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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Seance performance dilemma (advice requested) (10 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Lucien Astor
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I live in the Canadian biblebelt. The first seance I did many years ago was at a Halloween fundraiser for a museum (it was actually more of a spookshow). They advertised it as a 'Theatrical Seance', and some of the local churches got wind of it. They were outside the museum in the afternoon with banners, and proceeded to paint crosses on the doors with holy oil (you can still see them when the doors frost up).

I've done a few more seances with the troupe I currently perform with, and these ones are closer to a traditional seance. I use pr** sh** to have people write questions for the spirits to answer (before we start, while people are having a glass of wine). The sitters gather around a large table illuminated by a few candles. It becomes a straight Q&A while we pretend to go into a trance. The only manifestation that occurs is the ringing of a bell in the moments before the 'spirits' reveal answers. This does elicit squeals.

The people who come are expecting a unique, possibly scary, experience, and I would imagine that is the case with your seance. If they have chosen to be there, I wouldn't think you need kid gloves (someone actually told me that they thought it would be scarier). If you want a disclaimer, I have used the following lines which I have shamelessly stolen (I don't remember the source). Before beginning ask "Do you beleive in spirits? Please don't answer, but I'll ask you again when the evening concludes..." At the conclusion of the seance say "I asked you earlier if you beleived in spirits. I would just like to say that I don't... >wink<"
Snoogans
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Good point, Lucien! I suppose a person can't expect to come to a séance and not expect something never before experienced to happen. I hadn't thought of it that way.
konjurer
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You referred to your audience as guests. Are they friends or family? Do they know you well already? If that is the case, you've got a big hill to climb to get them to believe that something paranormal is happening. So maybe that's a good thing. You can still be creepy and entertaining and they probably won't think you've sold your soul.
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Slim King
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You asked for advice ... So here it is, and I give it to everyone in your situation ..... PLEASE GO TO A REAL SEANCE!!!!!!
Virtually hundreds of well meaning entertainers have no idea what a Seance is. Please think about what you are attempting.
You honestly have NO first hand evidence of how a Seance looks, feels, or works.
I know it is tempting to want to perform something that is super impressive, entertaining, and fun .... However, Seances aren't things that someone just makes up with spooky props and such.
Seances contact those in the afterlife. The Spiritualist movement used Trance Mediums who contacted Spirit Guides who in turn found those who had passed over and delivered messages from them.
Reading a mentalists second hand opinion about Seances is NOT the way to go about this ... IMHO
Smile
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Brynmore14
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We commonly recreate the Hollywood tropes of a séance, so I agree with you Slim. Having said that, I do think that recreating the tropes can be a perfectly valid form of entertainment, it is just not an accurate recreation of a 'spiritualist séance'.
Gregor Von G.
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Hi
I live in Italy, where people are still very superstitious.
There are lots of people who spend fortunes to rely on "wizards" or "healers" who rob them without pity, it seems incredible but it is really so.
If one were an terrible infamous worm without soul, with our skills and knoweledges, would become rich behind these simple minded or desperate peoples.
To avoid engaging this audience, I think the audience should be, in some ways, selected (or at least the social environment).
If, unfortunately, the public really believe that you have powers, how do you manage the situation?
Snoogans
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Everyone will be friends of mine, co-workers most likely. I never talk about spirits, magic, religion, any other things such as that at work. I haven't decided if I'm going to mention a séance on the party invites, or wait until the night of to bring it up. At least one person I know of is a believer in ghosts and the paranormal.
I'll look around on google and see if there is a spiritualist church in the area and see if I can find a séance to attend. I think it would be educational!
Thanks!
Lucien Astor
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...a seance in the context of a spiritualist church bears little similarity to the Victorian and Edwardian seances firmly entrenched in the public imagination. Mentalism and its techniques are the direct descendants of the seance room. The word billets derive from mediumistic literature, as does the phrase book test. Do whatever interests you, the old mediums did, with all sorts of strange props. A seance only means a sitting, and how the spirits communicate is only dictated by the constraints of your imagination.
EVILDAN
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I attended a few real séances and they look more like a John Edward show than anything that we ever attempt to put together.

That being said, I think you have to decide where you stand on séances and how you plan on presenting them.
Todd Robbins had a few séance shows where things happened, supposedly went out of control and he just stood there laughing basically saying it was all fake...a con.

As part of the séance group TRINITY, we presented a few séances where people were so affected by what they saw or what happened to them that one member, Tony, had to take them outside and talk them down, sometimes even to the point of saying that this was just a show. We're all magicians. But I mean Tony REALLY had to work at talking them down. One woman walked out of the building. Another young male was convinced that he received a msg from his spirit guide.

