In the world of Facebook, Twitter and Ning, it’s easy to find information on paranormal groups in your area. Many groups have a fan page on Facebook, as well as a website of their own, and possibly even a public message board. What one finds on the science-minded groups websites is almost always the same. “We don’t do séances, nor Ouija or Spirit boards. We use our (scientific) instruments to gauge levels of paranormal activity.” Now, to someone who is in the paranormal community, we know that there are no devices that have been created solely to gauge and/or prove paranormal activity (except for the Ovilus, etc- but it doesn’t seem as though the paranormal community accepts them, yet). Instead, we use devices that have been used for other purposes- audio recorders, EMF (electro-magnetic field) meters, video cameras. Investigators also use devices using existing technology adapted for seekers of the paranormal, like the K2 Meter. An outside person or client might not understand that, and the technology that we use might seem mysterious to them.
Merriam-Webster defines “séance” as a meeting to receive spirit communication. Séances and spiritualism become popular in the nineteenth century, and the popularity continued on into the twentieth century. Still now, in small “séances” people are using Ouija or other spirit boards- I’ve even seen a pink one at the local toy store. People at séances would try to communicate with spirits on the other side, usually with the aid of a medium. They’d try to get the spirits to speak using raps on the table, spirit trumpets (horn-shaped tube thought to magnify the whispered voices into a range that humans could hear), and of course the well-known spirit board. Communication was also said to be happening with the appearing of objects, or a strange smell- anything out of the ordinary.
In the twenty-first century that we live in, those trying to communicate with spirits will sometimes call in a paranormal investigation team. The team brings in all of their equipment: audio recorders, cameras, meters, thermometers and more. The team then asks questions and awaits the response of the spirit world. Can the spirit finish the “shave and a haircut” knock? Will they light up the lights on a K2 meter (the K2 is based off of EMF technology and an increase in EMF lights up the lights)? Many of these questions are asked, and we hope to hear answers once we review all of our recordings. Investigators also look for objects appearing or moving.
Today’s paranormal investigations are very similar to the séances of yesteryear. One difference being that most investigation groups do not connect their collective energies like those attending a séance might- by holding hands, or touching the same object. Besides that small fact, it seems like both a séance and today’s paranormal investigators use the same techniques. While our ancestors were listening to a spirit trumpet, trying to hear voices not on our frequency, so do we listen to our audio recordings, hoping for hidden words. Both séances and investigations use raps, or lights, or some other physical change as an example of communication. Both investigations and séances look for things out of place- however presently, we have the advantage of being able to view video to do so. Sometimes those on investigations use mediums, even to speak with the dead. There’s no reason to think the ability of today’s mediums would be better than the abilities of mediums past.
It seems as though these two ways of contacting the dead are very similar. Both use physical movement of some sort to gauge activity, both seize the concept of spirit voices unheard by human ears, but able to be heard using a device, and both communicate with spirits using the best technology of the day.