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Seance: picking the location, time, and props

Where and when to hold your seance

Where and when a séance is held really depends on having the space and time available. When investigating a haunted location it is perfect to hold a séance in that location, as the energies of the ghostly visitors can paint us a portrait of who they were and why they are haunting that particular location. If you are just having an ancestral séance any private location will work.

There are two different ideas and much controversy about when to hold a séance. Many believe that a séance held at night delivers better results, while others don’t seem to find much difference between a séance held at night to one held in the day. The argument is that spirits show themselves better at night. But do they, or is it just that the psychic atmosphere is quieter and it is easier to perceive spirits? There have been many séances held in the day that have yielded the same results as séances in the night. It is a matter of personal preference and really doesn’t make much difference to a spirit.  I personally prefer nighttime seances.

First off, you need to choose a quiet location where you won’t be disturbed. Not every situation offers the stereotype ambience for performing a séance, so work with what you have.

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How many mediums at a Seance?

Another myth that surrounds the subject of communication circles is that you shouldn’t have more than one medium present. There have been many times when multiple mediums have sat together adding to the desired outcome. Not every séance will hand over success easily. It takes time and experience, and even that is not a sure-fire guarantee.

Seance Props

Many people like to use candles, incense and music to set the atmosphere. These are wonderful tools to use but are really for the sitter’s comfort, to get them in an open mood. Some say ghosts have no interest in pomp and ceremony while others say that the effort you put in leads to results.

A spirit box is a recent addition to modern-day seances. It’s a device that’s typically used in ghost hunts and is designed to help non-physical entities speak with you by sweeping through AM or FM frequency bands to pick out words that you hear and communicate in words or even full sentences. “Help me”, “murder” or “hello” are some of the words that can be communicated through the spirit box.

When doing a séance it is powerful to have all the props and hoopla that goes with the traditional way of thinking in what a séance should look like, though don’t miss out on an opportunity to speak with spirit just because there are no props available or it may be in the middle of the afternoon.

Seances are serious

The séance is not a dog and pony show and should not be treated like one. Those going into a séance with a demanding and or playing attitude are in for a rude awakening. Too many unwanted things can happen or nothing can happen. One never knows. Every séance is different and stands on its own merits with the outpouring of changeable results.

The important thing is to be comfortable and know what you are doing. Read as much about the subject that you can get your hands on, go to as many séances as possible, learn all about the pitfalls and how to protect yourself from uninvited guests (both here and there) and most of all believe in what you are doing. A séance ought to be approached with a sense of reverence, the same as a Sunday service or a ritual. Communication with either the living in this corporeal state or spirits of the beyond is a sacred act.

Seance: Steps

Step One:

Pick a location where you will be undisturbed for at least an hour. Timing as to when the séance is to be preformed is up to the individuals. It is best that a time limit of an hour or two at the maximum be agreed on by the participants, as anything longer than that can be draining on the sitters and yield futile results. Determine the purpose of the séance. If you can sage the area with a smudge stick to clear away any previous energy, do so. If not, just picture a bright light covering the area and cleansing both your astral field and the geographical astral field that you are in.

Step Two:

Choose an experienced medium and point person. If working with multiple mediums, choose one who will act as the main contact person. A point person ideally ought to be someone who is not the medium. A point person is someone who keeps track of the time and deals with any unforeseen interruptions.

Step Three:

Set up the tape recorder and camera. Once the séance has begun, you don’t want to stop to get something you forgot. If candles and incense are desired, this is the time to light them.

Step Four:

The medium sets the tone of the séance by having everyone take a couple of deep, cleansing breaths to relax. Release any tension from the mind and body, as this helps one to be more receptive to psychic energy. Then state your intention and prayers. These may vary according to one’s own belief system. Then call upon the Guardians of the Gate. Look upon them as the hosts of a party. As I mentioned before, when you are preparing for a séance, it’s as though a neon light goes off on the other side and advertises a communication party is happening. You are issuing invitation, and the Guardians will only allow those spirits to come through that you have put on your guest list.

Step Five:

After the séance is over, thank the spirits who came through for their time and their messages. Also thank the Guardians and anyone else that assisted with protection and their watchful assistance. Let yourself slowly come out of your meditative state and regroup your energy.

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More information about seances

Physical conditions, receptivity of the group and communication skills with the spirits are factors that determine if the séance has been a success. It may take more than one séance to establish a conversation with the spirit, or it could happen instantaneously. One never knows, as there are no guarantees that the spirit will or can answer. Don’t be discouraged if contact is not made on the first attempt. You can always try again at another time.

