Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Project 365 (312/365): The Seance

.:312/365: The Seance:.

There’s something so eerie about séances. I should know, because I conducted one myself.

It was about two years ago, shortly after a particular student in ADMU took his own life. Fr. Bulatao, being the way that he is, decided to ask me to conduct a séance, and while I knew the motions of performing one, skeptic that I am, I never believed that any of the motions would ever lead to anything. It was a room full of Psychology graduate students and even professors, and I was the only Philosophy student in that room.

Since the person who committed suicide was a former classmate of mine, I was apparently the only guy in that room who actually knew the person. This would prove to be very important later on when I started doing the motions, and achieving what appeared to be the downright paranormal.

To this day, I look at this event with a healthy dose of skepticism, and just assume that the other students in the room actually did a bit of research on the person, but failing that, there was no logical explanation for how two people who apparently have never met or known the person could suddenly describe in complete detail how the person looks, what the person normally wears, the person’s demeanor, and a host of other things only someone who actually knew the person on a personal level would have known.

As I knew the person, I was the only one who could verify the facts that they were throwing around. I know the tenets of cold reading. Hades, I use them myself. But there was something so eerily accurate about their comments and descriptions, and it just really took me aback, to say the least. While I’m still not a believer in the paranormal, it does give me cause to think every now and then.

The séance has often been used and misused in the entertainment world by performers in an attempt to generate very raw reactions from audiences. Magicians have had their share of staging séances, and it’s really a practice I generally frown upon, if only for the fact that it’s very exploitative of people who obviously have no way of defending themselves.

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