I’ve been wanting to review the breakout phenomenon that is Channeling Erik for some time. Dr. Elisa Medhus and her blog have become the newest spiritual darlings of the new age sect. I’ve been following her blog for about a year now, and have seen it grow into a brand; she’s penned two books, holds events and workshops of her own, and is now being interviewed by all of the usual denizens of the new age circuit. I’m surprised she hasn’t been interviewed by Bob Olsen yet, but I’m sure that’s bound to be in the works sooner or later (if it isn’t yet, at the time of this writing).
That being said, Dr. Elisa Medhus is in a club that no parent ever wants to join. Her son sadly committed suicide by self-inflicted gun shot wound. Dr. Medhus, being a doctor and an Atheist, was struggling with her grief and all of the guilt and questions that accompany a tragedy of that magnitude. After receiving a few tantalizing clues that her son might still be around in some form, she sought a medium that could connect her with her son, Erik. She found that medium in the person of Jamie Butler. After a few sessions, Elisa started a blog entitled Channeling Erik to journal her grief, connect with other bereaved parents, provide suicide outreach and chronicle her sessions with Jamie.
I actually found this blog through youtube. Elisa posts some of her sessions there, and I was intrigued but hesitant. In most cases, mediums are lucky to get a half-dozen facts that are verifiable by the family. In this case, Jamie claims to physically see Erik standing in her room, and describes both his mannerisms as well as parrots him word-for-word. If she is the real-deal, she could very well be the most talented medium in the world. On the other hand, I’ve never seen anything close to her talent anywhere else, which of course, makes me a bit suspicious. In fact, she doesn’t call herself a medium, rather a spirit translator and the description, based on what she seems to do, is accurate. On youtube, you can see her regarding someone off camera, listening and sometimes laughing, and asking for clarification at times. If she’s faking it, she’s honed her craft well. Dr. Medhus seems to believe that Jamie is real and that she is sincerely speaking with her son which does carry a lot of weight for me. I would think that a mother would be able to instantly tell if someone was lying about their child, including getting facts wrong about Erik’s death, his family and other assorted issues. I cannot believe that Dr. Medhus is so desperate to believe that she would overlook glaring mistakes and I can’t imagine that Jamie Butler could lie so well and so completely for this long without any major slip-ups. Jamie has expanded into full trance channeling; which they do as organized events. I’ve watch these events, and see where her body is supposedly taken over by Erik. It’s very convincing to my eyes. The first time that Jamie trance channeled Erik, Dr. Medhus described how it felt to “hug” her son. She said that he loped over to her in the same sheepish way he would have when alive, and the hug, even in the wrong body, felt real to her. I asked her if the mannerisms were truly Erik, which she emphatically agreed they were.
Although some of what Jamie and Dr. Medhus post is hard to swallow, I am loath not to trust a mother, especially a doctor who is trained to pay attention to details. In my opinion, there are only three possibilities. First, Jamie could be a tremendous fraud, spending all of her time researching deceased personalities and honing her acting skills to the level where she can fool a grieving mother. Secondly, Jamie might be a lackluster fraud, getting a lot of facts wrong and yet because Dr. Medhus wants to so desperately to believe, she edits out Jamie’s mistakes. Third, everything on the Channeling Erik blog might be actually as its portrayed, in which case, it’s worth our attention and respect. If you aren’t already familiar with the Channeling Erik blog, or the two books that Dr. Medhus has written about Erik and the afterlife, I would advise you to visit the blog, read from the very first post of the archive, and after following for a few months minimum decide which of the three realities you believe in.
After many personal sessions, Dr. Medhus and Jamie began to branch out in their conversations. Somehow, Erik is able to bring forward various celebrities and historical figures for Elisa to interview. Usually, mediums can only bring forth people emotionally connected to the sitter, so celebrity interviews are not possible unless the sitter is themselves connected. This garnered the attention of a lot of new-agers and spiritual seekers, and began to propel Dr. Medhus and Jamie into the spotlight.
One interview was with Jesus himself. This attracted a lot of interest, but also ire. The interview itself was interesting, and Jesus admitted that his birth was common and also that he survived the resurrection. It doesn’t quite square with what I’ve read about Jesus through other channeled sources, namely Seth, but it doesn’t exactly disqualify it either. Seth gets very technical in his explanation of the crucifixion, bringing up probable Christs and multiple realities. I would think that the real Christ would spare us the highly technical spiritual aspects and just go along with the party line. Regardless, an interview with Jesus Christ is an extraordinary claim; this is the man that millions of Christians around the world revere above all others and would likely do almost anything to be able to see and speak with the almighty. So, it felt oddly disjointed to be watching a video where Jamie is claiming to speak directly with him in the middle of her living room. Elisa was not raised with religion, so some of her questions were a little cringe-worthy.
