Saturday, October 26, 2013

How to Conduct a Seance

With Halloween upon us, it's time for all things spooky and creepy. It's also a great time of year to connect with the dead. In the Celtic calendar Halloween (known then as Samhain) was the time of year when the veil between this and the otherworld were said to be the thinnest, and the dead could cross over and connect with the living. So in the spirit if the season, why not add a supernatural twist to the day and hold a seance?

- First decide if you are going to contact loved ones in particular, or just see who is around.
- Set the atmosphere. Low light like candlelight is best for seances. Traditionally three candles in a triangle pattern are placed on the table. A round or oval table works best. You might want to put out food or flowers as offerings. If you are trying to contact certain individuals, you might pick items that would appeal to their taste.
- Consider what methods you will use. You could use traditional ones like using a medium, spirit board, or table turning, or modern methods like certain ghost apps, or using a tape recorder to capture EVPs (electronic voice projection).
- Consider who you are inviting. It is not a good idea for those with severe mental health issues, or who might be impaired by substances to participate. Also those who might be easily frightened or conversely those who would mock the event.

The Seance
- Seat everyone around the table. If using a medium, they will be the leader and speak on behalf of the dead. Even if you don't have an experienced medium, it's good for someone to be the leader to guide the event along.
- It is good to start the session with a prayer and grounding ones self. You may also wish to cast a circle of white light of protection around the participants to keep out any harmful energy.
- Participants start by holding hands, and the leader will ask the spirits to join them. If asking for specific individuals, call them by name. Something like "______" we ask you to join us today. Please make your presence known." You may wish to specify if you would like a certain number of knocks for yes and no etc.
- The medium may go into a trance and channel the spirit itself and answer questions directly.
- If not using a medium, but a method like table turning or a spirit board, have all the participants place their fingers lightly in the tabletop or planchette and take turns asking questions.
- If you do not get any response at first, or at all, don't get discouraged, keep asking questions. It may not be the right time if nothing happens.
- Always be respectful and polite when speaking to the dead, just as you would to any living guest.
- If you get a message that feels negative or scary, or anyone gets frightened, stop the session, don't push them to continue.

- If using more modern methods like a tape recorder, place it on the table and press record and ask questions. Play it back later and see if you get a response.
- There are also various ghost apps you can get for your phone that supposedly detect the presence of ghosts. Experiment and see if any work for you. I use Ghost Radar, it seems to work, but I retain a healthy skepticism.
- You can also use these in addition to the other methods above.

-When ready to end the session, hold hands and thank the spirits for joining you and wish them well.
-Say a prayer and ground and blow out the candles. If you cast a circle you should open it now.
-it's a good idea after to have food and drink to further ground the participants. This will bring everyone back to a regular state of mind.

What are your thoughts on holding a seance?

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Victorian Post Mortem Photography

I am continuing to challenge myself to write posts with titles from The Everyday Goth's post 25 Goth Posts I'd Read in a Heartbeat. Number 2 is actually "Victorian Post Modem Photography: An EBay Buyer's Guide." I think I will just focus on the photography part, although I'm sure you can purchase some on EBay (they sell everything).

I find Victorian era funerary and mourning customs to be fascinating. From hair wreaths and mourning jewelry, to mourning wear and covering the mirrors and stopping the clocks, there is a certain romantic ritual to it all. The creepiest custom though, is the custom of photographing the dead.

When photography first became available in the late 1830s and early 1840s, it was very expensive and only the wealthy could afford it. For some families the only time they would splurge the money on a photograph, was in the unfortunate event of a family member's death. A child's death especially would be a reason, as infant mortality rates were high and for some it would be the only photo of their child.

As the technology became more affordable, post mortem photographs became more popular amongst all classes. Popular shots were the child with the mother, or made to look as if they were sleeping. Often they would paint open eyes on the photo and rosy cheeks, to make the child look more alive.

Some photos even have the deceased standing, held up by an elaborate stand, not much different then a doll's stand, to make the subject look as lively as possible.

While it may seem strange to us now, I'm sure for people then, having at least one memento of a loved one was a comfort. And it wasn't just for people either, below is a photo of a beloved family pet.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

My Goth Grandma

This week I read a post by The Everyday Goth entitled " 25 Goth Posts I Would Read in a Heartbeat". It contained some hilarious titles, and was meant to be funny, however I have decided to take on her challenge and actually post on these amusing topics. You can read the full article Here
So where to start with goth grandma? Fist off neither of my grandmothers were goth, though my great-great grandmother on my mother's side was an apothecary and rumoured witch (she had the long pointy stereotypical witch noise to boot). But that's about as close as you'd get to gothy.
I however hope to be a goth grandma when I'm older. I sometimes wonder how many of my generation will keep the style and and what it may evolve into as we get older. Oddly at the ripe old age of 39 some would categorize me as an "elder goth" but I wonder what elder goth will look like when we really get to be elders at 60 or older. There are some older goths I look at as inspiration as I get older. Goth bloggers The Curious Professor Z And Victorian Kitty at Sophistique Noir Are women about my age I find inspiration from, as we as the 40 years old and plus gothic icons Adora Bat Brat and Jillian Venters. They are just a few examples of goth women who rock the style into the mature years.
I looked for pictures of women 50 and over that had a gothic style, and here's some inspiration I found.

I so would wear this.

Very chic

Goth grandmas festing it up

It's not goth, but I could see it in black and maybe purple or red accents.

What about you? Do you plan to be a goth grandma/gramps when you reach your older years?

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