The Seance Parlor

Open the portal. escape the matrix., ~ 3 years running ~, dickens' ghosts haunted christmas, for those with the steel nerves of ebeneezer scrooge, a magical wonderland of christmas awaits you.

Ascend the magical holiday staircase to the portal of Christmas wonder and exit the Matrix into Dickens' Ghosts Haunted Christmas where you will meet the three ghosts of the past, present and future. Stand at the foot of a grave and witness the bare bones death of Scrooge's ego. Watch as the fire consumes it, releasing his true Christmas Spirit as the Phoenix rises into the sky from his grave.

Event attendees sit around a circular table and witness visual effects of a portal likened to Scrooge's magical journey into a portal to the cosmos. There, he doesn't  know if the images are really spirits or just a dream. Either way, Scrooge can now see the "invisible" messages which transform his life.

Christmas in the Haunted Attic with Dickens' Ghosts!

Medium's toolbox.

"Dickens' Ghosts" Haunted Christmas- the most magical holiday fun in town, with over 3,000 square feet of mystery . Come experience the miracle!

A variety of methods and tools for inviting each entity that visits our different haunted events through the year. 

Each gathering utilizes specific methods and tools suited to that night's vibrations and preferences of the entity. Crystal balls, dowsing rods, tarot cards, pendulums, zodiac divination, spirit trumpets, glass moving- even dolls and a few attendees help us contact and connect with those souls who are trying desperately to get our attention!

Buy your tickets online and save time or pay with card or cash upon arriving. But, why wait in line- buy your tickets now!

We host special events throughout the year, including the "Dickens' Ghosts Haunted Christmas", "Haunted Attic Library Seance", "Dark Halloween Seance", "Poe's Seance Library" and "100 Years of Death" Ultimate Houdini Seance- coming in 2026.

Look for the new "Dead and Breakfast Inn"- a haunted house investigation in downtown Denver starting this spring. Don't miss out on the fun!

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're always here to help and make sure you have an unforgettable experience at Dickens' Ghosts Haunted Christmas.

Haunted Attic Library

Join us next halloween for an enlightening evening of chills in the "dark halloween seance"..

"One does not become enlightened 

by imagining figures of light, 

but by making the darkness conscious".

~ Carl Jung ~

We take a peek beneath the veil this year with an invitation to darkness- the one element of our lives that we continually suppress and run away from.

By inviting darkness into our Seance Circle, we begin to see the power of that murky, hidden force and see clearly it's sneaky, deceptive nature.


"Sarah awaits a reply from the darkness... and YOU."

A Valentine Seance

"i died on valentine's day.".

Yes, it's true- we've actually obtained an obituary documenting a man's death on Valentine's Day along with a box of childhood trinkets and a postmarked Valentine's Day card to his father 101 years ago this Valentine's day!

This box represents THE most powerful vibration in the universe on this very special Valentine event- LOVE!

Join Sarah and us on Wednesday, February 14th from 7pm to 8:30pm as we carry that box up into the Haunted Attic Library and see what happens when this box is exposed to the vibrations of the Haunted Attic Library.

That's a lot of energy!

"100 Years of Death" Ultimate Houdini Seance 2026

The message.

We've devoted our lives to understanding messages from the other side.

Spirits really do like to play, but often remain silent when asked to do all the work. After years of experimentation, we've discovered that spirits are most active- when WE are most active! So we begin to play as an invitation to join us- and play they do!

Ready to host a private seance?

We will come to you and your chosen location. 

Coming this Spring- The "Dead and Breakfast Inn". Join us monthly on Saturday night from midnight to 6am for monthly ghost hunts and tours on Pennsylvania Avenue followed by an overnight seance in an apartment building- all just a few blocks from the Colorado State Capitol!

(844)  4DeadAnd

(844) 433-2326

Experience our new "Hybrid Seance". We invite the spirits to play with theatrical representations of a real seance until they manifest- and play they do! Even after the seance- at home, many guests report spooky incidents: hair twisted into knots, moths appear and disappear- and much more!

It all started here in the tears mcfarlane mansion:.




"Trilogy of Terror" Cheesman Seance 

(In the Tears McFarlane Mansion, at the entrance of)

Cheesman Park "Cemetery"

(Across from infamously haunted)

"The Changeling" House.

NEW location: Yak & Yeti east- Haunted Library Seance!

Moved from downtown denver's haunted Brown Palace Hotel, these beautiful fixtures emit unusually powerful vibrations.

From the 1800's, Sarah was "living" in the "Tears McFarlane" mansion between "Cheesman Park" cemetery and "The Changeling" house and now travels with us to the most haunted locations in the country!

Dare to ascend the "Stairway to Heaven"?

Haunted Attic Library seance room.

Chandeliers from the haunted Brown Palace Hotel act as a prime energy source, opening spiritual portals, just outside the library window.

See beyond the ego's reflection and Spirit speaks.

The Changeling rocker, found buried under rubble at the mansion right next  to Cheesman Park "cemetery".

Sarah likes sitting in her attic library rocker, staring at the red spirit light.

Entities congregate in the attic library, right behind the sign.

Poe's Seance Library

Two nights ~ birthday 01/19 ~ deathday 10/ 7.

Never before revealed stories and photos of Poe's deepest desires are revealed. No other Poe reading or gathering can compare to the "Poe Seance Library". Meticulously researched, we've uncovered previously untold stories and photos of Poe, including the deepest desires and failed pursuits of this kindred spirit- which led him to to write his legendary poem, "The Raven". 

We then invite him to join us in celebrating his unique and ground-breaking vibrations that enabled him to break free from the Matrix and bring us into his dark, mystifying world!

"Dickens Ghosts" Haunted Christmas

Trilogy of terror.

You missed a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience a triple-dose of "extra-creepy"!

The Seance Parlor was born in an historic Victorian mansion, flanked by the infamously haunted "Cheesman Park" (from the movie "Poltergeist") on one side and another infamous haunted murder-house property (from the movie "The Changeling")  on the other!

Cheesman Poltergeist

The Headstones

Exorcist 3 Leads to The Changeling

Only sixty-five miles south of the haunted Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, The Seance Parlor offered a unique opportunity to attend the nation's ultimate seance experience in Denver, Colorado's Capitol Hill district. 

Just seventeen blocks from the Capitol Building, the Tears-McFarlane Mansion is sandwiched between Cheesman Park's north entrance and the haunted Changeling House property across 13th St. at 1313 Williams.

(Wasn't "The Munsters" address 1313 Mockingbird Lane?)

Coincidence. Right?

This rare occasion has died and been put to rest in June 2022 as construction crews converge onto the property, restoring the mansion's original luster and magnificent beauty, ending The Seance Parlor's two-year residency at the mansion.

Numerous incidents of contact have been made during every private seance gathering in the last full year in the mansion. EVPs, shadow people, ghostly touches, orbs, moving objects and sounds throughout the mansion have all been experienced.

We all got a sense that the rumors are true:


Entities, both young and old, continuously communicated detailed information about the lives of people associated with the seance attendees. They offered other-worldly insight into removing the mental blocks that shield us from seeing the influence of the Matrix and the truth that can ultimately set us free.


Let us not forget the souls that were left behind in the Changeling House and when Cheesman Park was developed- RIGHT ON TOP OF THEIR SACRED GRAVES!

Some memories:


The Changeling full movie:

                                            "Plato's Cave"

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9755 East Hampden Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80231, United States

(844 ) 4SEANCE (844) 473-2623

Copyright © 2023 The Seance Parlor - All Rights Reserved.

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Even More Tricks and Treats

Unintentionally Appropriate Halloween Song

Oct 17 2012

How to Stage a Séance

  • By Weird Jon in Articles

“Séance” is a French word meaning “session,” “seating” or “meeting” (depending on your translation), but its most commonly understood meaning is a gathering with the intent to communicate with the dead. Whether or not you believe such things are possible, I think everyone here can agree that a theatrical séance is a great way to have fun. They can be performed at a Halloween party, used as a room in a haunted house or as a magic show/haunted attraction in its own right. What they should not be used for, however, is to convince people that you have supernatural abilities. Be honest about the staged nature of the events. In some cases, like performing one in room in a haunted attraction, the phoniness is clear to all but the youngest of children. At other times, like at a party or as a standalone attraction, distinctions might have to be made. This can range from a disclaimer at the start (or finish) of the show or by using a few effects that are entertaining while still providing a knowing wink to the audience at the staged nature of the events. But even this has its issues. Glow-in-the-dark “spirits” making an appearance are fun for everyone, while trying out the “deceased aviator” trick used in a “real” séance will only result in gales of derisive laughter.

If you’re planning on attending such an event and don’t want to know any spoilers, don’t read the material below.

If you’re going to perform this privately for a gathering of friends, make sure to check that none of your intended guests has recently suffered the death of a loved one. Nothing ruins the fun faster than accidentally upsetting a friend to the point of tears.

Atmosphere is extremely important. Watch a lot of movies and television shows featuring scenes involving séances to figure out the sort of look that you want for the room. In any case, you definitely want to use a room whose windows are covered by dark curtains. You will want to get the room to be as dark as possible.

A levitating table is a great trick for a séance. While there are various methods on how to do so in Chung Ling Soo’s Spirit Slate Writing and Kindred Phenomena, this method is probably the easiest way to go about it. As an added bonus, that method also doesn’t involve potentially damaging the table.

The Google Books previews for The Halloween Handbook by Ed Morrow and A Halloween How-To by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne have some great tips about how to decorate the room and set the mood. While Morrow’s book does offer a few suggestions on visual effects, the majority of his tips focus on cold-reading techniques, Bannatyne’s suggestions are more visually-oriented. Both are effective, so feel free to pick and choose as you please. I particularly enjoyed the use of audio prior to the séance to help enhance the mood. One of my favorite tricks is to make a recording of ambient silence for a set amount of time, immediately followed by spooky sounds or the voices of spirits and have it play on a hidden speaker. By timing out the start of the seance just right, this can create a great response with the participants. You can even work out a “conservation” with the “spirit” by leaving appropriate gaps in its dialogue. You might want to gather question suggestions during the silent part of the recording.

Speaking of effects that are aided by timing, the self-extinguishing candle trick is great, but you should exercise extreme caution when using real flames. If you are going to “levitate” or shake the table during the course of the events, be sure to do so after the candle has gone out. Or you can skip levitating the table entirely and go for a spooky (but stationary) glowing one like this!

