A sip of tea, and talk with the dead at Victorian-style séance

DRESSED TO TALK TO THE DEAD — The team at Luna Paranormal Research (left to right) Linda, Kelly Rogers and Tom Darby Wreck are dressed in Victorian Age clothing to conduct a Victorian séance at the Clipper Merchant Tea House in Bridgton. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

Susan was thrilled to be participating in a Victorian séance on the day before Halloween.

It wasn’t the date as much as the era, the Victorian age, that thrilled the Fryeburg resident.

Susan dressed the part, pulling together Victorian pieces, including a cherished, full-length, black silk cape given to her by a friend who found it in the trunk of a relative who died years ago.

“I probably had a past life in that time period. I love it. I am attracted to” the Victorian age, Susan said.

Television series like Downton Abby and the 1900s House, in which people live with only the amenities available during the Victorian age, have fueled her curiosity and attraction.

So, it was no surprise that Susan decided to participate in a Victorian séance, which was held Monday night at the Clipper Merchant Tea House in Bridgton. The long-standing Bridgton building was once the town’s hospital.

Susan was not attached to any outcome. She said she had no expectations.

“I figured it would be fun. I believe in ghosts. I’ve seen ghosts. I’ve already had fun,” Susan said prior to the evening’s séance.

TOOLS OF A SÉANCE — Melinda Thomas, the owner of Clipper Merchant Tea House in Bridgton, set up the table for a Victorian séance held at the tea house on Monday night. (De Busk Photo)

On Monday, tea house owner Melinda Thomas set the stage in the séance room: placing a Ouija board on the table which was encircled by chairs. Beforehand, the guests sat in the restaurant and were served dinner and tea. Many of those people met for the first time on Monday evening.

Meanwhile, three paranormal investigators from Luna Paranormal Research, out of North Conway, had arrived to conduct the séance. Like some of the participants, the Luna team dressed the part and prepared to reveal spirits.

“We are trying to hold true to the tradition of the original séances. They did this often in the Victorian age. There was a lot of death, sometimes from unexplained illnesses, and people felt the need to contact spirits of loved ones,” said Kelly Rogers, the founder of Luna Paranormal.

TEA BEFORE OUIJA — Two Fryeburg residents who are complete strangers to one another, Isabelle Boyd (left) and Susan, sip their cups of tea prior to attending a Victorian-age séance at the Clipper Merchant Tea House on Monday. (De Busk Photo)

“Mary Todd Lincoln did a lot of séances in the Whitehouse. She lost two children,” Rogers said.

Having the First Lady of the United States doing séances made it more acceptable to mainstream society during the Victorian age, she said.

Rogers as well as some of the participants had no expectations of which spirits might make their presence known.

“The history of the house” certainly plays a factor, Rogers said. “People can bring their own energy. I am hoping for a mix. It is in their control. When working with the paranormal — it is unpredictable.”

“Halloween has its folklore. The full moon has a higher energy. A lot of the time when we do investigations of a family home, the spirit energy is higher during the holidays,” Rogers said.

“The moon has a lot of energy. It affects human emotions. The moon affects hospitals. It affects the spirit world,” she said.

She added that rushing water is another conductor for communication with spirits. Therefore, the recent heavy rainfall and regional flooding were favorable to paranormal activity.

“It is pretty electric tonight,” she said.

Her co-worker Linda agreed with the unpredictability of any paranormal investigation.

“You can plan out how to proceed, but you never know what will happen,” Linda said.

Fryeburg resident Isabelle Boyd was very pleased with the evening’s proceedings.

“Basically, I plan to purse this professionally. The entire experience was great for me to see spiritual interactions within our dimension. To see it recorded helped to validate it for me,” she said.

“I am very nervous around other people. But, I definitely knew why I was there,” Boyd said.

Boyd curious enough to overcome her anxieties and also there was a comfort level in knowing the folks from Luna Paranormal.

“I know the people who were leading the séance. Kelly Rogers is a nationally-renowned psychic. I am myself rather psychic. I have worked for her and she has been strong mentor,” Boyd said.

During the séance, “there was a lot of activity that would not otherwise happened,” she said.

During the evening, the people in the circle agreed to try to communicate with the spirits of the building — once a hospital. For a while, the equipment used by Luna Paranormal stayed silent. In fact, it was the lighting in the building that dimmed in response to questions or discussions, she said.

“A key signature of the evening: I was using the Oiuji board with someone beside me. We were trying to communicate with the spirits in the building,” Boyd said.

She recalled using a Ouija board when she was 10 years old. At this séance, the participants rested their fingers lightly on the board.

“We were using it in the purist way,” she said. “Everyone in the séance was asking questions about the spirit. Kelly asked, ‘Did you die here?” The Ouija board flew over to ‘Yes.’ ”

“I have never done it with someone who wasn’t manipulating it. I am a skeptic,” she said.

“It glides over to yes. When it hits yes to the question, ‘Did you die here,’ the meter records ghost signals. It lit up.”

“Kelly, who has channeled a lot of accurate information, sat down at the board next to me,” she said. “It is sliding over to the right answers. It is working. There is no stagnation on the board. The spirit made its presence notable.”

“The spirits in the building demonstrated their presence to us,” she said, explaining the person who had died in that building revealed their age as nine years old.

“I was amazed. It was a huge deal for me because I am a strong believer,” Boyd said.

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