It seems to have been a constant factor of known history that particular living people have claimed to have some kind of direct and personal contact with specific dead people. This has various forms - including some that are perceptual such as having visions and/or conversations; automatic writing, Ouija boards and channeling; and direct mind-to-mind contact in trance states or dreams.
Tribal peoples (especially hunter-gatherers) seem to have regarded contact between the living and the dead as both normal and significant; a necessary and valued part of everyday life. To the extent that 'human society' included both the living and the dead in a perpetual partnership and familial relationship.
When the contact claimed is with a famous person, it may be linked with claims of special authority for the one who is claiming the contact - and this kind of 'vested interest' means that the subject is plagued with both charlatanry and self-deception.
In other words, some people try to get fame or money from claiming a special relationship with some important dead person, while others make themselves feel important through a claimed relationship - just as people often 'name-drop' the famous living people they have met.
Nonetheless, the ubiquity of the phenomenon through cultures and history - and the high stature of some of those who claim such contact - can reasonably sustain an assumption that contact with the dead really does happen.
And if it does happen, then it is likely to be important.
However, when the phenomenon is considered from the perspective that human consciousness has undergone a linear development through history; it can be seen that there has been a change in the nature of such claims.
Contact with the dead seems to have begun as something that everybody did everyday, then to have become the preserve of an increasingly-professional and specialized priesthood - who might undergo training and initiation procedures, and might deploy formal methods of deliberately-induced deliberate trance states, then systems of divination.
When the spiritualist movement broke upon The West in the later 19th century (originating the USA) it used technologies such the Ouija board but also deep-trance mediums who were unconscious of the dead persons they were 'channeling'.
Coming in the early 20th century, Rudolf Steiner announced and advocated that this era was ending, and that henceforth contact with the dead should happen in a different and fully conscious way - but he was never able to explain clearly just how this would happen - although he left many clues. yet he seems to have been right to the extent that the spiritualist-type contact has been in decline for a century - despite more and more extreme attempts to sustain it - for example by powerful hallucinogenic drugs.
The situation now (in The West) is difficult to know - since it seems that Steiner was correct and the nature of contact with the dead has transformed as human consciousness has transformed; to the extent that contact may not be recognizable as such - may be denied, or explained-away, or simply kept secret.
And indeed, I think that in 2021 contact with the dead is meant to be - if not denied (because that would be dishonest) then kept 'secret' or not-talked-about; so that the actuality will not be contaminated or distorted by the actuality or accusations of status/ money seeking.
This applies to all modern spiritual experiences; we should avoid the position of trying to defend them or of to convince other people about them. They, like 'everyday miracles', are best regarded as being For us specifically and personally - for our salvation and theosis; so that we may learn spiritually from the experiences of this life.
But in this general way; I would suggest that almost everybody could and should be having experiences of contact with the dead of some kind. And furthermore, that it is almost certain that someone of the dead is probably trying to establish contact with you at this moment.
Who that person is is a personal matter - it could be a friend or relative, or it could be someone who was famous or from history - but I think that the initiative of genuine contact nearly always comes from the dead - and not by the desires of the living.
It is, indeed, the desire of the living to contact specific dead persons (regardless of the needs and wants of those specific dead persons) that has led to much of the self- and -other-deception of spiritualism in its various forms.
I think the way it works is that some person of the dead attempts to establish contact with some living person (for some reason that may never become clear) - and that the living person will become aware of this 'pressure' by the frequent, and perhaps inexplicable, recurrence of thoughts about the dead person pressing-upon their consciousness.
I would also suggest that expectations of some kind of two-way, question and answer, call and response 'conversation' between the living and the dead be set aside. However it was in the past and in other places; that seems not to be possible or desirable at this stage of the evolution of human consciousness in The West.
Rather, I think the dead may communicate directly, thought-to-thought; but this may be unconscious (for example during sleep); and the living side of the interaction needs to bring this to consciousness and to understanding.
Only when the living person has clarified and comprehended the thought-communication of the dead; can the dead person become aware of the living person's response.
In other words, the interaction may be slow, simple, almost like yes-or-no in terms of information; and one-way at a time.
The dead may also influence the motivation, interest, rewards of a living person - and contribute to discernment and creativity.
A common example is from music; when some form of communion between a specific performer and a specific dead composer leads to an especially musically valuable interpretation of that composer's work. This seems to be very common - albeit it is not necessarily explicitly claimed to be a contact. For instance: in the case of John Lill and Beethoven it is thus claimed; in the case of Glenn Gould and JS Bach the link is powerful but implicit - but in both cases the results are objectively verifiable.
The main potential value of such is for the living person himself; who experiences some enhancement of possibilities and the value of confirmation of the reality of the spiritual world and personal destiny.