Make sure your hidden assistants are all dressed from head to toe in black clothes, masks, and gloves. They’ll know when to come out and perform based on hidden cues in your rehearsed dialogue. If you paint a ghost on the same sort of black fabric using glow-in-the-dark paint, you can roll it up once it dries. When the assistant unrolls it in the dark, it will look like a spirit has suddenly appeared. Walking around the room with it unrolled will be seen as a ghost floating around. It can be made to “vanish” by suddenly flipping to the unpainted other side. Another fun trick is to blow up a balloon and paint a face on it with glow-in-the-dark paint. Once the paint has dried, untie the balloon so all the air is let out. One of the assistants (pick one who can blow up a balloon as quickly and quietly as possible) can store it in their pocket and make a ghost appear and disappearing by inflating and deflating the balloon. I must confess that I got those ideas from Peter Eldin’s The Spookster’s Handbook, which has a ton of great ideas that could work at a theatrical séance. I highly recommend tracking it down. You can find instructions on creating “Ghost Lights,” a “Spirit Tamborine,” “Floating Hand,” and “Dancing Skeleton” in the effects section of the script for The Great Ghost Chase. If you really want to impress your guests, try setting up a “Pepper’s Ghost” effect. Just remember that “less is more” and the best effects should appear as a grand finale.

If you’re lacking in assistants, try investing in an “Eviltron” to provide voices that can’t be placed as easily as ones issuing from a traditional hidden audio player would. Just be careful where you put it, as it uses a rare earth magnet in its design, which can lead to trouble if placed improperly. Thankfully, that’s not the only effect that can be accomplished without any helpers.

Using one of the “talking with ghosts” methods from “Spooky Magic Tricks” is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Speaking of magic tricks, working in this levitation trick could also have potential. If your seance is going to use the old school method of having the medium perform in a “spirit cabinet” or be bound when the spirits appear, then these two tricks will be of great interest to you.

Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting any links on the above sites (or constructing a project that’s detailed on them). This also applies to the suggestions made here. Attempt at your own discretion.

  • Haunted Attraction , How-To , magic , magic tricks , séance
  • ken on March 18, 2016 at 5:30 pm

I am putting together for the first time a Cajun paranormal event at the woodlawn chap

  • ken on June 19, 2016 at 12:39 pm

This coming Thursday I present my preview of Midnight Mysteries at 7:30. It is at trial run. It is not being received with enthusiasm, in fact I may not even have an audience, This is not New Orleans, Very anal christian fundamentalist are the dictators in this cess pool.I will let you know if I was wring…I hope so.

  • Music to Haunt By: Shadow’s Symphony - Gravedigger's Local 16 on October 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm

[…] of all kinds (the older and more majestic looking, the better). It’s also great for use in theatrical séances. Each track can easily fit a variety of scenes while never sounding generic or bland and all but a […]

  • Music to Haunt By: Sam Haynes » Gravedigger's Local 16 on October 27, 2013 at 11:59 pm

[…] box-like notes at times. You should definitely use this in your haunt’s (or party’s) staged séance. Failing that, it also works wonders with a moving Ouija board. Tolling bells bring us into […]

  • Music to Haunt By: Music For Haunts | Gravedigger's Local 16 on October 23, 2014 at 3:12 pm

[…] rock-style touches allow for use in a “Haunted House of Rock” or in a room where a séance is being held. More specifically, a séance where a glowing violin mysteriously appears and starts […]

  • Music to Haunt By: Spine Chillers | Gravedigger's Local 16 on October 25, 2014 at 7:52 pm

[…] spooky music takes over. It’s good for any ghostly scene or séance. If you are performing an interactive séance, play this with volume extra low and slowly turn it up as track plays (and the “spirits” […]

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How To Host a Safe Seance

How to Host a Safe Seance

After viewing the horrors of Granny Lupus’ Seance Theater you might wonder why anyone in their right mind would want to participate in a séance. Thankfully, not everyone who communicates with the Dead is a screeching hag, and not all the Dead who answer are benevolent entities.

A séance can actually be quite a pleasant experience…when conducted properly. The secret to a safe séance is all in who you invite and how you set the mood.

Your Guests

There’s no particular number of guests you should have around your séance table but only invite as many as you can comfortably seat. If everyone’s all crowded in together they’ll be too uncomfortable to concentrate. Having too many people in a small room may also deter some of the kind spirits you want to contact and attract those spirits who like to work their mischief in front of large audiences.

It’s also important to keep non-believers out of the mix. Their negative attitude will make it difficult for your other guests to focus. More important, the negative energy emitted by non-believers may make it difficult for some weaker spirits to come through and may even attract benevolent spirits.

Your Setting

There are those who believe that a dark room with heavy draperies, a big, round table and a black tablecloth will be more attractive to the spirits. Some also believe that a dark room will attract evil spirits while a lighter décor attracts gentler spirits. Obviously, at Thrillvania we’ll take the Bad Guys over the Good any time but you might think otherwise.

How to Host a Safe Seance

The truth is, you don’t need heavy drapes and eerie lighting.  You don’t even need a table and  it’s not the color scheme that matters to the spirits, it’s the energy in the room. Lots of positive energy makes it easier for kinder, gentler spirits to come through while an abundance of negative energy makes your seance attractive to evil spirits who not only already have the strength to come through, they can put your guests in mortal danger.

Surrounding your table – however it’s decorated – with positive guests goes a long way toward ensuring a safe séance. But here are three more things you can do to protect yourself and your guests:

Cleanse the room

Smudge your séance room with sage before your guests arrive. This will cleanse the room of any lingering negative energy.

Use candles

Spirits are attracted to energy, in particular light and heat. Place plenty of white candles, for peace and purity, around the room to attract peaceful spirits. While it’s not necessary, having one blue candle in the room will help ensure your safety.

Mind your manners

It’s extremely difficult for spirits to cross over and communicate with the Living so treat them with the respect they deserve when they make an appearance at your séance. Invite them to attend, don’t demand it. Remember to say “Please” and “Thank you.” Don’t shout or curse at them. Always remember that Evil spirits sometimes masquerade as Good. Don’t make Aunt Tilly angry or she might just show her true colors.

The Bisbee Seance Room

Hours updated over 3 months ago

Photo of The Bisbee Seance Room - Bisbee, AZ, US.

Review Highlights

the-bisbee-seance-room-bisbee photo NXou1e09qEKIHXZLlOsKRA

“ Kenny provides some history of Bisbee mixed in with his magic and its really worth the visit to see him! ” in 29 reviews

Amanda P.

“ Highly recommend going since it's a combo of ghost history and magic (not cheesy like actual good stuff)! ” in 4 reviews

Location & Hours

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26 Brewery Ave

Bisbee, AZ 85603

Amenities and More

About the business.

Voted top 5 attractions in Arizona. Voted top close up mgic show in the west …

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9/9/2022 at 6 pm , two of us plus Kenny ! It was like a private show , VIP experience, 5 stars to Kenny !

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Photo of Scott K.

Kenny , Angel & I. 9/9/2022 This was the best $$$ I've spent in years ! We absolutely loved Kenny , his showmanship & talents. I'd return in a second & this is a must if your visiting Bisbee.

Kenny , Angel & I.  9/9/2022

Kenny , Angel & I. 9/9/2022

Photo of Donn D.

The hours listed were incorrect on Yelp, as this place is closed on Sunday. There was a sign up front stating that to get tickets texting was the way to go but calling was also acceptable. I tried several times to get a hold of them on Saturday to try to score tickets for the evening show but nobody called me back or replied to my texts. I tried again on Sunday and finally received a call back in which I was gruffly informed they weren't open on Sunday nights. I hear the show is great here, but if I can't get tickets it's hard to say for sure, and out of frustration in trying to reach them I won't make another attempt to do so the next time I am in town.

Photo of Mandy T.

We went here on Sat Oct 1st and absolutely loved our experience. It was a very intimated magic show with everyone sitting around a large table. Each guest was involved in at least 1 trick and we also got a little bit of a haunted history lesson for things that happened in Bisbee. I really recommend coming here for the show next time your are in Bisbee. The bathroom was not great through. It could use some cleaning up and they need soap in there.

haunted house seance room

Amazing show! Amazing interaction with the group and made everyone feel like they were apart of the magic ! Great show!

Photo of Paul H.

Awesome. Was a pretty quick show but we left thinking about the tricks for days. Great stop before bar hopping.

Photo of Brook P.

Just wow! If you're in Bisbee, then you have to come here! My mom and I wandered in to the show and it was totally spontaneous. We had such an amazing time. I can't exactly describe the experience, but it was unique, entertaining, and I can't wait to go back!! Highly recommend.

Photo of Cheryl M.

Awesome experience! Kenny is engaging and entertaining. Magic, mayhem, and mystery are all part of the show. Or, is it real? Either way, it was great fun and we were enchanted the whole time!

haunted house seance room

When you first walk in you are greeted with music that fits the atmosphere. Music from the early 1900s to more recent tracks set the scene and vibe. You are greeted by the man who will have your attention for the next hour, Magic Kenny himself. The decor fits the aforementioned scene and Magic Kenny is quite impressive with his magic tricks. You will want to see this show more than once!

Photo of Brittany S.

This was a perfect night out with the family! After the show was done, we couldn't stop talking about it!! Thank you Kenny! We will definitely be back

Photo of Laura K.

Okay, that was just pure fun! Kenny was a blast, the magic is great, lots of laughs and great way to end the evening. We did the 9pm show and everyone in attendance was clearly loving it! So glad we went!

11 other reviews that are not currently recommended

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Winchester Mystery House Logo


Staircase to the Ceiling

Staircase to the Ceiling

Front Gardens

Guests look at the stained glass windows

haunted house seance room

Gardens of the Winchester Mystery House

Earthquake damage from the 1906 earthquake.

Earthquake damage from the 1906 earthquake.

