How to Perform a Seance

Karen Frazier
Gravestone

If you are wondering how to perform a séance, it's not terribly difficult. With some simple preparation and following the outline, you can make an attempt to contact dead loved ones.

Will a Séance Really Work?

While you may wonder how to perform a séance, you might also be curiousabout whether or not séances really work. Remember when you were a child, and you would gather with your friends and have a séance? Chances are, your imagination ran away with you and you saw and heard all sorts of things. Looking back as an adult, you may chalk it up to childhood imagination. Was it imagination, or was it something else?

You'll find all sorts of opinions about whether or not séances work. During Victorian times and the rise of the Spiritualist movement, séances were a popular form of entertainment. This also gave rise to a number of séance debunkers such as Harry Houdini. Houdini originally began attending séances in an attempt to contact his dead mother. However, he quickly discovered that the people performing the séances were relying on a variety of homegrown special effects to make it appear as if they were really in contact with the dead. After this, Houdini began attending séances as a means of exposing charlatans. However, he kept hope alive throughout his life that he would find a true method of communication. He promised his wife that if communication from the other side was truly possible, he would get in touch with her through a séance on Halloween. A Houdini séance has been held every Halloween since his untimely death in 1927, but Houdini has never been in touch.

Does this mean that séances don't work? Not necessarily. The best way to find out is to give it a try yourself and see what happens.

Before You Begin

Before you perform your séance, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are your goals for the séance? What is your purpose for holding one?
  • Is there a particular person you'd like to contact during the séance?
  • Where will you have your séance? There is no need to be in a haunted location. Anywhere will work.
  • Who would you like to participate?
  • Which equipment will you use? You can use virtually anything; a Ouija board or a pendulum, for example. If you are into a more technical approach, you might consider using a piece of paranormal investigative equipment such as an EMF (electromagnetic frequency) meter, or a ghost box.
  • Will you record your session? Will it be video or voice recording? Often, video cameras and digital voice recorders can pick up EVP (electric voice phenomenon) that can't be heard at the time of the séance, but can be heard on replay.

Instructions on How to Perform a Séance

Once you've decided on the who, what, where and when, you are ready to have your séance.

  1. Go to a place that is relatively free of noise and light pollution. Choose a darkened room to minimize visual stimulus. Unplug any electrical appliances in the room to minimize the possibility of sound interference. Have all participants turn off their cell phones.
  2. If you are using recording equipment, make a note on the recorder of the date, time and everyone present. Set the equipment nearby.
  3. If you have chosen to have a séance with a Ouija board, pendulum or some other indicator, locate it centrally. Decide who will touch the planchette or hold the pendulum.
  4. Many people prefer to say a brief prayer of protection prior to performing a séance. This can be anything you'd like to say. You may also want to ask permission of the spirits to speak with them and record what they have to say.
  5. Have the participants form a circle.
  6. Begin asking questions. Yes or no questions work best. You might ask things like, "Is there anyone here who wishes to speak with us?" Tell the spirits how you'd like them to respond (knock, move the planchette, cause the pendulum to circle for yes or swing for no, speak into the red light on the recorders, etc.)
  7. Everyone needs to try to be as still as possible. If someone makes a noise (such as a stomach growl or an accidental knock), they will need to identify that they were the one that made that noise.
  8. Continue asking questions, and make notes of any responses you get.
  9. When you are done, thank the spirits for attempting to communicate with you.

How Will You Know When You've Made Contact?

There is no certain way to know whether or not you've made contact. Often, the things that happen during a séance are very subtle - a slight knock, for instance. This could be attributed to a spirit, or it could be someone else in the room making a noise. Keep an open mind and first seek to debunk anything that you see or hear. If you can't find a logical, real-world explanation, you may have made contact.

Reviewing Your Evidence

  • After the séance, review your recordings in a quiet place.
  • Use headphones to listen to all audio.
  • If you recorded video, review it twice - first listening to the audio without the video, and then watching the video without audio.
  • If there were multiple recording devices in the room and you hear a voice or a sound, see if it appears on any of the other recorders.
  • Listen carefully. EVPs often occur in whispers and are difficult to hear.
  • If you get any sounds on your recordings, attempt to rule out logical explanations such as ambient noise.

Now that you know how to perform a séance, you're ready to try to get in contact with those who have passed on. Who knows - you may find evidence of life after death.

How to Perform a Seance