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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.
| Dr. Guthrie, Victoria, Carolyn, Roger and Laura attempt to contact Josette. Convinced that Josette's ghost could add vital information to his investigation of the supernatural and yield information about the mysterious Laura Collins, Dr. Guthrie decided to hold the seance at Collinwood, which he recorded 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 seance after all. The seance began again and Victoria 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 seance, causing Victoria to screams and then faint. Translated later by Dr. Guthrie, Josette's ghost had said:
|186||Victoria, Sam and David attempt to contact Josette Collins. Dr. Guthrie felt that he needed to contact Josette's ghost again. He chose to hold this seance at the Old House so that there would be no interruptions and according to David, Josette's ghost would be nearby. However, Laura caused Dr. Guthrie's car to burst into flames. Tired of waiting, the group decide to have the seance without him. During which, David becomes possessed by the spirit of David Radcliffe and relives his death by fire of a hundred years ago with his mother Laura Murdoch Radcliffe.|
|Barnabas, Roger, Elizabeth, Victoria, Burke and Carolyn hold a seance. This seance takes place at Barnabas' costume party which Roger instigates. Victoria Winters becomes possessed by Josette's spirit and relives her death at Widows' Hill.|
|365||Barnabas, Julia, Elizabeth, Roger, Carolyn and Victoria attempt to contact Sarah Collins. Carolyn, in league with Barnabas to sabotage the seance, pretends to go in a trance and be possessed by Sarah, however Victoria then goes into a trance, Sarah speaks though her exposing Carolyn's deception. Victoria is then sent back in time to the year 1795 and a strange woman appears in her place.|
|449||Joshua and Natalie attempt to summon someone who can lift the vampire curse from Barnabas. This causes the arrival of the white witch Bathia Mapes at Collinwood.|
|Professor Stokes, Julia and Tony attempt to contact Reverend Trask, and use his spirit against the witch Cassandra. The wall in the Old House cellar where Trask's body was buried breaks open and his spirit speaks through Tony.|
|600||Professor Stokes, Barnabas and Julia attempt to contact Phillippe Cordier. Barnabas goes into a trance, and Cordier speaks though him.|
|640||David and Amy attempt to contact Quentin Collins. However, they are interrupted by Victoria.|
|642||Elizabeth, Carolyn, Victoria, Professor Stokes and Chris attempt to contact Jeff Clark. But instead they are contacted by the spirit of Magda Rakosi, who speaks through Carolyn warning "You must stop him". They do not know she is referring to Quentin whose ghost at time haunted the estate.|
|682||Barnabas, Professor Stokes, Maggie and Mrs. Johnson hold a seance to contact Janet Findley in order to solve the mystery of her strange demise. 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 presence of Quentin's ghost.|
|698||Professor Stokes and Roger held a seance at Collinwood to contact Quentin, whose malevolent spirit had driven the family from residence at the building. It is unknown who else attended, but all they heard was laughing. (occurred off-screen)|
|797||Quentin, Magda and Barnabas hold a seance to contact Julianka, causing her ghost to appear.|
|Kitty, Pansy and Edward hold a seance in an attempt to contact a spirit.|
|898||Julia, Chris and David hold a seance in an attempt to contact Quentin. Instead, Jamison Collins speaks through David.|
|948||Barnabas, Julia and Maggie hold a seance to contact Josette, who speaks through Maggie, who tells Barnabas that she waited for him but he never showed up, due to having been abducted by the Leviathans, and so committed suicide by drinking vial of poison. She then releases him from any vows he has made to her.|
|988||Angelique was mysteriously murdered during a seance. (occurred off-screen)|
|990||Sabrina, Alexis, Cyrus, Bruno, Elizabeth, Roger hold a seance. A spirit speaks though Sabrina and cries out "murder" and points to Alexis.|
|Quentin, Angelique and Hoffman attempt to contact Barnabas' counterpart in Parallel Time, which causes the ghost of Joshua Collins to appear.|
|1070||During the year 1995, Barnabas, Julia and Professor Stokes attempt to contact the recently deceased Carolyn, who speaks through Julia.|
|David and Hallie hold a seance in which Tad's spirit calls out to them: "Let us live". The effects of the seance cause David to passes out.|
|1126||Gerard, Flora and Lamar attempt to contact Reverend Trask. Lamar wants to speak with his father so he can avenge his death. Reverend Trask's voice warns them they are surrounded by evil and to beware of the cross, that an evil will soon walk soon again. He is trying to warn them about the awakening of Judah Zachary.|
|Quentin and Daphne attempt to contact Joanna Mills, which causes a silhouetted figure to momentarily appear.|
|1157||Gerard, Charles stage a seance for Daniel who believes they are contacting Randall Drew. Charles pretends to go in a trance and be possessed by Randall.|
|Flora, Leticia and Barnabas attempt to summon Roxanne's spirit and out who turned her into a vampire. Which causes Roxanne's ghost to appear claiming that Angelique was the one responsible.|
|Quentin, Flora and Melanie attempt to contact Brutus Collins, which causes a spirit to speak though Melanie.|
|1230||Quentin, Julia, Morgan, Carrie, Catherine and Ben attempt to contact James Forsythe in an attempt to exorcise his spirit from Morgan, who he speaks through at the seance.|