Seances are and can be powerful stuff.

Play smart.
by EVILDAN....
"The Coin Board Book" - moves and routines with the coin panel board. - http://www.lybrary.com/the-coin-board-book-p-827955.html
"SLASHER - A Horror Whodunnit" - a bizarre close-up routine based on Bob Neale's "Sole Survivor."
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Snoogans
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Wise words, EvilDan. I'm looking for a Victorian feel. None of this John Edward "biggest ****** in the universe" stuff. There will be no "look what I can do" stuff. It's all about the sitters.
Mr Timothy Gray
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Quote:
On Jun 4, 2015, Snoogans wrote:
Wise words, EvilDan. I'm looking for a Victorian feel. None of this John Edward "biggest ****** in the universe" stuff. There will be no "look what I can do" stuff. It's all about the sitters.


If you don't mind, Snoogans, I'm going to keep pushing you, if only so that you can write out and articulate your thoughts.

You keep saying 'it's all about the sitters.' What does this mean exactly? It is the best sentiment to have, but, once again, you need CLARITY. What do you want them to experience? How do you want them to experience it? Why do you want them to experience it? What do you want them to take away from the performance? How do you want them to talk about the performance a few weeks later?

Additionally, if you are merely the facilitator, how did you become a facilitator, why do you continue to do it, when did you realize you could do it?
Yr. Obdt. Svt.,
Mr Timothy Gray

Specializing in the Occult Arts of Fortune Telling, Magic & Mediumship; Est. 1986
EVILDAN
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Playing devil's advocate here, John Edward's approach IS all about the sitters.
People come hoping to get a msg from a loved one that has passed on, and he delivers.

So, like Mr Timothy Gray is prodding you about....what will YOU deliver, and how will you deliver it?
by EVILDAN....
"The Coin Board Book" - moves and routines with the coin panel board. - http://www.lybrary.com/the-coin-board-book-p-827955.html
"SLASHER - A Horror Whodunnit" - a bizarre close-up routine based on Bob Neale's "Sole Survivor."
PM me for more info.
"Zombie Town" - a packet effect about how a small town turned into zombies. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nzJhcoJtyOM
Slim King
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There was a theatrical seance in Key West that utilized on old building there ... problem being ... the building was truly haunted. I spoke with a girl that worked there several years ago. She said the people often saw the REAL THING thinking it was part of the show. The actors simply had to play along.
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Snoogans
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Quote:
On Jun 4, 2015, Mr Timothy Gray wrote:
Quote:
On Jun 4, 2015, Snoogans wrote:
Wise words, EvilDan. I'm looking for a Victorian feel. None of this John Edward "biggest ****** in the universe" stuff. There will be no "look what I can do" stuff. It's all about the sitters.


If you don't mind, Snoogans, I'm going to keep pushing you, if only so that you can write out and articulate your thoughts.

You keep saying 'it's all about the sitters.' What does this mean exactly? It is the best sentiment to have, but, once again, you need CLARITY. What do you want them to experience? How do you want them to experience it? Why do you want them to experience it? What do you want them to take away from the performance? How do you want them to talk about the performance a few weeks later?

Additionally, if you are merely the facilitator, how did you become a facilitator, why do you continue to do it, when did you realize you could do it?


Push all you want, Sir! I'm growing and learning from this conversation!
I'll answer your questions as best I can.

You keep saying 'it's all about the sitters.' What does this mean exactly?

I mean that me, as the Medium, explains a brief history of séance and that if the sitters want something to happen, something will, although I'm not certain what that will be as all seances are different. Per Voodini, I will explain that the sitters that get the most out of it are the ones that put the most into it. My job is to lead the way, but not in such a way that the sitters feel that they are not part of the event. For instance, I will explain the history of glass moving, and what is expected to happen. After that, the participating sitters are the main stars of the show. The same will be observed with the pendulum portion and later the dark séance. I will be prepared to prod if need be ("Does anyone else feel that chill? The room seems to be getting darker on the left side and moving this way", etc.)

It is the best sentiment to have, but, once again, you need CLARITY. What do you want them to experience?
I hope that all of the events (glass moving, pendulum, etc.) unfold as best as possible and everyone feels excitement.

How do you want them to experience it?
Not sure I understand the question, but I hope that this will be memorable and mysterious/spooky for everyone involved.

Why do you want them to experience it?
I believe a séance is something that most people have only heard about or seen on the screen. I hope that this will be a new experience for them.

