The difference between somnambulism and the medium trance seems to be that, in the former, we remain en rapport with ourselves and in the latter we are in touch with the Spirit World. Many mediums who give inspirational messages or lectures from the platform are in a condition of light trance, and children have been known to pass into this condition and give a large amount of valuable information, unknown to their seniors, and which certainly could not have been known to themselves.
Properly managed, the trance condition is not harmful, though it may become so in the hands of blundering persons. “The Spiritualist’s Manual” gives four chief reasons why the trance state should not be harmful to those who enter it. These are:
(1) The intelligences acting upon them (the mediums) are almost invariably of a superior character and therefore must mould the organism by constant use for the expression of higher forms of thought.
(2) The relation of the medium to the manifesting intelligence is that of pupil to teacher, sometimes that of a child to a wise and loving parent, and sometimes both these relations combined with a subtle and ennobling spirituality.
(3) There is always a mutual spiritual relation, even though the medium is not humanly conscious of it ; and no one can be a medium for the perfect expression of spiritual messages or discourses who does not consent to the procedure and co-operate with the manifesting spirit.
(4) As the master musician improves the instrument he plays upon, so also a spirit controlling a human organism for the purpose of expressing wholesome thought, imparts a greater power both to the brain and spirit of the medium. It is often difficult for spirits to control a medium sufficiently to manifest in any way through him.