Can we really communicate with the dead? Can anyone become a medium? Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, a fifty-six-year-old renowned Certified Genealogist with no childhood paranormal experiences, intended to find out. Midlife Medium: A Genealogist’s Quest to Converse with the Dead is an unintentional spiritual memoir in which Sharon engrosses herself in the world of mediumship to learn whether it’s possible for anyone to become a medium.
The journey is not without several unexpected, sometimes unsettling, consequences. Sharon grapples with her own mortality and discovers a little-known religion, Spiritualism. She also discovers that all relationships can heal, even if one person has died. But perhaps the biggest challenge of her new venture is the strain her quest puts on her relationship with her skeptic, science-teacher daughter. As Sharon tries to convince her daughter that there is science behind consciousness survival after physical death and that her mother has not gone off the deep end, they enter uncharted territory in an otherwise close relationship.
Midlife Medium: A Genealogist’s Quest to Converse with the Dead offers an often humorous, yet profound attempt at bridging the worlds of life and the afterlife. Sharon also includes a short guide and suggestions for readers to start their own journey to become a medium.
For an interview with Sharon, see “The Midlife Medium,” published in SNU Today, September 2022.
And for podcasts and videos, visit her Media page.
“Sharon DeBartolo Carmack’s Midlife Medium: A Genealogist’s Quest to Converse with the Dead is written with honesty, wisdom, and the awareness that essential questions of life after death still confound so many of us. Carmack is a gifted storyteller, and her engaging, spirited journey comes to us with both humor and serious intent. A clear guide for anyone with questions, and anyone open to unanticipated answers.”
—Dinty W. Moore, author of To Hell With It and The Accidental Buddhist
“Carmack’s keen writing endearingly portrays her family throughout her journey, from her obliging husband to her grown daughter, Laurie, who’s consistently wary of Mom’s mediumship…. Its depiction of family relationships shines.”
“Midlife Medium: A Genealogist’s Quest to Converse with the Dead is an intriguing and remarkable book. With honesty, insight, and humor, Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, one of America’s most skilled and respected family historians and authors, takes us along on her fascinating journey. She explores the possibilities that we all do survive on ‘The Other Side,’ and our loved ones are eager to contact us and ready to help us. Like every good genealogist, she carefully weighs the evidence pro and con as she builds her case to substantiate her conclusions. This book tested my brain and warmed my heart: it’s a loving reinforcement that indeed we are all spiritual beings seeking a human experience this time ‘round—and are truly one.”
—Hank Z Jones, author of Psychic Roots: Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy and More Psychic Roots: Further Adventures in Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy
“A five-star read! Sharon’s journey to become a medium in her fifties is both humorous and profound. Written in a conversational voice, it feels as if Sharon is sitting next to you over a cup of tea and sharing her victories and calamities. Midlife Medium is funny because it’s so amazingly honest.”
—Sandra Champlain, author We Don’t Die: A Skeptic’s Discovery of Life After Death and radio show host of We Don’t Die Radio and Shades of the Afterlife
“Many religions have a concept of some state beyond this physical life. Spiritualism is different because it does not demand that you to have faith or believe, rather it provides evidence that life continues beyond the change we call death. This evidence is delivered through the gift of mediumship. Sharon has written this book that records her journey of experience towards becoming a medium. Mediumship is not a career choice but rather a vocation, through which you can touch lives. It brings about a wonderful transformation, which can change lives for the better, dispel grief, and ultimately serve humanity. Sharon’s experience makes fascinating reading and is well crafted to provide the reader with a personal insight into a world that may appear to some people as strange. But through that world and the mediumship experience remarkable things are possible, and lives can and are transformed forever.”
—Minister David R. Bruton, President Spiritualists’ National Union, Principal Arthur Findlay College
“Anyone who’s ever explored their family history wishes they could communicate with their ancestors, and finally, there’s a book for that! In Midlife Medium, renowned genealogist Sharon DeBartolo Carmack—with her trademark humor, grit, and candor on full display—invites us to peek over her shoulder on her fascinating journey into Spiritualism and becoming a credentialed medium. This book is your ticket to join her pioneering quest!”
