Almost everyone is curious about what happens beyond the grave. Which is why it makes sense humans try to reach the other side before they die. Seances are a means of communicating with spirits that have passed. These ceremonies, led by a medium or other spiritual guide, claim to connect people with ghosts or other entities to learn about their unfinished business, their life after death, or how to go on without them. Sometimes they're conducted through a spirit board or other means of communication, while others are simply done by a spiritually sensitive person inviting a spirit to overtake their body.
Seances have a long history in cultures around the world, but not every attempt at communication with the afterlife goes according to plan. Even experienced mediums may run into a nasty spirit from time to time, and those who have no experience whatsoever may find themselves overwhelmed by a strong-willed entity with an inclination to do harm.
These true, creepy stories from seances show that communication with those who have died is not always in our best interests. From accidentally unleashing a demon on your girlfriend to cursing your band's next album, dabbling too heavily in spirit communication can be terrifying. And while some people say they've communicated with spirits on the other side to avoid their problems, these stories are actually real. These true seance stories will make you think twice about lighting a few candles and busting out that dusty old Ouija board in your closet.
If you've seen The Conjuring, you have some idea of what happened in the life of Andrea Perron. But the film didn't tell the whole story.
In 1971, Perron and her family moved to a house in Harrisville, RI. The soon discovered the house was filled with spirits who hadn't yet passed on, and unexplained phenomenea kept happening. Scared for their lives, the Perron family called upon Ed and Lorraine Warren for help. With them was a medium who promised to try and help the family get the spirits out.
She performed a seance, and it went dreadfully wrong. The medium summoned a spirit that attacked Perron's mother Carolyn, throwing her around the house with such force she sustained a concussion. While the seance was the last severe supernatural event the family experienced, it left a lasting impression and a warning not to play around with spirits.
In 1941, psychic Helen Duncan was approached by a mother looking for news of her son, a soldier in the British Royal Navy. She held a seance to conjure up any spirits with news of the man. Duncan revealed the young man had been lost in the sinking of the battleship HMS Barham. The unusual part? That ship sinking hadn't yet been revealed to the public to prevent a loss of morale in the difficult days of World War II.
Among the people at the seance were two lieutenants of the Navy. They were immediately suspicious of Duncan, and two undercover policeman later attended another seance. They promptly arrested her, and Duncan was tried under section 4 of the Witchcraft Act of 1735, which forbade fraudulent spiritual activity, making her the last person to be tried for witchcraft, even fake witchcraft, before the Act's repeal in 1951.
Individual stories of spirit contact are creepy enough, but even more eerie is the number of people who claim to have contacted an entity named Zozo. The spirit is most known for having intimate knowledge of people's lives and, worse, its ability to manipulate people and objects to do harm.
The entity's origins are murky, but people around the world claim to have interacted with it during seances, while using spirit boards, or while practicing automatic writing. Sometimes Zozo is a mere trickster, while other times it's been blamed for things as serious as murder. A teenager was arrested in 2012 after he stabbed his friend. The two had been using a Ouija board and the spirit Zozo told him to hurt his friend.
Whatever the cause, if a spirit identifies itself as Zozo it might be best to slide that planchette over to "Goodbye."
Experimental rock group The Mars Volta almost canceled an entire album thanks to a cursed spirit board. After guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López picked up the Ouija board in Jerusalem and the band used it, they started experiencing strange happenings, including tracks disappearing from the computer screen before their very eyes, two floods in the studio, and a longtime producer nearly quitting.
True to form, the band channeled the strange events into their album, "The Bedlam in Goliath," which released in 2008. Rodríguez-López buried the board to avoid any future incidents, and the band released two more albums before breaking up in 2013.