definitely took what they were doing very seriously. According to the school of Bedri Ruhselman, a pioneer of spiritualism in Turkey, there are specific rules to séances, and my parents strictly obeyed these rules. The essential aim of a spiritual session is to contact the other world to understand life and death better, rather than just having fun. In the light of this, they searched for how to become better human beings. They never drank alcohol on séance days, and they always prayed beforehand, because they believed they could only contact advanced creatures through a serious séance. Otherwise, primitive spiritual creatures would attend instead and mislead the group with false information. The obsession of primitive spiritual creatures is dangerous, and they never leave.
Normal? According to Whom…or What?
You know how children have fun by scaring each other, but I grew up never being scared of ghost stories. My friends would find me weird when I told them, “So what? My parents contact spirits every week and talk to them. They are harmless.” I later realized it wasn’t a normal thing at all when my friends asked difficult questions about spirits. It was better not to talk about these things, but I occasionally talked to my best friends about them. They couldn’t figure it out either. It was difficult to explain that the spirits in movies weren’t like the ones in our house. I told them my mum allowed the spirits to visit our house only when invited because I didn’t want my friends to be scared when they came to my house.
The Golden Age and the Golden Age of Spiritualism
During the 90s, I remember people talking about a golden age. Many people were supposed to die, and only the good would survive or reincarnate after death. My father’s explanation made me believe in reincarnation, because my father would never lie. On the other hand, I was already familiar with the subject from Nostradamus’s prophecies about the year 2000. I remember a book called “The Golden Age,” which my parents quoted from during their séances. It was an era of spiritual books, but you couldn’t buy them in bookstores—they were sold door to door.
I was quite familiar with spiritual issues then, because I listened in on my parents’ conversations through the doors. They also talked openly about spirituality assuming that us children wouldn’t understand them. There were also many books all over the place, and many of my parents’ friends visited our house to talk about spirits. One day a stranger visited us that was quite different to the usual group members. His name was Ata Nirun, and he published a magazine about mysteries. He knew many mediums, and he had read many publications about spiritualism. He was a parapsychologist, a journalist, and an astrologer… He believed that my parents’ group was very special, because it was the most serious and sincere group of people in the field. He later began a process of recording the sessions for a book. It was a very dynamic period involving meetings with different groups and out-of-town visitors.
People were waiting for the Golden Age then, thinking everything was getting worse. However, I see now that those days were actually the golden age of spiritualism in Turkey. The New Age movement was supposed to end this romantic period, but there’s still an anticipation for the Golden Age, Marduk, Nibiru, etc… On the other hand, the Mayan Calendar confirms it as well. Because I started waiting for the Golden Age when I was very young, I became bored after a 30-year wait. Humanity also expected the end of the world in 0 AD, but it still continues 2,000 years later. They assumed the same thing in the years 1,000 and 1,666, but nothing happened. The only thing I know is that the end has been expected every four years since 2000. When 2012 has passed, I imagine 2016 will be awaited next.
We Hosted Many Different Guests in our House
My parents’ group was in close contact with other spiritual groups, both in Istanbul and Izmir. Now I remember it, one day when two groups were having a séance together, nearly fifty people visited our house. Our neighbors must have thought we were holding a cult meeting. Different people visited our house at different times, such as parliamentarians, generals, intelligence officials, “aliens,” magicians, etc. Even a very famous pop singer visited once, causing quite a stir in the neighborhood.
The séances became so famous that even a television channel came and filmed in our living room one day. I remember my father being so excited. He wrote what he would say on a piece of paper because he wanted to clearly explain what he had believed in for twenty years.
However, the program was never broadcasted on TV. I later learned the program was actually about frauds who claimed they could contact spirits. When they saw how genuine my parents were about the subject, they decided not to broadcast the recordings.
The Little Medium
They say the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree, so if my mother talked to spirits, why wouldn’t I?
I was 17 or 18 years old and preparing for the university entrance exams. I was very stressed and very much in love… One day, while studying, I started scrawling.
I was scrawling images similar to my mother’s. Even when I relaxed my hand, the scrawling continued. I wrote things down, but I became scared and stopped. It was nonsense.
When I showed my scrawlings to mom, she said, “Don’t do this on your own, darling. It’s no good. You should focus on your lessons.” I naturally didn’t listen to her and continued doing them. I also convinced my girlfriend, and we started holding séance-like things together. To be honest, we didn’t know what we were doing. Even now, after 18 years, I still don’t know what we were doing then. I talked to a young girl’s spirit. She had died from an accident at around our age. We tried to find her boyfriend, Levent. It was like in detective stories. In reality, we were travelling in the illusionary parts of our brains where things were dreamy and weird. The number 608 was our biggest clue, and we finally discovered that it was her class number at school. We later went to meet Levent at a given time, but we were disappointed when we found only the cleaners at school.
It’s easy to define things when you know the correct terminology. I once supposed that I’d risen from bed, but actually, I was still lying there. However, I was quite sure I’d already got up.
I opened my eyes and realized I was still in bed. I found a book about this journey of mine in the house library, so I read it and learned that it required a technique. I prefer having astral journeys while sleeping at nights, and I try to check the time while travelling. After a journey, I bit my tongue to wake myself up and checked the time to see if I was really travelling or not. However, I never achieved this time check. One night, I decided to visit my girlfriend’s room. The next day, when I described to her the details in her room, which I’d never visited in person, she gave me a weird look. I already knew she had a bird in her room, but the following day, I asked her, “Where has the bird gone? I couldn’t see it clearly last night. It was a bit blurred.” She then stopped talking to me for a while. I later learned she was horrified by my question because she had covered the birdcage for the first time that night. Life is full of surprises…
Reasons and Results
I was very sick with a fever once. In the following days, I visited the hospital and had several injections, but they didn’t work. I was still sick, so my mom rang a “healer” friend of hers and asked for help. An hour later, I recovered completely.
I even asked my parents if I could go to the prom that night, but they refused. When mom rang her healer friend to let her know I’d recovered, she apologized for falling asleep after their earlier conversation. She had woken up later when she fell off the bed, so she remembered to transmit healing energy to me, which is when I woke up fully recovered. She told my mom, “Sorry about forgetting your son. They threw me out of bed to remind me.”
I still can’t find answers to some of my questions, and some of the answers I’ve found don’t satisfy me either. I don’t believe that spirits raised the table from the floor, made me write their words, or healed me. There are no references to time in the prophecies of Nostradamus either. In fact, people are still trying to match his prophecies to the right events and establish a system accordingly. I am quite sure these researchers are not lying. I believe all these unknowns will have a different explanation one day.
I have healed many people with my hands. They ask if I am praying while healing them, and my answer is always, “Are you crazy? Of course I’m not praying. I’m an atheist.” Then they ask me if it’s Reiki, but I answer, “No way. I wouldn’t spend a penny on that crap.” What I do believe is that I transmit something. You can call it energy or something else. Some things do not necessarily rely on the reasons their doer believes in.
After 20 odd years, my parents lost their interest and stopped organizing séances. My mom believed first that she was getting energy from famous people’s spirits, then from spirits from various sources… Later she started talking about wholeness and the self as her sources. Eventually, she decided she was getting the energy from herself. After this long process, she now lives happily with many contradictions inside herself. My father always defined himself as an Islamic spiritualist. And me? I am still seeking answers to my questions.