As if there aren't enough weirdos to deal with in the living world, you want to get together with some of the weirdos on the other side? Hey, we're not here to judge your wacky ideas; we're just here to exploit them. But because we're responsible exploiters, we're going to tell you how to hold a séance the right way - there is such a thing as the wrong way, and you really don't want to go that way, believe us.

We've gone to the dark and dusty back row of the library and consulted every book with a skull and scary handwriting on the cover to retrieve all the information you'll need on how to properly hold a séance. So hold your breath, focus, and read on.


A séance (pronounced SAY-ahnce) is a meeting at which a group of people attempts to contact a spirit and communicate with it. As unbalanced as this may sound, many have claimed to conduct successful séances, and they have the video recordings to prove it. Organizations like the International Society for Paranormal Research and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry are dedicated specifically to exploring the possibility that ghosts actually do exist, despite what your parents may have told you. (Hey - they weren't exactly being truthful about taking Fido to live on that puppy farm either, right?) For further proof, watch the video Strictly Supernatural: Séance, which examines the evidence supporting the credibility of séances.

The Fox family

The history of séance communication in the United States can be traced back to 1848, when two young sisters, Margaretta and Catherine Fox, became famous for conversing with a ghost who haunted their house in Hydesville, New York. The house had a history for being creepy - before the Fox family inhabited it, the previous owner had moved out after being sufficiently spooked by the loud rapping sounds that occurred every night. The noises continued after the Foxes moved in, and the raps were sometimes so violent that the furniture shook and the entire house rattled.

During a rapping session one night, Catherine asked the invisible visitor to rap the number of times she snapped her fingers, and it quickly obliged. After that, the other family members started asking the spirit to respond to yes-or-no questions, which it would answer with either one or two raps, respectively. They also developed an alphabet rapping system. It was soon established that the Foxes were talking to a man who had been murdered in their house.

Other Hydesville residents were invited to attend the gotta-hear-it-to-believe-it conversations. Soon, other ghosts were visiting the Foxes to chat with the two girls (the raps would only occur if at least one of them were in the room). The Foxes quickly became the talk of the town, then the country, and eventually, the world. Other people tried to communicate with ghosts in their own houses.

Oh, we should mention that the Fox sisters later admitted to somehow faking the raps and the ghosts. Some say, however, that hostile disbelievers pressured the Foxes into invalidating their experience. Whatever the case, the Fox sisters will always be credited with opening up the possibility of not just seeing or hearing the dead, but communicating with them directly.

Modern séances

Nowadays, séances are generally conducted by psychics or spiritual mediums who you pay to lead the séance. It is possible, however, to hold one yourself, provided that you know what you're doing. Is it safe to invite dead people over to bang on your furniture? Psychics and mediums will be quick to answer yes - after all, their rent is being paid by the "fact" that spirits can be controlled by the living.

Another undesired scenario could be that the spirit you summon decides that it likes your place and ends up bunking with you forever. Until we come up with a "SoYouWanna Perform an Exorcism on Your House?" we can't guarantee that conducting a séance is one hundred percent safe. We can, however, teach you how to hold a séance properly, and minimize your chances of screwing up royally with unseen forces.