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ed wood
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I've been booked to perform a seance evening next year. Thankfully I have 6 months to prepare for this.
I have a few items I perform of this nature already but never done a full hour.
I want to do a little more reading before I start to prepare. The only book I own on the subject is Seance by Scott Moore-Davis. This seems pretty comprehensive but I'm wondering if there is anything else anyone would recommend as well as individual routines and effects.
Thanks for your help.
Ed
Nyama Possessor
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Greetings Ed,

Definitely check out the following:

Introduction to the Art of Séance by P. Craig Browning

After you have read the above free digital publication (which is a detailed overview and basic guide to the art of séance), and have sorted out and answered some fundamental character, theme, setting and performance questions for yourself, then I would recommend the following books:

Raising the Dead for Fun & Profit by Jim Magus

Building a Séance Show by Freddie Valentine

The Paranormal Entertainer by Paul Voodini

Step #9: Mediumistic Stunts by Paul Voodini

20 Tips for Séance Workers by Thomas Baxter

Creating the Paranormal Experience (Lecture Notes) by Scott Wells

Manifestations by Lee Earle

As for specific effects, those will be best determined depending on if you are centering your séance around a theme or not, and have settled upon what type of séance you are going to be hosting, and what type of medium your will portray... As you may know, there are all different kinds of séances (blackout, red-light, themed, formal, guided etc.), just as there are different kinds of mediums (are you going to channel a spirit, or do you have a spirit guide, are you a sensitive? etc.). In your case since it will be your first time conducting a séance, you might consider portraying a "Novice Medium", one who is still learning and investigating, yet has a deep and sincere interest having been greatly affected by a personal "paranormal experience" in the recent past. Should you choose this persona, it will be made more authentic in that although you may not have had a "paranormal experience" recently (lol), you will have studied and investigated mediumship and seance for 5 or 6 months, before the scheduled date of the gig (I would smoothly play that up should you choose that role). You really want to nail your character/persona though, as it can spell the difference between being genuine and corny.

I would also urge you to check out Outlaw Effects and Alchemy Moon as both vendors offer some magnificent and wonderful items... The Lun@ Tril0gy ('34, '35, '36) and Lun@ B0x could easily be worked into most séances, and make for exceptionally haunting and visceral props/effects...

Feel free to PM me if you'd like to build on things further or want specific marketed effect recommendations after you've read Introduction to the Art of Séance by P. Craig Browning.

Hope this helps... Good luck!

Peace.

From under the shade tree,

~ Nyama Possessor ~
The Honorable NYAMA POSSESSOR

Co-Founder & Co-Creator of MAGICAL REALISM, Owner of ANCESTRAL REALM PRODUCTIONS

* 17 Year Member of the Shadow Network * ICBM Alumnus *

Creator/Author of SUMMONING RUMI and numerous other underground proprietary releases...
Books, routines and tools coming soon, available only and exclusively at www.AlchemyMoon.com
Philemon Vanderbeck
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When I approached the idea of performing my séance, I decided to break it down into two "acts."

The first act was designed to establish my credentials as a medium. I performed a series of mentalism routines that demonstrated my clairvoyant abilities.

After that, the second act introduced the artifacts that I used psychometry upon, which allowed me to make contact across time to the persons long dead.

Ultimately, you are telling a story, and should follow the rules of narrative to present an entertaining event.

I chose to confine my séance to a theatrical experience. I did not want to wander into the hazardous landscape that comes from pretending to contact the deceased loved ones of the sitters. Along that path lies too much trouble.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
ed wood
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Hi Nyama,thanks so much for your comprehensive reply. You've given me a lot or valuable reading to do there and I really appreciate it.
Philemon, much thanks to you too. Starting off with a series of mentalism routines is a superb idea, especially as this is how I work normally.
The one thing I've already decided is to stay away from contacting dead relatives, as you say "along that path lies too much trouble".
Ed
Harley Newman
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The ancient goals of a medium, were to function as a buffer zone between the living and the dead. Passing messages back and forth was a kind of grief therapy, but only part of the job. It required the kind of skills that are used in what we now call readings.

Mediums also played the role of psychopomp, guiding newly dead spirits to the other side, so that the spirits would not (in their confusion about being newly dead) entice the still-living to join them. It's a place with the potential for extreme volatility and danger.

And then there's using the already established channels to get information from spirits, that reads the future.

You need to decide which approach(es) you want to take, and how to balance it. It can be very safe, almost sterile. Or it can work toward the opposite...very dark, dangerous, threatening to the reality of the sitters, both during and after the seance.

And then, you get to decide whether you leave them with a threat, save them, or pass it all off as a light diversion.

