The Seance Defined

posted: 07/25/16
by: Sasha Brown-Worsham
A group with a spirit board
simpleinsomnia via Flickr

As a general term, a seance is just an attempt to contact the spirit world. In pop culture, it is often depicted as a group of people, holding hands as they attempt to summon spirits from beyond. There is usually a spiritual medium or leader of some kind who leads the seance and/or channels the spirits. Of course, that is just one kind of many.

A seance can be religious in nature, but it can also use an object -- a Ouija board, a "spirit trumpet," a table -- to speak to the deceased.

Though many regard them to be hoaxes that use the power of suggestion to make people believe the planchette on a Ouija is moving or the table is levitating, the truth is many notable people (including Mary Todd Lincoln) believed in, attended and participated in spiritual seances that attempted to speak to the dead.