Check it out: ‘Seance’ opens up the realm of spirits



As far as I know, I have never been in communication with a spirit. Once when I was a little girl, my friends and I dared each other to play a game called Bloody Mary. Each one of us had to stand alone in a dark bathroom, close our eyes, face the mirror and chant “Bloody Mary” three times. Supposedly, if a person was brave enough to open her eyes after the third chant, she would see the image of a witch so horrifying that it was possible to die just by looking at it. Well, if spirits are easily intimidated by little girls, our screams and giggles probably scared old Bloody Mary right back to the 12th century. I never saw a thing; although I’m not sure I ever opened my eyes.

Today, many serious studies have been made of paranormal activity, trying to answer the question: Is it possible to communicate with the dead? One way to find out is to conduct a séance, and while it might seem like this requires more than one person (living, that is), Raymond Buckland assures us that it doesn’t.

Covering a wide range of communication methods — dreams, Ouija boards, scrying (predicting the future by means of a crystal ball), tarot, runes — in “Solitary Seance: How You Can Talk with Spirits on Your Own,” the author describes how best to approach the spirit world so as not to disturb or offend immaterial beings. It isn’t an inherently dangerous activity, Buckland says, but it is wise to take precautions, such as creating a psychic shield known as the “egg of protection.”

In addition, you’ll learn about the beginnings of spirit contact, what spirit guides are, the importance of record-keeping, and the meaning of flame messages and fire spirits. And a handy spiritualism glossary is included at the end.

For anyone interested in reaching out to the great beyond, give this unique guide a try. Don’t worry — I’ll leave Bloody Mary alone.

Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at