It cannot be stressed enough that we sitters must remain in control of the situation at all times. A séance is not a parlor game, and it is unwise to think of it as such. Knowing what one is doing and what can or cannot happen can never be stressed enough, as more often than not, the unexpected is to be expected.

During the séance or on any other paranormal investigation, pay attention to the little nuances, such as smells, extreme temperature change, chills, hearing whispers or voices, and seeing things out of the corner of the eyes. Peripheral vision plays a key role in motion detection and low-light sensation. It has been preserved in the human evolution as part of our survival mechanism. Compound this with the fact that spirit moves at a faster rate in the other worldly dimensions, and we begin to understand why we see those images out of the corner of our eyes go by so quickly. They literally move in split-second time. That accounts for why most of us second-guess ourselves when we do see something. It happens too fast. Our rational mind does not have time to compute the information.

People often ask me how to develop their psychic abilities, and my response is that it is a process that is not done overnight, though the first thing to do, and especially on a ghost tour, is to bring all your attention into yourself. Take a couple of deep breaths and become aware of your body, and stay in the present moment. Our skin is the biggest sense organ we have, and bringing our attention to the body and the now offers us the opportunity to observe what otherwise we might miss.

I am not totally convinced that one has to be sensitive to psychic energies to have ghostly encounters. I have seen and heard of the most skeptical people and non-believers in the spirit world experience phantom manifestations. From my experience it appears that ghosts show up when they want and to whom they want. One never knows. My suggestion is go in with an open attitude with no expectations while at the same time being prepared for anything.

 

Originally published on worldoftheunknown.com 

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Gay Ghost? 11 Ghosts You Didn’t Know Were Gay (But Now You Will)

We’re here, we’re queer, and…we’re dead! 

Alfred Kinsey claimed that one in ten people is gay.  Since gay people go to the other side just like everyone else, that must mean one in ten ghosts must be a gay ghost also, right?  Well, since it’s so rare to see a ghost, it’s easy to assume your chances of seeing a gay ghost are as rare as a snowy day in June.  That is, unless you stick to the locations below, which are reportedly haunted by ghosts of people believed to have been gay during their lives. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, these stories are sure to intrigue you.

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Lizzie Borden’s gay ghost

On August 11, 1892 Lizzie Borden was arrested for the violent axe murders of her father and stepmother in their Fall River, Massachusetts home. Lizzie was tried and found not guilty, but many believe she literally got away with murder. The murders left Lizzie and her sister as inheritors of their parents’ wealth. Lizzie never married and, later in life, she had a close and long-term relationship with stage and silent screen actress, Nance O‘Neil, who was known to be lesbian. Many say this supports the theory that Lizzie Borden was lesbian. Over 120 years later, gay ghost of Lizzie Borden and her dead parents are reported to haunt what is now the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum. the Borden house. Muffled voices are heard, unexplained images appear in photos and footsteps are heard throughout the house. The historic house has been investigated by numerous psychics and ghost hunting teams including the casts of Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters.

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Silent Film Star, Ramon Novarro

This dashing star of the 1920’s silver screen was known in Hollywood to secretly be gay. In the 1960’s and many years after he retired from Hollywood, he invited over two male hustlers who brutally tortured and beat the star to death. His ghost is said to haunt the place where he died. In the 1980s, a local TV show hosted by Connie Chung filmed at the house. Several film crew members refused to enter the house, citing an eerie feeling hit them as they began entering the Novarro home. When a crew member entered the bathroom, a wave of fear hit them, forcing them to leave the home.

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King Edward II and his lover, Piers Gaveston 

The ghost of King Edward II is said to haunt the location of his murder: Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, England. King Edward II had a number of alleged homosexual relationships with men in spite of being married and fathering several children. Among his favorites was Piers Gaveston of Gascony who Edward met in his youth before marrying Isabella of France. King Edward II’s father (Edward I) was strongly opposed to the relationship and had Gaveston exiled from England. Gaveston ultimately was sentenced to death in 1312. He was stabbed with a sword and beheaded. His headless gay ghost haunts Scarborough Castle in England.  King Edward II reigned until 1327 when he was deposed by his estranged wife, Queen Isabella, and her lover. Tortured and then murdered in 1327, King Edward II’s ghost is said to appear annually at Berkeley Castle on the anniversary of his death to let out the same screams of agony heard at the end of his life.