What do you want them to take away from the performance?
How do you want them to talk about the performance a few weeks later?
My hope is that the séance will take on a life of its own with the sitters and their stories will expand and become more exciting/mysterious/spooky as they are passed from person to person. I hope that the sitters consider the séance to be the highlight of the party and maybe even the most exciting thing they've experienced in a while. I hope that they will leave the party and not be able to wait to tell their friends what they experienced.
I also hope that it sparks interest in the Ripper story as I intend to name each victim by name and make them more than just a picture or a story. I want the sitters to know that these were real people with hopes, dreams, fears, loves, etc. This is one reason why I will show the pics from their graves, as everyone has seen a grave at one point. This will make it more personal, more real.

Additionally, if you are merely the facilitator, how did you become a facilitator, why do you continue to do it, when did you realize you could do it?
I will let the sitters know that a little known fact about me is that since childhood, I have attended and conducted séances. Not entirely true as this would be my first in hosting one, however in my youth séances and Ouija sessions were a common activity with my siblings. However, I want the sitters to be at ease that I know what I'm doing and they are safe. The protection rituals (white light, salt, etc) are also a part of this. I will stay away from Ouija due to the negative stigma surrounding them (I don't believe in it, but it's surprising how many people do, and they must be respected) and glass moving has probably never been seen by any of them before. More room around the table for people to watch than a Ouija, too. I will share some stories of what I experienced and that a chat with the spirits is exciting and harmless, if done correctly, of course.

Mind you, I'm throwing ideas together here. I haven't sat down and made a script or storyboard. No doubt I will add/delete ideas as time goes on.

Thanks for your wisdom, and please, keep it coming!
Snoogans
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Quote:
On Jun 4, 2015, EVILDAN wrote:
Playing devil's advocate here, John Edward's approach IS all about the sitters.
People come hoping to get a msg from a loved one that has passed on, and he delivers.

So, like Mr Timothy Gray is prodding you about....what will YOU deliver, and how will you deliver it?


I plan to stay away from contacting loved ones as I believe it's not a good idea. I'm no fan of JE because I feel that what he does is unethical and predatory. That's JMHO.
EVILDAN
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Good idea about not contacting loved ones. You step into a different realm altogether.

It would probably be a good idea to set expectations on what people can expect to experience and what Not to expect.
by EVILDAN....
"The Coin Board Book" - moves and routines with the coin panel board. - http://www.lybrary.com/the-coin-board-book-p-827955.html
"SLASHER - A Horror Whodunnit" - a bizarre close-up routine based on Bob Neale's "Sole Survivor."
PM me for more info.
"Zombie Town" - a packet effect about how a small town turned into zombies. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nzJhcoJtyOM
Snoogans
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Quote:
On Jun 4, 2015, EVILDAN wrote:
Good idea about not contacting loved ones. You step into a different realm altogether.

It would probably be a good idea to set expectations on what people can expect to experience and what Not to expect.


Do you mean explain that the pendulum will move one way for yes/no, the glass will move, etc? I plan to do that. Once the fingers are on the glass, my first place to go is to stand where "yes" is and ask the spirits if they have arrived. Smile

I'll explain that spirit presence can be in the form of a chill, a dark area, a light touch, a smell, a sound, just to name a few. I hope to put enough suggestions and expectations out there that they can't help but experience something.

Thanks for all your wise words and experience. I think I'm way ahead of where I was when I first posted this topic.
EVILDAN
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No, I mean something like this....

Ask 10 people what a séance is and you'll get 10 different answers. Some people will call what John Edward does a séance. Others will describe a séance by what Hollywood has been feeding them for most of their lives.

What you will experience tonight is....(fill in the blanks).
by EVILDAN....
"The Coin Board Book" - moves and routines with the coin panel board. - http://www.lybrary.com/the-coin-board-book-p-827955.html
"SLASHER - A Horror Whodunnit" - a bizarre close-up routine based on Bob Neale's "Sole Survivor."
PM me for more info.
"Zombie Town" - a packet effect about how a small town turned into zombies. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nzJhcoJtyOM
Snoogans
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That sounds like a great idea. Everyone needs to be on the same page before the activities begin. Thanks!
EVILDAN
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Exactly and you don't want people expecting to contact a dead relative and finding out that's not going to happen.
by EVILDAN....
"The Coin Board Book" - moves and routines with the coin panel board. - http://www.lybrary.com/the-coin-board-book-p-827955.html
"SLASHER - A Horror Whodunnit" - a bizarre close-up routine based on Bob Neale's "Sole Survivor."
PM me for more info.
"Zombie Town" - a packet effect about how a small town turned into zombies. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nzJhcoJtyOM
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