Doorway outside of the Witches Cap

Doorway outside of the Witches Cap

Oriental Bedroom at Night

Oriental Bedroom at Night

Door to Nowhere

Door to Nowhere

Summer day at the Winchester Estate

Summer day at the Winchester Estate

The Attic showing Original Pieces from the 7-story tower

The Attic showing Original Pieces from the 7-story tower

The Attic showing Original Pieces from the 7-story tower

Most Expensive Window

haunted house seance room

Easy-Riser stairs

Lincrusta wallpaper design

Lincrusta wallpaper design

Staircase at Night

Staircase at Night

25K Storage Room

25K Storage Room

haunted house seance room

The Boiler in the Basement

Sarah Winchester's South Conservatory

Sarah Winchester's South Conservatory

Beautiful Stained Glass Window

Beautiful Stained Glass Window

Winchester Mystery House At Night

Winchester Mystery House At Night

The Witches Cap

The Witches Cap

Exterior Turret

Room with No Floor

Sarah Winchester Outside of the Winchester Mystery House

Sarah Winchester Outside of the Winchester Mystery House

Guests on a Tour of the Winchester Mystery House

Guests on a Tour of the Winchester Mystery House

Exterior Grounds at Night Time

Exterior Grounds at Night Time

haunted house seance room

Newly Restored North Dining Room

haunted house seance room

Door to Nowhere at Night

Grand Ballroom Chandelier

Grand Ballroom Chandelier

Guests on Tour

Guests on Tour

Front Gardens at Night

Front Gardens at Night

Gardens of the Winchester Mystery House

Carpenters of the Winchester Mystery House

haunted house seance room

Front Parlor - the Most Well Preserved Room in the House

haunted house seance room

Hallway to the Witches Cap

The Grand Ballroom

Sunburst Design Pattern

haunted house seance room

Newly restored North Dining Room

image of a stained glass window at sarah winchesters beautiful estate

Beautiful stained glass window

axe throwing coach showing a guest how to throw

Axe Throwing at the Stables

Team building and group tour in the gardens at the winchester estate

Sarah Winchester

William Winchester

William Winchester

Winchester Mystery House - Unhinged

Winchester Mystery House - Unhinged

Netflix's Christine McConnell at the Winchester Mystery House

Netflix's Christine McConnell at the Winchester Mystery House

Netflix's Christine McConnell at the Winchester Mystery House

haunted house seance room

InVisible Culture

A journal for visual culture, the house that ghosts built (and mediums performed).

haunted house seance room

By Paula Vilaplana de Miguel

Featured image: Seances, a popular entertainment in the late 19th century, under a red light.

*The following work acknowledges that the phenomenon of haunting is neither uniquely Western nor exclusively related to the Spiritualist movement. Spiritualism, as many have noted, builds on previous histories of witchcraft, mesmerism, hoodoo, divination, and other cultural precedents. Haunting is a multifaceted phenomenon that has developed differently throughout the United States territory, too. Due to the hyper-abundant and multiple forms of haunting this work centers on a very determined timeframe and location: the birth and expansion of Spiritualism in the United States’ East Coast between 1848 and 1924, and the psychic mediums that popularized it

Part 1: Trance Technologies Furniture and Prosthetics in the Victorian Haunted House

Evenings at home in Spiritualist Séance 1

The room is grim. The last light of day shyly brightens the furniture of the parlor: bookcases, chintz curtains, a large sofa, and a record player. The sitters gather around a wooden table and hold hands. The séance usually starts with the Lord’s Prayer. All electric lighting is turned off. Just a soft red glow is permitted, the only light suitable for spirits. Then, the medium gradually falls into a trance. During the course of three hours different phenomena take place, intermittently: lights flash, fluorescent messages are displayed in the air, along with rustlings, flower scents, abrupt temperature changes… At one point, the spirits ask for the lights to be turned on: some of the sitters have been offered a floral crown. Then the lights go down again, and music starts coming out of the gramophone. The table tilts following the rhythm. In the dark, some feel caresses, kisses, or the touch of unearthly hands. Ultimately, if the conditions allow for it, the sitters witness the epitome of the spirits’ manifestation: ectoplasm, extruded from the medium’s body. The audience is puzzled. Every cabinet, piece of furniture, piece of clothing, even every orifice in the body of the medium had been thoroughly explored before the séance. Nothing in the room, an ordinary Victorian sitting-room, seemed exceptional. Nothing but the presence of the medium herself.

Between 1848 and the late 1920s, haunted houses spread throughout Europe and the US as a popular phenomenon. A mixed audience of believers, curious, skeptics, and i nvestigators gathered in the domestic interior of the Victorian sitting-room to witness the spectacle of spirit communication. Yet, these houses were not haunted per se: the presence of ghosts responded to the performance of the (often) female medium during a spiritualist séance. Such haunting was a spectacle that not only transformed the house into a public stage, but made it the core of a radical performance of political, social, and sexual claims. This first type of haunting differs from the familiar depiction of the haunted house presented through film, literature, and even historical landmarks which serve today as haunted attractions.

The Victorian house has been largely framed in film and literature as the quintessential architectural space for hauntings. Through its reiteration, these spaces—often haunted by female specters—equal danger for the viewer and play an essential role in building the atmosphere of films like The House on Haunted Hill (William Castle, 1959), The Nesting (Armand Weston, 1981) or Winchester: The House that Ghosts Built (Michael and Peter Spierig, 2018). The image of a woman terrorized by a Victorian Mansion serves as a recurrent promotional asset for films, novels, and even record covers. Of the three films mentioned above, the promotional images for Winchester are especially telling, with the Victorian house abruptly defacing a female figure, consolidating a reading of these characters as mentally and physically disrupted.

The juxtaposition of Victorian dwellings and troubled women is indeed one of the few consistencies that one can find when comparing the historical and the fictional representations of the haunted house. While in the turn of the century a house could be haunted only as the result of the work of a psychic medium, haunted houses appear today as permanent ghost residencies, and their history is reduced to the threatening Victorian traits of their architecture.

Before the Victorian house got haunted by an endless army of fictional spirits, it had been already bashed and inspected due to its suitability for the supernatural. To be more precise, the Victorian house had witnessed a targeted prosecution within its walls: the hunting of psychic mediums in their domestic interiors in the context of a radical and transgressive spiritualist awakening in the mid 1850s. The same architectures that initially empowered and rendered the female medium visible would later condemn them, distorting a fascinating period in modern US history into a reductive horror plot, in which these female figures are continuously violated. How did this narrative shift? What triggered the transition between these two interrelated but discording representations of haunting?

Spiritualisms emerged as a special form of Christianism that refused hierarchical power structures based on age or gender: it situated women as privileged ringmasters. Female bodies were perceived as ideal vessels for the spirits, making women entitled interlocutors with the other world. Starting with the Fox Sisters rappings in Hydesville in 1848, the US saw a rampant surge of female mediumship, counting more than 35,000 mediums after the civil war. Such mediums transformed the Victorian house—an already female-dominated universe—into a subversive territory where to discuss topics often excluded from public debate. These topics ranged from property rights for women, to free love, voluntary motherhood, marital rape or prostitution. Mediums delivered these speeches uncensored: it was not their voices on stage, but the ones of the spirits they channeled. 2

The haunted house so often appears as a threatening space in fiction, an image that contrasts with the accounts of nineteenth century sitters. Séance rooms were indeed highly controlled environments in which the communication with the dead developed as a collective celebration. Conducted by the psychic medium, the sitters enjoyed the company of ghosts. These gentle interactions would appease any fear of the dead in a séance room perceived as a mild threat, a depiction that resonates with 18th century theories of the Sublime. 3 Equally appeasing were the rituals and protocols of the spiritualist séance: much like a theatrical performance. The apex of the spectacle was the staging of material proof of the spirit world, a production that took various forms as Spiritualist practices evolved from the Rochester rappings to ectoplasms, an arcane spirit manifestation that would become the object of philosophical and scientific inquiries.

In 1894, Charles Richet introduced to term ectoplasm for describing the projection of the substance—sometimes gauzy, viscous or even vaporous—extruded through the medium’s orifices. Ectoplasms emerged as the ultimate evidence of the existence of the afterworld: they were visible and distinguishable from the body of the medium, although not completely independent from it. 4 For the ectoplasms to be successively delivered, the medium entered a safe space, the cabinet, in which she or he would fall into a trance before communing with the spirits.

Under the pseudonym of Samri Frikell, the magician, journalist, and psychic investigator Fulton Oursler, one of the most vocal anti-spiritualist crusaders along with Harry Houdini, described the Spiritualist craze in his infamous expose, Spirit Mediums Exposed , a compilation aiming to debunk mediumship. In his accounts, the magician described the conditions and apparatuses used by mediums and investigators during test séances, in which the psychics were subject to exam per part of the sitters. Among the props described and documented here, one emerges as key to understanding the way the Victorian séance room evolved in the turn of the century, and how it allowed for new spatial and social configurations, the medium’s cabinet: “The spirits that hover near us reach down to the medium and take a material substance from her body—a substance that is called ectoplasm. From this etheric substance, they fashion a body for themselves, and it is this etheric body which you will see emerge from the cabinet.” 5

The séance and its reliance on the Victorian domestic environment calls for an exploration of the architectural impact of Spiritualist practices. The Spiritualist séance has been studied within art history, media, and gender studies, thereby minimizing its architectural dimension. Adding to this discourse, I argue, this practice has an impact on the reconfiguration and exposure of an unknown Victorian domestic environment. The Spiritualist house was radical in the use of its interiors and the integration of technologies for the study of psychical phenomena. What is more, I will argue that the final debunking of psychic mediums relied, at least in part, on architectural expertise.

For the development of the séance, psychic mediums were able to reshape to their convenience most of the elements of a typical domestic space, from furniture to appliances, along with their own bodies—that some were suspected to have manipulated for better ectoplasmic results. 6 The afterworld couldn’t be understood without the domestic technologies at hand for the spirits. The spaces for the Spiritualist practice were either private domestic areas turned public, or public stages dressed as domestic interiors. Within these settings, mediums deployed diverse furniture and props that enabled the connection with the afterworld, like gramophones, tables, spirit trumpets, and especially cabinets. Even the afterlife, according to Conan Doyle, would be equipped with all the comforts of a house. 7 The domestic background of the séance was clearly noticeable in Albert von Schrenck-Notzing’s Phenomena of Materialization (1920), a five-hundred-page volume on ectoplasms. 8 Schrenck-Notzing drew dozens of plans to understand the séance room in terms of distribution, dimensions, materiality, lighting conditions, openings, and installations. These plans disclosed the exact location of the cameras and devices disposed to register the phenomena. For Schrenck-Notzing, the plan served as both a tool for understanding the development of the séance, as well as evidence of the veracity of the phenomena, one of which was the use of ectoplasms.

Mediumistic prosthetics

Along with the Spiritualist séance appeared a new element of domestic furnishing that perfected the communication between the terrestrial and the spiritual worlds: the medium’s cabinet. The cabinet started as an informal compartmentation of the séance room to create a private area for the reunion of the psychic and the spirit. It was formed by a curtain hung from the ceiling of the séance room with rippings in the middle for its access. The cabinet often contained an armchair for the medium and a red light for the spirits. It worked as a partition, producing a mise en abyme as it created a séance room inside the séance room. After the medium entered this device, she would fall into a trance and gradually expell the spirit through its—and her—openings.

