Notes on the Practice of Seancés

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“Dr Gotobed, my friends/colleagues/associates and I are planning to hold a séance, what guidance can you offer us?” 

In my line of work, this is the question I receive the most, from thrill seekers, the recently bereaved, and the occasional member of law enforcement. I have one simple piece of advice that I tell everyone who asks me this question:

Don’t do it.

The potential risk far outweighs any giddy rush of excitement or snippet of verifiable information that maybe gleaned from attempting to commune with the spirit world. Even if initial contact is successful, there is no guarantee that further sessions will elicit the same results. Indeed, once a door is opened to the other side, it is often very difficult to close.

I have rarely spoken of this, but many moons ago, when I was attending university and not yet a doctor, some friends and I gained possession of an Ouija board. Being young and fearless we decided one night to hold a makeshift sitting. Four of us sneaked into an abandoned and derelict farmhouse, rightly or wrongly believing it to be the appropriate setting for a spiritual adventure. We sat in a circle around our new board, each placed a finger upon the planchette, and began to ask questions of those that dwell in the ether.

Suffice to say, our initial probings were of the mundane variety: the names of first pets, the occupations of long dead grandparents, etc. Much to our surprise, all of our questions were answered correctly. So our interrogation took a darker hue. Spurred on by our success, we began to enquire of things that had yet to pass, and then to challenge whoever or whatever it was that we were communicating with to perform certain acts for us, acts that would prove its existence as a sentient being.

But our hubris was almost our undoing.

I will not share the events of the rest of that fateful evening. All I will say is this; one does not expect to encounter a pale and haggard version of one’s self in a dilapidated farmhouse on a windy night in the East Midlands.

Whatever we contacted that night followed us back to our halls of residence and tormented my friends and I for the next fortnight. Only with the assistance of one of our more open-minded tutors did we manage to shut whatever door we had opened. Of the four of us involved in that ill-fated attempt to contact the ‘other side’, two dropped out of university to return home, starting their studies anew the next year at a different location. The third resides a gibbering wreck in a secure psychiatric hospital.

As for me, this is the incident that set me on the path I currently walk now.

So, to reiterate: my advice to those that are planning to hold a séance? Don’t, for you know not what you meddle with.

Please do not mistake my desire to deter would-be spiritualists or amateur ghost hunters for fear. My only wish is that others do not have to experience the same things I have. Even now, a veritable lifetime later, the sound of a cold wind blowing through a broken window on a dark night still causes me to shudder.

Dr Thomas Gotobed

Thoughts on the Paranormal

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‘Dr Gotobed!’ I hear you cry. ‘There are no such things as ghosts! Shoals of fish do not just fall from the sky! People do not meet exact duplicates of themselves! The dead do not speak!’

I could go on.

My response to that is simple: of all the people I have dealt with over many, many years, the majority of them have said the same thing. And the truth is, no-one sane or rational believes in such things, until such things happen to them.

I was the same, once. But personal experience argues both persuasively and powerfully.

‘But Dr Gotobed!’ I hear you cry once more. ‘Science tells us that such things cannot exist!’

Whilst I admire those of you who steadfastly maintain this view, it would be remiss of me not to point out that up until 1794, it was also a strongly held belief amongst scientists that ‘fragments of rock and metal do not fall from the sky’. Nowadays we know that to be false, thanks to the pioneering work of the German Physicist Ernst Chladni, the founder of modern meteoritic research. Initially ridiculed for his theories on the extra-terrestrial origin of meteorites, Chladni’s ideas ignited the fires of curiosity within the scientific community, and more and more researchers began to lend their support to his theories, theories that are now acknowledged as fact.

Perhaps one day there will be a similar pioneer in the field of pyschical investigation.

One can but hope.

Dr. Thomas Gotobed