—Megan Smolenyak, author of In Search of Our Ancestors: 101 Inspiring Stories of Serendipity and Connection
“If you have always wondered how mediumship works and whether it is really possible to communicate with the dead, this book is the key to unlocking the mystery. Sharon DeBartolo Carmack weaves a captivating story as she strives to comprehend her lifetime of spiritual unfoldment, from schoolgirl spell caster to fully qualified medium. As a professional genealogist, highly skilled at unearthing old documents and piecing together the lives of our ancestors, Carmack takes a meticulous approach, researching the history, science & philosophy of mediumship and examining the evidence from every scientific and spiritual angle. In her new book, Midlife Medium she has created a must-read guide full of riveting information and facts, for anyone interested in learning more about mediumship, all written with her unique satirical sense of humor which will keep you turning the pages. I highly recommend this book, which I’m sure will inspire and support you in your own quest to find your truth.”
—Ann Théato, Psychic Medium, Tutor, Host & Founder of the Psychic Matters! podcast
“Frank, lighthearted, and good fun to read, Midlife Medium demystifies afterlife communication. Sharon Carmack’s mediumship quest shows how healing relationships between the living and dead is both possible and enchanting.”
—Melanie Alberts, psychic artist and host of Psychic Playdate podcast
“Genealogists worth their salt have long used Sharon DeBartolo Carmack’s helpful guidebooks to find their ancestors and tell their stories. Now, in this flowing and unexpectedly funny memoir, she delivers evidence of how our departed loved ones survive in spirit, keen to communicate and reconnect. Just follow Sharon’s lead and you will sense them too.”
—Joseph Ditta, archivist and author of Then & Now: Gravesend, Brooklyn
“Midlife Medium is the inspiring and informative story of Sharon Carmack’s journey from skeptic to practicing medium. Sharon writes with a clear eye and wry humor of her many experiences as an aspiring medium. Her book also contains useful information about the history of Spiritualism and practical exercises for mediumship development. If you have ever wondered what it’s really like to become a medium, this book is a must read.”
—Carolyn Marie Wilkins, Psychic Medium and author of Death at a Seance: A Carrie McFarland Psychic Mystery
“I have never read a more accurate description of the path from genealogist to spiritualist than Midlife Medium. Sharon authentically captures the doubts and experiences that led her to work with the ancestors through mediumship. I’ve trod many of the same paths and can wholeheartedly recommend this journey.”
—Nancy Hendrickson, author Ancestral Tarot, and Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com
“In this lively and arresting memoir, Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, a career genealogist skilled in uncovering stories of the dead, becomes our spirit guide into worlds that most of will never enter. Midlife Medium: A Genealogist’s Quest to Converse with the Dead, is both a journey of the head—from skepticism to fully immersed practice in spiritualism—and a journey of the heart, a story of forgiveness and healing between mothers and daughters. Just as a medium mediates between the spirit world and the land of the living, Carmack artfully mediates between her story and ours. And we, her lucky readers, are changed by the encounter.”
—Rebecca McClanahan, author of The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change and Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively
Sharon DeBartolo Carmack is a Certified Genealogist® with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing. She is a Certificate holder in Demonstrating Mediumship from the Spiritualists’ National Union in the U.K., international branch, and an Advanced Academic Diploma holder also from the Spiritualists’ National Union. Sharon is the author of twenty-five books, including the best-selling guides Organizing Your Family History Search; A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Female Ancestors; Your Guide to Cemetery Research; You Can Write Your Family History; Tell It Short: A Guide to Writing Your Family History in Brief; and the recent biography, In Search of Maria B. Hayden: The American Medium Who Brought Spiritualism to the U.K. Her memoir Midlife Medium: A Genealogist’s Quest to Converse with the Dead is published by Köehler Books. Her work has appeared in almost every major genealogical journal, as well as Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Portland Review, Hippocampus Magazine, Phoebe: A Journal of Literature and Art, Steinbeck Review, and Literary Hub, to name a few.