The cabinet—the space from where the ectoplasm emerged—concentrated some of the traditional functions of a stage in terms of spectatorship and spatial organization. The cabinet shows of the medium Elizabeth Tomson would attract dozens of sitters to her séances:

Four or five spirits at once […] danced around the room, melted through the carpet, blowing kisses to him as they vanished. Astral blossoms bloomed in this medium’s hands, rare corals materialized as souvenirs. Voices, uncanny and thunderous, came from the cabinet. All the magic of the ages was concentrated and exhibited in the innocent cabinet of Elizabeth Tomson. 9

The alleged candidness of the female medium was extended to her innocent cabinet: both were under spirit control. Its domestic craft—it was often made of fabrics which were sewn by the medium herself—conceded this device another dimension related to the female labor implied in its arrangement, standing as a technology that granted agency to its medium-designer-manufacturer. The medium would craft both the stage, the props, and eventually, the spirit manifestations. The medium-cabinet-ghost ensemble was essential for the ectoplasm to be delivered.

The emergence of the cabinet had two significant implications. On the one hand, it worked as an extension of the medium’s body, a prosthetic implementation for the spirit delivery. On the other hand, the manufactured character of this furniture gave the medium excellent control over the conditions in which communication was established, as the medium administered the whole process in the sitting-room. Because Spiritualist séances aspired to be scientific investigations developed under test conditions, the medium-cabinet-ghost ensemble would stand in the core of the discussion on the legitimation of the phenomena. This hybrid tool would also become the object of further inspections and redevelopments, and what at first emerged as an empowering mediumistic apparatus will progressively turn into a controlling device.

An Immersive Archive

During the séance, psychic mediums invited their sitters to become investigators and construct personal reports based on first-hand explorations. They did not ask the sitters to believe, but to see and experience the psychic phenomena by themselves, building intimate accounts that had to do with their encounter with the medium’s body operating as the interface with the spirit world. If the séance room was a laboratory, the medium’s body was the object of study: both were subject to close inspection. The examination of the medium’s body added a sexualized component to the already sensual aura of the spectacle. The presence of the medium-cabinet-ghost ensemble transformed the séance room into an experience that shared qualities of both a laboratory and a peep show, and the tests séances allowed for physical interactions that surpassed the passive visual consumption of the spiritual spectacle. Sometimes, as in the case of the medium Eva C and her assistant Mme Bisson, it even allowed for same-sex interactions, only allowed under the pretext of scientific study:

Still more important even than the control of the cabinet is the control of the medium herself. […] Eva undressed completely before Mme Bisson. […] The medium gave us several times the opportunity of examining her body while she was still in half-dressed state and before the dress was sewn up at the breast opening, at the hips (to the tricot), and at the hands. But after this had been done, she also allowed us to touch the entire surface of her body and to establish again that there were no concealed on it any kinds of materials or utensils. 10

In the dark, aroused by the spirit’s presence and the psychic’s performance, the sitters experienced different level of otherworldly encounters. What happened inside the séance room was translated painstakingly out of its doors: any conventional instrument failed to register the complexity of the phenomena. The investigators, often embarrassed, were forced to operate under conditions that the mediums had stipulated. 11 In the red glow of the séance, the photographic instruments failed again and again, and the reconstruction of facts had to be mediated through other channels such as audio recordings, drawings, textual accounts, or thumbprints—one of the few tangible pieces of evidence the spirits left on earth.

Ectoplasms represent a crucial moment in the history of Spiritualism which, revisited today, enables us to categorize this movement as an artistic and technological avant-garde

Art historian Meredith Kaitlin Kelly sees ectoplasms as “symbolic creations” analogous to other artistic productions, that as such implicitly carry cultural and aesthetic connotations. 12 In turn, the film scholar Karen Beckman inscribes ectoplasms in a pre-historic period of cinema and describes the spiritualist séance as “a stage for the birth of film itself,” a stage that transforms in conjunction with the cinematic technologies of the time. 13 Anne Delgado, a scholar in Victorian culture, will compare ectoplasms to film to emulsions that open windows to alternative worlds in a radical and transfigurative move. 14 By contrast, Tony Oursler grants phantasmagorias and other representations of the spirit world their own rubric in Art History. Oursler distinguishes phantasmagorias from the cinematic as an autonomous visual technology. 15

In my view, the performance of ectoplasm did not just situate the body of the female medium as a proto-cinematic device, nor did it solely transform the Victorian séance-room into a screening cabin. Rather, it produced haptic modes of vision and created an immersive experience that predated the codes and protocols of contemporary new media in terms of embodiment and interactivity. If analyzed through the lens of new media practices, the séance stands as a cutting-edge experience that experiments with media environments other than film and screens, in particular with alternative modes of vision.

I suggest that we not only see the production of ectoplasm in relation to cinematic technologies but consider them as harbingers of immersive spaces and virtual reality explorations. The environmental development of the séances, mediated by a psychic medium in a darkened room anticipates some of the conditions that define new media experiences: displacement, embodiment, and expanded modes of vision which refuse the supremacy of the eye as the only visual organ.

Displacement and embodiment were pivotal in the experience of the Spiritualist séance where the spirit manifestation—the ectoplasm in this particular case—stood as the interface that mediated communication between the medium-projector and the sitters-audience. The obscurity of the séance room under a red glow defused the capacity of the eye to create sufficiently clear images, enabling technologies of vision that relate to other modes of perception, especially tactility and hearing, to take precedence. Under this atmosphere, the sitters held hands and maintained their feet in touch during the whole séance, each of them building a personal experience affected by their physical interactions. Accordingly, the accounts of these séances absorbed the sitter’s physiological reactions to the spectacle, privileging their condition as witnesses over prospective descriptions, unable to apprehend the whole complexity of a phenomenon which by turn was mediated by another body, the one of the medium.

The production of ectoplasm, subversive in the way it exposed the female body, paved the way of ulterior feminist performances that positioned the body as a critical medium. For instance, the enhancement of tactile, visual technologies in the séance room aligns with Valie Export’s Tap and Touch Cinema (1968), the ejaculative capacity of ectoplasmic mediums can be paralleled to Carolee Schneeman’s Interior Scroll regurgitation (1975), and the offering of the medium’s genitalia for inspection connects with Annie Sprinkle’s Public Cervix Announcement (1990).

A Sensual Archive

Extruding ectoplasms from the interior of the cabinet, mediums revealed parcels of an unknown territory that some investigators expected to become a new science: plasmology. 16 The medium transformed into a latent archive, storing a new mode of knowledge that she could activate through the ritual of trance. 17 The performance culminated, ecstatically, with the resuscitation of the dead in the form of an uncanny document, the ectoplasm, occupying a liminal space between the material and the spiritual realms. 18

Karen Beckman describes séances as spaces for discussing and speculating on alternative forms of knowledge during which turn-of-the-century psychic mediums bypassed the limitations they experienced in the era: they did not only controlled the conditions under which the séance developed, but they also challenged the protocols of the scientific method. 19 In a similar line, art historian Zeynep Çelik Alexander traces relationships between occultism, gender, and design pedagogy and sees occultism as a learning modality that confronted the hegemonic forms of culture and education. 20 In my opinion, these assertions fall short, and it is through the insertion of the cabinet and the performance of the medium in it that the séance room evolved from being a semi-public room to transforming into a learning space: the cabinet was a stage, a laboratory, an altar, a peep-show, and, mostly, a sensual archive.

The archive was constituted both by its body-prosthetic-container and by its ectoplasmic productions. 21 On the one hand, mediums felt the moral duty to share their newly discovered source of knowledge; on the other, skeptical investigators were afforded the right of inspection over this informative entity, visually and haptically. The medium-cabinet-ghost ensemble, institutionalized in the context of the test séance, resulted in an architectural set of practices including the design of the box, of the medium’s body, and of the documents they produced. Ectoplasms themselves were architectural events in the sense their production transformed the spatial conditions, materiality, and circulations in the séance room. The cabinet and the body of the medium were both producers and displayers of ectoplasms; as such, they could not only be researched but also redesigned. This redevelopment would result in a profound transformation on of the protocols, devices, and political stances of the séance, and would progressively diminish the medium’s agency over the process.

Part 2: Surveillance technologies in the Séance Room

From the Fabric Cabinet to the Rigid Box

The events produced inside the séance room challenged the capacity of the scientific apparatus to offer a convincing repudiation of the spiritual phenomena, giving rise to a public debate on the limits of empirical knowledge.

On the one side, the Spiritualists saw in the Fox Sisters the prophets of new science, advocating for a sensorial universalizing form of knowledge that erased educational and cultural barriers. 22 On the opposite side, the magician Harry Houdini led an anti-Spiritualist crusade that by turn questioned the capacity of the scientific knowledge to surmount the limits of human perceptual capacities—a gap that both spiritualists and magicians instrumentalized. 23 In 1922, amidst a nation-wide chiasma between advocates and opponents of Spiritualism, the Scientific American Journal launched the ultimate provocation against this craze: the journal offered a $5,000 prize to any medium capable of presenting a satisfactory manifestation of psychical phenomena produced under test conditions.

A multidisciplinary committee was in charge of examining the mediums. To assess the clever tricks performed by each candidate, the members of the committee developed a series of protocols and devices to validate their hypothesis: the séance room would be progressively redesigned to incorporate all the mechanisms necessary to exert strict control over mediums:

It is a fundamental regulation, therefore, of an honestly conducted investigation that the control of the psychic shall be such that the psychic is anatomically and mechanically incapable of making the phenomena. 24

The refurbishment of this space included the transformation of one of its central elements: the cabinet. 

On the pretext of a rigorous scientific investigation, the mediumistic cabinet—irregular, made of fabrics sewed around an informal structure inside of which the medium could sit and move with ease—disappeared in favor of a new device whose aim was not to facilitate any spirit exchange, but to impede it: the medium box. Medium boxes were structures built in wood—and later in steel and glass—designed to fit the medium’s body and limit its movement. In this way, the informal fabric cabinet manufactured by the medium that once contained the magic of all ages , ceded its place to rigid apparatuses to maintain the medium under anatomical, mechanical, and visual control; to sum up, surveillance apparatuses to deprive mediums of the easiness they previously enjoyed.