As always, I like to keep an open mind but a level head. When she interviews celebrities, I like to research what was said to look for errors. Elisa doesn’t get into scandalous topics on purpose, as she says, this is not meant to exploit. Nevertheless, there is information that the real celebrity should not get wrong. Every celebrity interview that I researched gave information that could be readily found in the wikipedia entry for that person; which, for a skeptic might be a strike against Jamie Butler. There are times after a difficult question, where Jamie tends to temporarily change the topic, or laugh, or have some sort of difficulty. This is the time when perhaps she could be glancing at her wiki page or thinking of an answer. Again, I haven’t made up my mind either way, I’m just putting it all out there.
I did find some really glaring problems with her interview with John Lennon. John claimed his aunt inspired him musically and gave him his first guitar. This is completely incorrect according to his own quotes while alive, where he discussed how he felt stifled by his aunt. Moreover, his mother gave him his first guitar. Jamie also got information wrong about how he died and his religion. [Updated 1/31/16: Dr. Medhus addressed the inaccuracies in the lead up to her John Lennon Interview, Part II: “And now for part two of John Lennon’s interview. Please know that I make a point not to fact check after any of these sessions. Because all mediums are human, and all humans have some filtering, of course we can expect an inaccuracy or two. Taking that into account, I continue to be amazed — no, awestruck— by Jamie’s gift. She is the most open channel I’ve ever had the honor to know.”]
I went to the blog and found a few people who mentioned these inconsistencies, but their comments were ignored. Apparently, there have been distortions in the interviews from Walt Disney and Buddy Holly as well, though I didn’t research them myself, but read comparisons that others had done. I understand that distortions are part of mediumship. No medium is every 100% accurate all of the time. The whole thing feels a bit strange though, and it definitely sticks in my mind when I’m evaluating the blog.
The next issue I have is with money. When I researched Jamie Butler initially, I found that she was charging around $200 per session. It’s a little on the expensive side, but taking her talent into consideration and the fact that most people only sit for one hour, I think it’s appropriate. I would pay $200 to have a deceased love one’s words translated word for word for me, including descriptions of what they look like and their mannerisms. However, since her stratospheric rise in popularity from the Channeling Erik blog, she has since raised her prices to
$500 [$600 as of 2016] an hour. I have nothing against professional mediums charging for their work; but it seems to me that this price is exorbitant. I know that Elisa is still paying Jamie, because she has mentioned that Jamie is very expensive and she was starting to look at other mediums to share the load. I would think that Jamie would give Elisa a deal, since Dr. Medhus has increased her popularity and visibility 100-fold. I don’t know what kind of system they have worked out – I don’t know if Dr. Medhus is paying retail prices or not, but I certainly do have a problem with someone charging $500 an hour for their services. If I were gifted in the way that Jamie claims to be, I would keep the prices reasonable so that grieving parents could access these services. Charging this much for a session prices out many people who could really benefit from her abilities. Instead, she’s catering to the rich or the seriously desperate. According to her website, she only accepts phone or Skype appointments, and if you bring another person, there is an additional $75 dollar fee.
In this world, we do pay more for rarity. She supposedly has a rare gift; and sure, it’s worth more. But keep in mind that she has few overhead costs. She isn’t running a store, she doesn’t need inventory. She was given this gift freely; she didn’t have to attend school or spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a degree. While I’m sure she has put time and some money into this, it can’t possibly justify costing two or three times as much as seeing a medical doctor for an hour. Dr. Medhus is, in fact, a medical doctor. If I spent an hour at her office, the bill surely would be far less than $500. The costs of a doctor go toward insurance, office space rental, staff salaries and more, not to mention the decade spent studying to become a doctor and all of the school loans that invariably go with it. Jamie Butler works out of her home and uses nothing except the skill she was born with and a computer. What about this requires charging people $500? She’s not the only medium that does this, by far, but I think it smacks of greed.
