Traditionally, a medium and a group of willing attendees form a circle around a table or other similar surface, and join hands with one another. Holding hands creates a spiritual circuit, which helps to strengthen the possibility of successful communication. Breaking the circle under any condition can lead to unexpected and sometimes disastrous results. Other affects can be applied to help channel spirits, including the lighting of candles. Once the circuit is established, the medium will speak aloud the name of the spirit they wish to commune with. If the spirit is willing, they will use the medium as a physical host body, and speak through them. This process (often referred to as "channelling") is not dissimilar to that used by practitioners of voodoo, such as Angelique. Although a spirit will commonly use the medium as its host, this is not always the case. There have been several documented accounts where a spirit will channel their energy through the bodies of other séance attendees. Victoria Winters and Carolyn Stoddard have both acted as host forms for a spirit even though neither woman acted as the medium during their respective séances. Depending upon its strength of will, a conjured spirit can execute a wide variety of effects, in addition to channelling a proxy host. Some ghosts (commonly referred to as Poltergeists) will physically interact with their surroundings, creating sudden gusts of wind, causing windows to fly open, doors to slam shut and lights to flicker on and off.
One of the most unconventional side effects of a séance is time travel. In 1967, members of the Collins family (as well as Victoria Winters) conducted a séance in the hopes of communing with the spirit of an 18th century girl named Sarah Collins. After a brief interaction with Sarah's ghost, Victoria Winters found herself physically transported back in time to the year 1795. Simultaneously, a woman from that same year, Phyllis Wicke (who had not been otherwise engaged in a séance), found herself pulled forward in time to the year 1967, where she died under mysterious circumstances only moments later.
Although it is possible for a medium to establish a line of communication with the dead without the aid of others, this practice is largely discouraged and does not follow the proper tenants of a true séance. Unwary mediums attempting to summon a spirit without the aid of others often find themselves the victims of possession.
Notable séances Edit
- 1795: Countess Natalie du Pres and Joshua Collins have a séance to summon Bathia Mapes.
- 1840: Gerard Stiles has a séance to contact the 1795 Rev. Trask. Lamar Trask wants to speak with his dad so he can avenge his death. Flora Collins also takes part. The Reverend Trask appears and tells them they are surrounded by evil and to beware of the cross. "Evil is doing evil. Evil will walk again now." He is trying to warn them about the awakening of Judah Zachary. (1126)
- 1967: Dr. Peter Guthrie's Séance at Collinwood. Convinced that Josette du Pres Collins' ghost could add vital information to his investigation of the supernatural and yield information about the mysterious Laura Collins, Dr. Peter Guthrie decided to hold a séance at Collinwood. The participants were Dr. Peter Guthrie, Carolyn Stoddard, Roger Collins and Victoria Winters. (Dr. Guthrie also used a tape recorder for later reference). Just as it appeared they were starting to make contact with Josette's ghost, the Drawing Room doors flew open, breaking contact with Josette. An unrecognisable figure was standing in the dark doorway but it turned out to be Laura Collins. She had changed her mind and decided to attend the séance after all. The séance began again and Victoria Winters soon became possessed by Josette's ghost and began speaking French. Just as she starts to say a name, Laura Collins uses the powers of the Phoenix to end the séance. Victoria Winters screams and then faints. Translated later by Dr. Guthrie, Josette's ghost had said:
- "A person, someone who sleeps without sleeping, dreams without dreaming. There is an innocent child, a boy, one who is in danger. Fires that have occurred through the centuries. There will be another one soon. There's an evil presence in this house."
- 1967: Dr. Peter Guthrie's Séance at the Old House. Dr. Guthrie felt that he needed to contact Josette's ghost again. He chose to have this séance at the Old House so that there would be no interruptions and according to David Collins, Josette's ghost would be nearby. Victoria Winters, Sam Evans and David Collins wait for Dr. Guthrie but Laura Collins has caused his car to burst into flames. Tired of waiting, they decide to have the séance without Dr. Guthrie. During the séance, David Collins becomes possessed by David Radcliffe's ghost. Through David Collins, he relives his death by fire of a hundred years ago with his mother Laura Murdoch Radcliffe.
- 1967: Roger hosts a séance at the Old House. This takes place at Barnabas' costume party. Attending the séance are Barnabas Collins, Roger Collins, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Victoria Winters, Burke Devlin and Carolyn Stoddard. Victoria Winters is possessed by the ghost of Josette DuPres Collins. She relives her death at Widow's Hill. (281)
- 1967: Victoria is sent back to 1795 during a family séance (365)
- 1968: David Collins & Amy Jennings hold a séance in the West Wing of Collinwood in an attempt to contact Quentin Collins. They are interrupted by Victoria Winters. (640))
- 1968: A séance is held to contact Jeff Clark. Prof. Stokes holds a séance with Victoria Winters, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Carolyn Stoddard and Chris Jennings in the Drawing Room at Collinwood to make contact with Jeff Clark. But instead they are contacted by Magda Rakosi. Magda speaks through Carolyn Stoddard and warns "You must stop him". They do not know she is referring to the Ghost of Quentin Collins who is up to no good). (642)
- 1969: A séance to solve the puzzle of Janet Findley's demise. Prof. Stokes holds a séance with Mrs. Johnson, Maggie Evans and Barnabas Collins in the Drawing Room at Collinwood to contact Janet Findley. Mrs Findley speaks through Mrs Johnson and says "The children, the panel, the room. I found that room. I went in there and then, then, he killed me." Another warning referring to the Ghost of Quentin Collins). (682)
- 1970: Barnabas Collins has a séance to contact Josette DuPres Collins through Maggie Evans. This is when Josette tells Barnabas that she waited for him but he never showed up, so she took poison. She then releases him from any vows he has made to her. (948)
- 1841PT: Quentin, Flora & Melanie try to contact Brutus Collins.
- 1841PT: An attempt to exorcise James Forsythe from Morgan Collins. Quentin, Julia, Catherine, Carrie Ben, Morgan participate.
- 1970PT: Angelique Stokes Collins is murdered at a séance.