After launching the contest, the Scientific American committee managed to debunk some of the most prominent mediums of the time, including Eva C. or the Goligher Circle. 25 However, when Mina Crandon’s turn arrived—renamed Margery during the investigation to preserve her privacy—the committee faced an unexpected reverse: the protocols proved successful to expose other mediums did not prevent Margery from making objects levitate in the room or channel her spirit control; even the voice of her deceased brother Walter manifested during the séances. 26 The investigation concluded with no consistent results: the phenomena were ultimately attributed to a myriad of theories that ranged from hypnosis, automatism or unconscious fraud, to acrobatic dexterity. 27 The process gave rise, however, to the construction of several extraordinary devices.

Before the attempts to maintain Margery under absolute control during the total lapse of the séance, Houdini—whose efforts and campaigns to debunk mediumship would afford him a place within the Scientific American committee—built a first device: the Margie Box. This was a robust wooden cabinet that fixed the position of the medium to prevent her from using her extremities and simulate levitation. Houdini’s design relied on his expertise as an escapist artist; in that sense, the cabinet was a platform for the magician to showcase his proficiency as well as a propagandistic instrument. Houdini’s career as a magician was partly built upon his ability to mimic medium’s tricks. He did not just confine the use of his apparatus to the privacy of the Harvard Investigation, which was confidential, but he exhibited himself in the box reproducing the tricks allegedly used by Margery in what Malcolm Bird described as a “psychic vaudeville,” highlighting the significance of this newly built apparatus as a performance stage. 28

However, the apex of the Margery Investigation took place at Emerson Hall’s Laboratory in Harvard University, hosted by a Department that had previously developed experiments on perception, and which was transformed into a séance room for the Scientific American Prize. A total of eight test séances took place here, taking the research to a high degree of sophistication and technological innovation to control the medium visually, mechanically, electrically, and physiologically. A special committee was designated, composed by members of the American and British Societies for Psychical Research, several Harvard experts on Physics and Psychology, a lawyer, and Houdini.

A series of medium-debunking machines were built for the occasion. To identify the voice of Margery’s spirit control, M.W. Richardson created the “voice-machine,” a U-Tube glass apparatus that controlled the movements of Margery’s lips and tongue. The room was then electrified through a net of wires that activated an alarm in case of any sudden movement per part of the sitters. Margery was finally placed inside a high-tech cabin: a plate-glass cabinet designed by Richardson as well, measuring 6 ft long, 3 ft wide and 7 ft high. Its floor, though solid, was hinged at the back in order to be lifted and adequately inspected. The roof, also continuous, was screwed to the frame. Richardson disposed of eye-bolts in different parts to control the medium’s feet, besides securing her hands and ankles with a stiff wire. She was sitting on a Windsor chair. In front of her was a table. At her right, a megaphone. In the middle of the room, five wooden chairs formed a circle for the sitters. Outside the circle was placed a Victrola, next to which stood an Edison Dictaphone, records, an illuminated watch, several séance apparatus (trumpets, a fluorescent doughnut, a bell-box), and a small red light. The picture of the room would be that of a woman inside an embryonic glasshouse surrounded by spiritualist domestic appliances. In the dark, luminous flashes, fluorescent objects in levitation, and electric wires composed a hyper-technological complex centered in the medium, a striking image at a time where electricity was still not commonplace in American households. 29 Emerson Hall’s Haunted Laboratory replicated the domestic environment of the séance, now refurbished with the latest technological developments, challenging the recurrent depiction of the haunted house as a regressive, obsolete scenario. On the contrary, this episode showcases the séance room as a high-tech environment that required the adaptation of cutting-edge technologies to monitor the evasive female body, and which resulting aesthetics forecasted a turn in architectural styles, too.

From the crafted textile cabin to the plate-glass cage, the evolution of the medium’s cabinets mirrors in certain aspects another operation taking place at the time: the transition from Victorian to Modern Architecture. Both participated in a process of rationalization and sanitation of the domestic space that would reformulate the circulation of bodies and information within the private sphere. This transition, in my view, was not alien to the eradication of female mediumship from the domestic realm. On the contrary, I believe that the devices and designs developed to eradicate mediumship can be seen as early experiments that would later impact architectural developments and the design of other forms of control of female bodies within the domestic realm.

An Architectural Sanitization of Victorian Excrescences

In the context of early Spiritualism, the séance-room stands as a hybrid space between a performance stage, a laboratory, and a delivery room: performing in the dark under a red glow, Tom Gunning describes the medium as “an uncanny photomat, dispensing images from its orifices”; Karen Beckman, by contrast, compares the production of ectoplasm to a birthing scene, with the medium painfully delivering the spirit assisted by male physicians. 30 This image is reinforced if we consider that both skeptics and spiritualist supporters would relate mediumship to the womb.

Ectoplasms not only conveyed the defunct, but they were also themselves crafted from dead tissue and could hardly be detached from the medium’s body without vanishing again. The battle for women’s rights that was partially delivered in a trance state, and the production of ectoplasm was, I would argue, closer to the staging of an abortion than a birth: through the means of this performance, turn of the century psychic mediums elaborated a range of claims about labor, reproductive rights, and the construction of knowledge.

We can trace a parallel chronology between Spiritualism and reproductive rights, and find women progressively losing agency in the late 19th century. Both women and their associated domestic spaces transitioned from a leadership status to a position in which they became suspects. The disempowering presence of the female mediumship increased attention to her entourage, and the house, perceived as a territory in danger, became the center of the debate. The shielding of the house implied the close supervision of what had accesses to and what circulated within it, the bodies that occupied it, and the practices allowed within its walls. The nineteenth century also saw a paradigm change regarding the birthing process, no longer captured as natural but as a potentially pathologic scenario carrier of disease and potential infections. As a result, midwives were replaced by male physicians, terminating a long tradition of female networks of care in favor of the nascent modern science. 31

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle pointed to the womb as the medium’s power source, a recurrent assumption that entangled the female reproductive capacity with the supernatural, not necessarily as a positive feature. 32 Indeed, mediumistic uterine productions were deemed repulsive, horrible, revolting, and viscous substances—at least in the words of Houdini. 33 Similarly, in 1874 the neurologist Frederic Marvin described a syndrome relating Spiritualism to a uterine disorder; he called it mediomania:

Utromania frequently results in mediomania… The angle at which the womb is suspended in the pelvis frequently settles the whole question of sanity or insanity. Tilt the organ a little forward, introvert it, and immediately the patient forsakes her home [and] embraces some strong ultraism—Mormonism, Mesmerism, Fourierism, Socialism, oftener Spiritualism. 34

According to Marvin, the female relationship to the house in the Spiritualist milieu was pathological, a hypothesis that classified these women as ill subjects, disabled bodies suffering from a uterine deformity therefore incapable of performing any relevant task or occupying a public position.

First, the psychic medium would be deemed pathological, then the spaces she inhabited: what was haunted turned out to be infected, an association that would pervade even architectural discourse, as illustrated in 1918 Lysol’s advertising campaign which compared ghosts to germs. The vilification of the Victorian became commonplace in architecture texts: Lewis Mumford described Victorian Architecture as “a visible manifestation of systemic disease and rot,” Talbot Hamlin as “wooden monstrosities,” and Sherwood Bessell as “vile excrescences.” Finally, Guy Pene du Bois certified the death of Victorian Architecture: “[these] dead American houses” he said, “whimsical exaggerations in tortured wood, are haunted.” 35

The convoluted and inefficient Victorian house seemed to be as tortured as its tenants, transferring symptoms to each other. It is not surprising that, in this context, the psychic investigator Malcolm Bird described Mina Crandon’s house in Lime Street as the perfect haunted house:

It possesses an architectural complexity (largely due to extensive remodeling) which surpasses belief. There are two flights of back stairs, affording four independent points of access to the front of the house […]. The whole house fairly teems with curious closets, crannies, cubbyholes large and small, blind shaftways, etc., the utility or necessity of which is not always apparent. […] Could one look for a better-haunted house? 36

Previous scholarship on haunted houses often attributed physiognomic qualities to such architectures: the house exudes repressed traumas in Sarah Burns’ “Better for Haunts” or reflects a moral distortion in Papapetros’ “Malicious Houses.” Nevertheless, neither of them seems to connect these spaces to a seventy-year history of the haunting of the Victorian domestic sphere through Spiritualist practices, a movement that the New York Times estimates as having eleven million followers by 1874. What motivates such an omission?

Just as the haunted could be expelled through structural reform, Modern Architecture emerged as an antithesis of the Victorian: it was clean, pure, and free from suspicious spirits. The continuous assimilation of the Haunted and, by extension, of the Victorian as sick, when paralleled to the regression of reproductive rights in the period makes us see the rising of the Modern style as an ultimate enforcer of the vicious female governance of the house: the glass-plate cabinet to surveil the medium will expand into a whole glass house.

The Ultimate Haunted House: Only for Entertainment Purposes

In 1872, an illustration in Harper’s Weekly depicted Victoria Woodhull as “Mrs. Satan”, carrying a banner in support of free love. Woodhull, President of the Spiritual Association, was an advocate of women’s rights and ran for President of the US in 1870. She owned the Clafflin and Woodhull Weekly, a journal in which she published her views on women’s political, sexual, and reproductive rights. 37 Her newspaper would also include advertisements on contraceptive methods and abortion services and she would soon be one of the targets of the Obscenity law. 38

The Comstock Law of 1873 criminalized the distribution of materials of immoral use , a rubric that included from sexual toys, abortifacients, anatomy books, or contraceptive ads, to personal letters with sexual content. Comstock saw in figures like Victoria Woodhull a menace to domestic decorum. The most notorious trial derived from this law was the one against Woodhull for publishing an article on the Beecher affair and exposing the extramarital relationships of this Congregationalist preacher. 39 Although Woodhull won this first trial, the Spiritualist press became a frequent target for Comstock and his associates, progressively weakening the movement and its allies. After the Comstock Law allowed for the surveillance of mail exchanges, other elements started to be controlled more closely, including the practices developed within the private sphere.

