Seances and Spenser: A Laboratory Seance

In 2003 Lance Storm and Colin Mitchell decided to gather eight professional and amateur paranormal investigators to try and summon a fictional spirit, Spenser Blake. These researchers recorded and video taped 27 individual sessions attempting to summon Spenser and produce paranormal phenomena. Each session was controlled for fraud, trickery, and environmental explanations.



So how did this group do? Well, across 27 sessions, there was a general failure to either levitate or have the sitter table move on its own (Macro Psychokinesis). However, some degrees of rapping and scratching occurred that the researchers were unable to completely account for. Participants reported headaches, and other internal symptoms during the sessions. Finally, a statistical test of the ability of the group to influence a candle flame to move was mathematically significant.

Although the current research may seem odd, several attempts in the last 50 years have been made to test table tipping, table levitation, and the creation of seance phenomena. Some attempts have succeeded (such as those of Owen and Sparrow), and others have had less success such as the research above. However, enough paranormal phenomena has occurred to interest parapsychologists to continue this kind of research.


Submitted by: Brian Laythe

Reference: Storm, L. & Mitchell, C. (2003). “Are you there, Spenser?'” Attempts at ‘PK by committee’ in a seance-like┬ásituation. Australian Journal of Parapsychology, 3, 3-19.

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