Defining “The Big Séance”

Since The Big Séance has gained quite a few readers in the last few months, I’ve gotten a few questions regarding the title of this blog and what weirdness we’re all about here. Is this really a séance? And if so, why the pictures of historic buildings? Why the cemeteries? Well I’ve wanted to compose some thoughts on this for quite a while, but the time was just never right, and I guess the inspiration just never came. It is true, the blog has changed and grown (as most of them do) over the last year and a half, so I suppose it’s time to update the old “About” page.

The online Merriam Webster dictionary defines séance as “a spiritualist meeting to receive spirit communications.” The word itself comes from an old French word that means “sitting” or “to sit”. Well the way I look at it, I’m sitting as I write this post, and I’m seated every other time as well. That’s how I came up with the name.

…I’m kidding. Oh come on. Laugh already.

In all seriousness, from day one my plan was to create a blog that covered paranormal and spiritual topics, with an emphasis on spirit communication. I’d highlight some of my team’s paranormal investigations, share some evidence, etc. A lot has changed since then.

I don’t think there is a more dramatic or fun form of spirit communication than a séance. Am I right? Picture any séance you’ve seen from an old movie or TV show. An old Victorian house, dark and ornate décor, candles all over, perhaps a Ouija board, a fabulously costumed medium, and of course no séance is complete without theremin music for an extra spooky effect.  

In an early blog post on the topic of the séance, I thought back to my earliest introduction to the concept. Allow me to plagiarize myself.

I must confess, I think I was introduced to the concept of a séance in a segment of The Bloodhound Gang, which was like a miniature mystery series that was a part of the 1980s PBS children’s series, 3-2-1 Contact. Anybody remember? I even had a subscription to the 3-2-1 Contact magazines for a while and have probably seen every episode from all eight seasons. Don’t tempt me to sing the theme song (or even The Bloodhound Gang theme for that matter)… because I will. I can’t be exactly sure that’s where I saw my first séance, but that’s where my childhood memory is taking me back to.

I’ve never been able to prove that 3-2-1 Contact was responsible for sparking this fascination, but I suppose it doesn’t matter. If anyone knows what I might be thinking of, please let me know. It would be truly awesome to see it again, whatever it was.

After more than a year and a half and over 250 published blog posts later, I’ve learned a lot about blogging. I’ve learned a lot about “paranormal folk”. I’ve learned a great deal about myself, what I know, and what I don’t know for sure yet. But as of right now I’d like to think of “The Big Séance” as not just a broad form of spirit communication, but a way to honor or learn about anyone’s life or past… a kind of remembrance. In an EVP session, I don’t just want to capture a voice, but I think of it as a chance for a spirit to communicate. When I highlight a beautifully historic or abandoned location, I’m imagining the lives of the people who made memories in the space previously. By photographing the beauty of an old cemetery or the resting place of a soul’s body, we show that we’re not afraid or embarrassed of what we erroneously refer to as “death”. I like to think that by thinking of these souls and wondering about their lives, we’re honoring them. And I’ll almost always have a recorder with me, whether it’s a trip to the cemetery or an actual paranormal investigation. All souls are invited to communicate or pass on messages to the living. You’ve joined me in several experiments. You’ve even shared your own experiences. Therefore, you’re not only an audience member for MY séance, you’re all participating in it! It’s a BIG séance… and it’s getting bigger.



It’s now the eve of October 1st, a month-long (maybe even longer) holiday for many of us. So whether you just like to be goofy and dress up for trick-or-treaters, celebrate to honor your ancestors or the lives of the dead, or hope to take advantage of a thinning veil that separates us from “the other side”, stay tuned throughout the rest of the autumn season!


Today I made another visit to the resting places of both  Johnnie and Clara, as part of my new tradition of adopting and researching older graves during the fall season. I decided to give Johnnie the opportunity to jump in the photo with me... assuming he was there visiting as well.

Today I made another visit to the resting places of both Johnnie and Clara, as part of my new tradition of adopting and researching older graves during the fall season. I decided to give Johnnie the opportunity to jump in the photo with me… assuming he was there visiting as well.



About Patrick Keller

Patrick Keller is an educator, blogger, and the host of the Big Séance Podcast, which is a place for paranerds to have an open discussion on all things paranormal, but specifically topics like ghosts and hauntings, paranormal research, spirit communication, psychics and mediums, and life after death. He’s the founder of the now inactive Missouri Spirit Seekers and has spent a lot of time experimenting with spirit communication tools and techniques, such as EVP. Patrick also has a passion for spending hours at a time in cemeteries and loves cemetery photography. Visit! View all posts by Patrick Keller

12 responses to “Defining “The Big Séance”

  • Gary Leigh

    You need a virtual ouija board. 🙂

  • davidprosser

    Looks like Johnnie declined to share the spotlight, unless of course it was you decided to take a walk at that moment? If you’ve ever seen the film Blithe Spirit with Rex Harrison, isn’f Madame Arcata the very definition of the ‘Happy Medium’?

  • frugalfrightsanddelights

    I really understand where you are coming from. I loved the movies that had seances in them. I grew up wondering about life beyond our physical world. Your evolution seems natural; especially with your interest with abandon buildings – they often have secrets that are waiting to be discovered. I felt the very same way when i wrote the book “History Restored’.

    • Patrick Keller

      Yeah as I get more into blogging, I’m more and more interested in getting into certain historic, beautiful, or abandoned locations. I’ve contacted a few places to let them know about the blog and that I’d love to get in to feature the location. I haven’t gotten responses. 🙁 I’m really inspired by Matt Lambros and his photography of abandoned places, especially the theatres.

  • Parlor of Horror

    I have some posts about Ouija Boards from last year that you may find interesting. I will probably reblog one or two in the coming weeks. I spent a little time doing some paranormal investigations some years ago and I’m fascinated with the history of ghost towns and abandoned places like the pics you have in your posts 🙂

  • LeeAllenHoward

    This is great, Patrick. I’ve enjoyed your posts on a wide variety of subjects. And I love the “adopt a grave” idea!

    • Patrick Keller

      Thank you, Lee! I’ve enjoyed it too. I think it’s definitely a new tradition. I thought about doing it for each season of the year… but I think I may have been crazy. We’ll see. 🙂

  • NetherRealm

    I’ve participated in real seances, and found the communication different than sitting wherever in the room. I also found myself making picture stories with a set of cards while communicating with Titanic crew and passengers. I also became more aware of believers and doubters in the circle. More so than when the living are scattered in the room. Very interesting experience that I need to share.

    • Patrick Keller

      Please do! I’m fascinated by the different practices with seance. Everyone kind of has their own style. Some follow more of a dramatic ritual (my favorite), some more practical… I’ve always wanted to be the medium. (Pretty sure that’s never going to happen. 🙂 )

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