In 1909, Lizzie and May Bang were accused of running businesses without a license: they had been working as psychic mediums charging a fee for performing cabinet séances or painting spirit portraits in their Chicago house. In response to the prosecution they had experienced along with other female psychic practitioners, they wrote The Bang Sisters’ Manifesto to the World , a text in which they harshly condemned the ordinance—still operating today—that prohibits the exercise of Spiritualism with any purpose other than entertainment:

It almost prohibits freedom of thought, speech, and action. This ordinance practically overrules the Constitution of the United States on religious matters, as it makes the teaching or demonstrating of the Spiritual Philosophy a misdemeanor or criminal offense […]. Although the ordinance includes all occult sciences, it is more direct and severe in the prosecution of Spiritualism and its phenomena. 40

The Bang Sisters saw the persecution of Spiritualists as a process against female economic independence, and associated the anti-Spiritualist crusade with witch hunting, an analogy that had been used on tabloids to discredit the Spiritualist community and that connects to Silvia Federici’s recent analysis of this episode in relation to labor and the rise of modern capitalism. 41 Spiritualism and witchcraft share a series of aspects that entangle both movements as counter-cultural practices facilitating the production and transmission of information in the margins of the dominant power structures —either the state, the church or the scientific apparatus. In both cases, this circulation gave rise to an alternative economy that was ultimately condemned and dismantled.

Turn-of-the-century Spiritualism saw an opportunity to appropriate an effervescent moment in science, technology, and politics. They not only inserted women in the economy as labor but also reformulated their role as central agents of these transformations. Moreover the alternative views they proposed on technology, politics, and social relationships generated a genuinely innovative universe that would set the ground for further dissident practices, an influence that can be tracked in visual arts and performance, but also in feminist and queer theory. 42 This revolution took place while women were in a trance, most of the time within their private homes. The Victorian house, being the center of operations of the Spiritualist practice, was progressively inspected, regulated, and ultimately reconceptualized. The reaction against psychic mediums required the setting-up of a multimedia complex intertwining law, science, and technology with a massive media campaign. Most of its products—from ordinances to advertisements, novels or films, including haunted attractions—persist to our day naturalized as part of the entertainment industry. 

Extending the discussion to the architectural field, this text aims to dismantle the tropes binding female specters to the Victorian House, inspecting the discourses and mechanisms favoring this association to discuss what the modern refusal of the Victorian implied, at large. Architecture played a crucial role in supporting this infrastructure by ceding its expertise, assisting and refining the process through formal implementations, and finally yielding its remains—historical Victorian landmarks—to serve as its ultimate vehicle: the haunted house, conceived, allegedly, for entertainment purposes only.

  • The title of this section is a reference to Georgina Houghton’s landmark book on Spiritualism. The description of the séance also builds on Houghton’s accounts. Georgiana Houghton, Evenings at Home in Spiritual Séance (Brighton: Victorian Secrets, 2014). ↩
  • “The women on the podium were unconscious… Mediums presented not their own views, but those of the spirits who spoke through them.” Ann Braude, Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women’s Rights in Nineteenth-century America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013), 85. ↩
  • In Burke’s essay on the Sublime, this relates to feelings of controlled fear and discomfort leading to an aesthetic delight. Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (Dublin: Graisberry and Campbell, 1779). ↩
  • Spiritualists believed ectoplasms to be a part of medium’s bodies. As such, they couldn’t be removed without causing great pain to them, even death allegedly. ↩
  • Samri Frikell, Spirit Mediums Exposed (New York: New Metropolitan Fiction, 1930), 13. ↩
  • The psychic medium Mina Crandon was never debunked. Some accounts suggest her husband, the surgeon Le Roi Goddard Crandon, may have modified her vagina to help her produce the phenomena in the séance room. ↩
  • Frikell, Spirit Mediums exposed , 4 . ↩
  • Albert von Schrenck-Notzing, Phenomena of Materialization: A Contribution to the Investigation of Mediumistic Teleplastics (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1920) . ↩
  • Samri Frikell, “The Ghost that Grew in the Cabinet” in Spirit Mediums Exposed (New York: New Metropolitan Fiction, 1930), 24. ↩
  • Theodore Besterman, Some Modern Mediums (London: Methuen & Company Limited , 1930), 84. ↩
  • Besterman, Some Modern Mediums , 46. ↩
  • Meredith Kaitlin Reddy sees ectoplasms as “symbolic creations, much like artworks, which carried implicit cultural and aesthetic meaning.” Meredith Kaitlin Reddy, Artful mediums: Women, séance photography, and materialization phenomena, 1880-1930 (PhD Diss., University of Toronto, 2015). ↩
  • “These truth machines fail to function as passive recorders of the spiritualist scene and gradually play an increasingly active role in shaping the form and content of the séances themselves.” Karen Beckman, Vanishing Women Magic, Film, and Feminism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003), 72. ↩
  • Anne Delgado, “Bawdy technologies and the birth of ectoplasm,” Genders 54 (2011). ↩
  • Conversation with Tony Oursler, April 7, 2019. ↩
  • Arthur Conan Doyle coined the term Plasmology to refer to a new science of the future which would study ectoplasms and other spirits manifestations. Christopher Sandford, Masters of Mystery: The Strange Friendship of Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini (New York: St. Martins Griffin, 2013). ↩
  • “The sewing-up and the described examination took place in regularly in the séance-room; immediately after the examination Eva entered the cabinet, sat down in the chair, and was put into the hypnotic state by Mme Bisson by touching her hands and fixing. The sitters were always allowed to witness this procedure in the cabinet.” Besterman, Some Modern Mediums , 85. ↩
  • The archive as a “ritual which results in the resuscitation of life, in bringing the dead back to life by reintegrating them in the cycle of time.” Achille Mbembe, “The Power of the Archive,” in Refiguring the Archive , ed. Carolyn Hamilton, Verne Harris, Jane Taylor, Michele Pickover, Graeme Reid, Razia Saleh (Dordrecht: Springer Science Business Media, 2013), 25. ↩
  • Karen Beckman, “Power from Elsewhere: Charismatic Authority and the American Female Medium,” in Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler , ed. Jordan Bear and Anne Wehr (Zurich: LUMA Foundation, 2016), 472. ↩
  • Zeynep Çelik Alexander, “Jugendstil Visions: Occultism, Gender and Modern Design Pedagogy,” Journal of Design History 22, no. 3 (2009): 203-26. ↩
  • Hamilton, Refiguring the Archive , 23. ↩
  • Spiritualism was seen as a science “bound by no known rules. The guess of a layman may be better than that of a professor.” Frikell, “The Ghost that Grew in the Cabinet,” 5. ↩
  • “I claim that in so far as the revelation of trickery is concerned my years of investigation have been more productive than the same period of similar work by any scientist; that my record as a mystifier of mystifiers qualifies me to look below the surface of any mystery problem presented to me and that with my eyes trained by thirty years’ experience in the realms of mystery and occultism it is not strange that I view these so-called phenomena from a different angles than the ordinary layman or event the expert investigator.” Harry Houdini, Houdini: A Magician among the Spirits (New York: Arno Press, 1972), xiv. ↩
  • Mark Wyman Richardson and Charles Stanton Hill, Margery, Harvard, Veritas: A Study in Psychics (Boston: Blanchard Printing Co: 1925), 7. ↩
  • The Goligher Circle was a family was an Irish Spiritualist family led by the medium Kathleen Goligher. ↩
  • Walter was Margery’s spirit control. He appeared as a jovial spirit with a voice that the investigators find different from the medium’s. He often made jokes and defied the members of the committee, especially Harry Houdini. ↩
  • Richardson and Hill, Margery, Harvard, Veritas , 35. ↩
  • Richardson and Hill, Harvard, Veritas , 16. ↩
  • Less than 50% of Boston’s homes used electricity in 1924. ↩
  • Beckman, “Power from Elsewhere,” 473. ↩
  • Janet Bogdan, “Care or Cure? Childbirth Practices in Nineteenth Century America,” Feminist Studies 4, no. 2 (1978): 92-99. doi:10.2307/3177452. ↩
  • William J. Crawforf , lecturer on mechanical engineering at the Belfast Technical Institute studying the Goligher case wrote: “Sir Arthur tells me he thinks the power comes from the womb, it certainly is a wonderful affair and there is no telling how far all this may lead to.” Massimo Polidoro, Final Séance: The Strange Friendship between Houdini and Conan Doyle (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2001), 45. ↩
  • Houdini on the mediumship of Eva C. and Eva Thompson: “Bear in mind, I’m not a skeptic. It is my will to believe and if convincing evidence is brought forward I will be the first to aknowledge my mistake, but up to the present day nothing has crossed my path to make me think that the Great Almighty will alow emanations from a human body of such horrible, revolting, viscous substances as Baron von Schrenk-Notzing claims, hideous shapes, which, like “genii from the bronze bottle”, ring bells, move handkerchiefs, wobble tables, and do other “falp-doodle” stunts.” Polidoro, Final Séance, 48. ↩
  • Molly McGarry, Ghosts of Futures Past: Spiritualism and the Cultural Politics of Nineteenth-century America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012), 34, 125. ↩
  • Sarah Burns, “Better for Haunts,” American Art 26, no. 3 (2012): 2-25. doi:10.1086/669220. ↩
  • Thomas R. Tietze, Margery (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), 17. ↩
  • Victory Woodhill advocated for free-love, abortion, divorce, prostitution, and other rights for women. ↩
  • “By the 1870s, approximately 20 percent of all pregnancies were terminated by legal abortion. During this era, advertisements for both contraceptives and abortions services were commonplace.” Geoffrey Stone, “‘Sex and the Constitution’: Anthony Comstock and the Reign of the Moralists,” The Washington Post , March 23, 2017, . ↩
  • W oodhull & Claflins Weekly The Lives and Writings of Notorious Victoria Woodhull and Her Sister Tennessee Claflin (Washington: Time Change Press, 1972), 38. ↩
  • Mary and Lizzie Bangs, The Bangs Sisters’ Manifesto to the World (London: Senate House Library, University of London, 1909). ↩
  • Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (New York: Autonomedia, 2014). ↩
  • McGarry, Ghosts of Futures Past , 45. ↩

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Haunted Mansion Filming Locations: Disney in New Orleans

Article by jane, october 6th, 2023.

haunted house seance room

Explore Haunted Mansion (2023) filming locations like the Buckner Mansion Bourbon Street, Royal Street, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Schop, Jackson Square and Tulane University. The live action Disney movie takes us on a tour of the Garden District and French Quarter, showing off classic New Orleans architecture before dialling up the Haunted Mansion details with a stage set in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ben Matthias (LaKeith Stanfield) is an astrophysicist who now conducts ghost tours of New Orleans. After visiting Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her son Travis (Chase W Dillon) at their unhappy home, Gracey Manor, he realises he didn’t leave the spooky feeling behind him. He returns to help Gabbie and Travis, but soon realises he’s in over his head.

Can college professor Bruce David (Danny DeVito), exorcist Father Kent (Owen Wilson) or local psychic Harriet (Tiffany Haddish) help them without becoming the 1000th spirit?

