Features and Occasionals

A Woman with Spirit

By Adele Flail

Jung Society of Utah plays host to Lisa Williams, medium.

Many young children talk to imaginary friends—but as a child, English-born medium Lisa Williams didn’t realize other children’s non-corporeal friends seldom talked back: “I assumed everyone saw dead people,” Williams says of her early experiences conversing with departed loved ones.

While this might seem like the hair-raising opening of a horror movie to some, these interactions were enjoyable to the child: “It was something I just did and didn’t think anything of,” Williams said in a recent phone conversation with CATALYST.

As she grew, however, and began to articulate that more than simple childhood fancy was at work, her family’s response to the information was mixed: Her mother was supportive, her father was skeptical; but they were nevertheless united in encouraging Williams to keep quiet about her experiences, worried that others would doubt her sanity.

Williams understood her parents’ motives and concerns, and was happy to keep her thoughts on such matters to herself. However, as an adult supporting a friend through a difficult time and providing insight into ongoing problems, she began to share the otherworldly sources she had always believed provided these insights.

Impressed with Williams’ perception, that friend set up a reading with Williams for another troubled individual. Williams remembers thinking, “this is weird” on her way to that first “official” reading, but began getting further requests through word-of-mouth.

While she describes her early time as a medium as “stumbling in the dark,” she connected with the idea of helping the bereaved find healing through messages from the departed. She has since found her footing over the past 20 years, and has even been featured through two series on Lifetime Television, “Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead” and “Lisa Williams: Voices From the Other Side.”

But Williams is perhaps most interested in making her experiences accessible and helping others develop the skills she says are inborn, authoring books like I Speak to Dead People: Can You? and founding the Lisa Williams International School of Spiritual Development, which offers in-person and online classes on spiritual mediumship. “Everyone can connect with their own spirits,” Williams asserts, “it’s about developing your own intuition, your own awareness, and creating a spiritual practice.”

For those intrigued by the subject, but still qualmish about actually having a potentially terrifying encounter, Williams wants to assure you that the spirits are more interested in healing than horrifying the living, which is why, she believes, they tend to send oblique messages through dreams or physical signs: “Developing psychic awareness is necessary so that you can tell if you are receiving an actual message or just something you want to see.”

Interested readers will have a chance to explore these ideas later this month when Williams flies in to Salt Lake from her home in Lily Dale, New York—originally incorporated in the late 1800s as a Spiritualist meeting place, and which boasts a large contingent of mediums to this day. Presented by the Jung Society of Utah, Williams will be offering a gallery reading Friday, April 21, followed by an all-day workshop Saturday, April 22. Williams expects a handful of more advanced students at her workshop, but welcomes both beginners and the bereaved, if they are willing to engage in her hands-on exploratory process—a process that she hopes will ultimately bring messages of comfort.

In her work as a medium, she finds that guilt is a frequent visitor to discussions of death, as the surviving family members recall arguments that became the last words exchanged with the deceased, or regret that they were not able to make it to their loved one’s side in time to say goodbye. Williams notes that the messages revealed through her spiritual practice are often brief, but she passionately believes in their power, and wants to share that power with those who need to hear such messages: “Words can truly heal someone.”

“A Night With Spirit” gallery reading — Friday, April 21, 7:30-9pm at Libby Gardner Hall, University of Utah Presidents Circle.

“Strengthening Your Connection With Spirit” workshop — Saturday, April 22, 9am-4pm at the Wasatch Retreat Center, 75 South 200 East.

Tickets for both the event and workshop:  nightwithspirit.brownpapertickets.com

This article was originally published on April 1, 2017.