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The gay ghost of the homosexual medieval priest

Built in 1450, Fitz Manor Bed & Breakfast in Shropshire, UK  is considered by many to be one of England’s most haunted sites. It was constructed on a medieval site, most likely a hall from the Saxon period. It has been in the hands of the Baly family since the 1700s and today runs as a bed and breakfast that is home to both the living and dead. According to legend, among the many ghosts said to haunt this bed & breakfast, is that of a priest who was brutally murdered for being a homosexual. By the medieval times, homosexuality was regarded as sodomy and therefore punishable by death. The priest is believed to have been crucified in the corner of the dining room. Members of the family and their guests have heard ghostly groans and weeping coming from that section of the dining room. The British television show, Most Haunted, filmed in the Fitz Manor during 2003.

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Silent Screen Star Rudolph Valentino 

He was one of the first film stars to cross over to become a huge sex symbol during the roaring 1920’s. Known as the ‘Latin Lover’ of the silver screen, Rudolph Valentino had several ‘lavender marriages’ with women who were known to be lesbians. Rudolph Valentino also is reported to have had relationships with several men, including gay film star Ramon Novarro. He died at early death (age 31) in 1926 in NYC. His ghost is quite the traveler, having been spotted in 14 different locations but most often at Falcon’s Lair, which is his former Beverly Hills mansion. His wife, Natacha Rambova, claimed to be in contact with his spirit and stated that Rudolph refused to accept that he was dead. Subsequent owners and staff of Falcon’s Lair also claimed to encounter Valentino’s gay ghost. One caretaker is reported to have run into a fully-formed apparition of Valentino. His apparition has also been seen in the horse stables petting the horses.

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James Whale, the British movie director

James Whale best known for his 1930s films: Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. Openly homosexual, he had a 20+ year relationship with his partner, David Lewis. His health took a turn for the worse in his old age. A fictionalized account of his final years is depicted in the Hollywood film, Gods and Monsters, which stars Sir Ian McKellen as James Whale and Brendan Fraser as his gardener and love interest. In 1957, James Whale committed suicide at age 67. He drowned himself in the pool of his home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. His restless gay ghost did not cross over and his home was deemed one of the most haunted in the area. Poltergeist activity in the home began to manifest including mysterious banging and the sound of footsteps. An exorcist was brought in who identified the culprit as James Whale. Whale’s spirit was removed and the haunting is reported to have stopped. However, his ghost is seen to continue to manifest itself – this time on Twitter. A spoof account calling itself @jameswhaleghost periodically tweets thoughts from the distinguished director.

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The Jimani ghosts

In 1973, a madman tossed lighter fluid and a match at a second floor gay bar, The Upstairs Lounge, located at 141 Chartres Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The 20 minute fire left 32 people dead. To this day, this remains the deadliest attack against gay people in U.S. history.  The police department and public was apathetic if not homophobic. Bodies remained unclaimed and churches refused to offer services to the victims because they were gay. Although the second floor is closed to the public, visitors to the first floor bar, The Jimani, have reported seeing black apparitions that appeared looking like charred bodies. Moans and screams have been heard coming from the second floor. The voices of restless souls have shared their names with psychics and other paranormal investigators. In 2012, an episode of Ghost Hunters filmed an investigation at The Upstairs Lounge and the Jimani Lounge during which the confirmed that the location was indeed haunted.

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The Ladies of Llangollen 

Plas Newydd in LLangollen, Wales is a historic 18th century estate that is home to the ghosts of a reclusive lesbian couple. Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, also known as ‘the Ladies of Llangollen’, lived in the stately home from 1780 – 1829. They moved there to escape the pressures of their society, which included the expectation that they each marry a man and bear children. During their time at Plas Newydd, the Ladies wore top hats instead of a lady’s bonnet and they slept in the same bed. Their refusal to confirm with societal norms caused scandal and intrigue, but it also attracted visitors to their estate and gave the Ladies the space to live as they wished. It appears that their ghosts have never left Plas Newydd. Visitors are touched by invisible hands at nighttime and the sound of footsteps are heard from empty rooms that have been locked. From time to time, ghost hunters descend on Plas Newydd to investigate. One notable visit is one by the UK show, Most Haunted.

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Pianist Jesse Shepherd

Jesse was a renowned pianist who toured Europe and played at royal parties including some for the Czar of Russia. A Spiritualist, Jesse claimed his music came from the channeled spirits of Mozart and Chopin.  In 1887, the “psychic pianist” built and settled in Villa Montezuma in San Diego with his male partner and long-term secretary of 40 years. Today, the Villa is known by locals as “The Spook House”. Apparitions of a gay ghost appear in the window, a presence is felt and ghostly piano music is sometimes heard

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Actor Clifton Webb’s gay ghost

His body is buried at the Hollywood Forever cemetery but his ghost has been seen in his home in the heart of Beverly Hills. Clifton was a homosexual on the DL and a matinée idol sporting two Oscar nominations. After his death, the new owners of his home began seeing a transparent shadow figure matching his description.  Their dogs howled whenever his old movies were played.  A seance was held and his spirit is said to have moved on.

