Spiritualism, mediumship and talking boards
Our interest in talking boards is not a secret, in fact we published an article entitled ‘What is a planchette’ when we launched our sterling silver Planchettes’ Collection in May 2013 -which goes hand in hand with the history of talking boards- and we have even our own travel Ouija board: the one and only Singular Talking Board!
But let’s look back to the past for a moment in order to refresh our memories. Spiritualism was in vogue in the 19th century and channelers used automatic writing or drawing in regular basis. In fact, mediumship became quite popular in the USA and the UK after the rise of Spiritualism as religious movement. The trance mediums Paschal Beverly Randolph and Emma Hardinge Britten were among the most celebrated lecturers and authors on the subject in the mid-19th century. However, scientific tests by the English scientist Michael Faraday, the French chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul, and the American psychologists William James and Ray Hyman have demonstrated that many phenomena attributed to paranormal forces or ‘energies’ are actually due to ideomotor action. After the exposure of the fraudulent use of stage magic tricks by physical mediums such as the Davenport Brothers and the Bangs Sisters, mediumship fell into disrepute.
If you want to learn more about the history of the Ouija board in science, read now this article from the Smithsonian Magazine: ‘The Strange and Misterious History of the Ouija Board’.
So, can Ouija boards be used to communicate with the spiritual dimension? We may not have a definitive answer to this question, but the ideomotor effect may help us throw light over other relevant issues…
It is clear that Christmas time is not unrelated to the supernatural. In fact, telling spooky tales upon a Christmas night is a long tradition in many cultures and probably you have read yourself ‘A Christmas Carol’, the classical story written by Charles Dickens.
I still have not found verified information about this, but I have the feeling that séances gets boosted during Christmas time. Why do I think this? Because Christmas celebrations have an intense family component that makes us miss our beloved ones more than ever precisely at this critical moment. For many people Christmas séances are not the exception, but the rule.
At the end of the nineteenth century this was even more tangible, as spiritualism was all the rage. This was reflected, for example, in the second season’s Christmas Special of one of the most acclaimed British television series of all times: Downton Abbey. In this single episode a séance takes place, using a ouija board.
As per their own words, The Parlour Trick offers ‘haunted chamber music and dark, dreamy ambience composed, arranged and performed by multi-instrumentalists Meredith Yayanos and Dan Cantrell’. And we think that this is a really accurate description.
Co-founder and Editor In Chief of Coilhouse, Meredith Yayanos is a talented musician, writer and filmmaker. When we discovered that she was planning the launch of a chamber music album in collaboration with the Emmy-award winning composer for film and television Dan Cantrell, we could only think ‘hey, this looks great!’. The crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter was a absolute success and the rest is history.
Named after a well-loved quote by Martha Graham and inspired by some of the creepier and more dysfunctional aspects of Victoriana, the first full-length release of The Parlour Trick, entitled A Blessed Unrest, would be a perfect match for a séance with our Singular Talking Board and the corresponding Vigilat Planchette.
We are presenting ‘The Planchettes Collection’ today, that will be available for sale at Wave Gotik Treffen and, after this event, online too. I can assure you that much effort has been invested in the development of the Vigilat Planchette, the first piece of this collection. Let me tell share with you the story behind this demanding project.