Some of us believe that theater should be disturbing. Some of us do not.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
Brynmore14
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I like disturbing theatre Smile
Lord Freddie
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My books explain how to programme a night of paranormal entertainment but are not presented as a show.
reese
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of Hell
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Quote:
On Jul 18, 2015, Brynmore14 wrote:
I like disturbing theatre Smile

Me too!
JAlenS
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Quote:
On Jul 15, 2015, ed wood wrote:
I've been booked to perform a seance evening next year. Thankfully I have 6 months to prepare for this.
I have a few items I perform of this nature already but never done a full hour.
I want to do a little more reading before I start to prepare. The only book I own on the subject is Seance by Scott Moore-Davis. This seems pretty comprehensive but I'm wondering if there is anything else anyone would recommend as well as individual routines and effects.
Thanks for your help.
Ed

It's A G G Ghost by Paul Voodini has some great and modern ideas to pull from.
Nyama Possessor
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Quote:
On Jul 16, 2015, ed wood wrote:
Hi Nyama,thanks so much for your comprehensive reply. You've given me a lot or valuable reading to do there and I really appreciate it...

Ed


You're most certainly welcome Ed... Good luck!
The Honorable NYAMA POSSESSOR

Co-Founder & Co-Creator of MAGICAL REALISM, Owner of ANCESTRAL REALM PRODUCTIONS

* 17 Year Member of the Shadow Network * ICBM Alumnus *

Creator/Author of SUMMONING RUMI and numerous other underground proprietary releases...
Books, routines and tools coming soon, available only and exclusively at www.AlchemyMoon.com
balzar
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Late to the party here, but I too want to thank Nyama for taking the time to outline a bit of a roadmap for us novices. It is greatly appreciated.
Winks
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Two resources I highly recommend:
Lee Earle's new book: The Spirit Guide (The Art of Theatrical Seance)

and, if you can find it,

The Book Of Spirits Seance Instruction Manual by Rick Maue (Deceptions Unlimited)
Mr. Woolery
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This past October, I did my first séance for a friend's early Halloween party. I'm by no means an expert, having only done the one, but I'm sharing in case it sparks any ideas for others who want to try this out.

I started with Ian Rowland's Navigate to Icy, which set the mood pretty well as one in which I was going to talk about dead people and inexplicable, but non-threatening things would happen. One participant selects a photo, which turns out to be the only one with a name on the back. Another selects two alphabet cards, which happen to be the initials of the person in the photo (and yes, this is a real photo of a real person and I used the real name). There's a story to frame these moments that illustrates how sometimes a message can only be understood long after it comes through, which let me tell people how important it is to share any messages they receive, since they may be meaningful to someone else.

The lights were dimmed and candles lit for the rest.

I followed with pendulums, as detailed by Paul Voodini in TC Tahoe's book on them. There were 6 people holding pendulums and three of them were swinging as I asked the spirits to make themselves known. One was absolutely out of all reasonable bounds and the woman holding it was feeling pretty freaked. When I then told the spirits to stop the movement, hers went still almost immediately and there was a low "what the truuuuuuck…" (Only it wasn't truck that she said, of course.) Spirits had made their presence known.

After that, with the lights low, several of the participants looked into a crystal ball and all but one of them saw scenes and images. This may have been the best part, just because I didn't have to do anything other than tell them to unfocus their eyes and speak aloud whatever they saw, no matter how strange it may have been. After all, the message might be for someone else and you are the conduit the spirits choose to share this message for the person who actually is meant to hear it...

I turned off the lights and the room only was lit by candles as I spread letter cards on the table and the wine glass moved, though it only indicated a single letter. A little bit of a let down, but I learned a lesson about audience management that I will hope to put into practice in the future.

I spread tarot cards on the table and those who felt called to receive personal messages used a pendulum to let the spirits guide them to the card that indicated a message they were meant to hear. One person asked me about the tarot message after the séance was over and hoped for further insight into the message, so that part did resonate with at least one person

Finally, the candles were blown out and we sat in full darkness for several minutes, people being asked to speak if they heard, saw, or felt anything. Which several people did.

After the lights were up and the séance ended, I was on the other side of the room when a card and pencil I'd placed on a side table at the start was found to have a message on it. You see, I'd totally forgotten about putting it there, but the resident skeptic asked about it and I suggested she check it, as I was packing up candles... There was a fair amount of discussion about the cryptic scrawl and the fact that I'd forgotten it just added to the legitimacy.

I made no effort to change anyone's beliefs, but my goal was to give an experience that (at least for that evening) would have people asking themselves if that could have been a real contact with spirits. I know from things the host told me later that it at least had people wondering.

I had started with all sorts of ideas for jump scares, poltergeist activity, and so on. By the time I was ready to hold the séance, I had decided I didn't want it to be like that. I wanted an experience that would show why some people hold séances often. I mean, if I had things falling over and demons manifesting, I wouldn't ever want to do this sort of thing again, right? But if peaceful spirits are giving me messages from beyond the grave, and nothing bad happens, yeah, I can see why people would repeat this event. My goal at the end was that people leave thinking it could have been real.