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Liberace

Ok, you’ve definitely heard of him in life, but had you heard he was a ghost? Even freakin’ Debbie Gibson has seen his ghost!! The flamboyant pianist passed away in 1987. Soon after, his ghost is said to have moved to Carluccio’s Tivoli Gardens in Las Vegas, a building which he owned. Not only have objects moved and lights turned on and off by themselves, but he’s been spotted in the form of “a giant sparkling cape”. Perhaps Liberace wasn’t kidding when he sang his famous song, I’ll Be Seeing You: “I’ll be seeing you / In all the old familiar places / That this heart of mine embraces /All day through.

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What is a ghost?

What is a ghost? According to Rob Wlodarski, founder and president of the International Paranormal Research Organization and author of numerous ghost books:

Ghosts are disembodied spirits or energies that manifest over a period of time, generally in one place. A ghost is the surviving emotional memory of someone who has died traumatically, but is unaware of his or her own death. A ghost can be a recordable occurrence of persistent impersonal energy.

What is a ghost, a spirit and an apparation?

Apparitions are the super-normal manifestations of people, objects, and spirits. Apparitions of the dead are sometimes called ghosts. Spirits are the observable energy of a person who has died in the physical sense, whereas what is a ghost may or may not be the actual conscious energy.

What is a ghost haunting?

A ghost haunting is any activity that is considered to be unexplainable paranormal phenomena. Among the total reported cases of hauntings, of those investigated, only 10% turn out to be genuine. The other 90% can be explained away by reasonable factors. Both people and places can be haunted, though the majority of the cases are places, be it land, buildings, ships, airplanes, or furniture. There are different types of hauntings that can occur.

 

The Different Types of Hauntings:

1. Residual Haunting
2. Spirit Haunting (Interactive or Intelligent)
3. Portal Haunting
4. Thought Forms
5. Poltergeist

1. Residual Haunting: A residual haunting is like seeing the same scene play out repeatedly as if on a video tape recorder. This usually occurs in an area where intense emotions have left an imprint in the earth’s magnetic field. These emotions can include either love, fear, hate, anger, or any emotion that is strongly emitted. Ghosts found on battlefields are usually contained in this category. What is a ghost is seen as transparent instead of as a solid figure. It can be considered a residual haunting. There is no interaction between the ghosts and the observer. These are not actual spirits that the observer is seeing, but the situation and/or environment that the person experienced just before transpiring.

Photo: Karen Burke
What is a ghost? One kind is a residual haunting. Photo: Karen Burke

2. Spirit Haunting (Interactive or Intelligent): A spirit haunting is called interactive because it is how most people view a haunting. It is called intelligent when the spirit is actually interacting with the living in a conscious manner. The latter type of haunting is much less common, yet is usually how most people will identify it. What is a ghost in this instance is an entity can either appear solid or transparent, or sometimes invisible, when their presence can only be sensed. Many times their presence will be accompanied by a distinct odor, abrupt temperature change, or inexplicable noises. The ghost of Elma Sands is an example of this.

3. Portal Haunting: A portal haunting occurs at a specific location. It can be considered the opening of a doorway, where spirits from different dimensions pass through. This could pose at the local of a common field or cave, hallway or closet.

4. Thought Forms: A thought form is not an actual haunting because there are no intelligent spirits involved or active residual energy left behind. Thought forms are created by residual mental or emotional debris left over in an environment. These can be either positive or negative. This could occur where excessive drug, alcohol, or physical abuse is prevalent. Mental illness can also generate these thought forms. This is not the same thing as poltergeist energy.

5. Poltergeist: Poltergeist is a German word meaning “angry ghost”. Anytime there is a physical activity it is called poltergeist. It is usually residual energy, and can range from the harmless hiding of an object to more deviant behavior that inflicts physical harm. There is controversy over what poltergeist energy actually is. Some say it comes from people, and others that it comes from what is a ghost. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. Certain researchers agree that it can come from both. Each poltergeist case must be analyzed individually based on its own merits to formulate an educated conclusion.

What is a ghost? Poltergeists are a residual energy form. Photo: magaz
What is a ghost? Poltergeists are a residual energy form. Photo: magaz

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