The Everyday Lore Project

19 October 2020 – A History of Séances

19 October 2020 – A History of Séances

Three things. First, I posted this beauty today. And thank goodness I started it way back in August, otherwise I’d never have finished it in time. It also means I can now legitimately open my reciprocal Halloween care package and not feel guilty.

Second, the lovely Krishnan Guru-Murthy smiled at me in my dream last night! But alas, as with Mark Hamill, I’m pretty sure he’s a) taken and b) out of my league. Sigh. Also, the anointment went all crusty, so I had to fish the shedded lumps out of my bed this morning. And no-one wants to see tiny dung-like pellets on their sheets at eight o’clock in the morning. Or anytime really. 

Third, I’ve just listened to a fascinating talk on séances by Lisa Morton for the London Fortean Society in partnership with Conway Hall online. Now, I am ever so slightly obsessed with séances since holding one in the biology lab at school, and one of my friends having a rather dramatic nose bleed at a significant moment which promptly cut short our psychic dabblings due to hysteria. Well, we were 13.

Anyhow, Lisa was brilliant. She took us through the history of calling the spirits from Odysseus to strip mall psychics, stopping off at all points charlatan, the origin of the phrase animal magnetism, levitation, the SPR, vomiting cheesecloth, automatic writing, vaginal ectoplasm, naked mediums (so they couldn’t be accused of secreting anything), and ghost hunting gadgets. It was such fun and so interesting. The talk was recorded so will be up on the Conway Hall YouTube channel at some point. Also Lisa has a book out, funnily enough called Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances, which I reckon is definitely worth a read if her talk was anything to go by. Details of both in the resources below. 

Actually, here’s a fourth thing: 

And if you have any spooky stories about ghostly encounters let me know in the comments. After all, it is only 12 sleeps ’til Halloween… 🎃


Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.