If other people have other goals, I respect and love that. Truth is, I'd be delighted to get a chance to attend a lot of theatrical séances if I could. (By theatrical, I mean only to differentiate from some of the really meh examples of message bearing séances I've seen on YT, not to say that someone needs to do it on a stage.) I would love to experience as many different interpretations of this performance art as I can because I'd love to see how others interpret such an experience.

-Patrick
TEB3
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May I humbly suggest these books have helped hundreds over the span of time starting in 1981 with The Bigger Book of BOO!

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/teb3

And Lulu is having a sale. ONEFIVE all caps is the 15% discount code.

Lary/TEB3/Traveler
and currently working on a heck of a new book
GReed3649
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Thank you Nyama for the reading list. I've been researching seance's for over a decade and I think it's finally time to put all that research into a show.

And thanks to you Mr. Woolery for the wonderful description of your show. My original concept was for a traditional victorian ghost show type séance, but the now I suspect it may be worthwhile to bring in a bit more of Mr. Voodini's psychological affects. Why risk affects that can be "found out" when the sitters are apparently willing to do most of the heavy lifting themselves and the end result is a legitimate experience.

Now I've got more reading to do.
Mr. Woolery
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GReed, I can't really speak to any of the approaches by more experienced séance performers. As noted, I've only done one. That said, I thought a lot about what I wanted to leave the guests with. Did I want them to be frightened, amused, creeped out, or what? I decided I wanted to leave them with the feeling that this is what a séance would feel like if there were real spirit contact. There would be a lot of it that could be explained away as imagination, but just enough that couldn't be so there would be that "what if" feeling that lingers. Next time I get a chance, I'll be sticking to a very similar format, but will change my scripting a bit. I want to add some slightly stronger convincers to the paranormal movement, as well. Either a spirit bell or a bottle pendulum or something like that. Still room for doubt (ghosts have not been scientifically proven to everyone's satisfaction, so too strong a phenomenon would be unbelievable, I think), but just that little bit more concrete than I have already done. I also want to work on more of a story and perhaps structure it around contacting a particular spirit. I recently bought Voodini's Complete Midnight Side of the Mind and that just filled me with ideas for how the séance could involve a sitter contacting the spirit directly and seeing through her eyes. Again, down to some serious script writing.

That said, I'd be thrilled to attend a spook show or a séance that is Victorian themed. I would be delighted with a séance that involves the scary ghosts. I want to find one that is witchcraft themed, one that is set as a scientific investigation with EVP, EM detectors, and whatever else the scientific ghost hunters use. Now I want to see every example I can and feel what it is like in every performer's approach. I don't really care so much about the "how it is done" but I really want to feel what the experience is like.

A word of advice that really helped me: set up a video camera and record it for your own development. I live in a single-party consent state, so this wasn't illegal, but I also don't share the video out of respect for others there who didn't know about it. (The host knew and approved it.) I put black tape over the red indicator lights and put it in an inconspicuous place. Watching the video is painful in parts and delightful in parts. I've learned more from the parts where I'm really not yet the performer I want to be than I ever could just from watching good performers. My favorite part is the large young man (as in burly, not a euphemism for fat) who was projecting some really creeped-out body language at the end. Although he didn't see anything, his pendulum didn't move, and he wasn't a part of any of the phenomena, he was hugging himself after.

When you do your séance, I'd love it if you report back here about what you chose to do with it.

-Patrick
GReed3649
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Absolutely. I’m a haunter by nature, and Halloween is my Christmas. In fact Halloween and the desire to do a Victorian style seance is the main thing that got me involved with magic. I was amazed to find that Houdini, Dunninger and others had spent years revealing the tricks and secrets of "mediums". What amazed me even more was to find out that the information and the secrets we’re not only still out there, but that the methods still worked after almost 100 years.

Some of the methods and effects have been "modernized", but the most of the original methods still work, because the general public has simply forgotten that they were ever exposed in the first place.

Everything old is new again.
Mr. Woolery
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For me, it was an opportunity I hadn’t planned on. A friend of mine is really into seances, so he gave some long distance advice. But I’d never planned on doing one. Now, I can hardly wait for my next chance! It was a lot of fun.

Still, I learned a lot from the camera, so that suggestion stands. It is painful to watch some of it, but educational.

Patrick
MentalistCreationLab
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I've got a seance table that will trigger a EVP, EM detector it also does other things.

The key with seance it not to do too many effects. You may also want to check out my Inside the seance mind which is hours and hours of audio recording on the subject where I cover a lot of stuff besides just the tricks. If you can find a real spirit trumpet get one! Just saying.
Mr. Woolery
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I would love to attend a séance where you use that table. Wow.

-Patrick
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