The Disney live action movie is inspired by the theme park ride, like the 2003 movie starring Eddie Murphy. Haunted Mansion (2003) takes a scarier turn, but the script by Ghostbusters writer Katie Dippold makes room for fun and fan favourite references along the way.

Look out for plenty of nods to the Disneyland Haunted Mansion attraction, with appearances from Madame Leota (Jamie Lee Curtis), Hatbox Ghost (Jared Leto) and more iconic characters from the ride. And for Behind the Attraction fans, don’t miss tributes to the original Imagineers Marc Davis, Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey.

Where Was Disney’s Haunted Mansion Filmed?

Inside the Haunted Mansion

Each Haunted Mansion ride gives signature characters like Madame Leota and the Singing Minstrels an adapted setting inspired by the surrounding land. In Florida’s Magic Kingdom, the mansion is a New England house on Liberty Square. In Disneyland Paris, Phantom Manor overlooks Big Thunder Mountain – naturally, it takes on a Wild West theme complete with its own ghost town. And in Disneyland, California, the Haunted Mansion stands in New Orleans Square .

The movie’s director grew up in Louisiana, making it an easy decision to use real Haunted Mansion filming locations in New Orleans.

“It makes sense that this is a place where you can laugh and cry and be afraid and be exhilarated all at the same time. Because that’s exactly what New Orleans represents: all the flavors of life, just kind of smashing into each other…I wanted you to feel like you’re in this city. That this mansion couldn’t exist anywhere else…” Justin Simien, Director

He ramped up the existing New Orleans Square atmosphere with details from the real Louisiana city. Where better to film the Haunted Mansion movie than a real antebellum manor house?

Where Is the House from the Haunted Mansion?

Buckner Mansion

The Buckner Mansion already has a horror connection, as the filming location for Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies in American Horror Story: Coven . In real life, the mansion at 1410 Jackson Ave was built for cotton king Henry Sullivan Buckner in 1856. This grand residence was built to impress – Buckner wanted a home that looked bigger and better than his rival’s.

You may have guessed, the ride-replica interior was specially built on set at Trilith Studios in Atlanta , Georgia. Founded as Pinewood Atlanta Studios in 2013, the studios have hosted numerous MCU movies and shows including Ant-Man, Black Panther, WandaVision, Ms Marvel and Loki. So it’s no surprise that Disney returned to the studios for Haunted Mansion.

And just for fun, check out the Zillow listing for the Disney Haunted Mansion , “minutes from downtown New Orleans, just outside the city on a secluded bayou road”. You can take a virtual tour of the Library, Hallway and Séance Room (don’t miss the Doom Buggy shape of the chair).

Lafayette Cemetery No 2

Lafayette Cemetery

The 19th Century cemetery appears in the opening scenes of Disney’s Haunted Mansion movie, as we follow Ben around the city. It’s shown in the sequence highlighting New Orleans’ famously celebratory funerals, with a band playing as the funeral procession passes through.

Jackson Square

Jackson Square

And if you’re wondering, the turreted building at the back isn’t another ghostly mansion – it’s the 18th Century St Louis Cathedral.

Ben’s House

The Haunted Mansion location for Ben’s house in on Royal Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Historic Royal Street runs parallel to Bourbon Street close to Jackson Square, and is known for its restaurants and hotels. While Ben is horrified to find he’s attracted a hitchhiking ghost after his visit to Gracey Manor, he lives practically next door to several spirits. Numerous houses on Royal Street are reputed to have spooky hauntings of their own.

Tulane University

The Haunted Mansion university location is the real Tulane University of Louisiana. In the 2023 Disney movie, the Haunted Mansion’s living residents seek out Bruce Davis. Tulane University is a private university that was founded in 1834 , with a historic campus in Uptown New Orleans.

Rue Bourbon

Bourbon Street

This is where you’ll find the city’s oldest buildings, decked out with wrought iron balconies and brimming with jazz music. In fact, Bourbon Street is one of the oldest streets in the USA, dating back to the region’s Spanish colonial days.

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop

The street corner bar location is is Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. As spotted in local press , this is another real New Orleans location to appear in the 2023 Haunted Mansion movie. It’s said that the 300-year-old bar was once a smugglers’ den. And it’s reputed that the past occupants haven’t left, because Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is another real haunted house in New Orleans .

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A historic mansion in California transforms into a haunted house

haunted house seance room

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS, KYMA/KECY) - Sacramento's historic Leland Stanford Mansion is being turned into a spooky site.

"For the first time, we've got special Halloween tours," said John Fraser, Superintendent for the California State Parks Captial District

The 1856 Victorian mansion, once owned by the former California governor and his wife Jane, is now a state park, and these special public tours offer a different take on the old home's history.

"I think Halloween is just a really great way to bring everybody together," Fraser further expressed.

Ghostly decorations

The mansion is filled with ghostly decorations, including some ghoulish guests in the dining room, and a tarot card table for summoning spirits.

"[There] is our seance room...Jane Stanford was actually a spiritualist," Fraser shared.

The tour also has a “mourning” room, complete with a bell that the "undead" can ring if they wake up trapped inside a coffin.

It's where the term “dead ringer” comes from.

Unofficial haunted house

Over the decades, the mansion has also served as an orphanage and a hospital during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.

State parks won't officially say it's haunted, but some have seen lights flicker and doors mysteriously slamming shut.

"We've definitely heard from staff some experiences that they couldn't easily explain," Fraser explained.

The Parks Department spent 14 years restoring the structure to become a museum.

"It is one of the more ornate Victorians that are still here in Sacramento," Fraser detailed.

One more use

It's now also used as the protocol site for the governor to welcome visiting dignitaries.

One more use for this historically accurate Sacramento mansion.

"I think it's critically give Sacramento so much character and it brings the history alive to us its what Sacramento is really about," said one Sacramento resident.

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Disney Just Opened A 'Haunted Mansion' In Toronto & You Can Explore A Creepy 'Séance Room'

It's free to enter, if you dare.

The Haunted Mansion Séance Room in Toronto, Ontario.

The Haunted Mansion Séance Room in Toronto, Ontario.

It may not be Halloween just yet but something spooky has arrived in the city. Walt Disney Studios Canada has brought a bit of hocus pocus to Toronto ahead of spooky season with a spine-chilling pop-up event.

The Haunted Mansion Séance Room is an immersive experience that will bring your nightmares to life. Opening at Queen's Quay Terminal North from July 21 to 30, the event is full of spirits, ghosts, and more.

See on Instagram

The attraction will give you a little taste of Disney's upcoming film The Haunted Mansion which is opening in theatres on July 28. You may recognize the name from the Haunted Mansion rides at Disney parks as well as the 2003 Disney film.

The movie features Owen Wilson, LaKeith Stanfield, Jared Leto, and Jamie Lee Kurtis and follows the tale of a woman trying to rid her newly-bought home of spirits.

Toronto's Haunted Mansion Séance Room will take you to a"world of spirts and uncovered secrets to meet and interact with a ghostly psychic forever trapped inside a mesmerizing crystal ball."

Be warned, "those who dare to enter, may leave with hitchhiking ghosts and a Haunted Mansion themed surprise."

The experience is free to visit so if you're feeling brave, you may want to plan a trip to this spooky spot.

Haunted Mansion Séance Room

Haunted Mansion experience in Toronto.

Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Canada

Price: Free

When: July 21 to 30, 2023, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Address: Harbourfront - Queen's Quay Terminal North - South side of the intersection of Queen's Quay West and York Street

Why You Need To Go: This spooky spot is free to visit, if you dare.

Walt Disney Studios Canada Instagram

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

  • 8 Things To Do In Toronto This Summer That Only Locals Know About ›

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You Can Take A Ghost Tour Of Toronto's Harbour This Fall & Journey To A Haunted Lighthouse

This toronto haunted house is in an abandoned subway station that's been closed for 57 years, toronto's 'haunted' theatre has a spine-tingling backstory & you can explore it after dark, toronto is getting an enchanted wonderland bar & it'll take you through the looking glass, 6 haunted places in toronto where you could come face to face with a ghost.

haunted house seance room

Inside 'haunted house' with secret doors, seance room and hidden hallways only discovered CENTURY after being boarded up

The creepy 160-room Winchester Mystery House in California has been dubbed the "world's strangest home" with hidden passageways and false doors

  • 16:33, 12 Oct 2016
  • Updated 11:33, 17 Oct 2016

A preservation team working on a haunted mansion boarded up for almost a century have discovered a bizarre secret room in the building.

The creepy 160-room Winchester Mystery House in California - dubbed the "world's strangest home" - was boarded up after its owner, Sarah Winchester, died in 1922.

It boasts hidden passageways , strange twisting hallways that lead to dead ends, false doors and even a séance room.

It has 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors and 47 fireplaces.

Visitors to the building claim to have heard footsteps and the sound of otherworldly breathing in the house.

Now, according to ABC7, a team tasked with restoring the building have discovered a hidden room in the attic.

Sarah Winchester is thought to have boarded up the room after becoming trapped in it during an earthquake in 1906.

She later blamed the natural disaster on evil spirits.

Winchester had moved into the house following the deaths of her baby daughter Annie, from the childhood disease marasmus, and husband William - a businessman who owed his fortune to the infamous Winchester Rifle - who died of tuberculosis.

She believed her family may have been cursed by the spirits of those the Winchester gun killed so Sarah consulted a medium who reportedly told her to build a home for the spirits.

But she never hired architects, leading to the property's bizarre layout.

The house is now open to tourists for ghost tours.

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Seance Room Haunted House #1 (One Shot)

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A few teens seek out the Séance Room for Halloween fun only to find the line between fun and fear is sometimes very black and white. The art is done by Drew Rausch and sets a perfect diametric tone between silly and horrific!

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(W) Ben Goldsmith (A/CA) Drew Rausch A few teens seek out the Séance Room for Halloween fun only to find the line between fun and fear is sometimes very black and white. The art is done by Drew Rausch and sets a perfect diametric tone between silly and horrific! Cover price $4.99.

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A few teens seek out the Séance Room for Halloween fun only to find the line between fun and fear is sometimes very black and white. The art is done by Drew Rausch and sets a perfect diametric tone between silly and horrific!

