Many of us have seen séances on TV or in the movies. The table moves, bells ring, tapping noises respond to questions and even lights or a ghostly shape appears. Usually a woman screams and a message of death is heard in the horror films. Is this reality?
What is a séance? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, séance is “a spiritualist meeting to receive spirit communications”. Usually it is a group of people sitting around a table with a medium that is contacting spirits and relaying the messages to the group.
In the mid-nineteenth century, the popularity of séances grew. Some of the most well known séances were performed for Mary Todd Lincoln in the White House as she tried to contact her son after he died. Harry Houdini attended many séances to debunk them and prove the leaders were scam artists. He even performed his own séances using magic tricks. However, Harry did leave a code that only his wife, Bess, knew in case he did contact her from the spirit world. For 10 years after Harry’s death, Bess held a séance on Halloween but claims the code was never conveyed to her by any medium.
There are many psychics, mediums, clairvoyants, etc today that claim they can talk with the dead. There is even a television show, “Long Island Medium”, about Theresa Caputo’s life as a medium, and how she helps people by conveying messages from spirits to them. Theresa does perform group readings which some people may call a séance.
Séances have been performed in a number of ways. “Receiving messages”, a part of the Spiritualist religious, is when the minister or contact medium relates messages from the spirits to the living during the service. Sometimes a person stands on stage in front of an audience and gives messages to specific people from the afterlife. Best known séances are performed with a medium leader who communicates the spirit’s messages to the group. However, some séances are performed without a leader and many times using a Ouija board to receive a message from the deceased.
But do you hear the spirits talk, have the table levitate, etc. during a séance? Aromas of perfume, cigarettes, cooking, etc. maybe noticed. The room temperature may change. Some people say they feel a tickling feeling or a part of their body being touched. Noises, not normal to the room, may be heard. However, lights, ghostly apparitions, orbs and unknown voices are not a normal occurrence at a séance.
There are many criticisms and objections to séances. Scandal, scams and fraud have plagued séances for years. Also, children, people with negative attitudes towards the process and people looking for entertainment should not attend a séance because they hinder the spirits from talking or may attract dysfunctional spirits. Like people there are good, bad, and dysfunctional spirits. Also make sure the medium leading the séance has several years of experience and is well known.
If you are interested in attending a séance, psychic Gary St. John will be performing one at Seeds of Wellness on Wed, November 19, 2014, at 7:00 pm. Reservations and payment must be made in advance because seating is limited.
Contact Seeds of Wellness or visit their website to learn more about our events.