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How to Hold a Seance

By: Paul Geraghty - Updated: 16 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Seance Spirit Spirits Spiritualism Ouija

If you’re thinking of holding a séance you should first ask yourself why. If your goal is to establish contact with a loved one who has passed on, you may find it easier to attend a séance held by an experienced practitioner rather than attempt to host one yourself.

Different Approaches

Once you’ve decided that you do definitely want to hold a séance, you need to think about how you want to approach it. There are two broad approaches commonly used in contacting spirits. One is through the use of a Ouija board. The Ouija board was invented in the nineteenth century and has since spread into popular use. In fact, Ouija boards are now manufactured by a toy company and marketed as board games so, if nothing else, they should be fairly easy to obtain. The classic Ouija board has the words Yes and No, the letters of the alphabet, and the numerals 0-9 displayed on it together with some form of pointer device, usually a slide pointer onto which the participants place their hands. If needs be, you can just make up your own equivalent using bits of paper with letters and numbers written on. These should be arranged around some kind of board or smooth surface and you can have an upturned glass or tumbler to act as the pointer.

The other most popular type of séance is one in which a medium listens to the voices of the spirits and relays messages to the others present. The disadvantage of this approach is that it requires someone who is adept at receiving messages from the spirit world. Experienced practitioners say that mediumship is a talent that can be developed but, inevitably, some people are naturally better at it than others, just as some people are better at playing football than others. Extroverted, confident, talkative people are said to make better mediums than other personality types. If you plan to hold the séance with a circle of friends and none of you have done this sort of thing before, perhaps you can take turns acting as the medium until you find someone who is highly “attuned.”

Preparing for a Séance

Once you’ve decided on your basic approach, you need to set the scene. Holding the séance at night may help induce the meditative mood necessary for contact to take place, though it has been said that the spirits themselves do not care about the time of day.

Some believe spirits are attracted to flowers, candles, and to light colours. Incense can also help set the mood.

Whatever arrangement you’ve decided on for the séance, only the designated medium should speak to the spirits. If others have questions they would like asked, they should write them down on a piece of paper.

Before the session begins, make sure that everyone has been to the bathroom and turned all telephones off so there will be no interruptions. Everyone should sit in a circle. Hold hands if you want to but it’s not necessary. Some séances go on for hours and holding hands can become wearisome.

Once the Session Begins

At the beginning of the session, the medium should announce that only positive experiences are desired, and ask negative spirits to stay away. The medium should then ask everyone present to engage in deep relaxation, opening themselves up to contact from the spirit world. Once relaxation has been achieved, the medium should ask if any spirits are present and repeat this every so often until a sign of a spirit presence is received.

Some tips to help your séance go smoothly:

  • If you get no response at first, just be patient and keep trying.
  • Be polite to the spirits at all times. Thank them for their answers, and thank them when the session is over.
  • If you get rude and aggressive messages from a spirit, politely ask it to leave. If it does not, terminate the session.
  • If you’re using a Ouija board, sometimes the pointer can move too quickly for you to follow. Have someone write the letters down so you can make sense of them afterwards.
  • Don’t insult the spirits by asking absurd questions like “Who’s going to win the Grand National this year?”


You don’t need to be a Tibetan mystic to attempt to make contact with the spirit world. Anyone can do it. You may find answers to questions that have haunted you, or it may only amount to a fun evening with friends. Either way, you have nothing to lose.

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