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Top 13 places in Russia where you may face a ghost

haunted house seance room

1. Kusovnikov House in Moscow

haunted house seance room

In the 19 th   century house № 17 on Myasnitskaya street in central Moscow was inhabited by a rich, but very greedy couple – Pyotr and Sofya Kusovnikov, who scrimped on almost everything. Extremely suspicious, they used to hide money from their servants in different places. Once they hid some in the fireplace, but the janitor accidentally burned it when lighting the fire. When she found out, Sofya died instantly of a broken heart, her husband passed away a little later. Since then, the ghost of a hunched old man in a coat has routinely appeared on the street near the house – this is Pyotr Kusovnikov mourning his lost money.

2. Sokol metro station

haunted house seance room

During WWI, not far from the modern Sokol station of the Moscow metro, a cemetery for fallen soldiers was located. In 1918, mass executions of White officers and priests by the Reds were held there. All this led to the appearance of ghosts in the dark tunnels of the station. Early in the morning diaphanous figures with festering wounds can be seen there.  

3. St. Michael’s Castle in St. Petersburg

haunted house seance room

This castle was a royal residence built by order of Tsar  Paul I. On March 21, 1801, he was killed there by a group of conspirators. It is considered that the restless spirit of the tsar was unable to leave the castle. It appears there in the corridors with a burning candle in its hand.

4.   Znamenskaya Tower in Yaroslavl

haunted house seance room

During the Civil War in Russia (1917-1922), a group of White troops held positions in the Volkovsky theater in Yaroslavl. The Red commissar in command of the siege promised to spare their lives. However, he lied and all the Whites were executed at the Znamenskaya Tower. Since then, the ghost of the commissar who didn’t keep his promise has been seen at the place of his crime.

5. Igumnov House in Moscow

haunted house seance room

The house at 43 Bolshaya Yakimanka Street in Moscow, also known as “Igumnov House,” serves today as the residence of the French ambassador. It was built at the request of the industrialist Nikolay Igumnov in the late 19 th   century. He settled his young mistress here, but one day caught her with a lover. The lover was kicked out, but the girl was never seen again. It is believed that the outraged Igumnov bricked her up in a wall. During Soviet times, people often saw the ghost of a young girl walking through the walls with deep, plaintive sighs.     

6. House of Rasputin in St. Petersburg

haunted house seance room

The flat on the second floor at 64 Gorokhovaya street in St. Petersburg is today a usual residential apartment. However, in the early 20th century it was home to one of the most mystical figures in Russian history – Grigory Rasputin. His ghost sometimes appears here, scaring inhabitants with its clunking steps and grunting in dark corners.

7. House on the Embankment

haunted house seance room

This house at 2 Serafimovicha Street, simply known as “House on Embankment,” is among the most famous in the Russian capital, known as the place of residence for the Soviet   crème de la crème : writers, artists, actors, generals, athletes. However, it also has a dark history. During the Great Purge, a campaign of political repressions in the USSR, dozens of the house’s inhabitants were arrested and executed. Today, the house is full of the ghosts of those victims, who sometimes appear in their old dwelling place. 

8. Tower of the old hospital in Ryazan

haunted house seance room

Among the high-rise modern buildings at 15 Gorky Street in Ryazan is an old tower – all that remains of the old hospital. At night, a lonely dark figure can be seen walking in this tower. This is the ghost of Alexander Smitten, who administered the hospital more than a century ago.

9. Griboyedov Canal in St. Petersburg

haunted house seance room

During a misty night in March, one can see the ghost of a young girl near the Griboyedov Canal in St. Petersburg. Her face is blue because of asphyxiation, and there is a big red mark on her neck caused by a rope. This is famous revolutionary Sophia Perovskaya, who assassinated Tsar Alexander II and was hanged for her deed. To meet this ghost is a bad omen, and can cost nocturnal pedestrians their lives.

10. Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin

haunted house seance room

There is a legend that when the Kremlin in Nizhny Novgorod was being built, the constructors were unable to finish one of the towers. It kept falling down. In the end, they decided to make a sacrifice and to build the tower on the blood of the first person who passed by. It happened to be a pregnant woman hurrying to the river for water. She was seized and bricked up in the tower alive. The ghost of a pale woman holding a baby has appeared near this place ever since.

11. Oldenburg Palace near Voronezh

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Built in the late 19th century, the palace belonged to Princess Eugenia of Leuchtenberg. Today her ghost rises from the deep casemates of the palace to wander through its rooms and corridors. There is also another ghost there, much older — the ghost of a young peasant girl. It is even said that Princess Eugenia saw it when she was alive.

12. Stalin’s country house near Sochi

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Stalin’s ghost can be seen at his country house, located today within the Green Groove hotel near Sochi. The “father of the nations” walks in his white jacket, smoking his trademark pipe.

13. Psychiatric hospital near Nizhny Novgorod

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Near the modern psychiatric hospital in the village of Lyakhovo near Nizhny Novgorod, one can see an abandoned old building. Several dozen years ago a young girl hanged herself there because of unrequited love. At night it is possible to see a white silhouette and hear the moaning and cries of the “love-stricken schoolgirl” as the locals call her.

And if you want to see a UFO, here are several places in Russia where you will have a chance.

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haunted house seance room

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Part of the Haunted Mansion Ride Demolished

in Disneyland Resort

Left: Bricks and spray paint litter the Haunted Mansion queue. Right: The sign at the entrance to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park closed for refurbishment this week, but not just for its annual transformation back from the Haunted Mansion Holiday . The New Orleans Square ride is set to receive an all-new queue, gift shop, and other enhanced theming.

After The Haunted Mansion closed, Walt Disney Imagineers demolished the original line area. Reddit user u/racer_x_123 shared this photo taken over the construction fences:

Demolition of the queue for Haunted Mansion underway
Demolition of the queue for Haunted Mansion underway by u/racer_x_123 in Disneyland

Disneyland Resort first announced the modernization of the Haunted Mansion in August 2023. According to a Disney Parks Blog post , new gardens will surround the mansion, including themed landscaping and a new water fountain. Alongside classic props like the pet cemetery and horse-drawn funeral hearse, the queue will include a greenhouse.

Madame Leota is the inspiration for the new Haunted Mansion gift shop inside the mansion’s carriage house. As part of the construction, Imagineers will “enhance” the plaza area of New Orleans Square.

Concept art for a new garden in New Orleans Square.

“Local legend suggests the manor known today as the Haunted Mansion was first built by a prosperous sea captain,” Disney Parks Blog wrote. “To this day, the mansion’s staff faithfully maintains the happy haunting grounds. The expanded queue will tie into these stories and more, including new gardens inspired by Master Gracey, Madame Leota and the one-eyed cat.”

The Original Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park

Disneyland Resort’s Haunted Mansion was the first of its kind. It has inspired two films and similar attractions in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris Resort, Tokyo Disneyland at Tokyo Disney Resort, and Hong Kong Disneyland.

Haunted Mansion at the Disneyland Resort.

“Dearly depart into a foreboding estate, drag your body to the dead center of the Portrait Chamber and watch as the walls begin to stretch before your eyes,” Disneyland Resort writes . “Climb into your waiting Doom Buggy and embark on a shivering journey into an unearthly realm. The disembodied voice of the Ghost Host is your private guide through the cadaverous dwelling—home to grinning ghosts and other spectral surprises.”

“Glide past a rattling casket in the conservatory,” the ride description continues. “Head off to Madame Leota’s spirited séance room. Float by the Grand Ballroom and its waltzing apparitions. Take a spin through a cemetery where the spirited residents regale you with song. Beware of lurking hitchhikers—these phantom pranksters may try to follow you home!”

Are you excited about the new Haunted Mansion queue area in New Orleans Square? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments.

  • Magic Kingdom / merchandise / News / Walt Disney World

Get Ready for the Spooky Season With NEW Haunted Mansion Board Game

by Melissa Roden · August 6, 2023

haunted house seance room

With two months still to go until Halloween, Disney’s Haunted Mansion is having its day in the sun due to the box office success of the latest  Haunted Mansion film as well as the popularity of the beloved dark rides at Disney parks around the globe!  Now, we’ve got another way that you can get in on the spooky fun, without heading to the movies or the theme parks! Check out the new Haunted Mansion game currently available on Amazon.   

haunted house seance room

Though the game has previously been released in different incarnations (including one for Disneyland Resort) , this new edition celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World and has been revamped for the festivities. 

This game is all treats and no tricks and is a collaboration between Disney and Funko! Let’s take a closer look! 

haunted house seance room

The Haunted Mansion board game features an illustrated board detailing many of the quirky things you’ll find in the mansion.  This includes some special edition Hitchhiking Ghost figures.  It’s up to players to move around the mansion, down the corridors, through the seance room and avoid some not-so-happy haunts like Constance Hatchaway in the process! 

haunted house seance room

As you wind your way through the haunted house, you’ll collect ghost cards.  Each of the cards has different point values.  At the end of your journey, the player with the most points wins!  

Disney and Funko advise that the game is suitable for ages 8+ and can accommodate 2-6 players.  According to a recent piece in Variety , it takes about half an hour to finish a full game. 

haunted house seance room

Also, trust us when we say that the game is not as simple or as “straight” forward as it looks!  The rotating hallway changes direction which alters the location of the players. This means the winner will remain a mystery until the last cards have been selected! 

In celebration of Disney’s 50th Anniversary, the Haunted Mansion: Call of the Spirits board game features new artwork, glow-in-the-dark happy haunts, and comes complete with a 50th Anniversary seal making it an awesome collector’s item! 

The  Haunted Mansion  Boardgame retails for $26.00 and is currently available on Amazon here.  

Readers are encouraged to keep following along with MickeyBlog for further Walt Disney World news and updates. We’ll be coming to you LIVE! from the theme parks each and every day!


Photo: MickeyTravels

Whether it’s a visit to the  theme parks , a  Disney cruise , a stay at  Aulani  in Hawaii or the trip of a lifetime with  Adventures by Disney,  I can’t wait help you plan your vacation utilizing all of our incredible concierge-level services. This includes discount monitoring, itinerary planning, flexible booking and so much more.   Best of all my services are 100% FREE!

Find out more or get your FREE no-obligation quote at  [email protected]  at 1.800.801.4025 or via  Facebook

Source Variety

Tags: 50th Anniversary Amazon Board Game Haunted Mansion Walt Disney World

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Melissa Roden

As an agent with MickeyTravels and a Blogger with MickeyBlog I enjoy sharing, tips, tricks and advice to help readers and clients get the most out of your time with Disney. When I'm not helping clients plan their perfect holidays or nab those hard-to-get discounts you can find me enjoying a Dole Whip at Disney World with my daughter! Reach out for a FREE, no obligation quote at 1.800.801.4025 or find me on Facebook !

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