A lot of people would disagree with me, I’m sure. They might say – a rare painting can cost thousands, a rare diamond can cost millions. What price can you put on having an hour to speak directly with a cherished love one? I can understand why people would pay it. Maybe it’s unfair that I would hold mediumship abilities to a higher standard. But when you come into this life with a spiritual gift, I think it’s wrong to use it for greed. Again, I am not against her charging enough to have a comfortable life. But consider that if she does only four sessions a day – four hours total – she’s making $2,000 dollars a day. That’s $40,000 dollars a month, or a whopping $480,000 a year. That’s a half-million dollars a year, ladies and gentleman. For a part-time job. Let that sink in for a moment.
Again, I want to say that I don’t believe that Dr. Medhus is anything but an honest woman who is grieving terribly. I sincerely hope that she is not being taken advantage of, because honestly I can’t think of anything more monstrous than for a person to take advantage of a grieving parent. When that parent realizes that their communications were a lie, you’ve just destroyed their faith and basically killed their child all over again. There are a lot of mediums out there that would gladly take money and lie with a smile. Aside from the money she charges and the dubious celebrity interviews, I still have some faith that Jamie Butler isn’t a fraud and it mostly rests of my belief that Dr. Medhus, after all of this time, would have finally noticed. I just don’t think anyone could keep up the lie that well for that long without being called out. In addition, Jamie, speaking for Erik, gets into some deep, difficult spiritual topics. I think it would be difficult for Jamie to make up long complicated answers on the spot and stay consistent over time with her philosophy.
Then, there is the spiritual information itself. I have read both of Dr. Medhus’s books. The second, “My Life after Death’ was supposedly written by her son, through Jamie. The information is consistent with my research about the afterlife. I didn’t find any contradictions, and I really enjoyed the book in spite of myself. I noticed certain turns of phrase that Erik uses that match Dr. Medhus’s speech as well, which you would expect if she had raised him. For example, they both say “fussed at” instead of yelled at, or nagged at. It’s a small thing, but I noticed it. The book goes into great detail about Erik’s family and the circumstances around his death. Unless Dr. Medhus is unknowingly complicit by reminding Jamie about what happened, the info is correct. I would hope that Dr. Medhus, in her desire to believe Jamie, wouldn’t overlook fact distortions.
In summation, I want to believe that Jamie is real. Partly because I can’t fathom the evil that she must possess to take advantage of grieving families, and partly because there is a lot of great spiritual information available here. If she is truly in contact with Erik, then his descriptions of the afterlife can teach us a lot about what we will encounter when we get there one day.
I think it would be wrong to dismiss Channeling Erik out of hand. It does seem too good to be true, particularly when they post celebrity interviews. They are one of the only sitter/medium pairs that have done this, and it has attracted the attention of a lot of skeptical ridicule. However, it is important to note that we don’t become all-knowing in the afterlife, so distortions and errors can come from either Erik or Jamie, or both. We shouldn’t convince ourselves of their fraudulence just because of a few mistakes in translation. However, it would be equally wrong to believe with wide-eyes every tantalizing thing channeled by Jamie Butler. You must always keep an open mind and learn what you can from every source of information about the afterlife, and yet, always be on the lookout for liars and charlatans. Sadly, there are many out there and they aren’t always so easy to spot.
Channeling Erik could be a one-of-a-kind phenomenon or the result of a mother so lost to grief from losing her son to suicide that she has convinced herself that Jamie Butler and her wall-street CEO-level salary is the salvation that she needs to cope. Through her desperation to believe, she might overlook fact distortions or subconsciously edit them out to preserve her need to believe. The one thing I can say for sure is that Dr. Medhus truly believes. I feel there is zero chance that she is complicit in any lie. I do not believe she would exploit her own son’s suicide. In addition, she has stated many times on her blog that she doesn’t make a cent of profit from either the blog or the books, nor does she accept charity.
Ultimately, the truth may never be known. In this case, it will likely be a matter of faith- your faith- that you feel this is real in your gut. Similarly, you may visit the blog and decide that it feels completely wrong. Either way, I do encourage you to put the time and research into it. It it is an honest connection to the afterlife, it might very well be one of the most amazing introductions to the afterlife through the experience of a very entertaining young man. Don’t take the chance of missing out on the possibility by dismissing this out of hand. On the other hand, make sure you read and watch with a critical eye. Look for fact distortions, especially with the celebrity interviews. Take the time to really study the blog and watch the videos before you make a decision.
If you do take the time to research the blog, I would love to hear your opinions and comments. Until then, I will continue to follow the Channeling Erik blog and report back with any updates.