How to Perform a Séance: Keys to a Successful Session 

Updated June 28, 2021
Group of People Having a Seance

In the United States, performing a séance is often thought of as a slumber party game; it's something pre-teens do to scare themselves silly. But there are many people who use séances as a genuine way to connect to the spirits of people who have died. If you'd like to try to conduct your own séance, follow these instructions but be warned: summoning spirits is not for the faint of heart. When engaging in activities that summon spirits, always be prepared for a spirit to actually appear.

Where to Conduct a Séance

You can hold a séance anywhere, but if you are trying to contact a specific spirit, you may wish to do it somewhere that person spent time when they were alive. With effective séance techniques, however, you could actually hold a session at your kitchen table and have success. It's probably best to avoid having a séance in places like cemeteries or churches or as party entertainment for a huge gathering. Instead, find a quiet space where you can dim the lights and use shades to block sunlight or other lights coming in through the windows.

When to Have the Séance

You can have a séance at any time. There is no specific "witching hour" where a séance is more effective.

Who Should Be Involved?

You can have as few or as many people involved as you wish. Some people hold solo séances, while others conduct them for large crowds. Ideally, four to six people is a good number, as you'll have enough energy present to possibly connect with a spirit but not so much that you send out confusing messages or signals. It's best if the people involved are open-minded and can focus on a similar goal; having a hardened skeptic there can actually block energy that may come through. You'll also want people in a positive frame of mind seeking positive experiences so you attract positive spirits.

What You Need

You'll need a table big enough for the participants to sit around but small enough they can hold hands, chairs, and candles or LED candles. A round or oval table is ideal but not absolutely necessary.

Set Up

To set up the room before the séance, do the following:

  1. Set chairs for each participant around the table.
  2. Light the candles or turn on the LED lights and place them in the center of the table.
  3. Darken the room by pulling window shades and dimming or turning off lights. You can have a few low-light ambient lights burning, such as a Himalayan salt lamp, so participants aren't completely in the dark.
  4. Adjust the temperature so the room is comfortable.

How to Hold a Séance

When the room is ready, have participants file in and take a seat around the table, holding hands above the table.

  1. Designate one person as the medium. This is the person who will have all communication with the spirits, asking questions, etc. All other participants will need to remain as quiet as possible during the séance.
  2. Start with a brief affirmation of protection, such as, "All participants remain safe and protected during this session."
  3. Have each participant visualize a bubble of white light popping out from their core to surround the space and fill the room.
  4. Invite the spirits to communicate. You can do this by having the medium introduce themselves and each person around the table and state their purpose. For instance, "My name is Mary Smith. I'm here today with Bob Jones and Amy Manning. We invite any spirits who wish to communicate with us to step forward now."
  5. Tell the spirits how you're hoping they'll respond, such as, "We will ask yes or no questions, and we invite you to answer by knocking. One knock means no, two knocks means yes." This is just one way you can ask spirits to respond--you can also ask them to speak into voice recorders if you have them, try to speak aloud, cause a pendulum to swing, or whatever means of communication you choose.
  6. Ask the spirit to come speak with you now. Tell them they can indicate their presence by rapping on the table or a wall. Have all participants close their eyes and silently invite the spirit to join you. Stay in this meditative space until you hear a rap. If you sit for about ten minutes with nothing, close the séance and try again another time.
  7. If the spirit raps, have the medium ask questions. Yes are no questions are best as these are the easiest for a spirit to communicate in a séance.
  8. Continue asking questions until the spirit stops responding or you feel it is time to end.

How to End It

Once you've decided to end the séance, do the following:

  1. The medium should thank the spirit for participating.
  2. The medium then asks the spirit to return to where it came from and not to remain in the space nor with any of the participants. For example, the medium might say, "Our communication here is finished. We thank you for communicating with us and ask that you return from where you came. Please leave this space and do not return unless invited. Please do not visit any of the people here today without an invitation."
  3. Have all participants visualize pushing the bubble of white light out from their core again so the light fills the room and surrounds everyone in it. This will push out any spirit that might remain.
  4. Break the circle by letting go of each other's hands.

Always close the séance in this way, even if you haven't had any noticeable responses.

Do a Séance Alone

You can perform the same séance rituals as noted above alone. However, you may not have the spiritual energy necessary to summon a spirit. Try for about ten minutes and close the séance even if you feel you don't get any responses. Alternatively, it may be easier to use the Ouija board alone or work with a pendulum.

Woman Performing Seance Alone

How Will You Know When You've Made Contact?

There is no certain way to know whether you've made contact. Often, the things that happen during a séance are 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 disprove anything that you see or hear. If you can't find a logical, real-world explanation, you may have made contact.

Contacting Spirits

Séances are one way people can try to connect with the spirit world and communicate with someone who has died. And while it is simple to perform a séance, it may not be quite as easy to get results. You can increase your chances by working with like-minded individuals, minimizing distractions, being positive and open to whatever happens, and trying more than once should you fail to achieve results the first time.

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How to Perform a Séance: Keys to a Successful Session