KAYLEIGH MARIE EDWARDS attends a séance in Somerset and discovers things that go bump in the night are creepy…
In August this year, I attended my first (and last…) ever séance, conducted by BAFTA award-winning Amethyst’s Danny Hunt.
It took place at a family holiday park, which I’m unable to name but trust me you know it.
I consider myself a skeptic; ever since childhood I’ve always loved horror but always believed all aspects were rooted in fiction. I’ve never been one to sleep with the light on and I’ve always assumed that weird noise you only hear at night is dodgy plumbing.
I’ve never really believed in anything, despite a couple of creepy childhood experiences that I later wrote off as my pre-adolescent overactive imagination.
There were other skeptics at the séance just like me, and some others that were scared before we entered the building. I was excited – I couldn’t wait to laugh at the people who got really freaked out. I was also looking forward to working out how the ‘trickery’ was done.
Mr Hunt began by showing us the various apparatus we’d be using to contact the dead with – a small brass bell, some wooden antiques from the Victorian era and the spirit doll.
The doll itself was something rare and special. The story goes as follows…
In 1892, the doll was created by Joseph Maskelyn and Son (a Midlands toy manufacturer). It was one of only 42 dolls of this type created by Maskelyn and Son between 1882 and 1915. Unlike a conventional ceramic doll, the séance doll is a solid cast and the clay mixed with salt, rather than being hollow. The salt was used for purification purposes, and the doll is of a solid structure to prevent destruction by an overzealous spirit. The doll was also blessed by the Spiritualism Church.
As soon as we began, the smirk was wiped from my face.  The temperature in the room dropped so much I could see my own breath. I put that down to coincidence. The small brass bell started ringing, and seemed to be in response to the questions we were asking – I put that down to some sort of illusion. Then we started hearing loud noises from elsewhere around the room. The spirit doll, which was enclosed in a box behind a small curtain, also seemed to be doing… something. When the curtain was pulled back, the doll was holding a handwritten message. At one point, a small ball that had been placed behind the curtain with the doll just sprang out of the box of it’s own accord. One of the wooden boxes flew off the table, and several things moved by themselves. The bell continued to ring in response to our questions, and the more specific the questions became, the more convinced I was that there really was something there with us.
The next day, I was telling the on-site cleaner about the little girl we’d contacted, still in doubt that what I’d seen was real. The cleaner interrupted me with a nod and said “That’s Emily.”
My blood ran cold for a second – that was the name that Mr. Hunt had mentioned himself the night before, but there was no way that the cleaner could have known that. She went on to tell me that she’d seen the girl herself, but not to be frightened by her.
I still tell people that I’m a skeptic but the truth is that I’ve been sleeping with the landing light on ever since. I don’t know for sure what I experienced, but I know it was something unlike anything I’ve felt or witnessed before. I would recommend this experience to anyone who’s curious – it was scary but different and enjoyable. As for attending a second séance myself though… no thanks. I’m running back to the safety of fiction and leaving the real paranormal stuff to the experts.