What Are Billet Readings in Platform Mediumship?

Approx. Reading Time Seven Minutes

Is Reading Billets a Thing of The Past?

Reading Billets is a practice that many spiritualist churches incorporated into their church services for years and still do.

So, What Exactly Is a Billet?

Specifically, a Billet is a folded piece of paper that contains a question for a spirit provided by attendees in the audience. By holding the paper, the medium can get a sense of the spirit referenced to and off a message to hopeful attendees.

The word Billet comes from the French word meaning “letter.”  The readings are done by a medium standing on a platform or sitting in a circle giving messages to attendees looking to receive messages from deceased loved ones.

When people arrive for the service, they are asked to write the name of a deceased person on a piece of paper, which is then folded two times. A basket is passed around, and the billets are put into them.


A Medium Gives Billet Messages from a Platform

The medium will then randomly select a billet from this basket without opening up the folded paper. Then they  make contact with the spirit of the person whose name is written on it. Often, the medium will hold the billet to their forehead to get a better impression of what is on the paper. This helps to build a link with the spirit whose name is on it. A message is then channeled describing the spirit that is communicating so people in the audience know who it’s for.

How Reading Billets Was Faked in Times Past

It is distressing to mention that reading billets can be faked with so many other facets of Mediumship. Unscrupulous people used dishonest methods to give alleged readings from spirits. The hopefuls for receiving a message were often unaware of this.

There are numerous ways to fake readings. One particularly notorious way used was when someone switched baskets. The person giving the message is electronically hooked up to someone else reading the answers in a hidden earpiece.

Additionally, in past times, when people often attended a séance or church service, a book contained all the personal information about these people accumulated over time. Therefore, information about them was known beforehand. There are many other ways to fake billets, but people today are more sophisticated and can detect fraud more easily.

Reading Billets Doesn’t Need to be Faked

The truly sad part is that if the medium would just trust their intuition and “listen to the voice of Spirit,” the answers would be there anyway. So, how does one discern the real from the fake? It’s through common sense and possibly getting a recommendation from someone you trust of where to attend a spiritualist message service.

Reading Billets Is Much Like Doing Psychometry

Practicing psychometry makes it easy to pick up on what’s written on the paper. So, when holding a Billet, the medium is picking up a spirit’s feelings or life experiences by merely holding the paper. Moreover, just like psychometry the information garnered can come via any one of the psychic senses. 

How to Practice Reading Billets on Your Own

  1. Cut several small pieces of paper all the same size and color. On each one, write a different letter of the alphabet. Fold the paper in half and then in half again. Place the folded pieces of paper in a basket or bowl and thoroughly mix them.
  2. Now, take out one at a time, hold it against your forehead, and try to discern what letter is written on this billet. Then, open up the paper to see if you are correct. Record how many hits and misses in each practice session. Of course, you can practice doing this as many times as you like.

Practice Doing Billets in a Mediumship Development Group:

  1. To begin, everyone in the group takes a pencil or pen – and two or more sheets of white paper (white is a good vibrational color) — usually copy paper. On one of the papers, they write a question which can be answered by a simple “Yes” or “No” and keeping the question private.
  2. When finished, they fold their billet twice. On the outside of the billet, they put a mark or symbol that is easily recognizable to them. It could be a triangle, circle, design, or anything. Often, I use my astrological glyph of Pisces.
  3. Next, someone collects all of the billets. This is done by passing around a basket or bowl. They then go to each person in turn and have them select a billet from the bowl. To be sure they don’t see which billet they are selecting, the bowl is held above the eyes.
  4. Essentially, once they have selected a billet – they check it to be sure it did not have their own personal mark on it. If it is theirs, they can take another billet and return the first one.
  5. After everyone has a billet, the class spends ten minutes working with them. They can hold the billet near their third eye, in one hand, or between their hands with eyes open or closed, whichever is more comfortable.
  6. Next, each student holds the billet to see what impressions they get utilizing their various psychic senses. On the second piece of paper, they write down their impressions as they receive them. An example of contents might be a drawing, a sentence, phrases, quotes names, letters, numbers, dates, or locations.

    Write a Yes or No to a Question

  7. After about ten minutes, the facilitator ask everyone stops writing. At this point, they write a “Yes” or “No” to the question as the final impression.
  8. Starting with the person to the left of the facilitator, each person reads what they have written on the second paper. For example, if they have written that they saw a man walking towards them, they would further describe what he looked like and if the man was happy or sad, if he was walking quickly, or any other impressions they received.
  9. After each person has shared what they picked up from their chosen billet, they show the symbol to the class so the person connected to that question can raise their hand and acknowledge the billet as theirs.
  10. The messages people provide are often amazingly accurate. But remember, it’s only a practice, so sometimes messages can be way off! However, be gentle on the reader if this is the case.

 A Simpler Way to Practice Reading Billets in a Group

Another method for Billet reading practice in a group is when one person writes a question on a piece of paper, folding it, and gives it to another person to hold and interpret. The problem is if they know you well and the issues you are dealing with, they could be biased, and the answer may not be entirely accurate.

Again, bear in mind that this is practice, and answers should be taken with a grain of salt— unless the person is excellent at reading billets and you trust what they get. You should also keep your billets for future reference and place the date on the top. 


Reading Billets has be a practice of spiritualist churches since the late 1800s. And, it’s still done today. It’s the practice of people writing messages and then instructed to fold the message paper two times and then place the billet into a basket or bowl. The medium randomly picks the billets without opening them and proceeds to give messages to people in the audience. There are numerous ways to practice how to read billets presented in this post.

You may also be interested in this article: Billet Reading


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Carol Nicholson is thirty-five years a professional Psychic Medium and author of numerous Psychic and Spiritual courses since 2001.
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